Publisher Thomas Nelson
Publisher Thomas Nelson
This book appears in the following featured collections.
- Favorite Advanced NT Commentaries by Jeremy Pierce (parableman)
- First Commentary Set by Brian LeStourgeon
- Recommended NT Commentaries by Denver Seminary Journal
- D. A. Carson's Commentary "Best Buys" by D. A. Carson
- Ultimate Commentary Collection: NT Technical by John Glynn
- Essential NT Commentaries for a Preacher's Library by Derek W. H. Thomas
- New Testament Advanced Commentaries by Moore Theological College Journal: Societas
- Cambridge Chinese Christian: Recommended Commentaries by Calvin Cheah
- Building an NT Commentary Library by Invitation to Biblical Interpretation (Kostenberger & Patterson)
- The Pastor’s Bookshelf by Scot McKnight
- Recommended New Testament Commentaries for Evangelical Pastors by Thomas R. Schreiner
Lane is way too fond of telling us that everyone so far has misunderstood something, but he has figured it out. There are good things here, of course, but editors should give authors a quota on “you have heard what they say... but I tell you.”
Until quite recently, Lane’s commentary was considered the best of the commentaries written to be accessible to those with little knowledge of Greek. Carson compares these volumes with Lane’s and says, “Lane often provides a better mix of tehcnical comment and thoughtful theology.” It always bears mention that the Word Biblical Commentary has an awkward and unhelpful format, so it takes just a little bit more work to read than most. [Full Review]
Lane’s commentary in Hebrews is one of the better in the Word series. He reads the letter as representing a Hellenistic synagogue, probably a loosely affiliated house church whose members are fairly typical of Diaspora Judaism. The church is located (most likely) in Rome and this letter is intended to encourage them to continue in their new faith in Jesus. Perhaps persecution is the main problem, but a kind of spiritual lethargy threatens the church as much as anything else. The introduction has a nice summary of discourse analysis as proposed by G. H. Guthrie. His summary of the theology of Hebrews is excellent, focusing primarily on the Christology of the book. The body of the commentary proceeds through each major section of the book by first providing a detailed bibliography (including many non-English works), followed by a fresh translation and notes on the text. The Word series always includes a Form/Structure/Setting section after the translation, Lane uses this section to comment on the rhetoric of the letter. The Commentary proper moves phrase-by-phrase, treating the Greek text without transliteration. Following the commentary proper is a short “explanation” drawing the exegesis back to the theology of Hebrews. [Full Review]
Lane's commentary is, indeed, the best commentary on Hebrews. Although O'Brien is more readable at times, Lane's scholarship is unmatched in contemporary commentaries on Hebrews. In his preface to this commentary, Lane writes that his work "has been an act of love and devotion to God and to the Church. May it serve the Church and the guild ewll by directing attention to the remarkable gift we possess in the discourse that we call Hebrews" (xiii). Having read this commentary, I can attest that Lane's desire for his commentary's usefulness has been met in at least one preacher and church. Doubtless it has served other churches well, too, as well as the "guild" of seminaries throughout the evangelical world. Though not infallible (no book but the Bible is), Lane's commentary deserves the highest recommendation.
This commentary demands full engagement, you cannot read it passively. It's riches lay within the scholarly/academic prose. The insights Dr. Lane provides are helpful in understanding historical background, difficult passages, word use, and tenses. Again, it's hard reading, but the reader will gain a great reward by walking through the comments carefully. I was greatly helped.
This was not the best commentary I've ever read, but it was pretty decent. I think the entire Word Biblical Commentary series is pretty difficult reading, and the only one I'd ever say I "enjoyed" was Gordon Wenham's 2 volumes on Genesis. Anyway, Lane does a fair job commenting on Hebrews 1-8 in this volume. I skipped all of the verse-by-verse comments, since I felt like he zoomed in a bit too much and lost the author's flow of thought. However, his sections on "Form/structure/setting" and "Explanation" for each section were very worthwhile.
This is clearly the top commentary on Hebrews. While Bruce is also helpful, Lane is aware of his work, and far surpasses it in most regards. Lane is quite thorough, often technical, but consistently helpful on interpreting this difficult book in light of background and setting, textual questions, and original languages (since Hebrews has many Septuagint references), and yet Lane frequently yields excellent pastoral insights. Preaching or teaching Hebrews without consulting Lane would be an exercise in neglect.
Of all the commentaries on Hebrews that I have looked at and used, I have found the two-volume set by William Lane to be the one I turn to first. While I may not agree with every exegetical conclusion Lane makes, he is always worth reading on a given passage. Very highly recommended. [Full Review]
Lane's two volumes are committed to addressing the various facets of Hebrews, but in places all the information keeps one from seeing the forest for the trees. I look forward to the other promising Hebrews commentaries on the way.