I work for the missions arm of my local church in Boston. My wonderful wife, Lisa, and I have a baby daughter, Mary.
Occupation Missions Training School Director
Education never ending
Jesus and the Gospels: An Introduction and Survey, Second Edition. B&H Academic, 2009.
I've been using this book as a resource for teaching on Jesus and the Gospels for a few years, and I couldn't be happier. It's the kind of book that can benefit the seasoned veteran of biblical studies as well as the beginner- a rare book indeed. Included in this one volume: concise overview of the historical background to the Gospels, a quick introduction to critical methods, intros to each Gospel, a mini-commentary on the life of Jesus and a review of the basic message and theology of Jesus and the Gospels. I can't recommend this book highly enough. [Full Review]
Proverbs 10–31. AYB. Yale University Press, 2009.
Fox follows up his highly regarded commentary on Proverbs 1-9 with another very good commentary. It will be hard to find a scholar more knowledgeable about ancient wisdom literature (including Babylonian, Egyptian and Greek). Not only are there numerous helpful insights on individual proverbs, but also interesting parallels with ancient near eastern wisdom literature, some history of interpretation and even 4 essays on subjects relating to wisdom, ethics and epistemology. For those preaching or teaching Proverbs, this will be a good commentary to consult, but should probably not be the only one. He makes no attempt at application or much theological reflection. If used alongside a couple other commentaries (Waltke, perhaps Garrett or others), the reader should come away with a strong grasp of the message of Proverbs. [Full Review]
An Old Testament Theology: An Exegetical, Canonical, and Thematic Approach. Zondervan, 2007.
Waltke has produced yet another gift to the church, offering a lifetime of labor in this one volume. The exegetical insights contained in this book are enormously helpful. These then lead into strong theological reflection that challenges the reader. Waltke discerns the theme of "the irruption of the Kingdom of God" spread throughout the OT, but doesn't push it where it isn't expressed. Thus, one get a true sense of the unity and diversity within the OT. I deduct a half star from the book because he doesn't always deliver in the "canonical" department. For instance, in his chapter on the Davidic Covenant, he doesn't really show how this is carried into the NT and its portrayal of Jesus. Instead, he discusses the differences in the genealogies of Matthew and Luke, which seems out of place in this book. With that said, this OT Theology is tremendous and well worth the time reading it. Do not let the price and size scare you, it's an easy and rewarding read. Every pastor and teacher should take the time to work through it. [Full Review]
The Revelation of Saint John. BNTC. Hendrickson, 2006.
Boxall's commentary is remarkably insightful and dense for a shorter work. His insight into the importance of Ezekiel to John's vision is helpful. It's one of the few commentaries where I wished the introduction was longer so he could explore some points more fully. Like any commentary, especially on Revelation, I can't say that I agreed with everything. But more often than not I felt he argued his points well and convincingly. One of the best non-technical works on Revelation I've read, extremely useful as I recently taught through Revelation. [Full Review]
The Letter to Philemon. ECC. Eerdmans, 2000.
Who would have thought that a commentary on Philemon could run almost 600 pages? It's almost overwhelmingly thorough in some respects. The opening discussion on slavery is extremely helpful and more detailed than what most commentaries give. Includedin the commentary section are 20+ excurses, which probably would have been better included in a separate section because they often interrupt the flow (seriously- 23 pages is not an excursus, it's an article). Most interpretations are surveyed and sifted, though the authors tend only to make cautious affirmations of a position when they are not sure (such as where Paul was when he wrote this letter). Chances are most pastors won't fork over this kind of money for a Philemon commentary. If you are studying slavery in the NT period or teaching in depth in Philemon (or other places where slavery is present in the biblical text), then you ought to consult this commentary. If you are looking for a stand alone volume on Philemon, I would still go with Fitzmyer- for a lot less money.
First Corinthians. IBC. Westminster John Knox, 1997.
Hays' commentary is hands-down the best in the Interpretation series. This is not a detailed work, but is a helpful guide to the broader theology of 1 Corinthians, as well as the use of the OT and even application ideas for preachers and teachers. His judgments won't always please the conservative evangelical, so you will want to use with discernment. Hays takes very seriously that Paul sees the Gentile Corinthians as part of Israel's story. Hays is also at his best in dealing with chapter 15 on the resurrection of the body. Because of the relative lack of exegetical detail, I don't think this commentary ought to be used on its own. I would supplement with at least one of Fee, Thiselton and Hays.
The First Epistle to the Corinthians. NICNT. Eerdmans, 1987.
Over 20 years after its original appearance, I still think this is the best commentary on 1 Corinthians. That's not to say it's perfect, as Fee's understanding of the textual problem of 14:34-35 shows. But Fee is an outstanding guide as you work your way through 1 Corinthians. While not technical, this isn't necessarily light reading, as Fee wades through the exegetical options in some detail. Even when you disagree with him, he will force you back to the text to deal with what Paul actually says. Fee demonstrates how the Corinthian church suffered from a faulty eschatology, and how that factored into their errors. Despite the size and detail, pastors will find some helpful hints for application. Use it with Thiselton, and you'll have just about everything you'll need (and while you're at it, go ahead and pick up Hays and Garland).
The First Epistle to the Corinthians. NIGTC. Eerdmans, 2000.
Thiselton's work is one of the better detailed commentaries of any book. It's about as comprehensive as you could ask for without going into multiple volumes. There are times when, after laying out the numerous options of interpretation for any given passage, it's hard to tell exactly where Thiselton stands. With that said, though, it's nice to have a commentary for some one-stop shopping. For the pastor, this commentary will no doubt consume much time (especially if you're Greek is a little rusty), but it's time well spent. His critiques of different viewpoints will prove helpful for those wading through all the options (especially in 14:34-36). For those working through 1 Corinthians, this is a must.
First Corinthians. AYB. Yale University Press, 2008.
This commentary is exactly what you'd expect from Fitzmyer: excellent detailed analysis and exegesis from a top-notch Catholic scholar. Like other Anchor commentaries, it won't be the most helpful for pastors in areas of application, but it does interact with other views to help the reader sort through the issues. It is different enough from evangelical commentaries to make it worth consulting, but not so different to make an evangelical uncomfortable. This commentary is good, but it's hurt by a market that is already saturated with excellent 1 Corinthians commentaries. If you are doing in depth work in 1 Corinthians, you ought to consult Fitzmyer. [Full Review]
Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon. NAC. Broadman & Holman, 1993.
While not the most in depth commentary on Ecclesiastes, Garrett's treatment provides good bang for your buck. Contra Longman, Garrett argues for the unity of Ecclesiastes, which reflects on morality and how we should live in this world, in light of the events in the first 3 chapters of Genesis. Garrett argues that while Qoheleth encourages his readers to enjoy life's pleasures, ultimately life's answers are found solely in God. I recommend using it alongside Longman's commentary. As a bonus, you get a good commentary on Proverbs and a very good commentary on Song of Songs, all in one volume.
The Book of Ecclesiastes. NICOT. Eerdmans, 1997.
Ecclesiastes is a rarely used and often misunderstood book of the OT. Longman offers a helpful guide to understanding the book. He takes the "framework" approach, meaning the majority of the book is a foil for the editor, who speaks in 1:1-11 and 12:8-14. This allows Longman to read the seemingly unorthodox and contradictory statements in the book as exactly that, which are corrected by the final (orthodox) statements of the editor (in Longman's view). Whether or not you agree with Longman's assessment, this is a helpful commentary. I've found it profitable to use it along side Garrett's commentary in the NAC series.
The Letter to Philemon. AYB. Yale University Press, 2000.
Stand alone commentaries on Philemon are few and far between (Barth & Blanke being another), which has caused Fitzmyer's work to fall between the cracks. Fitzmyer offers some interesting thoughts regarding the occasion of the letter. He argues that Onesimus has not run away from Philemon, but rather is seeking Paul to intervene on his behalf, though the letter doesn't tell us what problem arose between Onesimus and Philemon. Paul is writing from an Ephesian imprisonment, probably a few years before he writes Colossians (where Onesimus is mentioned as a faithful brother). He also has an informative discussion on slavery in Paul's time. If you're working through Philemon or even studying the institution of slavery in NT times, you should definitely consult Fitzmyer.
The Acts of the Apostles: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary. SRC. Eerdmans, 1997.
This is Witherington at his best. He doesn't force his "socio-rhetorical" method onto Acts, weeds through some of the difficulties well and leaves the reader understanding the passage better than when they started. It's worth getting the book just for the introduction. His argument for the early date of Galatians is persuasive, and Witherington sees Acts as a reliable guide for events in the earliest years of the church. For instance, his discussion on Paul's conversion, comparing Acts and Paul's autobiographical accounts in his letters, carefully balances considerations of genre, authorial intent and audience. Altogether a terrific commentary, one I'd highly recommend.