jamess57

jamess57

Reviews

Hamilton Jr., James M. Psalms. 2 Vols. EBTC. Lexham Press, 2021.
jamess57 jamess57 June 16, 2022
The Psalms are known as the heart of the bible, but it is also a theologically rich collection of poems that join together to tell a wider story. James M. Hamilton Jr. convincingly shows how (mainly) David and with the help of other authors wrote and arranged the Psalms in order to tell the about God's purpose in the world. He views David as the main author and the architect of the entire project. He further argues that the superscriptions came from the hand of the psalm's author. It is important to see how the Psalms are interconnected and tell this wider story. Most Christians rightly view the Psalms as a collection of poems or songs to the Lord. Because of this, it can seem less approachable for those that are more logical or theological minded. Hamilton does a great job showing how much theology is found throughout the Psalter by showing the Psalms to be a purposefully organized collection of poems that built upon and interpret each other. The Evangelical Biblical Theology Commentary (EBTC) focuses on the Biblical Theology expressed by their authors on their own terms and in their own historical contexts. Biblical Theology seeks to trace the central themes of the individual books of Scripture. The commentary intends to communicate the worldview of the biblical authors and how the original audience would understand the text. My education and background has been more towards Systematic Theology which is more topically oriented and focuses on contextualization with current settings. In focusing on the Biblical themes instead of a verse-by-verse exegesis, you begin to see the bigger story of Scripture as it was understood when it was written. Each author of the EBTC volumes is given freedom in the order and structure to best suite the biblical material being presented. Hamilton has arranged the commentary with an introduction, Biblical Theology themes found within the Psalter, and finishing with verse-by-verse commentary. This two-volume work covers Psalms 1-72 in the first volume, and Psalms 73-150 in the second volume. It utilized the Christian Standard Bible (CSB) as the base translation. Alongside the CSB translation, Hamilton has provided his own translation. When translating to another language, there are several considerations: readability, context, thematic relationships, repeated words or phrases, ect. In doing so, concessions are made, and the English-only readers lose out on some of the links with other verses. Hamilton's translation seeks to preserve the connection of these linking words to aid in understanding, even if it yields a more awkward reading translation. The commentary uses extensive footnotes rather than parenthetical citations and asides to keep from breaking up the text; I find this makes the text much more readable. The binding and cover art provide for a quality and aesthetically pleasing addition to anyone's library. James M. Hamilton Jr. (PhD, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) is professor of biblical theology at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and preaching pastor at Kenwood Baptist Church. He is the author of God's Glory in Salvation through Judgment, What is Biblical Theology? and his most recent must-read book, Typology-Understanding the Bible's Promise-Shaped Patterns. Hamilton's EBTC commentary on the Psalms stirred my affection and strengthened my understanding of the Psalms. This commentary is helpful for pastors and those studying the Psalms such as seminary students, scholars, or lay leaders. It is a resource that I will return to over and over again as my favorite Psalms commentary. I knew of the arrangement and overarching story of the Psalms, but Hamilton brought it to life. The biblical and theological themes section was briefer than I would have liked (about 11 pages), but helpful. I especially enjoyed the section on fear of God. I received a free copy in exchange for my honest review. The opinions I express are my own and I was not required to write a positive review. [Full Review]
Köstenberger, Andreas J. 1–2 Timothy and Titus. EBTC. Lexham Press, 2020.
jamess57 jamess57 May 2, 2022
Paul's letters to Timothy and Titus (LTT) are often neglected in theology except in certain areas, such as ecclesiology (study of the church). Andreas Köstenberger rightly points out the intentional purpose of the LTT as one of Paul's final instructions to the church and to aid in his missional work. Even though the three letters are district, I believe Köstenberger is right to consider them together, "not as a corpus, but as a 'cluster,' being sensitive to both the things that bind them together and the things that make them distinct." Proper understanding of the LTT dovetails into a greater understanding of the Paul's earlier New Testament letters. Instead of focusing solely on a verse-by-verse commentary, the Evangelical Biblical Theology Commentary (EBTC) focuses on the Biblical Theology expressed by their authors on their own terms and in their own historical contexts. Biblical Theology seeks to trace the central themes of the individual books of Scripture. My education and background has been more towards Systematic Theology which is more topically oriented and focuses on contextualization with current settings. In focusing on the Biblical themes instead of a verse-by-verse exegesis, you begin to see the bigger story of Scripture. "... Ultimately the biblical theology of a given set of writings is an interwoven fabric of interrelated major and minor themes, a matrix not unlike a spiderweb that is characterized by a careful integration, cohesion, and interpenetration." Each author of the EBTC volumes is given freedom in the order and structure to best suite the biblical material being presented. In the letters to Timothy and Titus (LTT), Köstenberger has arranged the commentary with an introduction, a brief verse-by-verse commentary, and finishing with Biblical Theology themes found within the LTT. It utilized the Christian Standard Bible (CSB) as the base translation. The commentary uses extensive footnotes rather than parenthetical citations and asides to keep from breaking up the text; I find this makes the text much more readable. The original Greek is sparsely used throughout only to emphasize specific meanings or highlight themes. The Biblical Theology themes are organized by their prevalence and importance within the LTT. The binding and cover art provide for a quality and aesthetically pleasing addition to anyone's library. "...The church is at the heart of the biblical theology of the LTT. The letters were written to Paul's apostolic delegates to encourage them in conducting their ministries in the local congregations to which Paul had sent them, providing leadership, instruction in sound doctrine and correction of false teaching." Andreas J. Köstenberger (PhD, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School) is a research professor of New Testament and director of the Center for Biblical Studies at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He has authored numerous books, including one of my favorites God, Marriage, and Family, which provides a Biblical basis and study of marriage and family. If false teaching is rightly understood as the main problem across the three letters, it would make sense to say that "the fundamental interest of the Pastorals would appear to be "health' or sound teaching.' " Focusing on the specific theology of the letters to Timothy and Titus (LTT) was a fascinating and fruit journey. It helped me understand the importance of the LTT within the canon of Scripture. Köstenberger's commentary is helpful for pastors and those studying the letters to Timothy and Titus to understand its meaning, themes, and purpose. I found the verse-by-verse commentary a little too brief but provided more commentary and interaction than a study bible. The section on mission was particularly helpful in understanding Paul's message within the LTT and his emphasis towards sound teaching, and missional focus. The contributions of the Evangelical Biblical Theology Commentary (EBTC) series are profound in our understanding and purpose of each book of Scripture and belong on every pastor and theologian's bookshelf as a source for reliable exegesis. "The theology of the LTT is firmly embedded in the Pauline mission. This is indicated not only by the presence of Paul's delegates but also by the congruence of the mission strategy in these letters with the other Pauline correspondents and Paul's modus operandi in the book of Acts." I received a free copy in exchange for my honest review. The opinions I express are my own and I was not required to write a positive review. [Full Review]