Numbers. SGBC. Zondervan, 2023.
As a pastor and former student of Dr. Jay Sklar at Covenant Theological Seminary, I cannot study the Bible without his continued phrase “context is king” coming to mind. In Numbers: The Story of God Bible Commentary, Jay masterfully exemplifies that which he teaches. First, Jay has his readers primarily focused on the text itself. He presents the text in light of the exodus Israelites immediate context; of their calling to walk by faith in-between their redemption from bondage (already accomplished) and their entry into the land that was promised them (yet complete). Second, Jay explains the context. He provides his reader with a better understanding of how the Israelites perceived their present situation, how they received God’s spoken word within it, and how they responded to God’s ability to accomplish that which he promised, even in the midst of impossible circumstances. Third, Jay expands the context as seen through the lens of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection and makes contextually appropriate, biblically-sound, modern-day applications; likening our own time as Christians to that of the Israelites. That, as those who are living in-between our own redemption through Christ (already accomplished) and our full restoration on earth upon his return (yet complete), we are also called to walk by faith in God’s promises as spoken in his word, regardless of the circumstances. In The Story of God Bible Commentary on Numbers, Jay has provided an excellent, highly understandable, completely relatable resource for pastors and laypeople alike. In addition, though this is a non-technical commentary series, Jay’s contribution contains a wealth of information that even the most astute scholar will greatly benefit in reading. It is highly recommended! I received an advanced copy of this commentary from Zondervan Academic. Zondervan did not place any requirements or conditions on my review as a condition of receiving a complimentary copy.
Leviticus. ZECOT. Zondervan Academic, 2023.
It was my honor and privilege to have studied Hebrew under leading Leviticus scholar, Dr. Jay Sklar (pictured) at Covenant Theological Seminary. In the Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the Old Testament, Jay does that which he does best, he un-muddies the water. Through careful exposition of the original text, he makes the hard-to-understand things both understandable and relatable. He does this by first considering the original context of Leviticus, the customs of the culture to which the exodus Israelites were subjected and of how God had come to dwell with them as their King. Of how God was calling them to “human flourishing” through the aligning of their hearts with His own heart; to reorient their way of thinking, to change their way of life to that of His creational design so as to be a blessing to the surrounding nations as His treasured people. Second, in the application sections Jay demonstrates how 21st Century Christians can and must do the same as a witness to the world through our union with Christ. As part of this, he does not shy away from the cultural hot-button topics of today––namely, human sexuality and slavery. Instead, he addresses them fully, being careful to accurately and respectfully present all modern argumentation and then to present a thoroughly biblical, contextually relevant (both then and now), God-glorifying response. Once again doing so through the lens of God’s original creation as well as pointing to its glorious restoration (upon Christ’s return) where our King Jesus will dwell in the midst of His covenant people who will experience eternal human flourishing. So, as it concerns your own study of Leviticus, in the words of Jay, “start with the Bible, not the commentary.” And as you do so, in my own words, “make sure Jay’s ZECOT on Leviticus is within reach.” I received an advanced copy of this commentary from Zondervan Academic. Zondervan did not place any requirements or conditions on my review as a condition of receiving a complimentary copy.