Reviews and ratings of Biblical, theological, and practical Christian works
C. E. B. Cranfield
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The work is very mature. Few commentators show the depth and breadth of their command of the material as clearly as Cranfield does, while at the same time avoiding bogging down the reader with unnecessary interpretive options. He knows which views to dismiss and which to discuss while providing compelling reasons for the position he opts for. This not only makes the job of the reader easier, it also keeps the work reasonably concise, which is a very difficult task when writing a commentary on Romans.
On grammar, no one is better than Cranfield. I don’t think this is even open for argument (despite what I believe to be the helpfulness of Jewett in this area).
As an added bonus, he is profoundly theological at times. This is a rarity in advanced commentaries, since that is not their primary task. I often found that his insight was even more penetrating than Moo. This is one of the main reasons why I still highly recommend this commentary even when you consider that Jewett’s commentary is 30 years newer and overlapping in many respects. Jewett generally does not reflect theologically (and when he does, he’s usually wrong), where Cranfield does at most of the key junctures, and his insight is excellent and helpful in the homiletical task.
Overall this is an excellent work by Cranfield. In some ways the timing of it, being right before the birth of the New Perspective on Paul, is unfortunate, in that Cranfield does not get to weigh in on the debate here. On the other hand, its timing is a blessing in disguise, as it remains unencumbered with that debate (not that I find that the debate has been unhelpful and not that Cranfield’s commentary wouldn’t have benefited, but it is refreshing to read a Romans commentary that does not have the shadow of Sanders, Dunn, and Wright looming over it as e.g., Moo’s and Schreiner’s often do). If your Greek is up to it (and honestly, even if it isn’t give it a try) I fully endorse this commentary. It pairs well with Schreiner and Jewett.