armchairtheologian

armchairtheologian

Reviews

Thomas, Heath A. Habakkuk. THOTC. Eerdmans, 2018.
This is an excellent commentary. My only complaint is that the comments on Hab. 3 are a little thin. The main strength is the way Thomas discusses and responds to the reception history of Habakkuk. Thomas demonstrates an historical awareness that is not always present in the THOT series.
Belcher Jr., Richard P. Finding Favour in the Sight of God: A Theology of Wisdom Literature. NSBT. IVP Academic, 2018.
armchairtheologian armchairtheologian March 23, 2020
There are a number of good biblical wisdom literature handbooks out there, but this one stands out in a couple of ways. First, while many of these handbooks are dated, this one engages with recent scholarly research. Second, the final chapter on Jesus and wisdom makes this book stand apart from other handbooks, which usually focus on the Old Testament and the OT Apocrypha. The biggest weakness of the book is Belcher's treatment of Ecclesiastes, which unfortunately follows Tremper Longman in seeing little or no value in the teaching of the Qohelet.
Konkel, August H. 1 and 2 Kings. NIVAC. Zondervan, 2006.
armchairtheologian armchairtheologian January 1, 2020
Konkel is well-versed in Ancient Near Eastern history and archeology, and he does a nice job of commenting on not just the Hebrew but also the Greek texts of Kings when discussing textual difficulties. But the "Bridging the Gap" and "Contemporary Significance" sections usually fall flat (with a couple happy exceptions, especially when he discusses the temple). The writing is also choppy and disjointed, and sometimes seems like a random list of facts.
Provan, Iain W. 1 & 2 Kings. UBOT. Hendrickson Publishers, 1995.
armchairtheologian armchairtheologian January 1, 2020
In the limited space this series offers, Provan has judiciously selected and commented on the most pertinent textual and theological issues arising in Kings. Though his comments on the construction of the temple are thin and he does not interact much with other commentators (ancient or modern), overall he is an insightful tour guide for anyone wishing to better understand these biblical narratives.
Mathews, Kenneth A. Genesis. 2 Vols. NAC. Broadman & Holman, 1996.
armchairtheologian armchairtheologian December 19, 2019
My one complaint about this commentary is Matthews' tendency to see allusions in almost everything, even when the evidence is merely a single Hebrew word (which, in my mind, is not in itself sufficient to establish an allusion). Other than that, though, I agree with the other reviewers that this two-volume commentary is outstanding. More up-to-date than Wenham, the commentary dialogues with higher criticism, other historical and modern commentaries, and works of biblical theology, providing fair summaries of the views of others while also promoting its own (relatively conservative) stance. Matthews comments on historical, literary, and theological issues, and as a bonus provides some very interesting excursuses.
Brueggemann, Walter. Theology Of The Old Testament: Testimony, Dispute, Advocacy. Fortress Press, 2005.
armchairtheologian armchairtheologian December 16, 2019
This is a tour de force of biblical theology. The dialogic approach allows for disparate, sometimes conflicting biblical voices to be heard. Brueggemann is not afraid of dealing with hard passages, and even when I disagree with him, I find his discussions valuable and insightful. Anyone interested in better appreciating the Old Testament will benefit from this book.
Lim, Bo H.; Castelo, Daniel. Hosea. THOTC. Eerdmans, 2015.
armchairtheologian armchairtheologian July 17, 2019
The commentary proper, written by Bo H. Lim, is fairly good, given the space limitations of the series, but the theological essays by Daniel Castelo are disappointing. They use many words to say little, and build up complex questions and problems only to offer pat answers (or no answers at all). Three out of the four essays could be deleted from the book without any real loss. This is especially unfortunate because the theological essays are usually the distinguishing feature of the Two Horizons Commentary series. 3.5 stars.
Milgrom, Jacob. Leviticus: A Book of Ritual and Ethics. CC. Fortress Press, 2004.
This is a helpful, somewhat more concise summary of Milgrom thoughts on Leviticus for those who do not wish to wade through his 3-volume Anchor commentary. It offers an insightful, Jewish counterpoint to evangelical commentaries like Wenham’s, but I would not recommend it on its own because it does not do a verse-by-verse analysis. Instead the bulk of the book is made up of short topical essays (that in other commentaries would be called “excurses”). Still, this is a thought-provoking book by an expert on Leviticus.
Kidner, Derek. Psalms. 2 Vols. TOTC. InterVarsity Press, 1981.
Kidern's two-volume commentary on the Psalms has by now become a classic. So even though you will not find the most up-to-date biblical scholarship here, you will nevertheless find timeless insight and wisdom. Kidner is a skilled, concise writer who manages to say much in a little space. I would heartily recommend these volumes to anyone wanting to better appreciate the Psalms.
Kidner, Derek. Ezra and Nehemiah. TOTC. InterVarsity Press, 1981.
Derek Kidner’s slim commentary is light in weight but not in content. Kidner is an exceptionally skilled writer who is able to say a lot with few words. He covers most of the important historical material that you will find in the longer commentaries by Williamson and Fensham, but he is more theologically insightful. Though I think that Levering has a better explanation of Ezra 3:10-13, Kidner’s commentary is my first choice when studying Ezra and Nehemiah.
Beale, G. K. The Temple and the Church's Mission: A Biblical Theology of the Dwelling Place of God. NSBT. IVP Academic, 2004.
This book changed the way I read Scripture. Detailed, well-researched, and clearly written, Beale's study of the temple describes the grand narrative of God's mission to create a temple-kingdom of priest-kings, a narrative that begins in Genesis 1 and culminates in the visions of Revelation. For those not wanting to wade through over 400 pages of biblical theology, there is a condensed version of the same argument called "God Dwells Among Us" (co-authored by Mitchell Kim).
Dempster, Stephen G. Micah. THOTC. Eerdmans, 2017.
armchairtheologian armchairtheologian April 29, 2019
This is an impressive study of Micah. Rich in technical detail, pastoral applications, and theological reflection, this volume might even be one of the strongest in the THOT series. Dempster's essay on "Micah's Relevance to Present-Day Issues" is inspiring. Those who enjoy this commentary might also want to read another book by the same author: "Dominion and Dynasty: A Theology of the Hebrew Bible."
Wenham, Gordon J. The Book of Leviticus. NICOT. Eerdmans, 1979.
armchairtheologian armchairtheologian April 29, 2019
Though now somewhat out of date, this is still my favourite commentary on Leviticus. Wenham deftly explains rituals and customs that are difficult to understand, and he is well attuned to New Testament connections. Reading this commentary is in itself a devotional experience.
Parry, Robin A. Lamentations. THOTC. Eerdmans, 2010.
armchairtheologian armchairtheologian April 29, 2019
Parry's commentary includes a translation of Lamentations with helpful textual notes. The commentary proper demonstrates literary sensitivity and provides helpful historical context. The real gem, though, is the collection of essays in the second half of the book. These theological essays look at Lamentations in canonical and liturgical context, and, aside from one section in which Parry promotes his universalist theology (an approach I believe to be seriously flawed), are insightful and thought-provoking. Too often commentaries on Lamentations are mere appendices to commentaries on Jeremiah. This volume pushes back against that trend, treating this beautiful book of divine poetry with the attention it deserves.