Michael Bird's Blog
Michael F. Bird is Academic Dean and Lecturer in Theology at Ridley College (Melbourne, Austrailia) and the author of several commentaries." The ratings and recommendations under this account are drawn from reviews posted on Bird's personal blog, either by himself or by guest authors.
Occupation Academic Dean and Lecturer in Theology at Ridley College
Education PhD (University of Queensland)
The Book of Acts as Story: A Narrative-Critical Study. Baker Academic, 2021.
To be honest, I think I still prefer Robert Tannehill’s narrative critical summary of Acts, which is great for how the repetition of themes creates meaning. However, Bauer has done a good job of updating the discussion of a narrative critical view of Acts in a way that is accessible and useful. [Full Review]
The Letters of John (2nd ed.). PNTC. Eerdmans, 2020.
Veteran Paul and John scholar, Colin Kruse (emeritus professor of Melbourne School of Theology), offers a welcomed update to his original 2000 publication. In sum, this is an exegetically solid commentary, conscious too of theological themes, and will benefit preachers and students alike. [Full Review]
Philippians. BTCB. Brazos Press, 2020.
Hunsinger's Phippians commentary offers a mixture of poignant insights from Protestant dogmatics, Barthian exegesis, and resourcement of ancient tradition. This is a rich and explicitly theological reading of the letter, truly out of the ordinary, very reminiscent of Barth's own commentary on the letter. Not a historical exegesis, but a dogmatic exposition of the letter in light of Christian beliefs. [Full Review]
Joshua. EBTC. Lexham Press, 2021.
Firth has set a high bar in this volume, and if the rest of the series is like this then sign me up now for the box set. (I might even make an exception to my space-saving digital-first book-buying policy because the hardcopy I reviewed is beautifully designed and produced). The exegesis is informed by Firth’s high view of scripture but also by his engagement in current scholarship. The way he deals with the ‘sun standing still’ in Joshua 10, for instance, illustrates the payoffs for such a sophisticated evangelical approach: yes God could have made the sun stop in the sky, but that’s not actually what Joshua is asking for when he quotes this poem to God requesting help in battle. [Full Review]
Habakkuk. THOTC. Eerdmans, 2018.
Given that Habakkuk is such a distinctive treasure with a significant contribution to biblical theology, it’s delightful when commentary series devote a full volume to this worthy book. Heath Thomas is working hard in this commentary to reverse some of the unfounded hostility towards Habakkuk in the broader church tradition. Alongside a solid engagement with textual and critical issues, Thomas aims to provide a theological interpretation of the text in light of the belief that the Scriptures disclose Christ. This is interpretation in the fullest sense – the way it should be – which spans the historical context, the literary shape and the hearts and minds of readers today. This is an exciting resources to help students and Bible teachers engage with the book of Habakkuk as Scripture. I do hope more people will be emboldened to schedule teaching series in their churches. [Full Review]
Obadiah, Jonah and Micah. TOTC. IVP Academic, 2021.
The overall approach is conservative and evangelical, with an emphasis on historicism and literary unity. For example, while acknowledging the humorous elements of Jonah, the genre is taken to be historical narrative (p. 41). Issues around the size of the historical Nineveh are resolved exegetically. The ‘meaning’ of each section is suggested in brief notes, which occasionally link to NT passages. However, for ideas on how to apply the text to the Christian situation you will need to look elsewhere. [Full Review]
The Books of Nahum, Habakkuk, and Zephaniah. NICOT. Eerdmans, 2021.
While Renz is not a big Book-of-the-Twelve-as-One-Single-Book devotee, he does a great job of both hearing the individual voices and reading the prophets in light of the canonical shape of the Twelve (and the New Testament, for that matter). As such, the 703 page volume begins with a separate introduction to the three books within their literary and historical context. I am very glad to see this excellent series continue to receive the love and attention of excellent scholars and pastor-teachers like Renz. [Full Review]
Hosea–Micah. BCOT. Baker Academic, 2021.
Those familiar with Goldingay’s approach will find much to appreciate here. He side-steps many distracting critical issues in order to focus on what the final form of the Hebrew text is saying, and is admirably gun-shy when it comes to correcting the Masoretic scribes’ homework. While written from a Christian perspective, his natural reflex is to hear the theology of the First Testament rather than filter everything through NT theology. The Interpretation is solid, often drawing from Andersen and Freedman’s golden commentary or perhaps a choice Karl Barth quote. The theological reflection was helpful and informative if sometimes a little muted in its creative sizzle. The ‘minor prophets’ seldom receive the attention they deserve, and so I am grateful for another quality Christian commentary on these six distinctive voices within the prophetic tradition of the First Testament. [Full Review]
Jonah: Introduction and Commentary. ICS. Eerdmans, 2021.
Amy Erickson’s new commentary on Jonah is a splendid book. I enjoyed the discussion of genre and particularly the way Erickson (following Yvonne Sherwood) deals with the tendency to cast Jonah as “satire” rather than (more sensibly) seeing the book as participating in several different genres with irony and humour two tones within a much more complex palette. This is a superb commentary which offers a really great way into the book of Jonah as a complex and provocative work of literature. Here’s to more like it! [Full Review]
The Gospel of the Son of God: An Introduction to Matthew. IVP Academic, 2019.
Bauer’s work is focused on the theology (especially the Christology) that is generated by the narratival structure, concerns, and characters of Matthew’s Gospel. It is a work that self-consciously identifies as a form of narrative criticism, and is a literary-theological commentary on Matthew’s Gospel (40-41). The fundamental idea is that it studies Matthew inductively, and hence is driven by those concerns that he believes are intrinsic to the document itself (41). To this reviewer’s mind, the work is a success, and it serves as an excellent commentary as well as introduction to the theological interpretation of Scripture. [Full Review]
The Book of Amos. NICOT. Eerdmans, 2020.
Daniel Carroll’s Amos maintains the high academic quality of the NICOT series, bringing authenticity, compassion, and insight to his study of this eighth-century prophet. This commentary is a helpful model of serious engagement with the biblical text in the light of recent developments in poetics and rhetoric. It will be useful for scholars, pastors, rabbis, and students who seek a deeper knowledge of the text and message of Amos, and of God. [Full Review]
Genesis. BCOT. Baker Academic, 2020.
Only after doing his translation and initial comments will he consult a judiciously pruned list of ancient and modern commentators to see what perspectives they can add. What we get is a sensitive reading of the book of Genesis by a top scholar, rather than a harried essayist constantly looking over its shoulder. There are footnotes to other commentators, but they’re more likely to be a single well chosen nugget from Barth or Augustine than a sewer of citations covering some debate going on somewhere in an SBL seminar room. That makes for, in my experience reading it, a high ratio of gold-to-dross. [Full Review]