Category Archives: books, scholars and study resources

Book Review: Galatians (Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament) by Douglas Moo

Moo, Douglas J. (2013). Galatians (Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament). Grand Rapids: Baker Academic. Reviewed by Dr Andy Cheung
[Douglas Moo is Professor of New Testament at Wheaton College Graduate School.]

This is a commentary long awaited by many Biblical scholars and students, partly because of Douglas Moo’s reputation, and partly because Galatians is not well served with technical, conservative commentaries. It does not disappoint and that in itself is part of the expectation with a Moo commentary; that not only will it be well written, judicious in exegesis, and reasonable in conclusions, but also of consistently high quality. There’s an evenness in Moo’s work stretching back several decades and it is perhaps unsurprising that this commentary fulfils expectations of excellence. For many, this will be the new ‘go to’ commentary on Galatians.
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Fight the disjunction between ‘critical’ and ‘devotional’ reading of the Bible.

Here’s an excellent piece of advice from D. A. Carson. It comes from the excellent book The Pastor as Scholar & the Scholar as Pastor, available here free as a pdf download.

Fight with every fiber of your being the common disjunction between “objective study” of Scripture and “devotional reading” of Scripture, between “critical reading” of the Bible and “devotional reading” of the Bible. The place where this tension first becomes a problem is usually at seminary. Students enter with the habit of reading the Bible “devotionally” (as they see it). They enjoy reading the Bible, they feel warm and reverent as they do so, they encounter God through its pages, some have memorized many verses and some chapters, and so forth. Seminary soon teaches them the rudiments of Greek and Hebrew, principles of exegesis, hermeneutical reflection, something about textual variants, distinctions grounded in different literary genres, and more. In consequence, students learn to read the Bible “critically” or “objectively” for their assignments but still want to read the Bible “devotionally” in their quiet times.

Every year a handful of students end up at the door of assorted lecturers and professors asking how to handle this tension. They find themselves trying to have their devotions,
only to be harassed by intruding thoughts about textual variants. How should one keep such polarized forms of reading the Bible apart? This polarization, this disjunction, kept unchecked, may then characterize or even harass the biblical scholar for the rest of his or her life. That scholar may try to write a commentary on, say, Galatians, where at least part of the aim is to master the text, while preserving time for daily devotional reading.

My response, forcefully put, is to resist this disjunction, to eschew it, to do everything in your power to destroy it. Scripture remains Scripture, it is still the Word of God before which (as Isaiah reminds us) we are to tremble—the very words we are to revere, treasure, digest, meditate on, and hide in our hearts (minds?), whether we are reading the Bible at 5:30 am at the start of a day, or preparing an assignment for an exegesis class at 10:00 pm. If we try to keep apart these alleged two ways of reading, then we will be irritated and troubled when our “devotions” are interrupted by a sudden stray reflection about a textual variant or the precise force of a Greek genitive; alternatively, we may be taken off guard when we are supposed to be preparing a paper or a sermon and suddenly find ourselves distracted by a glimpse of God’s greatness that is supposed to be reserved for our “devotions.” So when you read “devotionally,” keep your mind engaged; when you read “critically” (i.e., with more diligent and focused study, deploying a panoply of “tools”), never, ever, forget whose Word this is. The aim is never to become a master of the Word, but to be mastered by it. (p. 91)

Book Review: Introducing Romans: Critical Issues in Paul’s Most Famous Letter by Richard Longenecker

At 490 pages of fairly dense text, Introducing Romans by Richard Longenecker is more than just an introduction, since it is longer than many commentaries. In this form, it serves a similar purpose to the large introductions now common in the more expansive technical commentaries on biblical books. Indeed, one wonders whether much of this material will be reproduced in Longenecker’s forthcoming Greek commentary on Romans in the New International Greek Testament series. Read more »

New Publications By Visiting KEDS Tutor

KEDS tutor Dr Derek Tidball has many books and other published works to his name (for details view his Faculty page). His most recent titles are The Message of Holiness: Restoring God’s Image(Nottingham, IVP, BST, 2010) and The Message of Women: Creation, Gender and Grace (Nottingham, IVP, BST 2012), which is due out in October.

But perhaps of special interest to students of theology at this time (considering the furore over Rob Bell’s Love Wins) would be his article; ‘Can Evangelicals be Universalists?’, published in Evangelical Quarterly 84.1 (2012).

Apart from his busy life as a writer and visiting tutor for KEDS, Derek is also visiting Scholar at Spurgeon’s College, London.

Personal Knowledge Base (PKB) Software

For those not put-off by Orwellian-sounding terms like “mind mapping,” there is new free software available  for putting into visual form one’s personal tasks and ideas. The Brain is a brainstorming, knowledge management, and personal organisation tool that allows “anytime access” from your desktop, web browser, or mobile device.

Colossians Commentaries

A while ago, I put together a quick guide to commentaries on Colossians for the benefit of a newsletter that subsequently never went to print. Here, if anybody is interested, are some very brief remarks on recommended commentaries on Colossians from an evangelical perspective. This list is restricted to technical or semi-technical works: excellent devotional commentaries include R. C. Lucas’ The Message of Colossians in the Bible Speaks Today series and Kent Hughes’ Colossians & Philemon in the Preaching the Word series. Read more »