Superheroes Can’t Save You by Todd Miles

51n9z8-pjfl-_sx323_bo1204203200_The title, Superheroes Can’t Save You, while short and mildly misleading, which might be the point.  When picking up this book to review, I thought it was a book about the culture and their obsession with superhero’s and their failure to see Christ.  In a round about way this it the point of the book but it is filled with a good bit of heavy scholarship along the way.  While this was not what I was expecting, I was pleasantry surprised.  I am have a vested interest in church history and this work on the early church and some of the troubling heresies, was a work i didn’t know I was looking for.

Superheroes Can’t Save You is written by Todd Miles and produced by B&H Academic and is one of the greatest works on the subject aimed at the laymen, yet with highly regard scholarship.  It is the perfect combination for the educated laymen who seeks to grow in their faith and understand that their is no new heresy under the sun.  All heresies stem from a misunderstanding of God and His work, and this book does a good job explaining this.  While I would not recommend it to a middle school student who might be tempted I would recommend this to anyone who is high school age and above.

If a person is looking for a more scholarly work, while a bit dated, I would suggest getting a copy of Harold OJ Brown’s Heresies, but if you seek a general introduction to heresies and their application in the modern day, specifically in the media than Superhero’s Can’t Save You, is worth the read and purchase.

This books was provided to me free of charge from B&H Academic Press in exchange for an unbiased, honest review.

Amos, Obadiah, Jonah (NAC) by Billy K. Smith and Frank S. Page

985746Amos, Obadiah, Jonah is an Old Testament commentary, written by Billy K. Smith and Frank S. Page and published by B&H Academic is an enduring work of academic excellence and superior Exegesis with pastoral care.  This commentary is a intriguing edition of the New American Commentary Series, a prestigious series which is synonymous with outstanding exegesis and unparalleled application, this volume not only continues this legacy, but propels it to new heights.  Amos, Obadiah, Jonah is one of the most articulate and practical commentaries on the prophetical books in Holy Scripture.  Smith and Page are a highly regarded scholars who deeply understand the minor prophets.

Amos, Obadiah, Jonah has two main sections the typical general introduction, and then followed by a insightful exegetical commentaries on these books of minor prophets.  With regard to the general introduction Page and Smith spends a great deal of time defending the historicity of the books as well as varying literary motifs.   They also spend a large amount of time on their introduction and it is very well worth a read.   The translation of Amos, Obadiah, Jonah that they uses is the NIV (New International Version), thankfully it is the 1984 version of the NIV rather than the 2011 version, which has rid itself of much of God’s gender.

While I disagree with Page and Smith on a few of issues with regard to Old Testament interpretation, their scholarly work on the these books is very well researched and written for a pastor preaching or teaching through these three books of the minor prophets exegeticaly. In the vein of recommending, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, to others I would recommend this commentary to pastors and scholars.  There are many commentaries about Amos, Obadiah, Jonah available at this moment but Amos, Obadiah, Jonah of the New American Commentary series is commentary too good to pass on.

This book was provided to me free of charge from B&H Academic in exchange for an unbiased, honest review.

Romans (EGGNT) by John D. Harvey

34854571As a student of Biblical Greek, of which this mastery did not come easy, I am always on the lookout for new aids in the study of biblical original languages.  Most of these works are in the form of reference materials, such as grammar books.  The Exegetical Guide to the Greek New Testament series is a lexical aid and exegetical Biblical Greek commentary.  One of the more phenomenal works in this fantastic series is Romans by John D. Harvey, and edited by series editor Andres J. Köstenberger and Robert W. Yarborough and exceeds all of my preconceptions.

Needless to say , one must have a through knowledge of Biblical Greek to use this work.  Yet if you do have a thorough knowledge of Biblical Greek then this exegetical guide is an invaluable resource for those who want to dig deeper into the text and shine light into difficult to translate passages.   Digging into the work itself, it begins with the traditional introductory matters.  This might be the only weakness of this aid, and the reason is that it is only two pages long, which could be expanded upon.  Yet with these matters not being of primary importance in a lexical aid with some added commentary, two pages is all that is needed.

One of the greatest strengths is also found in the introduction section. Harvey has a small section that details what he perceives are the greatest and most helpful commentaries on the epistle to the Romans.  After seeing the scholarly work which Harvey put into this exegetical guide these recommendations are worth the cost of the guide itself.

This aid to Romans is truly unique in its approach; each verse is broken down with each Greek word being expertly dissected with a small argument about syntax and commentary.  I look forward to the new installments in this recently begun series.  In the end I fully recommend this work to any pastors who know their Biblical Greek and want to use it in their sermons.

This book was provided to me free of charge from B & H Academic Publishing in exchange for an unbiased, honest review.

Hebrews (NAC) by David L. Allen

41zzjttaljl-_sx378_bo1204203200_The book of Hebrews is one of the most fascinating yet frustrating books of the Bible,. I say that it is frustrating on due to most preachers fear of preaching a long-drawn-out exegetical series on the entire book rather than just preaching on the most well-known parts as well as misunderstanding the Old Testament references. Due to this need to preach on the book of Hebrews exegetically and correctly, a exegetical commentary is needed. One of the best exegetical commentaries is that of the New American Commentary (NAC) produced by B&H publishing.
This Commentary series is respected in both hire scholarship as well as in popular understanding. For this series combines the best of scholarship with practical applications. It is therefore easy to understand why B & H selected David L. Allen to be the author of such an important volume.
This volume begins with a 70 page introductory section which is the envy of most commentaries. It is also important to note that Allen does not focus his entire introductory section on the authorship or sources of Hebrews.   Yet he does spend a considerable amount of time doing so.  Also while I do not agree with Allen’s conclusion of authorship, he argues for Lukean authorship I argue for intentional anonymity, his arguments due produce good points.
Furthermore in this introductory section Allen gives a great detailed outline of the book of Hebrews, which an exegetical preacher can use as a outline to preach from as well as a great excursus on the themes shown in the book of Hebrews.  With regard to the commentary proper, Allen deals with each verse in turn. He make sure that the student of scripture will be able to understand the book of Hebrews and its original context as well as it’s interconnections to the rest of scripture as a whole. Furthermore there are invaluable application insights scattered throughout this work.
In the end Allen has a great interaction with scholarship that normal volumes in the NAC, I found this to be very helpful but not all pastors will.  As others have pointed out 6:4-8 is over fifty pages long which can be difficult to wade through.  Besides that I found the commentary to be very fruitful.  I therefore recommend this commentary highly amongst  a packed field of worthy exegetical commentaries.
These books was provided to me free of charge from B&H Academic Press in exchange for an unbiased, honest review.

Genesis-Leviticus (ECBR) by John H. Sailhamer, Walter C. Kaiser, and Richard R. Hess

19933427The expositors Bible commentary has been recognized as one of the leading Commentary series for the past quarter-century. Having started in 1978 and completed in 1992 is Commentary series was in sore need of a revised updated Edition. Therefore in 2008 the expositors Bible commentary begin its revised Edition of all of its 13 volumes of commentary. Completed in 2012 this Commentary series included updated commentaries of almost every book included in the previous version as well as fleshing out a previous commentaries as well.
The better updated versions in this Commentary series is that of the commentary on the books of Genesis ([REVISED and UPDATED] Sailhamer) and Exodus ([EXPANDED] Kaiser) and Leviticus ([NEW] Hess). Weighing in at just under 900 pages each book gets a mid-level commentary treatment, yet each individual commentary has invaluable exegesis that most pastor’s will greatly appreciate.
This book touted as one of the better volumes in the series. Each passage is thoroughly treated looking not only at the Hebrew text but dealing with critical questions, exegetical points, and practical application.  This commentary truly is for both the pastor and Scholar. Furthermore it is not inaccessible to the Layman who desires to get a thorough treatment of this section of Holy Scripture for their understanding. I highly recommend this commentary as the one of the betters works on these books of the Pentateuch for a Pastor as to the scholar who is looking to write a paper on a specific theme or passage in these books. You can truly not go wrong with this fantastic commentary.

This book was provided to me free of charge from Zondervan Academic in exchange for an unbiased, honest review.

1 Kings, 2nd Edition (WBC) by Simon J. DeVries

9780310522300_403_600_90The Word Biblical Commentary (WBC), is one of the most scholarly series in modern theological studies that range from conservatives to mid-critics. I was introduced to them in my second year of Seminary and found them extremely useful in writing academic papers, in sermon preparation, and in Sunday school preparation.

A few years ago the Word Biblical Commentary switched Publishers again, and came under the ownership of Zondervan Publications.  Under their leadership this series has seen a rejuvenation of sorts. While the format remains unchanged (providing a phenomenal bibliography, translation, notes trauma study on warm structure and setting, followed by comments and explanation), the binding of the book has changed as well as the addition of revised versions of previously released commentaries.

While the WBC is world renowned for its high academic pursuit of God’s Word, I was pleasantly surprised at its accessibility to the pastor and not just the academically-minded Bible scholar. In the book that I have the privilege of viewing is the 12th volume of this series containing 1 Kings, by Simon J. DeVries. This work is a 2nd edittion of the previous volume and encompasses interaction with new critical scholarship as well as updated information with regards to conservative scholarship as well.

A bright spot in the commentary is DeVries focus on theological issues and does not get terribly bodged down in discussion of forms and historical issues.  While it is still a high scholastic work it is useful to any who are dedicated to the close study of 1 Kings.

While knowledge of the Hebrew language is handy when utilizing this commentary, it is not a necessary requirement for utilization. With that said having a deep knowledge of the Hebrew will greatly enhance a readers ability to use this commentary. I highly recommend this commentary to pastors and scholars due to its thorough academic approach combined with its accessibility to academia and the pastorate.

This book was provided to me free of charge from Zondervan Academic Publishers in exchange for an unbiased, honest review.

Philippians (NIVAC) by Frank Thielman

511volpg6sl-_sx327_bo1204203200_Philippians is one of the most studied books of scripture due to it’s size and contributions to Pauline theology as well as theology as a whole.  While there have been more fuller bodied commentaries in recent years there is one that stands out among the rabble even though it is almost 25 years old.  The commentary in question is Philippians of the NIV Application Commentary by Frank Thielman.  Thielman is a conservative reformed scholar at Beeson Divinity School and is no stranger to scholarly pursuits yet this is his only foray into this stalwart series.

Philippians beings with the traditional introduction section, yet due to the structure of the NIVAC the introduction section is kept intentionally short.  It is important to note that Thielman does argue for Pauline authorship, and does so with vigor, while taking no prisoners.  With regard to the commentary proper Thielman writes with a considerable knowledge base on the original context and audience, yet this does not inhibit his attention to the modern reader and practical application.  This commentary is considered my many scholars to be one of the very best New Testament commentaries in the series, that while brief packs a considerable punch.  A pastor will find this volume not only helpful but stimulating.  This is not a volume that should be missing from a pastor’s librarian or from laymen’s devotional collection.

In the end I would recommend this commentary as in mid-level work which will suit the needs of pastors and laymen alike, scholars will appreciate a few of his insights but will want to seek a more up-to-date commentary for higher scholarly pursuits.

This book was provided to me free of charge from Zondervan Publishing in exchange for an unbiased, honest review.

1st Corinthians (ZECNT) by Paul Gardner

515az5tlkzl-_sx390_bo1204203200_While there is no lacking for solid commentaries on the book of 1st Corinthians there is always room for a great commentary to supplant a slowly ageing one.   1st Corinthians, of the Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament is one of those great commentaries in an up and coming commentary series which will at some point be counted as one of the standards in all scholarly and pastoral libraries.  This commentary is written by famed pastor-scholar Paul Gardner.

Gardner’s commentary begins with the traditional induction in which he argues for Pauline authorship while destroying augments for non-Pauline authorship.  This is a complete introduction yet not as in depth as I was hoping for, just shy of 40 pages.  With regard to the commentary proper, Gardner, uses the typical ZECNT format which delves into the Greek but not to a point that non-Greek readers will struggle.  Furthermore there is a specific goal to draw out application from the text, which Gardner does flawlessly.  While Gardner was not afraid to draw uncommon application he always seems to connect them back to conservative augments and conclusions.  This is will be of great aid to a pastor preaching exegetically through the book of 1st Corinthians.  In addition Gardner has many “in depth” sections which dig deeper into the text and context of the epistle.

In the end I would recommend this commentary as in mid-level work which will suit the needs of pastors and scholars alike.

This book was provided to me free of charge from Zondervan Publishing in exchange for an unbiased, honest review.

Genesis 18-50 (NICOT) Victor P. Hamilton

51jmfretcnl-_sx331_bo1204203200_If you are looking for an evangelical commentary on chapters 18-50 of Genesis, then Genesis 18-50, by Victor P. Hamilton published by Eerdmans Publishers is the commentary you are looking for. While this is an older volume it is one of the greatest volumes in the entire series, the New International Commentary On the Old Testament series, a series which is synonymous with superior exegesis and excellent application, this volume continues the long legacy. This volume is one of the most articulate and practical modern commentaries on the first book of the Pentateuch.

This the second volume on the book Genesis covers only chapters 18-50, begins without the typical introductory section, for it is covered in the first volume instead Hamilton jumps strait into the 18th chapter. As with most technical commentaries, and with all works in the New International Commentary of the Old Testament series, Hamilton dives headlong into the theological elements of the specific biblical book, in this case Genesis. Hamilton is brilliant in his exegesis and should be a great aid to any Minister preaching exegetically through the book of Genesis.

With regard to the commentary section of this second volume Hamilton sends just shy of 800 pages. The thoroughness in which Hamilton goes through must be commended. He diligently gives commentary to the textual notes and the Hebrew text itself when nessessary. Sporadically Hamilton also adds comments on biblical Theology and application and devotional implications. This trait is extremely helpful to the pastor as well as scholar.

With regard of recommending, Genesis 18-50, to others I would whole heartily recommend this commentary to students of scripture, with one caveat. By this I mean I recommend this work to Pastors, Bible Teachers, Bible College Students, there is enough scholarly weight to this work to understand a particular issue in the text while giving aid to pastors in preaching the text. There are many commentaries about the first book of the Pentateuch available at this moment but Genesis 18-50, of the New International Commentary on the Old Testament series is a giant leap above all other commentaries on this book of the Bible.

These books was provided to me free of charge from Eerdmans in exchange for an unbiased, honest review.