Series Introduction: I live in a small house. I work in a small office in a small church. For those reasons and others I will never have a huge library. When I add a book I almost always remove a book, a practice that allows me to focus on quality over quantity. Over the past couple of years I have focused on building a collection of commentaries that will include only the best volumes on each book of the Bible. I know when I’m in way over my head, so before I began I collected every good resource I could find that rated and reviewed commentaries. I studied them and then began my collection on the basis of what the experts told me. Since I did all of that work, and since I continue to keep up with the project, I thought it might be helpful to share the recommendations.

My focus is on newer commentaries (at least in part because most of the classics are now freely or cheaply available) and I am offering approximately 5 recommendations for each book of the Bible, alternating between the Old Testament and the New. Today I have turned to the experts to find what they say about Ezekiel.

Ezekiel

EzekielDaniel Block – The Book of Ezekiel: Chapters 1-24; The Book of Ezekiel: Chapters 25-48 (New International Commentary on the Old Testament). Block’s commentary is thorough but not dense. He deals with the text so closely that nothing is overlooked, but he doesn’t dwell there, often zooming right out to look at the book’s big picture as well. While there are other excellent commentaries on Ezekiel, the commentators on the commentaries are unanimous in their praise and most rate this one as the most important work on the book, and a must-have for anyone who wishes to preach through it. (Amazon: Volume 1, Volume 2)

Iain Duguid – Ezekiel (NIV Application Commentary). The NIV Application Commentary has some volumes that are much stronger than others and Duguid’s volume on Ezekiel is considered one of the best. Keith Mathison says, “Duguid’s commentary runs a very close second to Block in my estimation. For those who do not need the detail of Block, Duguid is the place to go. His is a very careful reading of the book from a Reformed perspective. Very helpful and highly recommended.” Other experts commend him for his pastoral tone. (Amazon)

EzekielDerek Thomas – God Strengthens: Ezekiel Simply Explained (Welwyn Commentary Series). This is considered an introductory commentary and one that will be helpful for the pastor or for the general reader. Derek Thomas has written a number of highly-regarded commentaries and this one reflects his strengths—Reformed theology, sound scholarship, and a pastoral emphasis. (Amazon)

Douglas Stuart – Ezekiel (The Preacher’s Commentary). This volume comes highly recommended by Derek Thomas (himself the author of a commentary on Ezekiel) and by Keith Mathison. Thomas says simply, “exceptionally good” while Mathison goes into more detail: “Stuart always has helpful insight into whatever text he is discussing, and when dealing with a book as difficult as Ezekiel, such insight is invaluable.” It seems like this would make a good third or fourth choice. (Amazon)

 

 

EzekielLeslie Allen – Ezekiel 1-19; Ezekiel 20-48 (Word Biblical Commentary). Apparently W.H. Brownlee began this two-volume set on Ezekiel but died before he could complete them. The work was taken over by Allen who has written a good, though technical, commentary. Tremper Longman assigns it 4 stars and says, “Allen is concerned with both the final form of the book as well as its composition.” Others show some caution but still regard it as a valuable reference work when taken in light of the volumes recommended above. (Amazon: Volume 1, Volume 2)

And how about you? Have you ever preached Ezekiel? What commentaries do you prefer?

 

by Dan Phillips

(Logos Bible Software, 2011)

Logos' Evangelical Exegetical Commentary series continues to grow. I reviewed the first volume by Gary Derickson first, then the commentary on James by Will Varner, then the commentary on the Song of Songs by A. Boyd Luter. Refer to the first (Derickson) review to understand the well-designed aim and focus of this series, which Logos provides me for possible reviews such as this.

Though Logos is selling Colossians (by H. Wayne House) and Philemon (by Ehorn) together, only Philemon is currently available. A longtime lover (and teacher, and preacher) of Colossians, I'll likely review that volume for you when it is released. The author of this commentary is Seth Ehorn, who is in the doctoral
program for New Testament language, literature, and theology at the University of Edinburgh, New College. Before this, Ehorn distinguished himself in his Master's studies at Wheaton College Graduate School, and has been creating entries for journals and upcoming publications.

As to this commentary, the thoroughness and currency of documentation once again immediately makes an impression. Six of the three hundred and sixty-eight footnotes speckle the first paragraph alone, referring to lit from the 1920s to the 2000s.

Approaching Philemon, Ehorn notes the letter's the lack of explicit development of usual Pauline themes (resurrection, etc), and the fact that theologies seldom refer extensively to Philemon. Yet,

[d]espite these apparent lacunae, Philemon is not just a fine literary and rhetorical achievement. Nor is it just an interesting cultural artifact. …Presumably, Paul himself imagined that this letter would instigate great change in his hearers and especially in the life of a slave named Onesimus. Further, the multiple addressees in the letter seem to invite a wider readership, perhaps not only for the accountability of Paul’s request in the letter, but also for the edification of all who were addressed. It is in this latter sense that Philemon is to be understood as Christian Scripture.

In keeping with the brevity of the epistle, I'll keep my review briefer than some previous. I appreciated Ehorn's detailed and up-to-date attention to every aspect of the Greek text from every angle. I also appreciated the breadth and thoroughness of his documentation, which itself opens the doors to a lot of great material.

However what often stood out to me was Ehorn's reluctance to commit himself. Now, obviously one would not want a scholar to pretend certainty unwarranted by the evidence. Yet one has to admit that one wondered why Ehorn was chosen to write this particular commentary, given that he did not appear to have many singular insights to bring to light or trumpet.

For instance, we read, the epistle might have been written from Rome. Or maybe it was Ephesus. The evidence is inconclusive — though Ehorn makes an extended case for an (undocumented!) Ephesian imprisonment. Ehorn then argued against too tightly joining Colossians and Philemon, as is commonly done; he thinks Philemon precedes Colossians. By how long? Unknown. Or maybe it should really be connected with Philippians, instead of Colossians? Don't know. Finally, he concludes, “In the light of Paul’s request for lodging, it is easier to think that Paul wrote to Philemon from Ephesus than from Rome, thus probably between A.D. 52 and 55.” Oh, so Ephesus it is…maybe.

So, what is the letter about? Exactly who was Philemon? What was Onesimus’ relationship with him? Why was Onesimus absent from him? How did Onesimus come to encounter Paul? In response, Ehorn quotes C. S. Lewis: “Almost anything can be read into any book if you are determined enough,” adding:

These words—penned by C. S. Lewis—are acutely true of the letter to Philemon. All these questions are left unanswered by the letter that is both short in length and short on details. Of course, such information would have been unnecessary to include in the letter seeing as the recipients would have had intimate knowledge of such issues already. Thus, as modern interpreters we are operating at a deficit. We are reading only half of the conversation. Nevertheless, such historical distance (not to mention social, political, etc.) should not drive readers to despair. Rather, it should warrant caution against over interpretation and humility regarding conclusions.

I'll attest that Ehorn certainly heeds his own advice. For instance, what is the narrative frame to the epistle, the background? The traditional (fugitivus) hypothesis sees Onesimus as a runaway slave, converted by Paul's ministry, returned by Paul. But, Ehorn counters, this would be a legal offense, and no remorse is expressed by or for Onesimus. Ehorn floats other possibilities, then concludes that it is impossible to be sure. For his part, he is “tentatively inclined to follow the recent trend of interpreters who read the letter to Philemon as concerning a slave who intentionally sought Paul for intercession with his master.” But who knows?

Ehorn then says that the subject of slavery, peripheral to the book itself, has come to overshadow the actual content of the book. So no great help on that issue, here.

Ehorn makes good theological observations. For instance, though  Philemon doesn't stress usual Pauline themes, Ehorn notes that God and Christ (not the Spirit) are mentioned numerous times directly, and 2 passages feature the “divine passive” in two passages:

In two instances Paul employed the divine passive to indicate God as agent (vv 15, 22).61 Taken thusly, Paul not only hinted at the providential outworking of God in the details of Onesimus’ separation and return (v 15), but indicated that it was God who could grant him freedom from his imprisoned status (v 22). If God’s hand were involved in the separation of Onesimus from Philemon, then Philemon’s response to his slave would have to be tempered by his own view of the reality of God’s presence and providence in his life. Much like the circumstances of Joseph with his conniving brothers (cf. Gen 45:5, 8; 50:20; cf. also Esth 4:14), Philemon was summoned to look upon his circumstances and see them as the outworking of God. Perhaps with the clarity of hindsight, Philemon saw that the return of a slave who was now “useful” (v 11) and “a beloved brother” (v 16) was an act of God, who works “all things for the good of those who love him” (Rom 8:28).

This is a good example of Ehorn's theological sensitivity, and the useful material he produces.

Back to the issue of slavery. Ehorn hasn't much to contribute on the issue:

The relationship of Paul to slavery will be discussed only briefly in this section because of the publication of a recent monograph surveying studies on Paul and slavery and another recent collection of specific studies on Philemon. There is hardly necessity for an in-depth rehearsal of the trends of research on Philemon in view of these works. Suffice it to say, the general impact of the letter vis-à-vis slavery is presently in flux.

So Ehorn footnotes two academic works which are not in general circulation to explain why he won't have much to offer on the subject. I rather think it is a major issue in how we approach this book. Will it really do to say “I won't write very much about this (—in a commentary on the letter to slave-owner Philemon!) because some books few people own have”?

This is not to say that Ehorn has nothing to say on the issue. He notes J. M. G. Barclay's verdict that Paul's silence is “disturbing,” adding this:

One cannot help but agree with Barclay’s empathetic statement that, “one can only weep on behalf of those millions of slaves whose lives might have been immeasurably better had Paul been just a little less ‘poetic’ ” (125). This, however, is not so much a problem with Paul per se, as it is with the history of interpretation.

Then, without comment, Ehorn notes that Moo “concluded that Paul did not realize the full implications of the theology he explicated.” What? That sounds disturbingly like Paul K. Jewett's (and others') view on the issue of Paul and women pastors — that Paul just hadn't worked out his own theology yet, so the apostle (!) wrote in error in some passages. Does Moo think that? Does Ehorn agree with Moo?

While Ehorn writes and documents further, he does not really come to a conclusion, other than the conclusion that we do not know enough to come to a conclusion.

In fact later, commenting on vv. 15-16, Ehorn says Paul's “request was opaque.”

This [opaqueness] is demonstrated by the variegated readings of v 16 among commentators. For example, one commentator boldly opined that “Paul is telling Philemon that he surely must manumit Onesimus now that he and Onesimus are brothers in Christ” (Witherington, 80; cf. Bruce, 217; Wolter, 270–72; Fitzmyer, 114–15). Conversely, other scholars find no legal implications regarding the issue of slavery (Lohse, 206; O’Brien, 305–06). Still others find the statement ambiguous, permitting either reading (Stuhlmacher, 43–45; Dunn, 335–36). Or, perhaps as Barclay argues, Paul may have been purposefully ambiguous because he did not know specifically what to recommend.

Ehorn's conclusion? None, apart from affirming that slave and master are now brothers — which is important, to be sure. But is it really all that is warranted?

This is all introductory. Ehorn's commentary, proper, is very detailed, sensitive to nuances of word-choice and case. For instance, on Paul not using “apostle” in the opening words, Ehorn makes a valuable observation:

It is of no small significance that the title ἀπόστολος is not found in letter opening, nor in the document at all, for its absence was likely part of the rhetorical strategy of the letter. That is, Paul had no intention of appealing to his authority as an apostle (cf. vv 8–9). The use of the self-appellation δέσμιος Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ [“prisoner of Christ Jesus”] sets the tone for the letter.

Ehorn's thoroughness is on display in his handling of verse 6 (ἡ κοινωνία τῆς πίστεώς σου ἐνεργὴς γένηται ἐν ἐπιγνώσει παντὸς ἀγαθοῦ τοῦ ἐν ἡμῖν εἰς Χριστόν), which he notes contains “the most exegetical difficulties of the letter.” Ehorn contributes more than 2000 words (not including footnotes) of exegesis. First, he opens with an array of divergent translations, noting that even the NIV84 and current NIV differ. Here is his own translation: “that the fellowship produced by your faithfulness might become effective in the knowledge of every good thing that is yours for the sake of Messiah.”

Later, Ehorn makes the valuable “applicational and devotional implication” that Onesimus' return teaches that

Onesimus too was to act in a selfless manner when he returned to his master as a “new man” (cf. Eph 4:24). By this it may be seen that conversion was not an escape from the responsibilities of his past. What was wrong still needed to be set right (cf. vv 18–19). Nevertheless, Onesimus’ new status in Christ would shake the foundations of his former relationship with Philemon, perhaps allowing for the forging of a new one as “a beloved brother” (v 16). By his example, Paul demonstrated that one effective way to guide fellow Christians is by gentle shepherding rather than coercive commanding (Calvin, 396).

Again, on the meaning of v. 21, Ehorn says maybe Paul wanted Philemon to release Onesimus to do gospel ministry with Paul. Or maybe Paul wanted Philemon to manumit him. Ehorn explains the former option, is a bit dismissive of the perspicuity of the latter, and (non-)concludes, “Either way, Paul left the options open, expecting Philemon to discern the right decision for himself…”

Ehorn's own translation is sometimes unusual. For instance, in verse 23, we read “my fellow-prisoner in reference to Messiah Jesus.” This seems an odd rendering of ὁ συναιχμάλωτός μου ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ. How “in reference to”? What does that even mean? Isn't “in Christ” a major Pauline theme? Ehorn doesn't really explain the phrase, except insofar as he debates whether the term “fellow-prisoner” is literal or metaphorical (—  here he is again noncommittal).

I did very much appreciate Ehorn's comment on the names in vv. 23-24:

“Epaphras, who is my fellow-prisoner in reference to Messiah Jesus, greets you. Likewise, Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, and Luke my fellow-workers greet you.” Just as Paul opened the letter by including not only Philemon (v 1), but also Apphia, Archippus, and a church that met in Philemon’s house (v 2), so also Paul concluded the letter by including an epistolary entourage of no less than five people (vv 23–24). This confirms that the issue between Philemon and Onesimus is not just a private affair. Not only does the matter appear in a broader sphere of discourse, but the pressure is on, seeing as Paul had effectively “carbon copied” several others into the conversation.

So it's like using the “CC” function in an email, both spreading the mail, and alerting the primary addressee that others are reading it. Excellent observation. When I teach this, I'm sure I'll use that.

The book ends with a single excursus: “Christ, The Messiah In Theology And Translation.” You know how many times you and I have pointed out that “Christ” isn't Jesus' last name? It's a title? Not so fast, says Ehorn in effect; sometimes it does function as a name in the NT, and not a title.

As to OT use, Ehorn notes that

With the exception of Dan 9:25–26, the use of “Messiah” always referred to a present person, not a future one. Thus, the OT itself does not provide the impetus for expectation of an eschatological figure who would be designated “the Messiah.”

This argument is almost too precise to be helpful, overlooking the body of material pointing to an eschatological priest, king, prophet — all of which share the term “anointed.”

Ehorn concludes:

Although the consensus of scholarly opinion is that Χριστός had lost its titular significance within Paul’s letters, we have seen strong textual and historical reasons to see Paul’s use of Χριστός as not less than, but certainly more than titular.

In other words, Ehorn wants to translate it (sometimes!) as a proper name, not as a title. So he adds,

While translating the word Χριστός differently in context may present something of a problem to English sensibilities, particularly those who are used to hearing the word “Christ” in certain constructions, this is part and parcel of the task of understanding what ancient texts mean.

Accordingly, Ehorn works at coming up with a rationale for sometimes translating Χριστός as “Christ,” and sometimes translating it as “Messiah,” as the HCSB maddeningly does. So δέσμιος Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ in vv. 1 and 9 is “prisoner of Messiah Jesus,” but ἀπὸ … κυρίου Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ in v. 3 is “from…the Lord Jesus Christ.” Also: εἰς Χριστόν  in v. 6 is “for the sake of Messiah,” and vv, 8 and 20 ἐν Χριστῷ are “in Messiah.”

As with all the EEC volumes, Ehorn concludes by providing a list of foreign and technical words (such as anaphoric, conative, dittography, enclitic, hendiadys, inclusio, etc.), and extended bibliographies.

In sum: Ehorn has provided a good survey of the issues in the text, with commentary on those issues worth considering. He offers a number of helpful observations on the text, and is sensitive to its theology. The book is a good education on the current state of Philemon studies. That Ehorn views so much of the evidence as inconclusive earns my respect for Ehorn's humility and candor as a scholar, but prevents me from seeing the commentary as significantly ground-breaking in its own right.

Dan Phillips's signature


Series Introduction: I live in a small house. I work in a small office in a small church. For those reasons and others I will never have a huge library. When I add a book I almost always remove a book, a practice that allows me to focus on quality over quantity. Over the past couple of years I have focused on building a collection of commentaries that will include only the best volumes on each book of the Bible. I know when I’m in way over my head, so before I began I collected every good resource I could find that rated and reviewed commentaries. I studied them and then began my collection on the basis of what the experts told me. Since I did all of that work, and since I continue to keep up with the project, I thought it might be helpful to share the recommendations.

My focus is on newer commentaries (at least in part because most of the classics are now freely or cheaply available) and I am offering approximately 5 recommendations for each book of the Bible, alternating between the Old Testament and the New. Today I have turned to the experts to find what they say about Lamentations.

Lamentations

House LamentationsDuane Garrett and Paul House – Song of Songs / Lamentations (Word Biblical Commentary). The WBC always seems to come with a warning about its unfortunate and unhelpful format. Still, many of the volumes are excellent, and the volume on Lamentations is said to be one of them (Garrett prepared the commentary on Song of Songs and House prepared the commentary on Lamentations). Keith Mathison says, “He deals with every aspect of the text and digs into the theology of the book. Although somewhat technical, it is very useful.” This sounds like as good a place to begin as any. (Amazon)

J. Andrew Dearman – Jeremiah / Lamentations (NIV Application Commentary). While the NIVAC is an uneven series, the volume covering Jeremiah and Lamentations is regarded as a sound choice for any reader, but especially the more general reader. Tremper Longman says it reflects, “A very sensitive theological reading that also brings these two books into touch with the contemporary world. In keeping with the series, Dearman does not deal with technical issues.” (Amazon)

 

Ryken LamentationsPhilip Ryken – Jeremiah and Lamentations: From Sorrow to Hope (Preaching the Word). Ryken’s commentary is based on a sermon series he preached through the two books of Jeremiah while senior pastor of Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia. His theological perspective is distinctly Evangelical and Reformed. Derek Thomas considers it “a superb expositional commentary” and points out that it includes a helpful index of sermon illustrations. Because it is based on sermons, it would make an ideal resource for someone interested in exploring the book devotionally. (Amazon)

Tremper Longman – Jeremiah, Lamentations (New International Biblical Commentary). Tremper Longman is both a commentator and a commentator on the commentaries. His volume on Jeremiah and Lamentations is regarded as one of the best. Mathison says, “This recent commentary by a well-known evangelical author fills a gap by providing for a general audience the fruits of the most up-to-date scholarship on the book of Jeremiah [and Lamentations]. Although easily accessible, Longman provides numerous literary and theological insights into the book.” (Amazon)

I had a difficult time finding a consensus fifth pick for Lamentations. Having said that, I would probably gravitate toward one of the conservative and/or Reformed series like Mentor. I trust John Mackay’s volume would be both accessible and firmly grounded in truth. (Amazon)

Let me close with a couple of questions: Have you ever preached through Lamentations? What are your preferred commentaries? Are there some you’ve found particularly helpful for preaching or devotional purposes?

Series Introduction: I live in a small house. I work in a small office in a small church. For those reasons and others I will never have a huge library. When I add a book I almost always remove a book, a practice that allows me to focus on quality over quantity. Over the past couple of years I have focused on building a collection of commentaries that will include only the best volumes on each book of the Bible. I know when I’m in way over my head, so before I began I collected every good resource I could find that rated and reviewed commentaries. I studied them and then began my collection on the basis of what the experts told me. Since I did all of that work, and since I continue to keep up with the project, I thought it might be helpful to share the recommendations.

My focus is on newer commentaries (at least in part because most of the classics are now freely or cheaply available) and I am offering approximately 5 recommendations for each book of the Bible, alternating between the Old Testament and the New. Today I have turned to the experts to find what they say about Revelation.

Revelation

If ever there was a book whose commentaries will prove polarizing, Revelation must be the one. D.A. Carson says this in his commentaries on the commentaries: “Of the writing of books on Revelation there is no end: most generations produce far too many. It is a little-known fact that the Puritans, for instance, produced far more commentaries on Revelation than on any other book, most of them eminently forgettable and mercifully forgotten. Something similar could be said about most periods of church history, including our own, which seems to be particularly inventive.” Nevertheless, there are some great commentaries available.

BealeG.K. Beale – The Book of Revelation (New International Greek Testament Commentary). The consensus choice for the best commentary on the book of Revelation seems to be Beale’s. It is in the NIGTC series, so will require some knowledge of Greek. Carson says, “For students and well-trained pastors, the commentary that best combines comprehensiveness with biblical fidelity, exegesis with theology, and literary sensitivity with historical awareness, is that of G.K. Beale. While the prose can be dense, and while there are some areas the author could have explored in greater detail, his work is probably the best place to begin. (Amazon)

Grant R. Osborne – Revelation (Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament). Osborne’s commentary is far simpler than Beale’s and his strength is in laying out the various interpretive options. Keith Mathison says, “he takes an eclectic approach with an emphasis on the futurist position. Osborne’s commentary is particularly helpful in providing historical background information on the people, places, and things mentioned in the biblical text. Like most commentators, Grant too easily dismisses the arguments for an early date of the book, but the commentary is still well worth consulting.” (Amazon)

Aune RevelationDavid E. Aune – Revelation 1-5; Revelation 6-16, and Revelation 17-22 (Word Biblical Commentary). Aune’s commentary is massive, coming in three volumes. Keith Mathison highlights the strengths and weaknesses of the work: “The strongest point of Aune’s commentary is the amount of information it contains regarding relevant extrabiblical literature that sheds light on the historical context. … The primary problem with this commentary, however, is that it loses sight of the forest for all the trees. Aune is very helpful with the details of the text and the details of extrabiblical literature. He is not as helpful when it comes to the point of understanding what the book means, its message and theology. He looks closely at the brush strokes, but he looks so closely that he can’t see the big picture.” (Amazon: Volume 1, Volume 2, Volume 3)

Stephen S. Smalley – The Revelation to John. Stephen Smalley’s commentary receives high accolades from various commentators on the commentaries. Carson says it is “a competent piece of work, less daunting than Beale and less tendentious than Aune.” I had to look up “tendentious” and found he means it as a compliment: “expressing or intending to promote a particular cause or point of view, esp. a controversial one.” That makes it sound like quite a helpful work. (Amazon)

Mounce RevelationRobert Mounce – The Book of Revelation (The New International Commentary on the New Testament). Mounce’s treatment of Revelation is now available in a revised edition (dated 2008). Carson praises his commentary as “a learned and well-written work that not only explains the text satisfactorily in most instances but also introduces the student to the best of the secondary literature” while saying that Mounce’s special strength is in “his appropriate and balanced use of both Jewish and Greco-Roman sources.” He also points out that this may be the best option for someone whose knowledge of Greek is minimal or nil. (Amazon)

James Hamilton’s contribution to the Preaching the Word series looks promising, but it has released too recently to have expert reviews (Amazon, Westminster Books).

Let me close with a couple of questions: Have you ever preached through Revelation? What are your preferred commentaries? Are there some you’ve found particularly helpful for preaching or devotional purposes?

 

Series Introduction: I live in a small house. I work in a small office in a small church. For those reasons and others I will never have a huge library. When I add a book I almost always remove a book, a practice that allows me to focus on quality over quantity. Over the past couple of years I have focused on building a collection of commentaries that will include only the best volumes on each book of the Bible. I know when I’m in way over my head, so before I began I collected every good resource I could find that rated and reviewed commentaries. I studied them and then began my collection on the basis of what the experts told me. Since I did all of that work, and since I continue to keep up with the project, I thought it might be helpful to share the recommendations.

My focus is on newer commentaries (at least in part because most of the classics are now freely or cheaply available) and I am offering approximately 5 recommendations for each book of the Bible, alternating between the Old Testament and the New. Today I have turned to the experts to find what they say about Jeremiah.

Jeremiah


0802825303mJ.A. Thompson – The Book of Jeremiah (New International Commentary on the Old Testament)
. It appears that Jeremiah is not one of those books where there is clear and unanimous consensus on the top commentary. However, with that said, most of the experts, and especially the more conservative among them, do commend Thompson’s work. It contains detailed historical and exegetical examinations of the book and is suitable for pastors, scholars and general readers alike. It seems like it is as good a place to begin as any. (Amazon)

Philip Ryken – Jeremiah and Lamentations: From Sorrow to Hope (Preaching the Word). Ryken’s commentary is based on a sermon series he preached through the two books of Jeremiah while senior pastor of Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia. His theological perspective is distinctly Evangelical and Reformed. Derek Thomas considers it “a superb expositional commentary” and points out that it includes a helpful index of sermon illustrations. Because it is based on sermons, it would make an ideal resource for someone interested in exploring the book devotionally. (Amazon)

 

Lundbom JeremiahJack R. Lundbom – Jeremiah 1-20, Jeremiah 21-36, Jeremiah 37-52 (The Anchor Yale Bible Commentaries). Lundbom’s massive three-volume work will satisfy those who are looking for an exhaustive treatment of Jeremiah. Keith Mathison recommends it as “a treasure trove of valuable information.” He goes on to say, “The first volume contains a lengthy introduction dealing with the standard introductory issues of composition and context. Lundbom also deals with the theology of Jeremiah in this introductory section. The bulk of the three volumes is devoted to commentary on the text. Lundbom approaches Jeremiah’s work section by section, with detailed notes as well as section summaries.” (Amazon: Volume 1, Volume 2, Volume 3)

J.A. Dearman – Jeremiah/Lamentations (New International Version Application Commentary). While the NIVAC is an uneven series, the volume covering Jeremiah and Lamentations is regarded as a sound choice for any reader, but especially the more general reader. Tremper Longman says it reflects, “A very sensitive theological reading that also brings these two books into touch with the contemporary world. In keeping with the series, Dearman does not deal with technical issues.” (Amazon)

Mackay JeremiahJohn L. Mackay – Jeremiah 1-20, Jeremiah 21-52 (Mentor Commentary). The Mentor series regularly receives accolades from conservative and Reformed commentators on the commentaries, but seems to be overlooked entirely by others. Still, Mackay is regarded as an excellent expositor and his two-volume treatment of Jeremiah will prove helpful to anyone who plans to preach through the book. It will be more detailed than some general readers will want, but still not too dense. (Amazon: Volume 1, Volume 2)

Let me close with a couple of questions: Have you ever preached through Jeremiah? What are your preferred commentaries? Are there some you’ve found particularly helpful for preaching or devotional purposes?