Commentary Review: Holman 2 Volume OT Psalms 1-75; & 76-170 by Steven J. Lawson

Steven J. Lawson is one of the best God-centered and Christo-centric expository preachers of our time. He is like a cross between John Piper, James Montgomery Boice and R.C. Sproul. Therefore, if any of those names mean anything to you – you will love this commentary by Lawson.

All the commentaries in the Holman series are concise, homiletical in orientation, and immensely practical for teachers and preachers of God’s Word.

Volume one contains an excellent and brief introduction to the Psalms with discussion and explanations of the unique features of the Psalms, including it’s title, authors, time period, literary types, book divisions, literary style, figures of speech, acrostics, and why and how they are so life-changing.

In volume one the first 75 Psalms are covered and in volume two he covers Psalms 76-150 and each are broken down in 75 individual chapters in the following manner:

1)    A title that summarizes the topic of the Psalm.

2)    A helpful quote that delineates the theme of the Psalm – usually from a great Christian from the past – Lawson is a very knowledgeable Church historian.

3)    A commentary on the chapter from the Bible which contains – the main idea of the passage and the supporting ideas written out in an expository outline with explanation, grammatical help, and exegetical insights.

4)    A main idea review and a conclusion for the chapter.

5)    A Conclusion – usually an excellent illustration of the passage.

6)    A Life Application – typically questions, commands, and principles to be applied from the passage.

7)    A prayer based on the passages truths and applications – all very God-focused and oriented toward praise.

8)    A section on “deeper discoveries” – usually key word studies, theological insights, and historical, cultural, and textual facts & helps.

9)    A teaching outline for the passage.

10) Lastly, issues for discussion taken from the passage.

I highly recommend this commentary on the Psalms – especially if you are only going to have one or two commentaries on the Psalms. Lawson is practical, theological, and does a superb job of getting to the heart of each passage without too much discussion of the details. I find that the devotional and practical nature of the commentary makes it very suitable for personal study, as well as the communal study of God’s Word.

Dr. Steven J. Lawson is the Senior Pastor of Christ Fellowship Baptist Church in Mobile, Alabama. Max Anders – the editor of the series is the Senior Pastor of Castleview Baptist Church in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Book Review: Exegetical Guide to The Greek New Testament – Colossians and Philemon by Murray J. Harris

As a senior pastor who has been preaching for twenty years on a weekly basis this series is a welcome contribution for the preacher or teacher of God’s Word.  As I have preached through Colossians verse by verse this past year I have continually been helped and my people have been helped through the exegetical insights of Murray in this excellent commentary. For those who have had a year of more of Greek it will help bring to memory much that has been forgotten.

The Guide assumes the following:

1)    You have completed an introductory New Testament Greek Course

2)    You have learned the meanings of words occurring in the New Testament more than 25 times

3)    You have been introduced to New Testament Textual Criticism

4)    You own or have access to a copy of The Greek New Testament, fourth rev. ed. B. Aland, K. Aland, J. Karavidopoulos, C.M, Martini and B.M. Metzger (Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, New York: United Bible Societies, 1993)

The stated purpose of this book (and the commentaries in this series) is “to close that gap between stranded student (or former student) and daunting text and to bridge that gulf between morphological analysis and exegesis.”

I found this commentary to be particularly helpful in helping me understand Paul’s logic, grammar, argumentation, and insights into the author’s original intentions in brining out the “big picture” of Colossians – The Supremacy of Christ Sufficient for All things. Along with a good devotional like Sam Storms, “The Hope of Glory”; a good English and Greek Based Commentary like Douglas Moo’s, or F. F. Bruce; and an application based commentary like David E. Garland’s – you should be set to study and teach Colossians with great effectiveness.

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