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Featured Commentaries?

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by gemurdock, Jan 31, 2016.

  1. Jkdbuck76

    Jkdbuck76 Well-Known Member
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    JC Ryle...the man was deep AND a very good communicator. His stuff is the best. MacLaren as well.

    Sent from my SM-T230 using Tapatalk
     
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  2. preachinjesus

    preachinjesus Well-Known Member
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    In my personal library I have a combination of commentary sets and individual volumes for all the books of the Bible. Not long after entering ministry, a mentored and I were talking and he mentioned the value of finding the best commentaries over entire sets. So I stopped buying sets (mostly) and have been getting individual commentaries through various sites like eBay and Amazon. Used books are always a better deal and that's been helpful.

    I've also found some sites that help with finding the best commentaries. The best site I've seen to help sort through the commentary lists:
    http://www.bestcommentaries.com

    Hope that helps. Don't forget to check Google Books and Archive.com for free, but older, books. Newer is always better, but there are gems in the old commentaries that still preach/teach.
     
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  3. Martin Marprelate

    Martin Marprelate Well-Known Member
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    Matthew Henry is great. He's a little bit prolix at times but so is Spurgeon.
    Older commentaries are great and often better than the more modern ones, but you have to make allowances for the flowery language.

    In your purchase of commentaries, I would advise making sure that you have one written by a Baptist on Galatians and Hebrews. Pink's huge commentary on Hebrews is excellent and I recommend the Galatians commentary by the 19th Century Scottish Baptist James Haldane (Particular Baptist Press. ISBN 1-888514-17-5).

    Also, Spurgeon's Treasury of David is a wonderful commentary on the Psalms.
     
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  4. BrotherJoseph

    BrotherJoseph Well-Known Member

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    Hi Brother,

    I find error in all commentaries, but if I had to choose which one I found to be the "best" (and by that I mean with the least amount of error and from which I have derived the most benefit) it would be John Gill's.
     
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  5. JonC

    JonC Moderator
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    I do not own an entire commentary set (I prefer to choose by individual commentary....but my method does not make for pretty book shelves). Each time I start to buy a set I hesitate because there will always be several that are not perhaps the best authors for a certain book. That said, I like the NAC, BECNT and the NIC (and they are pretty on a shelf, so I may have to order complete sets at some time in the future).

    Probably the most important thing is to choose a commentary that reflects modern scholarship. I would stay away from the Gills, Calvins, and Wesleys, simply because they are out dated (not only do they do by nature fail to engage contemporary theological issues, but those authors were not privy to more recent discoveries, debates, and scholarship). While I read Calvin and Gill to Irenaeus and Martyr, I would shy away from using their works in studying the Bible itself (for example, some of their understandings of first century Judaism do not reflect what has been learned of that people). These simply are not up to the standard of modern commentaries (not that they expressed poor scholarship by any means , but that they did not have the resources that are now at hand).
     
    #25 JonC, Feb 1, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2016
  6. gemurdock

    gemurdock New Member

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    Quite a few comments. Thank you very much, I will have to go over some of these suggestions later as I have not heard of them.
     
    #26 gemurdock, Feb 1, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2016
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  7. Internet Theologian

    Internet Theologian Well-Known Member

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    Yes, he is a good commentator, and the only commentator who made comment on each verse of Scripture. I don't see truth and exposition of truth as 'dated' as some imply. His insights are as refreshing as ever.
     
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  8. JonC

    JonC Moderator
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    Exposition of truth is typically never dated (although sometimes the questions asked are, but even they come around again....hence the value of historical theology). The insights that these theologians had are valuable, and they are true insofar as they reflect what is universally true in Scripture. No arguments here.

    It would be interesting to compare what John Gill views of first century Judaism in light of the Qumran scrolls as this is both a debated and relevant topic (and several commentaries I have on Romans do engage this information). Oh wait... he had no idea they existed. It would be interesting to see what John Calvin had to say regarding the scope of the Atonement....(most of my commentaries consider various views on the scope of the Atonement).....oh wait...that was not a topic of his day. My comment that it is better to look for modern commentaries is not because dated commentaries present error, but that they have not adequately engaged information that have become available through modern history. John Gill offers nothing in terms of modern textual criticism, of the Jewish worldview in light of documentation discovered in the mid 20th century, of theological developments that are contemporary to the modern reader. Most commentaries, all good ones, will also take into account dated commentary as well - you do not have to toss Gill or Calvin to history in order to have more relevant information as they are often restated in modern commentary.

    There is a reason that theology students are typically required to use as commentary sources only references within a decade or so from the research being performed (alongside original sources). To stick to antiquated commentary alone is a foolish mistake, not because of what the older commentators address but because of what they do not. And I do consider older commentary as well, but what I have found is that their views are typically represented in modern commentary. So like you, I appreciate John Gill and often turn to his commentary. But I also think that it would be a grave error to ignore modern scholarship.

    *** Edited: Noting my brothers who disagree (Brother Joe and Internet Theologian), I challenge you, friends, to prove me wrong.

    1) Show me one instance where John Gill included in his commentary reference to the Qumran scrolls in regards to the first century Jewish view.


    2)Where did Gill engage literary discoveries of the 20th century in his commentary?

    3) Where does John Calvin expound on Limited Atonement in contrast to Arminianism?


    Obviously you cannot because while these are important theological issues and discoveries they are also beyond the scope of these commentators.
    As we continue I urge you to disagree and discuss the points others bring up instead of merely rating a "disagreement" without substance. My point stands - commentaries - both old and contemporary - are valuable tools in Christian study.

    I only offered one point where you could disagree, and that is that it is an error to ignore modern scholarship as they benefit from contemporary discoveries, thought, and theological development. Are you really suggesting that we ignore men like Joel Beeke, F.F. Bruce, R.C. Sproul, John Piper, J.I. Packer as having nothing to contribute? Is this the substance of your disagreement?
     
    #28 JonC, Feb 1, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2016
  9. BrotherJoseph

    BrotherJoseph Well-Known Member

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    I totally agree brother. The Cause of God and truth is another one of his works that is invaluable. There is such a thing as "timeless writings". Most of his writings including his commentary are available free online here http://www.pbministries.org/books/gill/gills_archive.htm
     
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  10. BrotherJoseph

    BrotherJoseph Well-Known Member

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    Brother Jon,

    No offense brother, but weren't the Pharisees among the most learned, schooled, and educated men of their day concerning scripture and yet the ones who sought to crucify Christ and missed the entire point of the Bible in that Christ told them "they are they which testify of me"? Also, can you provide the scriptural authority for the establishment of seminaries? What elders in the New Testament went to seminary in order to train for the ministry? Do you believe being taught by the Holy Ghost suffices for a child of God or should the Holy Ghost be supplemented with seminary for maximum benefit and edification of the scripture?
     
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  11. JonC

    JonC Moderator
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    I need to add this - it also depends on what type of commentary you are looking for. I was thinking more academic (the commentator exploring a comprehensive examination of various interpretations) rather than pastoral or denomination specific (the commentator giving and defending his position).


    Sent from my TARDIS
     
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  12. Martin Marprelate

    Martin Marprelate Well-Known Member
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    I think it is quite a good idea to have one modern commentary and one older one on each book of the Bible (if you can afford them!). JonC's points are well taken, especially with respect to archaeology and language treatment.

    However, I believe that there is a richness to the older books and commentaries that isn't always there in the modern ones. I believe that the modern hermeneutic is much more constricting than that followed by pre-war and older writers. When I want to look at something in Romans, I still tend to turn first to the commentary by Robert Haldane. Wonderful book!
     
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  13. Jordan Kurecki

    Jordan Kurecki Well-Known Member
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    H.A. Ironside.

    read any of his commentaries, very sound doctrine and very Christ centered.
     
  14. Internet Theologian

    Internet Theologian Well-Known Member

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    I believe that we should consider the Holy Spirit inspired text, 2 Tim. 3:16, specifically of Eph. 4:11ff and not discount the men of God whom He has placed in the body to teach.

    Some have a penchant to malign these men, and then in turn call those who enjoy them as not getting their teachings from Scripture but only from men, a system, accusations that go to seed and ad nauseum. James 4:11 should be considered when one speaks derogatorily toward men who deserve double honor, 1 Timothy 5:17, and of those who employ them, note James 3:9.

    Those who belittle such men of the past, and toward those who employ them I have little to no room for. The behavior is arrogant and unbiblical. In the multitude of counselors is safety, Proverbs 24:6. To say that I am discounting the Holy Spirit here would be a misnomer, for it is He who has placed such men in the church to teach. There is also His ministry to the individually, and personally, but Scriptures speak much more often of those men whom God has sent to others to teach them, and to whom others learn. It is all over Scripture and is safe.

    An interesting aside, ever notice that those who do belittle these things rarely use Scriptures in their rebuttal, but employ much ideology and theory? Look around and see this is true brothers.
     
    #34 Internet Theologian, Feb 1, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2016
  15. BrotherJoseph

    BrotherJoseph Well-Known Member

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    Brother,

    I noticed you quoted my post, but didn't answer any of the questions therein. Consider this "But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him." (1 John 2:27). It would be arrogant to deny the truth of this scripture. Also, I do believe God has ordained Elders and teachers who are called of the Spirit whom I have certainly learned from listen to their sermons online, read their writings, am taught by them in church, but I disagree that a seminary is the scriptural basis as the means of preparing one for the ministry. I am not saying I have not learned from men who have gone to seminary such as teachers such as RC Sproul, but simply disagree in the role some would have them play mainly because they have no scriptural precedent. Also look at their origins being Catholic in nature, "The establishment of modern seminaries resulted from Roman Catholic reforms of the Counter-Reformation after the Council of Trent.[5" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seminary
    Glazier, Michael; Hellwig, Monika, eds. (2004). "Ecumenical Councils to Trent". The Modern Catholic Encyclopedia. Collegeville, MI: Liturgical Press. p. 263
     
  16. Internet Theologian

    Internet Theologian Well-Known Member

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    My apologies brother Joseph I considered that jon may answer this. I was only offering a Scriptural response to those whom God has ordained to teach as well as the Spirit personally to lead and minister to us. My post was not in defense of seminary training though. I thought jon might answer you on that one! Just my thoughts on the rest. :)
     
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  17. BrotherJoseph

    BrotherJoseph Well-Known Member

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    Sorry, I guess I misinterpreted your post as you quoted my post in your response. No offense taken. Yes, I do anticipate a rebuttal from Brother Jon.
     
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  18. JonC

    JonC Moderator
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    No rebuttal, brother, but a clarification. From your reply I take it you have misunderstood my post. Please accept my apologies for my lack of clarity and allow me to explain. I should have said "critical" instead of "academic" and would have avoided the confusion.

    No offense taken friend. The Pharisees were learned in their own traditions (and the traditions that they built upon tradition). I am not sure of your implication, unless you are questioning the appropriateness of commentaries like those of John Gill. I think that you have misunderstood my use of “academic” here, brother. I should have used "critical." But I mean "academic" as an adjective, not a noun. What I mean is that commentaries are distinguished between pastoral, popular, and critical. Critical commentaries are more "academic" in that they include various theories and interpretations for consideration and explanation.

    Which would be more like a Pharisee, the commentators who tell you what a passage means or the commentaries that provide an explanation of how a passage has been interpreted? If you look at it that way, brother, then the pastoral commentators are more like a Pharisee than the critical. But my answer is neither. Both are valuable. I appreciate John Gill, John Calvin, and John MacArthur for their interpretations and explanations. But I also appreciate Darrell Bock, Andreas Kostenberger, David Allen, and Gordon Fee when it comes to study. When I am writing a sermon I tend to lean towards F.F. Bruce. Which you use at any given time depends on if want someone to explain the interpretive issues or just give you an interpretation. Both have a place.

    My comments have nothing to do with seminary, but if you would like to start a thread on that topic many may participate. I do believe that churches are tasked at educating the congregation to include providing higher education when adequate. Is education a substitute for the Holy Spirit? No, of course not. But neither is ignorance His companion. We are commanded to study and towards edification (both personal and corporate). It'd be a good thread.

    I will offer this in advance:

    In regards to the Holy Spirit, it is important to understand that the Holy Spirit does not by special revelation implant knowledge into men. The Holy Spirit unveils truth, but never to the unfaithful who refuse to study (which is a disobedience in itself). The Spirit does not make valid interpretation automatic. Having the Holy Spirit does not mean that the Spirit is all we need. God expects us to use our minds, valid interpretive methods, and good study tools that He has made available to us through these scholars. The Spirit does not create new meanings or provide new information – the Spirit unveils. The cry "why seminary when we have the Holy Spirit?" is easily answered by "All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work. (2 Tim. 3:16-17)" as well as in Joshua 1:8; Psalm 119:11; Acts 17:11; Ephesians 6:11-17; 2 Timothy 2:15; Proverbs 2:1-2 and of course Deuteronomy 11:18-23).
     
    #38 JonC, Feb 1, 2016
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  19. exscentric

    exscentric Well-Known Member
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    If you are on a budget consider www.e-sword.net for free Bible software and then look at www.biblesupport.com for a ton of free books/commentaries/bibles. Inside the Bible software is a listing of for pay modules as well for more modern writings.
     
  20. Marcia

    Marcia Active Member

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    Pink is good but tends to spiritualize. I personally like Warren Wiersbe, for one.He has a commentary on each book of the Bible in paperback, and thrre is a 6 volume set of all his commentaries if you really like him. I have a Ryrie Study Bible and like his notes. I also have a John MacArthur study Bible but don't always agree with him. A lot depends on if you are a Calvinist or not, or Reformed or not as to which commentary you may want.
     
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