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Book Reviews > New Testament > I & II Thessalonians, I & II Timothy, Titus, Philemon. (Holman New Testament Commentary)

Ray VanNeste

Ray VanNeste
Director of the RC Ryan Center for Biblical Studies and Assistant Professor of Christian Studies

I & II Thessalonians, I & II Timothy, Titus, Philemon. (Holman New Testament Commentary)
Knute Larson
Details: 2000, Broadman & Holman, Amazon.comISBN: 0805402098
Posted: July 29, 2003

“The more precious your preparation time, the more essential the Holman New Testament Commentary is to your success. No other reference gets to the heart of the New Testament as efficiently as the Holman New Testament Commentary.”

So says the blurb on the back of this commentary. Sadly, one cannot expect sober self-evaluation even in Christian books. This is an exceedingly lofty claim, and not surprisingly the book fails to live up to it. It is a decent commentary for the average layperson for personal study or perhaps in a Sunday School class. The series intends to walk through a basic bible lesson on the passage providing introductory stories, summaries of key issues in the passage, a closing story, and some application. This author assesses the key issues of the passages fairly well and does not shy away from difficult theological issues (e.g. election). However, one ought not expect significant discussion of such issues. They are really just acknowledged. The exposition often reads like a light skim of the commentaries and the use of Greek is less than careful. With the way the series is set up there is simply not enough space given to exposition in order to be sufficient for the sort of grappling with the text required of preachers.

In summary, this series is marketed as a time-saver. Those whose calling centers on expounding the sacred text ought beware of supposed shortcuts (2 Tim 2:6, 15!). Those serving such preachers ought to beware of tempting these preachers with such shortcuts. If one is looking for a more popular level commentary to supplement one’s study of the more technical ones, the works of Stott, Towner and Liefeld would be better choices.

Ray Van Neste

Union University

Previously appeared in "The Southern Baptist Journal of Theology"