Saturday, December 18, 2010

Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament

Osborne, Grant R. Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament: Matthew. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 2010. ISBN 978-0-310-24357-1.

I was recently given a complimentary copy of this work for review purposes. Physically, the book has a nice appearance and good quality. It lays flat on my desk as I work. It is a heavy book - no surprise since is 1154 pages long.

It has been a long time since I used a new commentary. My first impression was that this commentary has a good layout. With pages (9.5x7 inches) larger than my other commentaries the pages are far less crowded.

I was quickly able to find the information that I wanted. Of course, I could find the chapter and verse I wanted. But within each chapter (for example the one on Matthew 7:1-12) information is separated well. The sections are Literary Context, Main Idea, Translation, Structure and Literary Form, Exegetical Outline, Explanation of the Text (the largest section in this chapter) and Theology in Application.

I appreciate having these things separated as I prefer to read more technical discussions of the text first. After making my own notes, then I will read the author's ideas on application. I also found the explanations to be a good balance between the technical and the practical.

Though many seek commentaries that completely fit their theological perspective, I prefer those that accurately discuss the Scriptures regardless of one's personal opinions. In the passages I read it appears that Osborne accomplishes this. Sometimes I agreed - on occasion I did not. I see the latter as a chance for me to challenge my beliefs and explore further exactly what the Bible says. I feel this reference helps me to do just that.

One drawback for me personally was the use of Today's New International Version as the Scripture text. I do not use that version for study purposes (and rarely for any other purpose). However, it would not be a serious issue as I usually read the passage from a Bible first before going to the commentary.

A few other interesting features ar: Greek text included in the Explanation of the Text, an 8 page bibliography and a section on the theology of Matthew. Most of the information is readily accessible by reading the pertinent chapter. One does not have to read a huge introduction to discover major themes. These are referenced throughout the text.

It will take more time to determine if I will use this regularly. My initial impression is that this is an excellent reference. The ease of use and quality of the material leads me to expect to use it more often.
Matthew (Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament)

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