The Book of Zechariah (NICOT)

The Book of Zechariah (New International Commentary on the Old Testament)

Eerdmans, 2016

For almost 50 years, evangelical scholars and pastors have benefitted from the magisterial New International Commentary on the Old Testament. In this series, high-quality scholarship combine with a strong commitment to the reliability and authority of the biblical text. Mark J. Boda continues this noble tradition with his volume on Zechariah.

Boda’s work shines brightly in three areas: structure, historical context, and intertextuality. First, Boda carefully observes the internal clues and literary devices of Zechariah, grounding readers solidly within the book’s structure. Second, Boda situates each passage, and the whole book, within its historical setting, showing the post-exilic Jewish community struggling to maintain its identity as the people of Yahweh within the Persian Empire. Throughout, Boda shows the influence of the Torah and prophetic texts; Zechariah’s words receive detailed attention in light of their history of usage in other Hebrew Scriptures.

Boda aims his comments chiefly at academics who may have particular questions regarding historical and linguistic details. The commentary offers such extensive detail in its research—and less attention to the big picture (especially the New Testament)—that it is not well suited for readers seeking to simply understand or teach the main message of Zechariah.

PETER KROL

Theology of Work Bible Commentary

Theology of Work Bible Commentary (5 Volumes)

Hendrickson, 2014-2016

Much of a church’s ministry takes place when its members are not gathered together. Preachers want to know how to, as Ephesians says, “equip the saints for the work of ministry”—namely, connecting weekend worship to Monday morning work.

The distinctive contribution of the Theology of Work Bible Commentary, edited by William Messenger of the Theology of Work Project, is that it seeks to explore “what the entire Bible says about work” (series foreword).

Each biblical book has a short introduction, including a summary of what that book says about work. There are long stretches of Scripture not discussed at all, but the commentary explains passages it sees as directly relating to the theology and practice of a Christian’s work.

Ephesians 4:1, for example, says, “As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.” The commentary notes, “Every Christian shares in this calling. Thus our truest and deepest vocation (from the Latin word for ‘calling’) is to do our part to advance the multifaceted mission of God in the world” (5:101). Though its brevity may not always permit depth, the commentary provides unique and helpful theological and practical connections between the Bible and Christians’ working world.

ABRAM KIELSMEIER-JONES

John (Exegetical Guide to the Greek New Testament)

John (Exegetical Guide to the Greek New Testament)

B&H Academic, 2016

Murray J. Harris’ commentary on John is part of the new Exegetical Guide to the Greek New Testament. While there is an overabundance of John commentaries on the market, Harris’ contribution is fresh and exciting, as it exposes readers to the nuances of the original Greek.

Harris introduces each passage by presenting key themes and summarizing highlights. He then exegetes each verse carefully, analyzing the meaning of the Greek text while focusing on main themes. At the end of his exegesis, he suggests study resources and potential sermon outlines.

Readers do not need a background in Greek to appreciate Harris’ work. He actively translates for readers, while pointing out the contours and functions of the language. This aspect will be appealing to those learning Greek or those who need a refresher.

Harris is very thorough in his examination of the text. This commentary is different from most on the market, as it is more analytical than interpretive in some respects. Such an approach will be especially helpful to students writing research papers.

BEN ESPINOZA

Romans (The Story of God Bible Commentary)

Romans (The Story of God Bible Commentary)

Zondervan, 2016

The first volumes of The Story of God Bible Commentary series were published in 2013. The intent of the series is to look at each biblical text as part of the grand story of the Bible that reaches its climax in Jesus. In Michael Bird’s volume on Romans, he argues that “Romans is the gospel at theological depth,” in which “Paul explores how the gospel creates a community of worshipers from Jews and Gentiles who are united in the Messiah” (xvi).

The commentary on each text is organized into three sections: “Listen to the Story,” “Explain the Story,” and “Live the Story.” The first provides the NIV translation of a passage, along with an introduction to the context. The second explains the text in light of the Bible’s greater story, examining key words and the historical background. In the third section, Bird illustrates how the text’s message can be applied as the story continues in the Church.

Romans has generated so many interpretations that no one is likely to agree with all of Bird’s conclusions, but he carefully engages the text with his trademark humor to shed light on how we can live the story of Romans today.

ELLIOT RITZEMA