Some Recent Purchases

I’d like to point out a couple of things I purchased recently, and give a brief reaction to each one.

First up, this outstanding book on preaching was first published in 2002. I read through the whole thing, and I think every preacher should read it. For anyone who is not convinced that preaching is central to the ministry, even THE main thing, this book should convince you otherwise. Also, there is great help here in understanding what the preacher ought to be doing in preaching. This book helped me understand much better what my task is. Plus, it’s only $7.50 in the clearance section of the bookstore. You have no excuse not to purchase this book and read it.

Secondly, Dr. Sproul’s new commentary on Romans is out. We’ve been waiting for this for a long time, and it is certainly gratifying to see it in print. It was originally billed as a 1000 page commentary in two volumes (at least on the WTS website). It is not that large. It is 514 pages in one volume. It is about the pace, however, that I would take through Romans. I am not a Boice, and certainly not a Lloyd-Jones. The material looks to be excellent, although I have not read the book through. One disconcerting thing that I hope they will fix in future printings is that there is no treatment whatsoever of Romans 3:27-31. I was looking forward to this, as it is a text that N.T. Wright harps on quite a lot, especially the “or” at the beginning of verse 29. I am almost certain that Dr. Sproul preached on this passage, so most likely the sermon was left out by mistake. One will not find any treatments of the New Perspective in these pages. Sanders, Dunn, and Wright are not mentioned at all. But that’s okay. This commentary is not intended to do everything, as the preface clearly indicates. Here are sermons intended for the Christian. And they fulfill this goal admirably. Dr. Sproul takes the view (with which I agree) that Romans 7 is referring to Paul’s struggle as a Christian.

Thirdly, there is this fine-looking new commentary on James by my NT teacher at WTS, now at Redeemer Seminary in Dallas, Dan McCartney. This will undoubtedly be an essential commentary for any pastor working through James. McCartney very carefully and eloquently argues the normal Reformed interpretation of the relationship of James and Paul, which is that they are using the term “justify” differently (McCartney has an entire excursus on the relationship of Paul and James vis-a-vis James 2, in addition to the 21 pages of exegesis on the passage), i.e., that Paul is primarily using the term to mean “to declare righteous,” whereas James is using it in a demonstrative sense of vindicating the genuineness of something. Thus, James is not talking about soteriology in regard to the term “justify.”

Fourthly, there is this new commentary on Philippians. It is in the Pillar commentary series, of which series I make sure I have every volume. I have high expectations of this volume, although it is not entirely up to date bibliographically. For instance, the second edition of Silva is not utilized, even though it was published several years ago (definitely long enough for Hansen to have seen it and used it). Also unfortunately (but this one is excusable), this commentary came too soon after the publication of Reumann’s commentary to make any use of his contribution. But these are hopefully small shortcomings, and I look forward to using this commentary.

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