Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Review of ZECNT Commentary on Galatians by Thomas Schreiner

Perhaps my favorite professor at SBTS is Dr. Tom Schreiner.  He is extremely wise but is also exceedingly humble.  In his classes I not only learn about the text that we are studying, I also learn what it means to be a gracious pastor, expositor, and writer.  Obviously, then, I was excited for the opportunity to review this book.  I received it free from Zondervan in exchange for a review. 

The particular copy that I received is the Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament: Galatians.  The ZECNT is a new commentary series designed with pastors and students in mind.  It is not bogged down by overly technical details, nor is it a simple running commentary.  The ZECNT is unique. 

Each Bible passage has addresses seven primary components: Literary context, main idea, translation and graphical layout, structure, exegetical outline, explanation of the text, and theology in application. 

Probably the most unique feature of the ZECNT is the translation and graphical outline section.  Dr. Schreiner has his students do something very similar in all of his classes.  These are helpful ways of seeing the flow of a passage and how all of the different propositions relate to one another.  It is encouraging to see these in commentaries.  This is probably the most helpful treatment of biblical passages that I have seen in a commentary. 

If you are looking for a really in-depth commentary the ZECNT is only going to scratch the surface.  But if you are looking for something to provide a “feel” for the passage, or if something to help place the text in its literary context, then the ZECNT will be the commentary for you. 

Specifically, this commentary on Galatians is wonderful.  I did not have time to read through all of it but what I did was phenomenal.  I also have the advantage of having sat through Dr. Schreiner’s classes and I know how trustworthy he is as an expositor.  You may not agree with all of his conclusions but you will certainly have a clear understanding of his position.  In my opinion Schreiner is definitely one of the top 5 bible commentators in our day (perhaps the best on Paul). You will richly benefit from this volume.

Who is this commentary for?  Schreiner writes in the preface that this is “especially for pastors and students who want some help with the Greek text”.  And he is certainly right.  Those with a knowledge of Greek and some seminary training will probably be the ones that benefit the most from these commentaries.  But I do not think those without formal education will be hopelessly lost.  There may be some things that are unfamiliar to those without training (like calling something a “gnomic aorist”), but these are not so prominent that you would get lost. 

I highly recommend these commentaries for any student of the Bible.  Especially this commentary on Galatians by Dr. Schreiner. 

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

You can buy the Galatians commentary for under 20 bucks at Amazon .  That is a GREAT price for a commentary like this!

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