Book Notices -- By: Mark R. Stevenson

Journal: Emmaus Journal
Volume: EMJ 15:2 (Winter 2006)
Article: Book Notices
Author: Mark R. Stevenson

Book Notices

Mark R. Stevenson

Old Testament Commentary Survey, 4th edition By Tremper Longman III, Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2007, 157 pages, paperback, $13.99.

New Testament Commentary Survey, 6th edition By D. A. Carson, Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2007, 160 pages, paperback, $13.99.

For both the teacher and student of Scripture, Bible commentaries can be a great boon. However, there are so many options available today that it can be difficult to know where to begin. These two volumes skillfully navigate the dense terrain of the commentary world and offer sage advice for those engaged in biblical study. Both volumes commence by explaining the various nuances of commentary series and then move to evaluating commentaries on each biblical book.

It is worth noting that, stylistically, the format of Longman’s volume is more user-friendly than Carson’s. Longman lays out individual commentaries alphabetically by author with line breaks between entries and 5-star evaluations. Carson’s text runs together in narrative form and the individual commentary evaluations appear somewhat randomly arranged. While such an approach— along with Carson’s sometimes pointed comments—is surely engaging, some readers will no doubt find it rather laborious.

Both volumes conclude with the authors’ top picks for each biblical book within their respective testaments. One may not always agree with Longman or Carson’s assessment of a particular commentary, but readers will certainly be helped in making informed decisions about how best to spend both their time and money.

Mark R. Stevenson

How Long, O Lord? Reflections on Suffering and Evil, 2nd edition By D. A. Carson, Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2006, 240 pages, paperback, $22.99.

Carson describes this book as “preventative medicine.” It is designed to help Christians think in biblical ways about suffering and evil before difficult days descend on them. He explains,

One of the major causes of devastating grief and confusion among Christians is that our expectations are false. We do not give the subject of evil and suffering the thought it deserves until we ourselves are confronted with tragedy. If by that point our beliefs—not well thought out but deeply ingrained—are largely out of step with the God who has disclosed himself in the Bible and supremely in Jesus, then the pain from the personal tragedy may be multiplied many times over as we begin to question the very foundations of our faith (p. 11).

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