A Commentary Short?

May 11, 2007

Preaching on Jeremiah’s prophecy one week and expounding Luke’s gospel the next has been an insightful experience for me. Not only have I found the content diverse (and certainly the preaching experience!) but I’ve noticed differences in preparation. For some reason it has been much easier for me to prepare the Old Testament material.


“I think with Luke we’re a commentary or two short”, I relayed to a colleague.

It seems that with Jeremiah we have a greater depth of more technical commentaries as well as a fair selection of books geared toward practical application. But with Luke, things are more limited. Once I’m through Marshall and Bock, Calvin and Morris, Hendricksen and Ryle, I’m there.

Yet more often than not, I still have some thinking to do. Some questions remain unanswered; or at least I’d like to hear one or two more perspectives. And since the weight of commentaries is toward the more technical end, I’ve also lacked valuable help in thinking about how to communicate the text today.

I don’t mean to suggest, of course, that commentaries are indispensable. Certainly not. But they can be a great stimulus. So, on the assumption that they can be useful, would you agree that we can read too few commentaries in sermon preparation?

Workman’s Toolbox
* Feminism in Your Church and Home with Russell Moore, Randy Stinson, and C.J. Mahaney, over at Nine Marks interviews.
* A new Puritan’s website.
* So you’re thinking of being a pastor?
* Over at Shepherd’s Scrapbook, some links to Hughes Oliphant Old’s The Reading and Preaching of Scripture in the worship of the Christian church
* I hope this kind of thing never comes to British shores: Clowns Communion
* The Faithful Preacher (by Thabiti Anyabwile) gets reviewed over at Discerning Reader
* The next generation of i-pod waits in the wings (HT: Take your Vitaminz)


  1. […] interesting and helpful post on the subject of becoming a pastor. I also wish to thank the great Unashamed Workman Blog for posting the link to this […]

  2. Thanks for the work you do on the blog. I have worked through Luke and would add a few thoughts. The old commentary in the NICNT by Norval Geldenhuys is good and worth getting, although out of print. And the new commentary in the NICNT on Luke by Joel Green is excellent, in my opinion. He is not as systematic-theological (or Reformed) as some of the commentaries you mentioned, but his narrative analysis opens avenues in the text I had not previously seen. I would also suggest that one of the reasons for a shortage on Luke is that Darrell Bock’s massive BECNT gets distributed into the NIVAC series and the IVPNT series (not that I have a problem with Bock, but this limits perspective when one person ends up with three commentaries like this). Keep up the good work on the blog…jhg

  3. James, thanks for those commentary suggestions. I think you’re right about Bock. We have a couple of different commentaries of his on Luke, but it seems without purpose to read them all! No doubt some books of the bible are better served than others..

  4. You are right about Luke not getting the attention of the other gospels. I would personally suggest using other commentaries on Matthew and Mark. When studying the synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke) you can mix the commentaries. I’ve had great success with the excellent commentaries on Matthew when studying Luke. Blessings! Tony

  5. John Nolland on Luke has often sparked things for me. He is certainly worth consulting, IMO. YMMV! 🙂

    David Reimer

  6. For Luke, Fitzmyer’s 2 volume AB commentary, though a little dated now, is still the far-and-away best available. And as far as the Third Gospel being slightly short-changed relative to some other canonical books, that looks to be remedied soon. Bauckham is writing the ICC volume (replacing Plummer’s 19th cent. commentary) and Bovon will be completing the last 2 vols of this Hermeneia series trilogy.

    Otherwise, there are always articles on Luke in the scholarly journals to be perused and used wisely. And if preachers know German, there are plenty of valuable contributions coming out of Europe on a regular basis.

  7. David Gooding – According to Luke IVP
    ISBN 0-8028-0316-4

    Well worth a look ( no pun intended )

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