Commentary Reading 2010 and 2011

In December I usually take a look back at the books I’ve read in the previous year, and plan my reading for the next year. Readers of my blog will know that this year has mainly been one of commentary reviews (sorry, I know that for most of you that makes for very dull reading). This is because after a year of listening to the Bible in 2009, I am back to my usual morning routine of reading one chapter of the Bible and then reading the corresponding section of a commentary.

2010 Commentary Reading

In 2010 I focussed on three main goals for my commentary reading:

  • Fill in the gaps of some books I haven’t yet read a commentary on. I started the year working through the minor prophets using the Cornerstone Biblical Commentary.
  • I also decided to read a commentary on all the books beginning with E – Exodus, Ezra, Esther (and another), Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel, and Ephesians (not quite finished yet!), as they are nice spread throughout the various genres of Biblical literature.
  • Finally, I wanted to revisit some of the best volumes from the Bible Speaks Today series that I had previously read but not yet reviewed on this site.

In addition to my morning reading, I try to study a New Testament book in a bit more depth in my evenings where possible. This year I finally finished John (using Kostenberger and Carson) and got through Colossians and Philemon (using Moo and Wright) and James (using Moo and Blomberg & Kammell). I’ve written my own mini commentaries on 12 books of the New Testament so far, and have plans to publish them on this blog at some point (after getting a few friends to proof-read them first).

Buy Less, Borrow and Re-Read More

Another goal I have had for a few years, is to read more books than I buy. This is partially financially motivated – I can’t afford to buy as many books as I used to be able to. But also, I have become more concerned that even when buying things as apparently good and spiritual as Christian books, I can succumb to the temptations of greed, covetousness, and even pride at having a comprehensive book collection. In my library of Christian books (around 300 of them currently) there are at least 50 that I either haven’t read, or would be well worth a re-read. In 2010 I bought 11 books, and was given 5 more, but I have read just over 40 books, so feel I am moving in the right direction, and making the most out of the investment I have already made. I’m also trying to borrow more, rather than feeling I have to own every book I read (although it is very frustrating not being able to underline).

2011 Commentary Reading

Next year, I intend to continue my pattern of reading one chapter a day of the Bible with associated commentary. With our 5th child due in March, I’m expecting some sleep depravation to be coming my way, so I’m not going to be too ambitious with the commentaries I tackle, but God willing, here are my basic goals:

  • Read a commentary on 1 and 2 Kings. These are the only two books of the Bible I have yet to read a commentary on. I’m thinking of going for the volumes by Dale Ralph Davis in the Focus on the Bible series or Peter Leithart in the Brazos series, but I’m open to suggestions.
  • Re-read a few more of my favourite Bible Speaks Today commentaries. Romans, the Pastorals, Song of Songs, Chronicles and Isaiah are on the radar.
  • I’d also like to tackle Acts and Romans in Tom Wright’s For Everyone Series, and possibly Revelation in Phil Moore’s “Straight to the Heart” series, which looks excellent.
  • If I study a book in depth in the evenings, I am currently choosing between Acts (using Darrel Bock’s BEC commentary) or the Pastorals (using Philip Towner’s NICNT commentary)

6 thoughts on “Commentary Reading 2010 and 2011

  1. I’d love to see you review Robert Jenson’s Song of Songs commentary in the Interpretation series.

    Your take on Leithart would be very interesting, likewise if you had a chance to look at Jim Jordan on Genesis (Primeval Saints – kind of a commentary). Or Stephen Dempster’s Dominion & Dynasty.

  2. good suggestions. if I do Genesis it will likely be with Bruegemman in the Interpretation series since I was given that last year. However, I was not aware of the Song of Songs and Genesis commentaries you mentioned – both look very interesting.

  3. You’re welcome to borrow any books from me that you wish to (although I think you’ve got / read most of them already!)

  4. Like you, I really, really enjoy the Bible Speaks Today commentaries and have benefited greatly from the ones I’ve read. I own several and am still working my way through them, both OT and NT.

    You mentioned Dale Ralph Davis’s OT commentaries on Kings. I’ve read his commentary on First Samuel, and a bit of Second Samuel. I’ve also read the first few chapters of his two commentaries on 1 and 2 Kings. He is absolutely stellar. In fact, halfway through my read of First Samuel I went out and ordered all the rest of the OT commentaries that he’s written. I think you will enjoy him immensely.

    Blessings brother! Thank you for this wonderful site. I appreciate all your reviews!

    Simple Mann

    PS – I have only read a little bit of Dempster’s “Dominion and Dynasty”, but it looks like a very profitable read. I have seen it referred to recently in a couple of other books I’ve read with very positive remarks.

  5. thanks Simple Mann,

    I’ve read Joshua & Judges by Dale Ralph Davis and both were excellent.

    Looks like you’ve got a nice blog there

  6. Hi Mark,
    I just noticed you have had a couple comments on commentaries on the book of Acts by Peterson and Bock. I like to choose one for studies and sermon prep which would be better do you think? Which has more background cultural material and good for explaining the actual text and is better overall. Any recommendations.Thanks in advance.
    Cheers
    Steve.

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