Nijay Gupta's Best Commentaries on Pastoral Epistles

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TylerR's picture

Editor

As the years go by, I'm less and less interested in exegetical commentaries. This has become especially pronounced in the past 12 months. I'm becoming more and more practical with my preaching, which isn't to suggest exegetical details are unimportant. It's just that my entire approach is trending away from (1) minute, verse by verse exegesis couched as preaching, and it's going towards (2) passage by passage preaching, trying to capture the flow of an argument at the expense of minute exposition, with an aim towards practical exhortation.

It's difficult to express this carefully enough to protect myself against the exegetical purists out there who will be anxious to criticize, but I hope some of you realize what I'm saying. I actually ordered Weirsbe's commentary series last week!

For the last four months of my series through the Gospel of Mark, I didn't touch my WBC commentary once. I basically skimmed PNTC (Edwards is a gem), NICNT (Lane), NTC (Hendriksen), Blacks NTC (Hooker), Barnes and Henry each week and made some occasional notes or adjustments, but didn't really engage the technical issues. Basically, there are a lot of commentaries that focus on arcane details at the expense of what the text actually says. I find less and less value in that kind of commentary as time goes by.

For an exegetical commentay on the Pastorals, my money is still with Mounce's WBC volume. Exhaustive.

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

Bert Perry's picture

...was "isn't it cool that the Christian academic world now includes names like Nijay Gupta?"    That said, I view commentaries as a great way to check one's thinking and get a glimpse of resources that we don't have on our shelves or on our computers.  Primary resource for sermon/teaching prep?  No, because it gets in the way of one's own learning, and that of the congregation.  

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

T Howard's picture

If you translate the passage yourself at the beginning of your sermon prep, you'll catch 75%-85% of the issues most exegetical commentaries discuss (e.g. variants, grammar, important words or ideas, flow of argument, structure of passage, etc.). You can then use the exegetical commentaries to help you sift through the options available to you.

I enjoy discovery. Therefore, I enjoy digging into the "minutia." I don't preach the minutia, but when it is exegetically significant, I allow it to shape my sermon.

I have Weirsbe, but I haven't found him too helpful in the past. To each his own.

wcombs's picture

I have been following Gupta's recommendations for various books over the last weeks. These kinds of list are, of course, such a matter of individual preference that they are often of limited value. Still, one can usually learn something from recommendations of others. I find that Gupta's choices agree with my views about 70% the time. However, this time I think he has missed an important work. Mounce's commentary in the Word Biblical Commentary is, to me, clearly the best on the Pastorals, and Gupta does not even mention it. I would add that overall I think the WBC is not very good compared to other series available today, but Mounce's work is the best of all the volumes in the series, and, I think, the best on the Pastorals. I would highly recommend the Booklist put out by Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary: http://dbts.edu/basic-library-booklist

Bill Combs

T Howard's picture

wcombs wrote:
I would highly recommend the Booklist put out by Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary: http://dbts.edu/basic-library-booklist

When I need to purchase a commentary, I always check DBTS's recommendations as well as the recommendations from Ligonier Ministries. These two ministries definitely take a different approach to hermeneutics, but I benefit from both perspectives. 

TylerR's picture

Editor

Yes, Mounce is clearly the best exegetical commentary out there!

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

TylerR's picture

Editor

THoward wrote:

If you translate the passage yourself at the beginning of your sermon prep, you'll catch 75%-85% of the issues most exegetical commentaries discuss (e.g. variants, grammar, important words or ideas, flow of argument, structure of passage, etc.).

My 15-yr old son is in second-year Greek. He's learning by watching Wallace's video series, doing his workbook, and going over the questions with me twice per week. We spent 30 minutes last night trying to classify a very difficult genitive from Eph 1:18. I was certain it was a subjective genitive, but it didn't quite fit. There was no way to neatly translate the head noun into a verb to accompany the implied genitive subject.

My son finally stumbled upon a category of Wallace's that my own syntax text from seminary never had - a genitive of production. Sure enough, it fit perfectly. Wallace even said it was very, very similar to a subjective genitive. That helped me feel vindicated after having been defeated by my son. In my defense, I never learned that category, so given the criteria I was taught, I was right ... sort of...

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

Mark_Smith's picture

Looking at Eph 1:18, is it ἡ ἐλπὶς τῆς κλήσεως αὐτοῦ ?

The hope of your calling... meaning your calling generates the hope?

TylerR's picture

Editor

Yes. A few commentators seemed to view it as an objective genitive, but this makes little sense to me. How can the object of your hope be your calling to faith? Rather, the hope comes about because of your calling ("that you may know the hope produced by your calling to faith ...").

I can see it both ways, but think genitive of production is best. It was a fun little problem.

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

G. N. Barkman's picture

Because if you have been called to faith, you know that God did it.  That is evidence of your election by God.  And that means everything promised in Christ, present and future is guaranteed for you.  You can't have a better foundation for hope than that!

G. N. Barkman

TylerR's picture

Editor

It's almost as though you're saying your hope was generated/produced by your calling to faith ... (smiley)

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

G. N. Barkman's picture

Exactly right.

G. N. Barkman