Personal Thoughts About Commentaries: Mark

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Mark’s Gospel is terrific for the preacher. It really comes into its own when expounded. Any commentary on this book that keeps flipping back and forth between Mark, Matthew and Luke should not be considered a first choice. There is now an embarrassment of fine resources. Here is my list:

1. James R. Edwards (Pillar)

Edwards’ commentary on Romans is very good, and it was on my experience with that work that I purchased this. I ended up reading the whole book and marking most of its pages. The author gives you what you need (the Markan reveal of Jesus; the theology of Mark; the personal touches; the deliberate plan of the Gospel), in clear prose with good application. This is my top pick for the preacher and teacher of Mark.

2. William L. Lane (NICNT)

First issued in 1974 this commentary is still better than most of those which have come after it. Yes, the form-criticism is annoying in places, but when he gets down to interpreting the evangelist’s thought Lane is always an attentive listener.

3. R. T. France (NIGNTC)

France writes beautifully and has a great ability to keep you engaged with Mark while digging deep into his language and structure. Many would rank this one first. I demur because I don’t like his treatment of the Olivet Discourse.

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Review - You Are the Treasure That I Seek

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It all started with an e-mail I received one day—“See the latest deals on our new line of laptops!” With just one click of the mouse I was transported to the website of one of the leading computer retailers. The minutes quickly ticked by as I sat there dreaming of owning a more powerful machine, pondering any way that I could afford it, and contemplating the reason I would give my wife for such a “necessary” upgrade. What started as mere curiosity soon led to a disturbing amount of discontentment with the perfectly good computer I already had. Without even realizing it my heart had turned that advertisement into a full blown idol.

Greg Dutcher’s You Are the Treasure That I Seek serves to awaken us to the sobering reality that idolatry is very much alive and well in American Christianity, and indeed in our own hearts. “Idolatry is an old-fashioned word, consigned to social studies classes and Clive Cussler novels. But what if it’s alive and well, even in America? What if it’s a problem of such epidemic proportions that our unawareness of it is only making it worse?” (p. 16). Dutcher warns that to the extent that we have relegated idolatry to the jungles of Africa we have been deceived and have had our concept of idolatry shaped more by Indiana Jones than by Jesus and Paul. Written on more of a popular level, the book is a fairly quick read, although the subject matter and format (including a study guide with application questions at the end of each chapter) lend to a more thoughtful study of the book.

In the opening chapter of his epistle to the Romans, the apostle Paul tells us that “For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles” (Rom 1:21–23). Dutcher identifies the essence of idolatry in that one little word in verse twenty-three—exchanged. He writes,

Humanity’s illness is the idolatry syndrome. We were infected when our first parents considered a piece of fruit sweeter than fellowship with God. We were ruined when they deemed the word of a snake better than the promise of ‘a God who cannot lie’ (Titus 1:2). They compared. They calculated. They traded in God for a ‘better model.’ We’ve been doomed ever since. (p. 30)

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Book Review: The New Citizenship

The New Citizenship: The Christian Facing a New World Order by A. T. Robertson. New York: Fleming H. Revell, 1919; reprinted by Kessinger Publishing. 157 pp., paperback. $20.00
citizenship-cvr.jpgOf all the many books authored by Baptist Greek scholar A. T. Robertson, this is by far the most politically—and contemporaneously—focused and consequently the most dated and now “quaint” (indeed, I am unaware of any other book by Robertson that has any similar focus).

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Book Review: The Yale Edition of the Works of Samuel Johnson

Note: This article is reprinted with permission from As I See It, a monthly electronic magazine compiled and edited by Doug Kutilek. AISI is sent free to all who request it by writing to the editor at
cvr_johnson.jpgThe Yale Edition of the Works of Samuel Johnson, Volume XIV: Sermons, edited by Jean Hagstrum and James Gray. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1978. 354 pp., hardback.

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Interview with Rolland McCune on Systematic Theology

Note: This article has been cross-posted on Andy Naselli’s blog. It appears here verbatim.

Relatively few people agree with every single position taken in any comprehensive systematic theology, but it is valuable to consult a large number and wide variety of systematic theologies in order to understand how others correlate God’s revealed truth. For this (secondary) reason alone, a new multi-volume systematic theology by veteran seminary professor Rolland McCune is definitely worth adding to one’s ST collection.

About Rolland McCune

Rolland McCuneRolland McCune (b. 1934) is former president and current professor of systematic theology at Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary, where he has taught since 1981. He is the author of Promise Unfulfilled: The Failed Strategy of Modern Evangelicalism.

Dr. McCune had a massive influence on me in college and beyond. In my review of Promise Unfulfilled (to which McCune kindly responded), I noted this:

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