Reading this commentary has left me with mixed reactions. It does an excellent job of giving the reader an appreciation of early Jewish culture and the way people of that day viewed the writings of Genesis. Personally, I find this information invaluable. However, I find the book lacking in good solid practical application of the text to the reader in our day and time. At the same time, this volume serves as a very good supplement to the works of other commentaries on the book of Genesis.
For the first time, I am disappointed with a volume in this series. Normally, the NIV Application series can be counted on to help identify the core theological ideas in a passage, and then offer some solid applicational ideas in the "Contemporary Significance" section. But in this volume, although the "Original Meaning" section is solid, I have consistently found Walton's "Bridging Contexts" and "Contemporary Significance" sections to be a stretch. His ideas just don't seem to capture the essense of the passage.
I was extremely disappointed in this commentary. I used it along with 2 others in my recent studies. It gets caught up in creation and eastern gods, and then it flies past Jacob and Joseph. I really got little to nothing from this book. Had this been my first commentary to use studying, I would have never picked up another one.
This is an utterly amazing book! I've been studying for the ministry for years now and have had to read several commentaries on Genesis. This one is the best, hands down. Walton deals with the text as it was written over 3000 years ago and does an excellent job at remaining loyal to the text without putting in his own bias. The other commentaries seemed too interested in defending the young earth view and didn't deal with the book through the eyes of Moses when he wrote it.If you want a book that gets you away from thinking as a 21st century westerner, then this is the book to invest in. You'll get the background material, the historical context, and the original language that you'll need to get a better understanding of the first book of the Bible.