5 Stars Out Of 5
April 8, 2011
This book was given to me unsolicited by the publisher, EP Books, and I chose to review it. I had previously reviewed How to Enjoy Your Bible by this publisher.
This commentary is an exposition of the last three books of the Bible. It aims to interpret the Bible text section by section as opposed to verse by verse exegesis. At the end of each chapter is an Application section that deals with how the previous portion of Scripture applies to us today and how it points to Christ and the New Testament.
You will find that the theology is solidly evangelical and Reformed, the latter especially showing up in the Application section. If you aren't familiar with that term, I don't think it will be of major significance.
This popular level book is useful for pastors and laypeople who want to gain a better understanding of these three books of Scripture.
The author provides his own translation of these texts, however in the exposition, Hebrew words are mentioned sparingly but in a helpful and understandable way.
Why are these books important to study? "Gospel writers quote Zechariah 9 - 14 more often than any other biblical source in explaining Christ's sufferings and death." (pg 11) The commentary helps clarify many of the obscurities of the visions in Zechariah. Also, "The fundamental theological context of these books is the return from exile,". The commentary helps bring into perspective this relatively small portion of history with equally â€˜small' but significant events.
I enjoyed reading this succinct 255 page book. Though it doesn't go as in-depth as a more thorough and technical commentary, there weren't any major questions left unanswered for me. I didn't feel a need to to go another source for more information, although I wasn't preparing a sermon or studying deeply.
The earlier mentioned Application section is very helpful. I felt these sections may have been a bit longer than necessary and stretching some things a little far. I wouldn't have minded a little more content in the expositional portions, but that may be more of a preference than a criticism.
There are the dreaded endnotes instead of footnotes. If you want to look up a reference, to the back of the book you go.
One of the reasons I like reading good expositions like this of the Old Testament is that in almost any section, things learned help to understand other portions of the Old Testament. This is the case over and over again with this book. Whether it's history, feasts, symbols, Christology, references to passages in other books or any number of topics, this commentary will help you not only with these three unsung but important books of the Bible, but will help you understand the whole Old Testament at least a little bit better.
I highly recommend it.