5 Stars Out Of 5
June 17, 2013
The Reformed Expository Commentary is a series that aims to provide a fresh exposition of the Biblical text for today's generation. In the series introduction the series editors (Phil Ryken & Richard Phillips) lay out the four fundamental commitments in this series. They are:
1) To be biblical - that is to pay careful attention to the text and exposit the Scriptures. There is less focus on the original language and structure and more focus on the story that the passage is telling.
2) Unashamedly Doctrinal - this series approaches the text from a Reformed perspective, as found in the Bible.
3) Redemptive-Historical - this means that they believe in the unity and continuity of the Bible, and interpret it in a Christ centered approach for all of Scripture.
4) Practical - by applying the truths found in the Scriptures to contemporary challenges in life.
Now on to aesthetics. This Commentary looks great. While this isn't a huge selling point, and certainly not a reason to chose one commentary over another, I must say that this one looks really nice on the bookshelf, especially when you have more than one in the series.
Richard Phillips is the contributor for the volume on Hebrews and he has done an outstanding job. His exposition is very readable for pastor and layman alike. This commentary, just like others in the series, reads like a book. I found that it flowed together nicely and thus would make a wonderful devotional read. Phillips has a way of making sense of difficult passages of scripture and making them easy to understand for his reader. This truth is clearly seen throughout this commentary. I want to focus on Hebrews 6:4-8 because this is one of the most difficult passages in all of Scripture. Phillips presents three main views of this passage:
1) The view that the "those who have fallen away" speaks of believers. The problem that this view faces is that it contradicts many other passages that speak of eternal security. (John 10:28-29; John 6:36-40; Romans 8:38-39). Also, the conclusion of this passage in Hebrews is one of assurance for those who have trusted in the gospel. For these reasons Phillips rejects this idea.
2) The second view is that the "language describes participation in the sacramental like of the church." This means that those who fall away participate in all the activities that would make one look like a Christian, but they are not and at some point fall away. Phillips says that he is not "hostile" to this view but feels the third view best handles this text.
3) The third view makes the point that the book of Hebrews contains "five major exhortations", with the other four making reference to the Old Testament, this exhortation focusing specifically on the exodus. The main thought being that there were many who received much of God's blessing during the exodus but eventually rebelled from Him.
Phillips closing statement tied the second and third views together well. He states, "This passage describes professors of faith who are within the church community - church members, as we would say today - who experience the benefits of God's blessing in the church without ever personally committing themselves to faith in Christ." This certainly does seem to be the best conclusion from this text when it is read in light of the rest of Scripture.
If you enjoy studying the Word of God and are looking for a solid commentary that is readable and will profit you greatly, then do yourself a favor and purchase this commentary. It is well worth it and would make a wonderful companion to the book of Hebrews.
I received a free copy of this commentary from P&R Publishing in exchange for an honest review.