Robert Stein has written a quality volume for the New American Commentary series. I have long felt that the NAC series is a top choice for pastors in terms of content and price. Though the volumes are slightly shorter than some of the other exegetical commentary series, the help these volumes provide is still top-notch. This volume on Luke is one of the better volumes in the series.
The Introduction is succinct, power packed, and covers an amazing amount of information in its pages. In just a few pages he covers the authorship of Luke by examining internal evidence, church tradition, and the we sections and, to my mind, unanswerably proves that Luke was the author. He surveys well the various opinions on the date of Luke. He reminds us that Acts was never intended to be either Paul or Peters biography, but sought to tell the story of taking the gospel to the world. Though such things are highly suspect to me, he covers scholarly opinion on the sources of Luke. Though he finds outlines rather arbitrary, he provided a good one.
I fully agree with his conclusion that the purposes of Luke ought not be pigeonholed into a single purpose. He explains what he believes to be the four main purposes of Luke and provides a great deal of detail in explaining his case. I thought it was effective. His section on the theological emphases in Luke was also highly suggestive. By the time you get to the fine map that ends the Introduction, you may feel as I did that it was the kind of Introduction that really helps a pastor.
I found help in the many passages I reviewed in this volume. He was never trite, and he provides real assistance to one who preaches the Gospel of Luke. I highly recommend this volume to all my fellow pastors out there. You wont be disappointed.
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Robert Steins NAC commentary on Luke is a real disappointment. I have really enjoyed several other commentaries in this series (especially Douglas Stuart on Exodus and Craig Blomberg on Matthew) but Steins is different. He approaches the text as if it was not truly inspired by God but instead was a document that Luke wrote and edited primarily on his own. Here are a few specifics from the book.
1. Stein admits in the introduction (p. 57) that he is committed to redaction criticism sometimes called "composition criticism.
2. Stein states (p. 57, footnote 94) that a commentary on Luke should not have as its primary goal the mining of the Lukan Gospel in order to discoverexactly what happened. I would argue the opposite. The studying of the text to understand what happened and what is taught is exactly what we should be doing.
3. Stein denies that Jesus is all-knowing when Jesus displayed his ability to know what others were thinking. On p. 177 regarding 5:22 Stein states, Jesus awareness of the scribes thoughts need not imply a divine omniscience.
4. Stein claims that Luke chose certain words just to fit the story and thus implies they may not be factual. On p. 543 regarding 18:15 Stein writes, Luke, following the Markan account, used little children everywhere else in this account but here. Perhaps the verb were bringing caused him to use the term at this point, since babies would have been carried to Jesus where little children would have been led. Conversely, I would suggest that the people really were bringing babies (brephe) to Jesus and then Jesus really did, in verse 16, command that the children (paidia) come to him. Children indicates a wider age range that Jesus called to himself.
Steins commentary lacks solid conservative exegesis. I would recommend instead The Expositors Bible Commentary Volume 8 (Luke by Walter Liefeld) or for a more thorough work the NICNT on Luke by Joel Green. Both are trusted evangelical works.
I have been purchasing the New American Commentary Series one at a time for a few months. Luke was the first that I purchased and I love this commentary and all of the others that I have so far as well! This commentary is perfect for aide in sermon preparation. As pastoral as the NIV Application commentaries but not as devotional. Packed with literary contents but not overly technical. This commentary set is perfect for the educated pastor looking for help researching for solid sermons with application or for the lay teacher (Bible study perhaps) looking to get deeply immersed in serious study of the passage with solid links to practical application.