Exalting Jesus in 1 &2 Samuel is the newest release for B&H Publishing’s Christ-Centered Exposition Commentary series. Written by Heath Thomas (Dean of Herschel H. Hobbs College of Theology and Ministry) and J.D. Greear (Pastor of Summit Church in Raleigh, NC), they have taken on the task of writing a commentary focused on the gospel’s presence throughout all of scripture.
There are a few distinctions about this commentary compared to others that I enjoyed. First, though this is an expositional commentary, the authors hold firmly to sound exegesis. I am hardly a Hebrew scholar, so I am not in any position to critique how accurately they do this. However, from what I’ve observed, there are no red flags indicating any exegetical fallacy from their interpretation of the text. Secondly, this is very teacher/pastor focused. Granted, this is not the first commentary to bridge the gap between scholars and small group leaders, but but is still unique nonetheless. Compared to Goldingay’s Old Testament for Everyone series, this commentary is very structured and provides more teaching/preaching examples. The price is roughly the same as those volumes as well ($14.99) which wins the favor of the penny pincher compared to the NIV Application Commentary as well. These observations alone lean my budget towards this series for future purchases.
Each chapter starts with a main idea for the verses to follow. For example, the main idea for 2 Samuel 7 reads, “The Davidic covenant reveals that Yahweh has blessed David to be a blessing; those who bless him will be blessed, and those who curse him will be cursed” (192). Following is an outline, where the outline’s points/subpoints are highlighted by illustrations from the author(s) to assist with their comment. The chapter concludes with points of reflection and a few discussion questions, being a useful tool for both the pastor and small group leader.
Many people ignore the Old Testament today, myself included. Unfortunately, this negligence is a huge contributor to why Manu are turned away from the Christian faith entirely. Some will look at the Old Testament as God being the “angry God” and the New Testament is when he finally came comes to his senses (Isa 63-65); as if the cross were the perscription for relentless temper tantrums. Others look at the Old Testament and see it as the first written account where science is ignored (Gen 1-3). How about king David’s justification to steal a man’s wife as long as you take him out of the picture (2 Sam 11)? All of these are examples that have been known to turn people away from reading the Old Testament, all of which I have heard over the years. However, this is all the more reason on why it shouldn’t be ignored, and this commentary series is just one tool that will help anyone struggling with issues like these. Many think because Jesus is not in the Old Testament that it serves no purpose to them today, but this commentary specifically will help snuff out that notion. The Bible tells one story, and this story is one of redemption that points to Jesus Christ.
All in all I found this book excellent. The OT historical books have always intimidated me. Partly because I feel I have been looking for a good “starter” book on the OT historical books, and haven’t yet found one that was both credible and affordable. I think this is an excellent choice.
Disclaimer: I received this review copy of the book from B&H in exchange for an honest review. The views expressed were not influenced by their provision of such