The Preaching the Word commentary series, published by Crossway, has labeled itself as the commentary written by pastors for pastors, as well as for all who teach or study God's Word. I fall into the "teach or study God's Word" category and will review from this perspective. The commentary is very readable and anyone who is a student of God's Word will find it highly accessible, providing a clear exposition of the 2 Corinthians. It could be a blessing if used in a devotional style (reading a section a day) or simply for reference during personal study. I read it as a devotional and was truly blessed.
The Preaching the Word commentary series is currently going through a revision and the copy that I am reviewing is the new revision. I am not familiar with the old so I cannot compare the two, but I will attempt to communicate the layout and look of this edition. Ascetically speaking the commentary is very simple, a white dust jacket with minimal design, but it looks nice and stands out on a shelf filled with mostly colorful commentaries. Once, inside the reader will find a table of contents, showing the titles for each chapter, as this is how the commentary is divided. One thing I did notice is the lack of thorough introduction to the book. Most commentaries will give an introduction to the book, providing the layout of the book, the authorship, a historical introduction, etc. This commentary does not provide that. Instead it opts to go straight to the exposition of the text. I do not feel negatively about this format, I am only presenting it because if you are looking for a more technical commentary this is not for you.
This commentary proves itself over and over to be highly practical. R. Kent Hughes writes with the wisdom, knowledge and heart of a seasoned pastor. I was blessed by his treatment of 2 Corinthians 4:7-12. In helping the reader understand Paul's point about God's power being made perfect in weakness, Hughes states, "he (Paul) teaches that we embrace our weakness, God fills us with his power so that his power is manifested through us. We do not become powerful. We remain weak. We do no grow in power. We grow in weakness. We go from weakness to weakness, which is to remain vessels of his power- ever weak and ever strong." In our culture it is common to think of personal strength as pulling one's self up by his bootstraps, and moving forward. Here Hughes communicates Paul's point wonderfully: in Christianity we press forward through the power of Christ, not our own power. He continues, "It wasn't that Paul in each case (referring to 2 Cor. 4:8-9) reached down into his soul, sucked it up, and became the man. It was never his strength. It was God's. Paul's weakness was the occasion for God's power. Paul remained an earthen pot, and a cracked pot at that, as his crumbling flesh allowed the power of God to shine so brightly." Statements like these will no doubt send the reader away praising God, which is a wonderful fruit of any Bible study. This commentary is a wonderful addition to my library. I highly recommend this to pastors and lay people alike.
Note: I received a free copy of this book from Crossway in exchange for an honest review.