- Paperback: 192 pages
- Publisher: Baker Academic; 7th ed. edition (15 Nov. 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0801039908
- ISBN-13: 978-0801039904
- Product Dimensions: 14 x 1.1 x 21.6 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 479,371 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
New Testament Commentary Survey Paperback – 15 Nov 2013
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From the Back Cover
Leading New Testament scholar D. A. Carson provides expert guidance on choosing a commentary for any book of the New Testament. The seventh edition has been updated to assess the most recently published commentaries, providing evaluative comments. The result is a balanced, sensible guide for those who preach and teach the New Testament and need help in choosing the best tools.Praise for Previous Editions
"An incredibly informative and wonderfully fun book. There is an extraordinary amount of information packed into its pages, and the fun comes from considering one's own preferences and then alternately agreeing or disagreeing with Carson's comments. . . . This book will be of continued benefit to theological students."
--Paul Foster, Journal for the Study of the New Testament "The multiplication of commentaries and monographs on individual books of the New Testament, and the difficulty of discerning the wheat from the chaff, makes this book a valuable resource indeed--a must read for the student or pastor who is building his or her library. . . . Carson certainly provides all one needs to arrive at a 'short list' of necessary resources and to be acquainted with the potential pitfalls and strengths of most books that a student might encounter in the course of researching an exegetical paper. This book is highly recommended."
--David A. deSilva, Ashland Theological Journal
"Carson's work is most valuable and his perceptive remarks will serve pastors and students well."
--David S. Dockery, Review and Expositor
"A gold mine of informed judgment. . . . If you have any intention of building up a personal library on the New Testament that is full of tools that are effective in aiding you to understand the meaning of the biblical text, read Carson before you spend your money. You may not always agree with his comments, but you will be helped to make more informed choices."
"[An] eminently useful survey. . . . The author has developed a running narrative approach, which is refreshing and much more readable than the traditional bibliographic method. . . . This work is highly recommended."
--Dennis M. Swanson, Master's Seminary Journal
About the Author
D. A. Carson (PhD, University of Cambridge) is research professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois, and is the author or editor of more than fifty books, including The God Who Is There and How Long, O Lord? He
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The purpose of this book is to help the reader sift through the enormous number of commentaries out there. Carson accomplishes this by introducing you to different commentary series quite exhaustively, ranging from more scholarly and academic works to more devotional works. Carson makes brief suggestions along the way as to the strengths and weaknesses of each series. Carson, as one might expect, definitely leans toward more scholarly commentaries as being helpful, and in several places implicitly criticizes the "poorly trained" pastor (his words).
As a bonus, Carson also gives his thoughts on some other resources on the New Testament, including NT Theologies and Introductions.
The section that I use most often makes up the bulk of Carson's material. I tend to preach through an entire book over the course of several months. Therefore, when I am preparing to begin a new book (most recently James), I consult Carson to see what different commentaries of James offer. I also frequently find Carson's recommendations to be helpful without feeling "judged" if I use a commentary he doesn't recommend. Further, although unabashedly evangelical, Carson still recommends many non-evangelical commentaries. He does frequently note and categorize individual commentaries as conservative, liberal and critical, which is helpful to a point. However, I do wish that Carson had either himself, or with help, better organized his thoughts on individual commentaries. For example, if you look at commentaries on Matthew, there is simply paragraph after paragraph of commentaries mentioned and briefly reviewed without much sense of why Carson is mentioning them in a particular order, or any idea of where to go to find Carson's highest recommendations. For this reason, it is not always a quick reference manual. On the other hand, Tremper Longman's 3rd edition of the corresponding Old Testament survey is neatly organized, but may fall into the trap of too neatly reviewing commentaries. Longman gives up to five stars to each commentary he reviews, and while quite readable and accessible, it becomes tempting to simply look for star ratings rather than evaluate how a commentary will fit your own needs.
I greatly appreciate Carson's work in helping pastors weed through the many commentaries out there. My only complaint is that I wish his reviews were a bit better organized, and therefore more accessible.
There are other commentary guides out there of course, but what makes this one unique among those I have seen is that it is written in a more narrative style. Rather than providing an annotated list, Carson writes in a more narrative style that makes it a pleasure to read (in fact, if you are a nerd like me you could read it more or less straight through). For each book (or group of books like 2 Peter and Jude) he usually mentions the top few commentaries in the first couple paragraphs, often noting how much Greek is necessary to use them, and then lists a plethora of other commentaries that are available. These are often evaluated based on whether they will be of any additional help to a pastor who already has one or two of the best commentaries on that book so that preachers don’t waste money on commentaries that largely repeat the same points made by others.
What makes Carson’s Survey so valuable is his willingness to be direct about the relative worth of each commentary. Many are dismissed as ‘not worth the reader’s time’ or ‘too brief to be of any real help’ while others are said to be ‘worth picking up second hand.’ If Carson thinks a commentary is ‘overrated’ or ‘sadly overlooked,’ he says so. When a normally excellent commentator lays a bad egg Carson notes that too. Imagine standing in a book store with Carson and saying ‘what about that one?’ and getting a pithy one or two sentence response about the book’s merit or demerit. That is what this book is full of.
And that is why this book deserves a place on every pastor’s shelf. Are you really going to decide whether to spend $40 on a commentary based on internet book reviews written by people you don’t know (like me) without finding out what D. A. Carson thinks? I wouldn’t.