Commentaries of two sorts are available today:

1. Those that spend more than half the space allotted to them discussing introductory matters rather than commentating on the text of the Bible itself. These contain long (usually non-conclusive) discussions of various authors who, themselves, have written commentaries on the same order. To try to obtain helpful material from these introductions is like looking for a broken needle in the proverbial haystack. If you could find a broomstick—forget the half of the needle—you’re doing good. Then, in what little space is left there is commentary on the text. This material mostly states the obvious—not the help that the reader is searching for—or, similar to the introduction, lengthy discussions of learned nonsense by the author concerning the views of others, most of whom you have met in the introductory material. A good sprinkling of liberal, neo-orthodox or postmodern writers has been made to establish the commentator’s familiarity with the “learned scholarship” of the day! This practice also establishes him as a “learned scholar.”

2. The other sort of commentary is like the older sort—it spends most of the time commentating on the text. The introductory materials are slim, to the point and helpful. The material in the text actually attempts to solve many of the problems that a preacher picked it up in order to help him do so. There aren’t many of new type 2 commentaries available today. That is one reason why I was startled to find a 1154 page type 2 commentary by Grant Osborne, published by Zondervan, and have been enjoying reading through it. Granted, he has a minimum of so-called scholarly “sprinklings” here and there, but they are mainly in footnotes, and he doesn’t waste the reader’s time with having to plow through them in the text itself. This is a big book; so far (I’m about half-way through), it has been useful, informative and a pleasure to use. I predict that I will turn to it again and again in the future. He actually attacks most of the difficult matters! He isn’t a preterist of any sort, so he misinterprets much of the Olivet Discourse and kindred passages on the kingdom, but not so much so that there is nothing worthwhile there. Much of what he says about the kingdom can be helpfully adapted to a proper view of the events surrounding 70AD. I hope that the rest of the volumes in this new series will be on the same order. I look forward to them. Hurray for Zondervan and Osborne!

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