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the best first corinthians commentary that I have encountered
on September 5, 2006
Several years ago (before Garland's book came out) I did a fairly detailed study over about 6 months on the book of 1 Corinthians. I relied fairly heavily on the commentaries by Thiselton and also by Fee. In the subsequent years, I frequently re-read sections of both commentaries. Recently I wanted to get a more clear understanding of the controversial passages about headcovering and women's silence (in chapters 11 and 14, respectively) so I re-read the relevant portions of both commentaries again. I was pretty unsatisfied with both so I went to the library to see if I could find anything else more insightful. Happily, I encountered Garland's book.
Garland's book was much more helpful than either Thiselton or Fee. It was more lucid, kept the same high level of scholarship, and even touched on application! I continued reading the book and have come to the conclusion that it is the best commentary on 1 Corinthians available, for several reasons:
- It interacts with all the major views of a given position without becoming too bogged down (something that I think happens often with Thiselton). It is still a long book, but substantially shorter than Thiselton's.
- Instead of being merely a commentary on commentaries, Garland tries to persuade the reader of the legimitacy of what the author feels is the correct view. In contrast, you can read many 1 Corinthian commentaries and not even know what the author finally thinks!
- It has excellent scholarship with a good degree of balance. Fee, in contrast, holds to extreme views on the controversial women passages (such as arguing that 1 Corinthians 14:33-34 wasn't even written by Paul!).
- Garland lightly touches on application. While the majority of the book is on exegesis, Garland helpfully states the relevance of his conclusions to church life today. Thiselton does not really do this, which is unfortunate.
- His prose is lucid and sharp.
In summary, I believe that Garland's volume is now the best commentary on 1 Corinthians available. Bravo to Baker for this volume. Hopefully other books in the series will have the same standard of quality.