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1 Timothy (Reformed Expository Commentary) Hardcover – June 1, 2007
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"An outstanding provision for pastors engaged in regular pulpit ministry. Those of us who regularly preach need commentaries that provide the best biblical scholarship and also understand the challenges of today's pastorate. The Reformed Expository Commentary series, prepared by Reformed preachers of great scholarly ability, ably speaks to both needs." --Bryan Chapell
"Following on from his Galatians volume, Phil Ryken provides us with another cornucopia of insight and knowledge. Few portions of the Scripture affect the way we understand what the church in the twenty-first century should look like more than does 1 Timothy, and few contemporary guides could better guide us through these issues than Phil Ryken. This volume signals preaching and teaching at its very best, a model for all preachers in our time." --Derek W. H. Thomas
"Here is exposition modeled by pastors with scholarly gifts and by scholars with pastors' hearts. Exegetical and theological reliability, redemptive historical sensitivity, a Christ-centered focus, and contemporary practical application -- these are the promised hallmarks of the series. May it serve as a model to encourage and enthuse a new generation to love the Word of God and to rediscover the life-transforming power of expository preaching!" --Sinclair Ferguson, First Presbyterian Church, Columbia, SC
About the Author
Philip Graham Ryken is president of Wheaton College. He is Bible teacher for the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals, speaking nationally on the radio program Every Last Word. Dr. Ryken was educated at Wheaton College, Westminster Theological Seminary, and the University of Oxford, where he received his doctorate in historical theology. He and his wife, Lisa, have five children.
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1) To be biblical - that is to pay careful attention to the text and exposit the Scriptures. There is less focus on the original language and structure and more focus on the story that the passage is telling.
2) Unashamedly Doctrinal - this series approaches the text from a Reformed perspective, as found in the Bible.
3) Redemptive-Historical - this means that they believe in the unity and continuity of the Bible, and interpret it in a Christ centered approach for all of Scripture.
4) Practical - by applying the truths found in the Scriptures to contemporary challenges in life.
Just a brief comment on aesthetics. This Commentary also looks great. While this isn't a huge selling point, and certainly not a reason to chose one commentary over another, I must say that this one looks really nice on the bookshelf, especially when you have more than one in the series.
Philip Graham Ryken is the contributor for the volume on 1 Timothy and I was thoroughly blessed by his contribution. His exposition is very readable for pastor and layman alike. This commentary, just like others in the series, reads like a book. I think it would be wonderful for sermon preparation, personal study or as a devotional read. His work is very helpful in understanding Paul's first letter to Timothy. His thoughts on the qualifications for Elders and Deacons are very clear. When focusing on the qualifications of elders, Ryken divides his thoughts into five sections: The Elder's Morals, The Elder's Duties, The Elder's Family, The Elder's Experience, and The Elder's Reputation. These sections provide the reader with a clear and focused walkthrough of 1 Timothy 3:1-7. Ryken tackles the section on deacons in the same way, focusing on: A Dignified Life, A Sound Doctrine, and A Stable Family. Ryken provides a clear look at the qualifications for these two offices, something that is highly beneficial for the church today.
Perhaps the most difficult passage in 1 Timothy is 2:11-15. In this section, which covers the role of women in the church, Ryken proves his worth with valuable pastoral insight. He mentions five dangers that can accompany our interpretation of this passage. They are: the danger of controversy, the danger of letting culture overrule Scripture, the danger of allowing church history to dictate how Scripture should be applied, the danger of allowing personal opinion to distort our understanding of Scripture and the difficulty with some of the words in the text. Laying out these danger upfront is a key to properly working our way through this passage. We all have presuppositions and if we are not aware of them we can skew the meaning of a passage. One of the controversial sections of this text is "let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness." While in the 21st century many people get bent out of shape by the words quiet and submission Ryken helps us to view this through Paul's lens. In the Roman and Jewish world of Paul's day woman were considered intellectually inferior, so the thought of a woman learning alongside the men completely goes against "conventional stereotypes." What Paul is actually saying is that the church needs to let woman learn, something that didn't happen much in that society. The words quiet and submissive are words that describe how she should learn. If someone wants to learn from of a teacher they must first be quiet so that they can hear what the teacher is saying and second, they must respect the teachers opinion and submit to it. Far from being degrading towards women, these words actually place women in the same learning position as all non-teaching men in the church.
Ryken continues into the next difficult section of words which state that women are not to teach or exercise authority over a man. Ryken rightly states that this refers to, "the exposition of Scripture in the official teaching of sound doctrine - the fundamentals of the faith....What the Holy Spirit does not permit women to do is to transmit apostolic doctrine publicly and officially." Ryken also deals with some objections and shows that these truths are clear in Scripture, and that this order "goes all the way back to the creation of the world." We must be aware of the dangers listed above and not let our opinions and thoughts mingle with God's. Ryken's closing words here are beneficial. "Perhaps this is the best place to emphasize that beyond this one biblical restriction, women are at liberty to use their spiritual gifts to their fullest extent." I was tremendously blessed by Ryken's work in this section, which is probably the best concise work I have read on it to date.
If you enjoy studying the Word of God and are looking for a solid commentary that is readable and will profit you greatly, then do yourself a favor and purchase this commentary. It is well worth it and would make a wonderful companion to the book of 1 Timothy.
I received a free copy of this commentary from P&R Publishing in exchange for an honest review.
My not holding to Reformed or Covenant Theology, especially accounted for my hesitation. However, there was no reason to fear. This is simply the best commentary I have ever read. Not having (yet) read any of the other commentaries in the series, I can't vouch for the editors' goal of each commentary in the series being accessible to both pastors and lay readers, but this one certainly is. Ryken does a masterful job of getting the point across in a nontechnical, yet scholarly way. His experience as a pastor made him particularly suited to write this commentary. He had a way of getting into Paul, Timothy and my head.
If you want a better understanding of First Timothy, buy this commentary.