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1 & 2 Kings (Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible) Hardcover – November 1, 2006

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Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

Praise for the Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible

"The Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible makes a most welcome contribution to the church, the academic world, and the general public at large. By enlisting a wide range of Protestant, Catholic, and Orthodox theologians who differ on much, but who agree on the truth of the Nicene Creed, the series also represents ecumenical activity of the very best kind. It is always a daunting challenge to expound the church's sacred book both simply and deeply, but this impressive line-up of authors is very well situated for the attempt."--Mark A. Noll, University of Notre Dame

"Preachers and teachers in particular, but thoughtful Christians more generally, have long lamented the slide of biblical scholarship into hyper-specialized critical studies of ancient texts in remote historical context. It is no wonder, therefore, that the Brazos Theological Commentary is being so warmly welcomed. The outstanding array of authors, beginning with Jaroslav Pelikan's splendid commentary on the Acts of the Apostles, are, at long last, reclaiming the Bible as the book of the living community of faith that is the church."--Richard John Neuhaus, editor in chief, First Things

"What a splendid idea! Many preachers have been longing for more commentaries that are not only exegetical but theological in the best sense: arising out of the conviction that God, through his Word, still speaks in our time. For those of us who take our copies of Martin Luther's Galatians and Karl Barth's Romans from the shelves on a regular basis, this new series in that tradition promises renewed vigor for preaching, and therefore for the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church in our time."--Fleming Rutledge, author of The Bible and The New York Times and The Seven Last Words from the Cross

"This new series places the accent on 'theological' and reflects current interpretive ferment marked by growing resistance to the historical-critical project. With a focus on the theological tradition, this series holds the promise of asking interpretive questions that are deeply grounded in the primal claims of faith. The rich promise of the series is indicated by the stature and erudition of the commentators."--Walter Brueggemann, Columbia Theological Seminary

"The Brazos Theological Commentary exists to provide an accessible authority so that the preacher's application will be a ready bandage for all the hurts of life. We who serve the pulpit want a commentary we can understand, and those who hear us expect us to give them a usable word. The Brazos Commentary is just the right level of light to make illuminating the word the joy it was meant to be."--Calvin Miller, author of A Hunger for the Holy and Loving God Up Close

Projected volumes in the Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible include:

John Behr (St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary) on Exodus

Telford Work (Westmont College) on Deuteronomy

Stephen Fowl (Loyola College, Maryland) and Samuel Wells (Duke University) on Ruth & Esther

Ellen Charry (Princeton Theological Seminary) and Anne Astell (Purdue University) on Psalms

Paul Griffiths (University of Illinois at Chicago) on Song of Songs

Kevin Vanhoozer (Trinity Evangelical Divinity School) on Jeremiah

Robert Jenson (Center of Theological Inquiry) on Ezekiel

Stanley Hauerwas (Duke University) on Matthew

David Lyle Jeffrey (Baylor University) on Luke

Bernd Wannenwetsch (Oxford University) on 1 & 2 Corinthians

Kathryn Greene-McCreight (Yale University Divinity School) on Galatians

John Webster (King's College, Aberdeen) on Ephesians

George Hunsinger (Princeton University) on Philippians

Christopher Seitz (University of St. Andrews) on Colossians

Douglas Farrow (McGill University) on 1 & 2 Thessalonians

David Hart (University of Virginia) on Hebrews

Timothy George (Beeson Divinity School, Samford University) on James

Geoffrey Wainwright (Duke University) on Revelation

From the Back Cover

"Leithart's theological conclusions about the book of Kings are diverse and interesting. He demonstrates a breadth of reading and knowledge of theological matters and brings that knowledge to bear upon the book of Kings. . . . For the biblical scholar, this volume is a fitting reminder that the text should be read holistically and theologically. . . . For the pastor, Leithart's commentary provides a succinct summary of each chapter or section that is most helpful in preaching through the book. For the theologian, Leithart shows how even the book of Kings makes weighty theological statements based upon a text-imminent, Christian reading of the book. Moreover, for all, it is a delightful read."
--Randall L. McKinion, Review of Biblical Literature

"Both content and structure contribute to the value of the commentary for sermon preparation and lay use. Chief among the distinguishing features of Leithart's work is the way he travels from the text to multiple disciplines that benefit from the narrative theology described therein. . . . [Leithart's] aspiration of bringing the OT to the church as an ongoing source of revelation is refreshing. In a discipline felt by many to have become increasingly distant from the church, theology, and even exegesis, biblical studies is in need of 'reform.' Like Elijah, Leithart attempts to address the problem from within, rather than casting aspersions from a distance. For this, as well as for his engaging style and challenging observations, his contribution is welcome."
--Amber Warhurst, Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society

"Leithart's work [is] stimulating in its unabashedly theological interpretive stance. Such a starting point for the exegetical task inquires differently of the text and renders fresh applications and observations. The two disciplines of biblical and theological studies can only benefit from cross-disciplinary engagement and, certainly, Leithart demonstrates that both disciplines can be used critically and in service of the Church."
--Lissa M. Wray Beal, Toronto Journal of Theology

"[Leithart's] introduction, '1-2 Kings as Gospel,' is well worth reading and will be a great help in preparing to preach through these books, which are not often chosen for expository series. This commentary will be a great supplement to other tools when preaching in 1-2 Kings."

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Product Details

  • Series: Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible
  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Brazos Press (November 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1587431254
  • ISBN-13: 978-1587431258
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #837,348 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

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Peter Leithart's 1 & 2 King's is required reading for anyone wishing to understand the theological underpinnings of these two books. It divides the entire text of both books into sections. While Leithart explores certain themes, he does not treat the books piecemeal the way Pelikan does Acts in the series' first installment. The end result is a more complete, user-friendly commentary. I certainly hope that Leithart's format is used for subsequent volumes in the series. Its greatest strength is its Christological interpretations. The introduction to reading 1 & 2 Kings from a Christian perspective which begins this commentary is excellent, setting the tone for the rest of the book. It doesn't leave readers stranded in the Old Testament era, but helps them better understand what 1 & 2 Kings means in light of Christ by relating each section to the New Testament. This commentary will appeal particularly to Reformed Christians, since it serves as an excellent exercise in redemptive-historical interpretation and covenant theology, which are two mainstays within that tradition. Leithart's excursions into theology, Church history, literature, typology, and even some current trends within the Church today provide excellent guidance for those who struggle with how to preach or teach these sometimes difficult texts. While the Brazos Theological Commentary is ecumenical in its intention, its editors do not force contributors to hide their theological convictions to the point where volumes in the series have no substance, which is very commendable on their part. Leithart's commentary is written unabashedly from a Reformed perspective, discussing doctrinal disagreements with Roman Catholicism in a friendly tone that seeks genuine reconciliation between the two camps rather than division.Read more ›
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Peter Leithart's study of 1 & 2 Kings is the third installment in Brazos's projected forty-volume series of theological commentaries on the Bible. Jaroslav Pelikan led the series with a masterful study of the book of Acts (2005), Matthew Levering explored Ezra and Nehemiah (2007), and Stanley Hauerwas of Duke University tackled the gospel of Matthew (2007). With a PhD from Cambridge and extensive pastoral experience at Trinity Reformed Church in Idaho, Leithart made me feel like I was enjoying the best of academic scholarship, linguistic analysis, literary insights, historical reflections, and thoughtful applications to contemporary Christian discipleship.

1 & 2 Kings begins with Solomon's ascension to power and ends with Judah's banishment to Babylon, which means that Leithart makes a panoramic sweep of roughly 400 years of salvation history in Israel. For him this story of the politics of God and the politics of humanity is not merely historical, prophetic, or sapiental (as a type of wisdom literature), which it is, but rather and especially it is a "gospel text" that has practical applications to our ecclesial experiences today. There is the inseparable interplay between a king's private life and his public office. Idolatry, of course, looms large in these stories, especially the "guns, gold, and girls" of Solomon. The partition of Israel and Judah is redolent with applications for post-Reformation divisions in the church and the nature of genuine ecumenicity. There's the prominent role of "outsiders" like the Gentile Naaman among the "insider" elect Israel. The providence of God over the history of humanity is a major theme in this "court history" of Israel's kings.
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Run! Don't Walk! To any commentary that Peter Leithart writes on a book of the Old Testament and buy it immediately. You won't be disappointed. His insights into past and future typology are incredible and he has the great ability to focus the reader on each pericope's trajectory toward Christ. Quite often Leithart directs his audience from basic story to the Gospel in just a few short paragraphs. And his writing style is easy to follow and very compelling. I thought preaching through 1&2 Samuel and 1&2 Kings was going to be horribly difficult at times, but with Leithart's insights, it has been a real joy. I highly recommend this commentary to all Pastors and teachers.
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Format: Hardcover
Death and Resurrection.

Leithart employs intricate typologies to show Israel/Judah undergoes a death and resurrection in this narrative, pointing to the death and Resurrection of One who will be the New Israel.

Whether people like it or not, and granted that it can be overdone, typology is becoming the norm in biblical studies in all traditions (post Liberal, Reformed, and Catholic). And so it is common to see how, for example, David typifies Christ. However, there are intra-textual types as well, showing how later Israelite kings are antitypes of David and Solomon.

Pros of the Book:
The writing is typical Leithart: masterful. Leithart has also successfully interacted with the best of modern biblical, theological, and ethical scholarship. He is the most underappreciated Reformed writer. His interactions with Aquinas O'Donovan, and Milbank provided for stimulating ethical reflections and the book leaves us hanging with the hope for a renewed Christendom. I mean, really, if anyone can successfully interact and dialogue with John Milbank and Oliver O'Donovan, they automatically deserve our respect.

This book cannot easily be translated into aids for sermon prep. He doesn't do verse by verse exposition, but rather "text by text." While that is more faithful to the "flow of the passage," most congregations do not let you preach from two or three chapters at a time
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