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The Letter to the Hebrews (The Pillar New Testament Commentary (PNTC)) Hardcover – February 22, 2010
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— (from editor's preface)
"It would be difficult to find a more helpful guide than Peter O'Brien or a guide better endowed with his combination of competence and genial wisdom."
— Moore Theological College
"Peter O'Brien has produced an engaging new commentary on Hebrews that will be of particular benefit to preachers, teachers, and students. Using insights from discourse analysis, he explains how shifts in the argument take place and clarifies the way exposition and exhortation function together to achieve the author's aim. Although there are detailed discussions of technical matters at critical points, these do not disturb the flow of the commentary."
— University of Aberdeen
"O'Brien's commentary on the letter to the Hebrews is a balanced and comprehensive assessment of current work on the epistle, together with many fresh insights. The text of the commentary is clear, both in detail and in its general structure. . . I cannot commend this work too highly."
— Union University
"For careful scholarship and clear thinking there are very few commentary writers I respect more than Peter O'Brien, and his commentary on Hebrews does not disappoint. Masterfully interfacing with recent scholarship, O'Brien time and again plunges into the discussion of difficult passages with spot-on exegesis, lucidly explaining both the intent and the implications of the author's words. Due to a noticeable upturn in Hebrews research over the past two decades, the church has been blessed with many fine commentaries on this most enigmatic of New Testament books. Yet pastors are sure to embrace this particular commentary as theologically rich, consistently edifying, and singularly useful. I gladly recommend it."
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Top Customer Reviews
Serious readers of the letter have always recognized the powerful effect of its carefully crafted discourse. They have also grappled with the implications of its theologically complex message. With his contribution to the Pillar New Testament Commentary series on The Letter to the Hebrews, Peter O'Brien takes his place in this long line of interpreters. Research fellow at Moore Theological College in Sydney, Australia, O'Brien is a well-established figure in the world of New Testament studies.
As with most commentaries, O'Brien begins with a brief overview of the introductory issues (1-43). O'Brien holds that the author of Hebrews was a prominent leader among the churches and a competent exegete exceedingly familiar with the Old Testament Scriptures. The letter was most likely written in the mid first century to Jewish Christians located in Rome and in danger of returning to some form of Judaism. As a "word of exhortation," Hebrews takes the form of a written sermon meant to be "read aloud again and again" (22). The many sermonic qualities of the text such as the use of the first person, the language of speaking and hearing, and the intimacy of the discourse confirm this observation.
Accordingly, the structure of the book reflects this "complex interplay between exposition and exhortation" that runs throughout, with "major turning points" at 4:14-16 and 10:19-25 and central theological exposition in chapters 5:1-10:18 (34). Theologically, Hebrews stands within the mainstream of early Christian tradition but also contributes its own distinctive developments.Read more ›
Peter O'Brien's commentary on Hebrews helps us do that. He writes with a scholars sharp thinking and a pastor's heart. He understands that this isn't just an academic exercise, he is offering a guide to aid men in the proclamation of God's Word to his people. There is more at stake than scholastic street cred.
Most importantly, for a commentary on Hebrews sensitive to pastoral concerns, he deals generously and carefully with the infamous warning passages. As he explores the text he clearly explains the constructions and the available options. Whether everyone will be convinced of his conclusions is not the ultimate value of O'Brien's commentary. Instead, he shows how we can be gracious and careful in our Bible study. This is a model that we can all follow and benefit from.
This is a welcome addition to any pastor's library. O'Brien's careful exegesis will help any minister or bible study leader as they lead their people through this beautiful and powerful book of the NT.
NOTE: In accordance with the regulations of the Federal Trade Commission I would like to state that I received a complementary copy of the aforementioned text for the purposes of review. I was not required to furnish a positive review.
What I think stands out the most to me about O'Brien is that he is "readable". Especially when you're reading a commentary out-loud for devotional purposes, you want something that keeps your attention and if you find the text getting sidetracked in academic disputes, you want for it to be a dispute that actually matters.
This book has everything you'd expect from the Pillar series. A footnote every other sentence - often summarizing large bodies of work. And an eye towards biblical theology, which is always nice.
Some of the other reviewers (particularly the "readable and rigorous" one) have better, more professional reviews of the book, but I thought I'd explain the things I liked about the commentary and the things I didn't like.
Things I liked:
- Orthodox: Goes without saying for the pillar series, but I thought I'd mention it as top on the list.
- Brevity: Again, this means more if you're reading the commentary out-loud than if you're using it as a reference. But O'Brien keeps it simple. He doesn't waste words.
- Robustness: As you'd expect, O'Brien doesn't put it on paper unless he's thought about it a lot. The words in this book have clearly gone through the filter of spending years in his brain and being discussed at the university with students, and other colleagues.
- Sympathy: Definitely not the best word to describe this.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Very good treatment of Hebrews. I got a little bogged down with some of his lengthy Greek syntax explanations. A Greek scholar I am not.Published 28 days ago by R. Stacey Watts
I love the Pillar Series. Each volume contains great insight into the passage, but you don't have to know Greek or big fancy theological terms to understand it. Read morePublished 5 months ago by JCAMZ
Peter O'Brien is a top notch NT scholar who has also written one of the best commentaries on Philippians in the NIGTC, as well as the volume on Ephesians in the Pillar series, and... Read morePublished 7 months ago by Zachary G.
I gained some good insights. I will refer to it in the future, too.Published 8 months ago by Melissa
Very good commentary. Academic and scholarly but also very practical for sermon prep.Published 11 months ago by Amazon Customer
I love the interlacing of sound and current exegetical work with theological discussion as well as practical insights for life. Very good for students, pastors and scholars alike.Published 16 months ago by Dunedain of Mirkwood