- Paperback: 160 pages
- Publisher: Baker Academic; 6 edition (January 1, 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0801031249
- ISBN-13: 978-0801031243
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.4 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 9.3 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
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New Testament Commentary Survey 6th Edition
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From the Back Cover
Serious students of the Bible want to know which resources are most valuable to add to their growing libraries. With an abundance of available tools, students often turn to trusted professors for advice. This book provides such advice from D. A. Carson, one of the most highly respected evangelical New Testament scholars.
Reviews of previous editions:
"Carson's work is most valuable and his perceptive remarks will serve pastors and students well."
-David S. Dockery, Review and Expositor
"This invaluable little book will find a valued place on the shelves of all those who regularly read and/or buy commentaries . . . as a resource this is unmatched."
-Peter M. Head, Churchman
"I recommend this bibliographic essay highly. Readers of differing theological orientation will still find this a helpful list to put into the hands of students and pastors."
-Edgar Krentz, Currents in Theology and Mission
About the Author
D. A. Carson (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is research professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. He has served as a pastor and is the author or editor of more than forty books.
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Top customer reviews
While Carson makes it clear that what is "best" among commentaries "can vary from reader to reader, and that it depends . . . on what kind of information a reader is looking for" , his sometimes humorous, often caustic, and always helpful critiques of modern commentaries reflects his belief that "the dominant need is to understand meanings accurately" . His own skill as seasoned exegete of Scripture and his concern for exegetical precision makes this critique of commentaries invaluable.
The book is divided into four sections, the first of which contains "Introductory Notes," in which Carson discusses the need for different types of commentary, followed by brief comments on the merits and demerits of various series of commentaries (comments on individual volumes are in section three), one-volume multi-author commentaries (his highest recommendation being IVP's New Bible Commentary), older commentaries (Lightfoot, Calvin, and Henry are all mentioned positively, with a recommendation that Geoffrey Wilson's Digest of Reformed Comment series published by Banner of Truth be used "in conjunction with major exegetical works" ), and one-author sets.
Section two looks very briefly at volumes dealing with New Testament Introduction and New Testament Theology. "Pride of place must go to the mammoth work by Donald Guthrie," according to Carson , though he also mentions many others.
Section three is really the meat of the book, in which individual commentaries of every New Testament book are discussed. Carson's method is very helpful and easy to follow. He invariably begins by discussing the most helpful technical commentaries available, pointing out their strengths and weaknesses. Less helpful titles are mentioned briefly, often with strong (and, not unlike Spurgeon, sometimes quite humorous) criticism. Mid-level commentaries are then critiqued, while popular commentaries and sermonic expositions are discussed last. Carson always writes with the preaching pastor in mind and frequently points out factors which will make any given commentary of greater or lesser use in sermon preparation. Section four is a two-page list of "best buys," commentaries that Carson thinks will give you the most out of your money.
Perhaps it would be helpful to give a short digest of Carson's highest recommendations. Among commentaries on Matthew, Carson says that "pride of place should go to the new ICC commentary by W. D. Davies and Dale C. Allison" . Craig Blomberg, Craig Keener, Leon Morris, and R. T. France also receive positive comments, and I can personally attest that Carson himself (in the EBC) has written a very reliable and useful commentary on this gospel. Among mid-level commentaries, Hendriksen is said to be "a useful, if stodgy, guide for the preacher who will wade through" .
On the Gospel of Mark, Carson recommends William Lane's contribution to the NICNT and C. E. B. Cranfield, among others. Among sermonic expositions, R. Kent Hughes receives very positive comments. In fact, Carson generally seems to favor Hughes over either MacArthur or Boice. Carson recommends Darrell L. Bock's two volumes in the BECNT on the gospel of Luke. Leon Morris in the Tyndale series is also mentioned positively, as is Hughes (once again), and Fred Craddock, who Carson says is interesting because he is "a fine homiletician" .
The fourth gospel, John, "has been well served . . . during the last half century," says Carson . His top choice for commentaries on the Greek text is C. K. Barrett. Once more, Leon Morris is praised. Carson, himself, has also written a substantial work on this gospel, but with unaffected humility and a touch of dry wit, he says: "Carson's work is rather more difficult for me to assess" ! On the popular level, F. F. Bruce is highly recommended, along with Bruce Milne in the BST (a series Carson obviously favors). Regarding Acts, C. K. Barrett gets high marks in the technical realm, John Stott in the popular. (I've read the Stott commentary and it is excellent!) Other mentions include Ben Witherington III, I. Howard Marshall, and Richard Longenecker.
There have probably been more commentaries written on Romans than any other New Testament book. Carson devotes six pages to surveying the best that is out there, of which "probably the best . . . in English is the work of Douglas J. Moo"  in the NICNT. Moo is recommended over Thomas Schreiner, Charles Cranfield, and James Dunn. Joseph Fitzmyer, a Catholic scholar, is highly praised as having exegesis which "is often magisterial." "In many of the crucial passages, this work sounds far more Reformed than Catholic," Carson writes . Morris, Murray, and others are all mentioned with appropriate notice of their respective strengths and weaknesses. Stott also is mentioned in a good light, as is Martyn Lloyd-Jones. John Piper's The Justification of God is said to be "the best exegetical and theological discussion of Romans 9" .
The Corinthian letters are discussed separately with positive remarks given to F. F. Bruce (on both letters), Anthony Thiselton, Gordon Fee, Craig Blomberg (these three on 1 Corinthians), C. K. Barrett, David Garland, Paul Barnett (NICNT recommended over BST), Colin Cruse, and Scott Hafeman (these last five on 2 Corinthians). Top billing goes to F. F. Bruce on Galatians. Timothy George and John Stott are also recommended.
Peter T. O'Brien is hailed as the one of best exegetes of the prison epistles (Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians-Philemon). In fact, Carson says (regarding the Ephesians volume in the Pillar series) that O'Brien "has thoughtfully absorbed and filtered the best material from earlier commentaries, but he has made his own contribution by sticking close to the text, tracing the theological argument with care and precision" . This is quite a compliment, especially coming from Carson! Also positively mentioned on these Epistles are Andrew Lincoln and John Stott (Ephesians), Gordon Fee (Philippians), and David Garland and Murray J. Harris (Colossians/Philippians).
On the Thessalonian letters Carson recommends Charles Wanamaker on the Greek text and F. F. Bruce, for something more accessible. Carson prefers the NICNT installment of Leon Morris over the same author's Tyndale commentary. Stott's expositions of these letters are also recommended (I don't remember any negative comments on Stott, which says much!) William Barclay on Philippians, Colossians, and the Thessalonian letters is said to be "one of the best in the DSB series" . George W. Knight III is in Carson's "must" column when it comes to the Pastorals. "It is cautious, conservative, thoughtful" . There are also favorable comments on William Mounce, Thomas Oden, and Donald Guthrie.
For Hebrews, Carson points us to Harold W. Attridge on the Greek text and William Lane (WBC) for those whose "Greek is weak" . Phillip Hughes and F. F. Bruce are said to complement one another, Hughes giving more history on interpretation. On the popular level, William Barclay, Raymond Brown, and Kent Hughes should be noticed. Douglas Moo has contributed a major work on James in the Pillar series (this series gets pretty good marks throughout Carson's Survey - of course, he is also the general editor!). And an out-of-print work by Gareth L. Reese is also recommended (if it can be found), along with Kent Hughes and J. Alec Motyer.
Paul J. Achtemeier is "the fullest commentary in English on the exegetical level"  when it comes to 1 Peter. Scot McKnight gets positive remarks (rather rare for the NIV Application series), as do J. N. D. Kelly and Wayne Grudem. On 2 Peter and Jude, Richard J. Bauckham in the WBC gets first place, hands-down, despite his disbelief in Petrine authorship of 2 Peter. Michael Green also gives "admirable treatment of these two short epistles"  in the Tyndale series. John Stott's work on the Letters of John is "one of the most useful conservative commentaries . . . so far as the preacher is concerned" .
Finally, on Revelation, Carson says that G. K. Beale writes the commentary that "best combines comprehensiveness with biblical fidelity" , though many other commentators (representing various eschatological camps) are mentioned with both positive and negative comments. A helpful index of names is included in the back of the book.
I can't recommend this book highly enough, especially to fellow preachers. It is short and easy to read (I read it in less than half a day) and I've no doubt that there are few scholars whose recommendations (or non-recommendations, and there are lots of those too!) could be more reliable. This new edition of Carson's excellent survey is a book that the preacher who is serious about sound exegesis can scarcely afford to be without. If frequently used, this resource will save both time and money.
Carson makes some salient comments about the most high profile commentaries (and occasionally, the NOT so high profile commentaries). His remarks are salty and provocative, he is very complimentary of the ones he thinks are particularly outstanding (Douglas Moo on Romans, Anthony Thiselton on 1 Corinthians, Craig Keener on John, Darrell Bock's two volumes on Luke), and very hard on commentaries that he thinks you should avoid.
Once in a while, Carson seems to contradict himself. For example, he says that the New International Version Application Commentary series is fairly lightweight and is an example of a shallow handling of the word of God (he later acknowledges that the series can be a useful pump primer in the move from text to application), and yet he has high praise for a number of its individual volumes (Scott Hafemann on 2 Corinthians, Craig Keener on Revelation, Douglas Moo on 2 Peter, Jude, Darrell Bock on Luke, David Garland on Colossians), and for some reason, he completely overlooks the not too shallow 1000 page contribution on Matthew by Michael Wilkins.
I also wish that Carson had made mention of Ben Witherington's new commentary on Matthew in the Smith and Helwys series (perhaps Carson did not see it in time, as was the case for missing Andrew Lincoln on John).
Also, I think Carson overrates Keener's work on John a bit; to me, Keener's work on John shares the same weaknesses with his counterpart volume on Matthew; heavy on history and background, lighter on theology and exegesis.
Otherwise, this is the most exciting and zesty survey of NT commentaries money can buy, and Carson's portrayal of these commentaries is spot on the great majority of the time.
One more thing: I feel bad for David DeSilva, who wrote a ringing endorsement of Carson's book on the back cover, and yet some of his books are shredded by Carson.
I hope I stimulated your interest in this little volume, it makes for entertaining reading and is well worth the purchase.
Most recent customer reviews
this was not enough scriture and too much detail