Cornerstone Biblical Commentaries feedback?

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Reuben Helmuth | Forum Activity | Posted: Fri, Mar 16 2018 12:04 AM

I'd love feedback from those who use this series. What are the pro/cons and how does it compare with other series in terms of coverage/depth, scholarship, layout, etc? Is it comparable in any areas to... Pillar? TOTC/TNTC? WBC?


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Paul Caneparo | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Mar 16 2018 12:22 AM

Reuben Helmuth:

I'd love feedback from those who use this series. What are the pro/cons and how does it compare with other series in terms of coverage/depth, scholarship, layout, etc? Is it comparable in any areas to... Pillar? TOTC/TNTC? WBC?


More like TOTC/TNTC in terms of depth.

I bought the Chronicles and Ezra/Nehemiah/Esther volumes as they are less well accounted for in my library and get quite good reviews. I also bought the volume that includes Ephesians as that was written by Harold W. Hoehner, who wrote the longer most highly rated Ephesians commentary. These 3 volumes look interesting but I haven't had to preach on any of these books since buying them.

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DAL | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Mar 16 2018 3:48 AM

Basic like TOTC/NT, but Tyndale is way better. There’s nothing to compare with Pillar or WBC as these two are way more advanced than Corner Stone. I got Corner Stone as part of a Base package and rarely use it, because it really doesn’t have much depth. You’d be better off with a Study Bible than with Corner Stone or spend a little extra for the better commentaries (e.g. Pillar, WBC or EBC original or Revised).


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Joseph Sollenberger | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Mar 16 2018 5:14 AM

Since I enjoy the NLT, I enjoy using Cornerstone since it interacts strongly with this translation. It is somewhat like using the notes in the NET for that work. 

Take a peek at the Google Books preview of Matthew-Mark.


Joseph F. Sollenberger, Jr.

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Paul | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Mar 16 2018 6:10 AM

For a comparison, today I am studying John 6:35-40 based on Carson's "Love of God" devotional.  The following are the Tydnale and Cornerstone commentaries.  I found Cornerstone commentary tend to go deeper within the imposed space limitation. I also enjoy NLT translation: when I am reading NLT, I use Cornerstone commentary in combination.  The other thing about Cornerstone commentary is that in general it is newer, and do cite newer works. It does not "dumb down" the issues that most general readers would care about. It deals minimally with original language issues. During devotional time I want to spend more time on the Biblical text rather than commentaries.  See the following excerpts.


Tyndale NT Commentary:

35. The crowd misunderstood the nature of the true bread of which Jesus spoke, so then Jesus declared, ‘I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.’ Jesus explicitly identified himself as ‘the bread of life’. This is the first of seven different ‘I am’ sayings with predicates in the Fourth Gospel (35, 48, 51; 8:12; 10:7, 9; 10:11, 14; 11:25; 14:6; 15:1, 5—see Additional note: Egō eimi, p. 139). Because Jesus was ‘the bread of life’ he could promise that those who came to him would never hunger, and, changing the metaphor, those who believed in him would never thirst (cf. 6:53–57). Hunger and thirst are metaphors for the human need to know God, and knowing God is the present experience of eternal life (17:3). Those who come to Jesus, i.e. those who believe in him, are brought into relationship with God and their hunger and thirst to know God are satisfied (see commentary on 4:13–14).

36–37. However, Jesus knew that his invitation to come to him would meet varied responses. In respect of the majority of the crowd Jesus said, But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe. They had seen him and some of the miracles he had performed (2), but still they did not believe (see commentary on 6:26). Lest it be thought he was surprised or disappointed by this response, Jesus added, All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. The word translated ‘all’ (pan) is neuter singular, not masculine plural as might be expected, thus depicting those whom the Father gave Jesus as a collective entity. In several places in the Fourth Gospel Jesus speaks of believers as those whom the Father has given him (37, 39; 10:29; 17:2, 6, 9, 24). Viewed from the human side, those who come to Jesus are those who believe in him; but viewed from the divine side, they are those whom the Father has given to Jesus. The Prologue says a similar thing in different words: ‘Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God’ (1:12–13).

Faced with lack of positive response, Jesus affirmed that all the Father has given him will come and believe in him. The saying ‘whoever comes to me I will never drive away’ employs a strong double negative (ou mē) underlining the security of those who come to Jesus.

38–40. In these verses Jesus connects the eternal security of those who believe in him with his own mission: For [because] I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. The reason why none who come to him will be cast out is because Jesus came to do his Father’s will, and, he said, this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. The ‘all’ (pan) whom the Father has given are once again depicted as a collective entity (cf. 6:37). Their eternal security is tied to the Son’s obedience to the Father, on the one hand, and to the will of the Father, on the other. For any of those whom the Father has given to his Son to be lost would mean that Jesus failed to carry out his Father’s will, and that the will of the Father had been thwarted. Both of these things are unthinkable. For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. Those whom the Father has given him will receive eternal life in the here and now and be raised up on the last day. The ‘last day’ is the day of resurrection for those who believe in Jesus (5:28–29; 6:39, 40, 44, 54; 11:24), but a day of judgment for those who reject him (5:28–29; 12:48).

 Kruse, C. G. (2003). John: an introduction and commentary (Vol. 4, pp. 170–172). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.



Jesus as the Bread of Life (6:35–40).

Jesus had stated fairly clearly that he was the bread from heaven in 6:33; now he states it decisively: “I am the bread of life.” The whole chapter thus far has pointed to this proclamation, and everything following is a clarification of its significance. This is the first of seven “I am” statements, all highly theological—the Light of the World (8:12), the gate (10:7, 9), the Good Shepherd (10:11, 14), the resurrection and the life (11:25), the way, truth, and life (14:6), and the true Vine (15:5). These seven descriptions fill out the significance of the absolute “I am” statements (cf. commentary on 6:20) and define the person and mission of the divine Son (on the historicity of these sayings, see Blomberg 2001:124). This first one presents him as the only food that can provide eternal life (“of life” is an objective genitive, “the bread that produces life”). The two statements that follow tell how people can find this life. To have this eternal food, we must “come” and “believe.” The two terms are virtual synonyms—coming to Jesus is believing. The subject of consuming this bread does not come until 6:51ff. The idea of coming/believing, therefore, has priority over the idea of eating/drinking (so Carson). The only way to find life is to believe in Jesus (3:16; 5:24). In a sense, this combines the bread metaphor (“never be hungry again”) with the living water metaphor of 4:14 (“never be thirsty again”) and prepares for the image of eating Jesus’ flesh and drinking his blood in 6:53–56. This same idea is found again in 7:37, where the “thirsty” must “come.”

This passage defines the divine and the human sides of salvation. In that sense, it combines the Arminian and the Calvinist systems. The human side is to “come” and “believe,” and the divine side is that God “draws” the believers to Jesus (6:44), gives them to him (6:37, 39), and keeps them secure (6:40, 44). The problem with the crowd was that they refused to believe even though they had seen what he said and did. This is the same unbelief seen in 1:11; 3:19–20; and especially 5:38, 46–47. They had seen the sign of the feeding miracle and still asked for more (6:30). They had heard Jesus explaining who he was and still failed to understand or accept his words.

In 6:37–40, Jesus stated why they had not found faith—they were not of God. This is one of the great passages of Scripture on the sovereignty of God in salvation. The reality that the majority of Jesus’ countrymen rejected God’s plan of salvation and turned their backs on Jesus did not discourage him, for God was still in charge. In fact, “those the Father has given [Jesus] will come to [him]” (6:37). There is a two-way street here. Jesus brings people to God, but they already belong to God and are God’s gift to Jesus. The doctrine behind this is called predestination, the view that God has chosen believers from before the foundation of the world, and they will come to Jesus. The point is that God is very aware of those who refuse to believe, and it does not damage his plan at all. The elect will come, and God’s purpose will be shown. Moreover, following predestination, Jesus alluded to the security of the believer: “I will never reject them” means that Jesus will preserve his followers. They belong to God, are given to Jesus, and Jesus not only accepts them but also watches over them.

This new sovereign power in salvation is anchored in the will of God (6:38–40). Christ already spoke of the will of God in 4:34, where he said his food (similar imagery to this passage) is “doing the will of God,” which he defined as his mission to gather a harvest of souls. Here also he states that he came down from heaven to “do the will of God who sent me” (6:38). Jesus was “sent” as God’s sovereignly appointed envoy, a major emphasis in this section (cf. 6:27, 29, 39, 44, 57); as such, his origin is heavenly, and he has descended to earth (cf. note on 6:33) for the sole purpose of obeying his Father’s will rather than his own (cf. 5:30). His mission is an act of obedience, and it is the result of complete unity between Father and Son. God guarantees that Jesus “should not lose even one of all those he has given me.” This tells how Jesus will preserve his followers. Note the progression—God gives them in 6:37 and protects them in 6:39 (this is elaborated further in 6:44). This is realized eschatology, as God ensures the present security of all Jesus’ true followers. Yet there is also a final eschatology, as Jesus will “raise them up at the last day.” Their ultimate future is also guaranteed.

Verse 40 summarizes the themes stated in 6:35–39. “All who see his Son and believe in him” (cf. 6:35) “have eternal life” in the present (cf. 6:37, 39a) and the guaranteed promise of final resurrection “at the last day” (cf. 6:39b). We again see both sides of the salvation debate—human decision (“see/believe”) and sovereign protection (“my Father’s will”). Note the exceptions in 6:60–66 (the apostasy of “many of his disciples”) and 17:12 (“not one was lost, except the one headed for destruction”). The question is whether these were true followers of Christ. For Judas, the answer is “no,” but for the disciples in 6:60–66, the answer is “possibly” (cf. comments on 2:23–25). The final balance between the security and responsibility of the believer, between divine sovereignty and the will of the individual, is a mystery and will remain so until we enter eternity. Still, John’s Gospel is the perfect book for working out the debate between Arminianism and Calvinism, for both sides are present here and must be held in tension.

 Osborne, G., Philip W. Comfort. (2007). Cornerstone biblical commentary, Vol 13: John and 1, 2, and 3 John (pp. 101–103). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.

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NB.Mick | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Mar 16 2018 7:01 AM

Paul Lee:
today I am studying John 6:35-40 based on Carson's "Love of God" devotional.  The following are the Tydnale and Cornerstone commentaries.  I found Cornerstone commentary tend to go deeper within the imposed space limitation.

Thanks for a specific example. Just since someone above advised rather to go for a study bible than Cornerstone: the format of the commentary consists of study-bible-like notes plus then a commentary on the pericope. You shared only the commentary, the notes for vv 35-40 are as follows:

6:36–40 Brown (1966:275–276, following Léon-Dufour), finds a chiasm here:
A. seeing and not believing (6:36)
B. not driving out what the Father has given (6:37)
C. I have come down from heaven (6:38)
B′. losing nothing of what he has given (6:39)
A′. looking and believing (6:40)

6:37 those the Father has given me will come to me. Arminian theology accepts the doctrine of predestination but asserts that it occurs on the basis of foreknowledge (Rom 8:29; 1 Pet 1:2)—that is, God knew beforehand who would respond to the Spirit’s convicting power via faith-decision, and he chose them. On predestination according to foreknowledge, see Osborne 2003:221–222.

6:39 I should not lose even one. Arminians accept the security of the believer but believe it is conditional rather than unconditional—that is, God keeps believers secure, but we are responsible to avail ourselves of his power. In John, there are not only the examples of 6:60–66 and 17:12 but the warning passage of 15:1–6, stating that if those who are in Jesus quit bearing fruit, they will be “thrown away … wither … [and be] gathered into a pile to be burned.” Outside John, Arminians appeal to such passages as Heb 6:4–6; 10:26–31; Jas 5:19–20; 2 Pet 2:20–21; 1 John 5:16. In other words, they believe that God keeps us secure but that there is a real danger of rejecting his security and turning our backs on Christ. As Witherington says, “God’s role in the relationship is incomparably greater than the human one, but the fact remains that God does not and will not save a person without the positive human response, called faith, to the divine leading and drawing” (1995:158).

at the last day. It is strange that so many higher critics separate John’s realized eschatology (the present gift of eternal life) from his final eschatology (the final resurrection), as if they were somehow contradictory. Both are found clearly in his Gospel (for final eschatology, see 5:28–29; 14:2–3; 21:22–23, as well as 6:39–40, 44, 54) and are interdependent. Future security is the natural extension of present protection. The God who watches over us now will continue to do so until “the last day.”

Grant Osborne, Philip W. Comfort, Cornerstone Biblical Commentary, Vol 13: John and 1, 2, and 3 John (Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2007), 97.

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