Carson’s recommendation

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Posts 670
Michael S. | Forum Activity | Posted: Sun, Aug 2 2020 8:50 AM

For anyone with Carson’s resource on commentaries, what does he consider the best commentary on Hebrews?


Posts 1838
Paul Caneparo | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Aug 2 2020 8:59 AM

Michael S.:

For anyone with Carson’s resource on commentaries, what does he consider the best commentary on Hebrews?


Peter O'Brien!!!

Posts 1917
Ken McGuire | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Aug 2 2020 3:03 PM

Paul Caneparo:
Peter O'Brien

It was indeed popular with many before it was withdrawn. But any recommendation of this commentary is out of date now.

To the original poster, Carson's recommendations are summarized at

The Gospel is not ... a "new law," on the contrary, ... a "new life." - William Julius Mann

L8 Anglican, Lutheran and Orthodox Silver, Reformed Starter, Academic Essentials

L7 Lutheran Gold, Anglican Bronze

Posts 733
Brad | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Aug 2 2020 4:26 PM

Michael S.:

For anyone with Carson’s resource on commentaries, what does he consider the best commentary on Hebrews?


"Until this latest string of commentaries appeared, the two best English works on Hebrews were doubtless those of F. F. Bruce (/NIC; rev. ed.; 1997, /$38.00) and Philip E. Hughes (Eerdmans 1987, op/$55.00). In some ways the two commentaries complement each other. Bruce provides a great deal of useful exegetical information and writes with caution, but this new revised edition is changed so little from his first edition (1964) that if you already have the first there is little point in purchasing the second. In any case, Lane is now to be preferred." 

 Carson, D. A. (2007). New Testament commentary survey (6th ed., p. 128). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic.

Posts 670
Michael S. | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Aug 2 2020 7:47 PM

Thanks guys. 

I have Bruce, and Lane.

I wish Carson would put one out... now that he is retired from Trinity, maybe he can find time to do so.  I had heard he contracted for it at some point, but no delivery yet.


Posts 2372
Joseph Turner | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Aug 3 2020 9:32 AM

You can also get my Personal Book Files here made for Denver Seminary's OT Annotated Bibliographies and NT Recommendations.  I consult these whenever I start a new book study.  If you add the files as a personal book all you have to do is click the links from within Logos to go to either the book you own or where to buy it.

Disclaimer:  I hate using messaging, texting, and email for real communication.  If anything that I type to you seems like anything other than humble and respectful, then I have not done a good job typing my thoughts.

Posts 5042
Mattillo | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Aug 3 2020 10:00 AM

Here are John Evan's thoughts

 Cockerill, Gareth Lee. (NICNT) 2012. Building on his earlier accessible commentary, the author has written a much fuller (750pp.), more academic vol. for NICNT, replacing Bruce. I find him strong on finer points of exegesis, rhetorical and structural analysis (not that I agree with all his structures), and showing close familiarity with the scholarship, but he seems less helpful in his discussion of theology. There is a confident Arminianism here, and Cockerill at points does not lay out the other options (e.g. at 6:4–8), which surprised me in such a widely-used series. (And NICNT used to have a more Reformed flavor too.) Stressing that Hebrews is a sermon, not merely has a sermonic character, he consistently terms the author “the pastor,” who warns the congregation against “reverting to a spiritual immaturity totally inappropriate for experienced believers” (p.16). Cockerill seems not “to take the term ‘Jewish Christian’ in an ethnic sense”; rather it “describes both Jews and Gentiles who give allegiance to Christ while insisting on or feeling the need of various Jewish associations or practices” (p.20). He also finds “ties with the world of Jewish apocalyptic” (p.26)—not a routine Hebrews commentary, then. If you are a student wanting a stimulating, up-to-date exegesis and bibliography, or if Cockerill represents your own theological position, then this belongs on your recommended purchase list. If you do not fit either of those two categories, Cockerill might drop off the list. [CBQ 4/14; JTS 10/14 (Attridge); Int 7/14; JSNT 35.5; Chm Sum 14; JETS 3/13; Bib 95.1; CTJ 4/14; DenvJ 16; BTB 11/14].

 Guthrie, George H. (NIVAC) 1998. Normally I would not urge students to consult NIVAC for exegesis, but this is an exception. Guthrie has long been doing a rhetorico-discourse analysis and has been concerned to understand “The Structure of Hebrews,” which is the title of his 1991 dissertation for Southwestern Baptist Seminary (Brill, 1994; Baker, 1998). That doctoral work has been termed “an invaluable road map through one of the letter’s thorniest problems” [RelSRev 10/97]; Lane provides in his WBC a fine review of Guthrie’s contributions (p.xc–xcviii). Besides the exegetical help in the NIVAC, there is real theological and homiletical worth in the vol. Also on the list of best expositional helps are Kent Hughes, Phillips, Owen, Raymond Brown, John Brown, and Kistemaker.

 Hughes, Philip E. 1977. A most valuable, largely theological commentary which complements Lane beautifully. Hughes used to be my first choice—for pastors, that is. He will be valuable for decades because he was as fine a theologian as he was a biblical scholar, and you need a penetrating theological commentary on Hebrews. Remarkably, Hughes also had expertise in church history, and this vol. is esteemed for his choice citations of the church fathers. He knew the history of interpretation well, and leads us to draw on those rich resources. The commentary is nearly 600pp. in length, and the theology is in line with the Reformation tradition. The author was an Anglican clergyman who, at the close of his career, taught at Westminster Seminary in Philadelphia. This vol. has been published in both hb and pb; it had been o/p but is available again. Are there weaknesses? Well, Peter Head points to one [BSB 9/06]: “Hughes’ interest in reading Hebrews in the light of the rest of the NT may actually blunt his appreciation of its distinctive theological witness.” [WTJ Spr 79; RTR 5/78; JBL 9/79].

 Lane, William. [ℳ], (WBC) 2 vols., 1991. If you are desiring an exegetical commentary on the Greek that leaves no stone unturned, this has been the best piece of scholarship from the evangelical perspective, arguably the best piece of scholarship from any perspective. I quickly add that we need a rigorous, more current exegesis of the Greek from an evangelical; WBC and NIGTC are twenty-five years old. A mountain of work—12 to 15 years’ worth—went into this WBC. Students will naturally wish to consult Attridge, Ellingworth, Koester, Cockerill, etc., but Reformed pastors with Calvin, Hughes, Guthrie, Lane, and O’Brien have all they need. Among very few weaknesses is the relative lack of attention given 6:4–6. Lane’s views on the message of Hebrews are available to a wider segment of Bible students in his earlier Hebrews: Call to Commitment (1985). Lane also wrote a fine commentary on Mark. [CBQ 1/93; ExpTim 5/93; RTR 9/93; Them 1/93; WTJ Spr 94; CRBR 1994].

 O’Brien, Peter T. (Pillar) 2010. After completing a trio of commentaries on the Prison Epistles, where he demonstrated exceptional ability in exegeting the Greek, rhetorical interpretation, and theological exposition, O’Brien has produced this dependable commentary. I will even call it brilliant and my first choice for the pastor’s study. Students will be glad to have all the bibliographical guidance in this 630-page vol. Perhaps those same students might compare O’Brien’s approach to discourse analysis with Westfall below. Take Ellingworth’s word for it: “I cannot commend this work too highly.” The theological orientation here is winsomely Reformed. There is word of an additional O’Brien vol. on the theology of Hebrews in NSBT. [DenvJ 7/10; Them 7/10; BBR 23.4; CBQ 1/14; JSNT 33.5; Chm Sum 14; RTR 4/11; JETS 6/11; RelSRev 9/11].

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