Top 3 Lutheran Commentaries

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Ryan | Forum Activity | Posted: Tue, May 4 2021 8:22 AM

Hi everyone, from what I’ve read the Concordia Commentary Collection is one of the best Lutheran commentaries. What would you consider the top 3? I’m looking to broaden my library. As of right now I have commentaries such as Pillar, NICOT/NICNT, WBC, NAC, EBC, etc. I am interesting in getting a Lutheran perspective too. I did get the Lenski commentary which I read is good even though he relies on Greek a lot. Thanks for your help.

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Ken McGuire | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, May 4 2021 9:51 AM

The Lutheran community, like many others, has been divided about how to read scripture. On the one hand, many Lutherans were quite involved in historical approaches that tried to read scripture using the tools generally used to read historical documents who work hard to hear the text with as little as a specifically theological bias as possible. On the other hand, there are many Lutherans who insist that as scripture, this is fool hearty. With all this disagreement, it is quite hard to rank certain sets at providing what is the Lutheran Reading, often by reading Luther's exegetical works themselves.

Where I went to school they emphasized the former. We were assigned a lot of Word, Anchor, and Hermeneia, with a bit of NIGTC, New International Commentary, and ICC. In this tradition, the focus is on what the text meant in the original setting, and the commentaries have little about what it means for today and our theological questions. We were then trusted to use our theological training to use the insights offered there as food for our theology.

Among more traditional pastors, besides Luther, the combination of Keil/Deilitzsch and Lenski is in many pastor's studies. These are the probably the sets the Concordia is most trying to replace. In addition, the set of Kretzmann is famous, but out of print, and the Leupold Old Testament works are also used.

There are some figures who try to bridge the gap, often not being totally trusted by all sides. Some of the best would include Bonhoeffer's Creation and Fall, and Discipleship, the commentaries off von Rad on Genesis and Deuteronomy, and Kasemann's Romans, and Ebeling's Galatians. Hultgren and  to some extent Fretheim are two prominent authors who try to follow this third way.

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