Question and Answer with Michael Barrett on Hosea

Learn more about Hosea in the Gospel According to the Old Testament commentary series

hosea commentaryDr. Michael Bar­rett is Vice President for Academic Affairs/Academic Dean and Professor of Old Testament at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary. He is a min­is­ter in the Heritage Reformed Congregations. For­merly, Dr. Bar­rett served as pres­i­dent of Geneva Reformed Sem­i­nary. He earned his doc­tor­ate in Old Tes­ta­ment Text with a spe­cial focus on Semitic lan­guages.

His dis­ser­ta­tion was titled “A Method­ol­ogy for Inves­ti­gat­ing the Trans­la­tion Philoso­phies and Tech­niques of the Sep­tu­agint.” For almost thirty years, he was pro­fes­sor of Ancient Lan­guages and Old Tes­ta­ment The­ol­ogy and Inter­pre­ta­tion at Bob Jones Uni­ver­sity. Dr. Bar­rett had an active role in the min­istry of the Free Pres­by­ter­ian Church until his coming to PRTS. He is a mem­ber of the Evan­gel­i­cal The­o­log­i­cal Soci­ety and has pub­lished numer­ous arti­cles in both pro­fes­sional and pop­u­lar jour­nals. He contributed to and served as Old Testament editor for The Reformation Heritage KJV Study Bible.

1. What previous research and/or personal interests led you to this project and helped prepare you to write this commentary on Hosea?

I have taught the Minor Prophets, both in Hebrew and English, for many years on both the undergraduate and graduate levels.

2. Who is the intended audience for this commentary? Would it benefit pastors? professors? students? lay Christians in the local church?

The target audience is primarily lay Christians although pastors and students could benefit as well. My intention is to bridge the gap between the ancient text and setting and the current needs of today. The message of Hosea is old but not outdated.

3. What is unique about this commentary? What contribution does it make to studies of Hosea?

This is not a verse by verse or even chapter by chapter commentary on the text. Rather, it develops the major themes and arguments of the book from a Biblical theological perspective. It is possible to get the major thrust of the message without necessarily dealing with all the interpretational issues or problems–those things that would tend to distract the layman who has no interest or knowledge of the technicalities.

4. What section or passage of this commentary was particularly memorable to research and write? Why?

I suppose the biggest challenge was defining the nature and timing of God’s instruction to Hosea to marry Gomer. It is one of the difficulties in the book, yet one that is so integral to overall message.

5. What personally edified you in writing this commentary, increasing your affections for Christ?

To realize that Hosea’s love for Gomer was unrelenting and undeserved and from a human perspective made little sense, and then to see how that is magnified and intensified when considering Christ’s love for His bride. Humanly speaking it makes no sense, but it is all of grace.

6. Besides your commentary, what are your top recommended books (commentaries or otherwise) on Hosea?

I think the 3 volume set on the Minor Prophets edited by Thomas McComiskey (Baker) is one of the best. McComiskey himself did the work on Hosea.

7. What is next for you? What project are you currently working on? How can people follow your work and ministry?

My next projects are biblical theological treatments of Exodus and Ecclesiastes. I don’t do social media, but can follow me some on the Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary website as well has hearing some of my sermons on Sermonaudio.com.


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