IVP New Testament Commentary (IVPNTC) Series | Reviews, Purpose, Volumes

Reviews on volumes in the IVP New Testament Commentary Series

IVP New Testament Bible Commentary
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David L. Turner on Matthew by Craig Keener (JETS Volume 44, No. 3 — September 2001):

“The applicational thoughts are not superficial or haphazard; they address contemporary readers with insights drawn from Keener’s exacting study of the original historical situation of this Gospel. This kind of application, if not sensational, is surely most wholesome and beneficial. Pastors who are serious about expounding Matthew should not be put off by the length and price of the book. It will prove to be well worth its price and the time spent in pondering its profound applicational thoughts.”

Robert Cara on 1 and 2 Thessalonians by G.K. Beale (JETS Volume 48, No. 2 — June 2005):

“Both scholars and pastors should have this commentary. Although the commentary format limits Beale’s footnotes, it will be obvious to Thessalonians scholars that Beale is well aware of the issues and should be consulted for his succinct justifications of his exegesis. For my pastoral students, even my few Arminian ones, I recommend this commentary as a “must.”

Charles B. Stephenson on 1 and 2 Timothy, and Titus by Philip H. Towner (JETS Volume 39, No. 4 — December 1996):

“The book is a worthy representation of the goal for this series. It can help the person in the pew apply practical matters from the pastorals to personal and church life.”

Purpose of the IVP New Testament Commnetary Series

IVP New Testament Bible Commentary
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From the publisher: “Pastors with a passion for sound exposition and scholars with a heart for pastoral leadership have joined forces to produce this exciting commentary series, now in paper and with all new covers! Each volume, informed by the best of up-to-date evangelical scholarship, presents passage-by-passage commentary based on the NIV along with background information on authorship, setting, theme and various interpretive issues. A unique format allows the main commentary to focus on the vital message of the New Testament for today’s church, while bottom-of-the-page notes include valuable scholarly information to support those who use the volumes as a resource for preaching or teaching preparation. Seldom have such readable commentary and reliable research helps been available in the same volume! Preachers, teachers, students and other individuals who want to dig deep into the heart of the New Testament will find an indispensable companion in the IVP New Testament Commentary Series.”

Volumes in the IVP New Testament Commentary Series

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Matthew – Craig S. Keener

IVP New Testament Bible Commentary
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Matthew was the most popular Gospel in the early church, widely read for its clear emphasis on Jesus’ teaching. Drawing on its use as a teaching or discipleship manual, Craig Keener expounds Matthew as a discipleship manual for believers today. In his skilled hands, this first-century text becomes as relevant and contemporary as information downloaded from the Internet, while it challenges us with its divine perspective on how life ought to be lived.

In this clear, incisive commentary, readers will find an introduction with background material concerning authorship, date and purpose, as well as a summary of important theological themes. A passage-by-passage exposition follows that focuses on understanding what significance the Gospel of Matthew had for its original readers in order to see its relevance for the church today.

Mark – Ronald J. Kernaghan

The Gospel of Mark is widely regarded today as the first Gospel to be written. Until recent decades, its fast-paced, seemingly straightforward presentation led most readers to overlook its subtle theological sophistication.

Probing its depths, Ronald Kernaghan invites readers into a fascinating exploration of Mark’s Gospel as a parable, an open-ended story that invites us on a lifelong journey of discipleship. In this engaging, pastorally oriented commentary, readers will find an introduction with background material concerning authorship, audience, date, provenance and purpose. A passage-by-passage exposition follows that focuses on understanding what Mark had to say to his original readers in order to see its relevance for the church today.

Students, pastors, Bible teachers and everyone who wants to understand the message of Mark for the church will benefit from this excellent resource.

Luke – Darrell L. Bock

Luke’s portrait of Jesus shows Him coming into Galilee proclaiming “good news to the poor, freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind.” More than any other Gospel the Gospel of Luke shows Jesus’ concern for the downtrodden and oppressed, those marginalized by society, including women and children. It also displays his concern for those outside the house of Israel.

Luke’s Gospel seems “tailor-made” for the multicultural world we live in, filled with misunderstandings and sometimes bitter ethnic divisions. His story explains how men and women of different ethnic origins can be transformed into a unified community and share together in the blessings of salvation.

In this stimulating, pastorally oriented commentary, readers will find an introduction with background material concerning authorship, date and purpose, as well as a summary of important theological themes. A passage-by-passage exposition follows that focuses on understanding what Luke had to say to his original readers in order to see its relevance for the church today.

John – Rodney A. Whitacre

The Gospel of John declares its purpose clearly–“these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and thay by believing you may have life in his name.” Thus it fulfills a dual function, encouraging believers and providing them with evidences for proclaiming that Jesus is God’s Messiah, the divine, incarnate Son of God.

Christians today, as in the first century, can draw strength and courage from John’s telling of the story of Jesus, a telling that consistently reflects not only the words and deeds of Jesus but their inner significance. We are called to worship as we find the Father, Son and Spirit revealed in the Gospel. And as in Jesus we discover God’s light, life and love, we learn to respond in faith, humility and obedience.

In this engaging, pastorally-oriented commentary, readers will find an introduction with background material concerning authorship, date and purpose, as well as a summary of important theological themes. A passage-by-passage exposition follows that focuses on understanding what John had to say to his original readers in order to see its relevance for the church today.

Acts – William J. Larkin

IVP New Testament Bible CommentaryIf ever there was a hostile environment for the gospel, it was the strife-torn ethnically diverse backwater of the Roman Empire known as Palestine following the ascension of Jesus. In the sequel to his Gospel, Luke tells how the Holy Spirit transformed a ragtag band of believers into a unified, world-engaging church. Beginning from Jerusalem, they made converts throughout Judea, Samaria and the rest of the known world. Followers of Christ in our own increasingly postmodern, post-Christian culture can find here inspiration and insight that will aid them in their own witness to the unchanging Lord of life.

In this engaging, pastorally oriented commentary, readers will find an introduction with background material concerning authorship, date and purpose, as well as a summary of important theological themes. A passage-by-passage exposition follows that focuses on understanding what Luke had to say to his original readers in order to see its relevance for the church today.

Romans – Grant R. Osborne

Few individual books of the Bible have changed the course of church history the way Paul’s letter to the Romans has.

Whether one thinks of Augustine’s coversion in the fourth century, Luther’s recovery of justification by faith in the sixteenth or Barth’s challenge to recover theological exegesis of the Bible in the twentieth, Romans has been the catalyst to personal spiritual renewal and the recapturing of gospel basics.

Paul, in seeking to bring unity and understanding between Jews and Gentiles in Rome, sets forth in Romans his most profound explication of his gospel and its meaning for the church. The letter’s relevance is as great today as it was in the first century.

In Grant R. Osborne’s careful study of Romans, readers will find an introduction that sets the letter in context and surveys its general content, highlighting issues surrounding its authorship, date, occasion and purpose. Passage-by-passage commentary follows that explains what the letter means to us today as well as what it meant for its original hearers.

1 Corinthians – Alan F. Johnson

Upwardly mobile Christians facing radically diverse ethnic, religious, economic and social conditions. The church divided over issues of leadership and authority, sexual morality, gender and worship, marriage and divorce. Sound familiar?

First-century Corinth and its challenges were not so different from our own. Yet in the midst of this detailed, practical letter to a church in crisis is found one of the greatest paeans to love ever written. And, of course, love is just what is needed to address complex human issues–whether in the first century or the twenty-first.

Alan F. Johnson’s deft analysis of 1 Corinthians features an introduction that explores the social, cultural and historical background of the city and its people. Rounding out the introduction, Johnson discusses the letter’s occasion and date, authorship and purpose, and major theologicall themes. His passage-by-passage commentary follows, seeking to explain what the letter of 1 Corinthians means for the church today as well as what it meant for its original hearers.

2 Corinthians – Linda L. Belleville

Church conflict is never pleasant—whether the issue is theological or practical, whether it is over the character of the gospel or over how to spend church funds. Though few church squabbles today come close to matching the intensity and seriousness of what Paul faced in the commercial and hedonistic hotbed of Corinth, his strategies and pastoral wisdom in confronting the problems there can still serve as a helpful model for us in responding to a culture marked by individualism and materialism.

In this careful study of 2 Corinthians, readers will find an introduction that discusses the letter’s occasion and purpose, authorship, and other background information, as well as its important theological themes. Passage-by-passage commentary follows that seeks to explain what the letter means for us today as well as what it meant for it original hearers.

Galatians – G. Walter Hansen

To the young church in Galatia, marred by ethnic and social rivalries, Paul made his great healing declaration of unity through faith in Christ. Abolished were the divisions between Jew and Greek, slave and free, male and female. Christians today will also find a healing word addressed to present-day divisions of race, social class and gender. The new community in Christ draws its life not from rules and regulations but from the Spirit who frees and unites us.

In this warm, invigorating volume, readers will find helpful background material on the letter’s date, destination, purpose, form and theological themes. Unlike many other commentaries on Galatians, the passage-by-passage exposition found here highlights not only the individual dimensions of justification by faith but also its social dimensions.

Ephesians – Walter L. Liefeld

For those who long to delve into the mind and purposes of God, few books are more helpful than Paul’s letter to the Ephesians. Here the apostle paints in broad strokes the great plan of God for his church, centered on its head, Jesus Christ, and living out its calling in praise of God’s glory. Beginning with doxology, Paul calls on the church to support its words of praise with deeds to match.

Christians today will find here inspiration and insight that will confirm their allegiances and shape their lives. Written with warm pastoral insight, this commentary supplies readers with a helpful introduction, covering authorship, date, background material and a summary of theological themes. A passage-by-passage exposition follows that focuses on understanding what Paul had to say to his original readers in order to see its relevance for the church today.

Philippians – Gordon Fee

Nothing cripples a church’s effectiveness like internal strife. In Philippi, Paul addressed a congregation whose private struggles were compounded by opposition and suffering from without. Paul’s strategy was to write them a letter of friendship and moral exhortation, reminding them of their “partnership in the gospel,” their mutual suffering for the cause of Christ, and their need to “stand firm in one spirit.” His approach and counsel can serve us well today.

In this warm, well-written study of Philippians, readers will find an introduction that discusses the letter’s occasion and purpose, authorship, and other background information, as well as its important theological themes. Passage-by-passage commentary follows that seeks to explain what the letter means to us today as well as what it meant for its original hearers.

Colossians and Philemon – Robert W. Wall

To the Colossians, preoccupied with legal codes and intellectual disputes, Paul wrote a letter stressing not only the centrality of Christ but also the need for Christians to live out their faith in genuine community. Paul’s antidote to a privatized and intellectualized faith will provide relief to many Christians today. To Philemon, a powerful church leader, Paul wrote a strong personal letter asking him to embark on a new relationship with his slave Onesimus. Drawing on insights from Scott Bartchy, Robert Wall argues that the issue had more to do with power relationships than with slavery. As a model for conflict resolution and mutual relations within the Christian community, Paul’s letter has much to offer the church today.

In this careful study of Colossians and Philemon, readers will find introductions that discuss the letters’ occasion and purpose, authorship, and other background information, as well as important theological themes. Passage-by-passage commentaries follow that seek to explain what each letter means for us today as well as what it meant for its original hearers.

1-2 Thessalonians – G. K. Beale

Fascination with the end times is not just a recent phenomenon.

The young church at Thessalonica, having taken root during Paul’s brief stay there, pondered when the end might come as well. Paul, in order to instruct them more fully, wrote them two letters, which taken together expound the “already-and-not-yet” character of his views of the end times. His instruction and counsel can serve us well today.

In this careful study of 1-2 Thessalonians, G. K. Beale offers an introduction that sets the letters in context and surveys their general content, highlighting issues surrounding their occasion and purpose. His passage-by-passage commentary seeks to explain what these letters mean to us today as well as what they meant for their original hearers.

1 and 2 Timothy, and Titus – Philip H. Towner

Questions about the nature of Christian leadership and authority, attitudes toward wealth and materialism, proper responses to cults, the role of women in the church, and even the validity of the institution of marriage are not new. Paul addressed these issues in personal letters to Timothy and Titus as leaders of first-century congregations in Ephesus and Crete. What he had to say to them is as relevant to us as today’s newspaper headlines.

In this clear, pastorally oriented commentary, readers will find helpful background material on authorship, date and purpose, as well as an overview of theological themes in the Pastoral Epistles. The introductory material is followed by passage-by-passage explanation of the meaning these letters had for their first-century hearers in order to pave the way for understanding their significance for readers today. Students, pastors, Bible teachers and everyone who wants to understand the message of the Pastoral Epistles for the church will benefit from this excellent resource.

Hebrews – Ray C. Stedman

For people beginning to doubt the uniqueness and supremacy of Christ, the author of the book of Hebrews provided one of the longest, most profound arguments in the New Testament. Christians today will find their understanding stretched and their loyalty confirmed by this rich presentation of our great High Priest, the Son of God, whose sacrifice of Himself took away our sins and gave us continual access to God.

Written in a fresh, succinct style, this commentary from a leading evangelical pastor supplies helpful background information that paves the way for our seeing what the text means for us today as well as what it meant for its original hearers.

James – George M. Stulac

What is the proper relationship between faith and deeds? How do Christians mature in the faith? What hope can we offer those who face trials of various sorts? How do we learn to control our tongues and not get bogged down with riches? The apostle James faced these questions in profound ways and offered sound pastoral advice to his readers, scattered by persecution. His word to them can become a vital word to us if we are prepared to listen.

In this keen, pastorally oriented commentary, readers will find helpful background material concerning authorship, date and purpose, as well as helpful, passage-by-passage commentary. The exposition focuses on understanding what James had to say to his original readers in order to see its relevance for the church today.

1 Peter – I. Howard Marshall

As a young church in a hostile environment, Peter’s first readers found in his letter encouragement, not just for facing suffering, but for living responsibly in the world as faithful disciples of Jesus Christ. Christians today will also find in Peter’s letter a wealth of practical counsel on how to conduct themselves in family and social life, as well as in relation to a society that makes it tough to follow Jesus Christ.

In this invigorating volume from one of today’s leading evangelical scholars, readers will find an introduction that discusses the letter’s form, authorship, destination and primary theological themes, followed by passage-by-passage commentary that always seeks to answer the question of what the text means for us today as well as what it meant for its original hearers.

2 Peter and Jude – Robert Harvey and Philip H. Towner

In this volume, Robert Harvey and Philip H. Towner delve into Second Peter and Jude, exploring issues of authorship, canonicity, purpose, and themes, ultimately showing how they relate to the life of the church.

The miracle of forgiveness is perhaps equaled only by the wonder of also being trusted again. That wondrous experience in the life of Simon Peter ultimately produced remarkable letters, full of warning and hope, solemn instruction, and glorious promise. Because of that grace in Peter’s past, his words in the book of 2 Peter are able to strengthen his brothers and sisters in faith—namely, us. Jude follows 2 Peter, yet because of its brevity and difficult message, it is one of the most neglected books of Scripture. Still, it too reflects God’s redemptive story and offers important insight for God’s people.

Robert Harvey was a graduate of Fuller Theological Seminary and a pastor for over 40 years in Iowa, Washington state, and Illinois. He was the founding pastor of Immanuel Presbyterian Church in Warrenville, Illinois, where he served until his retirement.

Philip H. Towner is a dean of the Nida Institute for Biblical Scholarship at the American Bible Society in New York, New York. He is also research professor of New Testament at Ewangelikalna Szkola Teologiczna in Wroclaw, Poland. He has previously served on the faculties of Regent College (Vancouver, BC) and the University of Aberdeen.

1-3 John – Marianne Meye Thompson

When to fight and when to compromise are not always easy choices to make. Stubbornly defending the truth can easily end up in arrogance that discredits the gospel, while too readily seeking middle ground can leave truth by the wayside. Torn by conflict and marred by schism, the congregation to whom John addressed his letters stood in need of his strong exhortations to love and unity within the bounds of truth. His word to them is well suited to the church today, confronted by controversies within and without that challenge its ability and will to stand for the truth in a pluralistic society.

In this careful study of John’s letters, readers will find an introduction that discusses the letters’ occasion and purpose, authorship and date, order and theological themes. A passage-by-passage commentary follows that seeks to explain what each letter means for us today as well as what it meant for its original hearers. Students, pastors, Bible teachers and everyone who wants to understand John’s message for the church will benefit from this excellent resource.

Revelation – J. Ramsey Michaels

Interpretations of the book of Revelation abound. One main view suggests that the book indirectly describes events in John’s own time. Another interpretation sees Revelation as a prophetic survey of the history of the church. Still others view the book as a precise prediction of unfolding events at the yet-to-come end of the world. The trouble with all three, argues Ramsey Michaels, is that they make the Revelation of John irrelevant to Christians throughout much of history. Failing to take seriously what John saw, such interpreters fail to comprehend the value of Revelation to Christians in any age. Michaels strives to capture Revelation as a prophetic letter of testimony, a testimony as relevant to the church today as it was in John’s day as the church faces evil and looks for the victory of the Lamb.

In this stimulating, pastorally oriented commentary, readers will find an introduction with background material concerning authorship, date and purpose, as well as a summary of important theological themes. A passage-by-passage exposition follows that focuses on what John had to say to his original readers in order to see the relevance of his book for the church today.


Also see:

Bible Commentary Series (index)

New Testament commentaries (index)

Old Testament commentaries (index)