Proverbs Commentary – John Kitchen Interview

proverbs bible commentary kitchen coverJohn Kitchen is the author of the Proverbs volume in the Mentor commentary series. Dr. Kitchen (Doctor of Ministry, Trinity International University) has been the senior pastor at Stow Alliance Fellowship in Stow, Ohio, since 2001. Prior to that, Dr. Kitchen pastored the Plymouth Alliance Church in Plymouth, Wisconsin from 1987-2001.

In addition to his Doctor of Ministry degree, Dr. Kitchen earned a B.A. from Crown College and Master’s of Divinity from Columbia International University.

Dr. Kitchen has published several Bible commentaries. Besides Proverbs: A Mentor Commentary, he has written Colossians and Philemon for Pastors, The Pastoral Epistles for Pastors, and Philippians for Pastors. Please see Dr. Kitchen’s Amazon page for his other books.

7 Questions on Proverbs in the Mentor Commentary Series

Recently, Dr. Kitchen graciously answered my questions about his Provebrs commentary. Readers will learn how this commentary came to be, what is unique about it among Proverbs commentaries, and how the project edified him personally.

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

The roots of the commentary came from a daily, disciplined engagement with the book of Proverbs for my own personal edification. I spent years, daily engaging one verse of Proverbs at a time, digging into the Hebrew text, scouring commentaries, praying over the text, turning the aphorisms over in my heart and mind … and daily disciplining myself to write about what I was discovering. Some of the results began to be shared on a weekly basis with interested parties, mostly from within our local congregation. When finally I arrived at the last verse of the thirty-first chapter I looked back and realized I had a manuscript 900 pages long. I wondered if this could ever be of further use in God’s Kingdom. Through a remarkable series of events Christian Focus Publications decided to include the revised commentary in their Mentor Commentary series.

2. Who is the intended audience for this commentary? Would it benefit pastors? Professors? Students? Lay Christians in the local church?

All the works in Christian Focus’s Mentor imprint are designed for “Bible College and seminary students, pastors, and other serious readers.” The Proverbs commentary is true to this intent. It deals seriously with the text of both the Hebrew and English Bible, but is written in a way that those without technical knowledge of either will find accessible. I’ve heard pastors, professors and lay Christians speak of its helpfulness to them—by which I am humbled and for which I am grateful to God.

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

In my personal study of Proverbs over the years I was frustrated in trying to find a commentary that dealt seriously and in sufficient depth with each verse of the book. Often commentaries focus on chapters 1-9 and then deal with the aphorisms of chapters 10ff in thematic ways. This often left individual proverbs without comment. I wanted to write in such a way that anyone asking a question about any given verse of Proverbs would find solid interaction with the text and, hopefully, insightful help in understanding and applying it. Additionally, I endeavored to see the text of Proverbs related properly to the larger canon of Scripture and to the flow of God’s redemptive purposes that are realized in Christ.

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

Wrestling with the amazing assertions made about wisdom personified in Proverbs 8 was particularly stimulating, especially verses 22-31 which speak of the origin of wisdom. Prayerfully and carefully relating these words to what God later says about His Son, Jesus Christ, as the embodiment of divine wisdom (e.g. John 1:1-3; 1 Cor. 1:24, 30; Col. 2:3) proved a rich and challenging venture.

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

As mentioned earlier I began my careful analysis of Proverbs for my own edification. Within days of having begun my study I recognized a fresh wave of desire for God and His Word swelling inside me. My favorite part of each day quickly became the time set aside to meet with God for this careful study of His Word. I do not exaggerate when I say that I could hardly wait to get to my study and soak myself in His presence and His Word each day. Looking back now perhaps twenty-five years removed from those days I can say that, though I had long been a daily and careful student of God’s Word, He quite literally reworked my daily schedule and set in place patterns of study and of seeking Him which have persisted to this day. It is not an overstatement to say that my study of Proverbs launched me into the most spiritually intense period of my Christian life.

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

Charles Bridges’s commentary is a classic, though one has to work through the dated nature of some of the language. When my commentary was in production at the publisher, Bruce Waltke’s magisterial two-volume commentary (NICOT) was released. It is a masterpiece and very helpful, though at times quite technical for those without knowledge of Hebrew. I had enjoyed a doctoral class on Proverbs with Dr. Waltke and was delighted, as were so many, when his lifetime of study in Proverbs found its way into publication.

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

Interested parties in the Middle East have worked with Christian Focus Publications to see Proverbs: A Mentor Commentary translated into Arabic. At this moment the text is being formatted in preparation for being sent to the printer. I pray that God will use this across the Arabic speaking world to draw people to Himself and into His truth.

Additionally, I am several years into writing a commentary on 1 & 2 Peter and Jude. I also have two books set for release in 2019: He is Able is to be published by JourneyForth Press and Chosen People, my first foray into fiction, is to be published by Cruciform Press.

I would delight to have people follow my writing ministry by going to my website (www.jkitchen.org) and by liking my Facebook Author Page (John Kitchen Author).

Own John A. Kitchen’s Proverbs commentary

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