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New Testament Commentary Survey [Paperback]

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Item Specifications...

Pages   160
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.14" Width: 5.98" Height: 0.4"
Weight:   0.51 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jan 1, 2007
Publisher   Baker Publishing Group
ISBN  0801031249  
EAN  9780801031243  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
Carson certainly provides all one needs to arrive at a 'short list' of necessary resources and to be acquainted with the potential pitfalls and strengths of most books that a student might encounter in the course of researching an exegetical paper. This book is highly recommended."--David A. deSilva, Ashland Theological Journal

This much-anticipated sixth edition of New Testament Commentary Survey offers students and pastors an updated look into available resources on the New Testament. Pastors, seminarians, and theology students will eagerly welcome this invaluable tool into their biblical studies libraries. In this succinct yet thorough survey, Carson examines sets, one-volume commentaries, and New Testament introductions and theologies, before offering extensive comments on the available offerings for each New Testament book, noting intended audience, levels of difficulty, and theological perspective. He records the publisher, price, and current publication status, identifies those texts he considers overpriced, and advises readers when to delay purchase for forthcoming works. The book concludes with a useful "Best Buys" section where Carson indicates the most valuable works for each individual New Testament book.

Publishers Description
This much-anticipated sixth edition of "New Testament Commentary Survey "offers students and pastors an updated look into available resources on the New Testament. Pastors, seminarians, and theology students will eagerly welcome this invaluable tool into their biblical studies libraries. In this succinct yet thorough survey, Carson examines sets, one-volume commentaries, and New Testament introductions and theologies, before offering extensive comments on the available offerings for each New Testament book, noting intended audience, levels of difficulty, and theological perspective. He records the publisher, price, and current publication status, identifies those texts he considers overpriced, and advises readers when to delay purchase for forthcoming works. The book concludes with a useful "Best Buys" section where Carson indicates the most valuable works for each individual New Testament book.

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More About D. A. Carson

D. A. Carson

D. A. Carson (PhD, Cambridge University) is research professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, where he has taught since 1978. He is a cofounder of the Gospel Coalition and has written or edited nearly 120 books. He and his wife, Joy, have two children and live in the north suburbs of Chicago.

John Piper (DTheol, University of Munich) is the founder and teacher of and the chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary. He served for 33 years as the senior pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and is the author of more than 50 books, including Desiring God, Don't Waste Your Life, This Momentary Marriage, A Peculiar Glory, and Reading the Bible Supernaturally.

Philip Graham Ryken (DPhil, University of Oxford) is the eighth president of Wheaton College. Formerly, he served as senior minister of Philadelphia's historic Tenth Presbyterian Church. He has written or edited more than 40 books, including the popular title Loving the Way Jesus Loves, and has lectured and preached at universities and seminaries worldwide.

Bryan Chapell is the senior pastor of Grace Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Peoria, Illinois. He is also the host of a daily half-hour radio Bible teaching program, Unlimited Grace, and the founder and chairman of Unlimited Grace Media ( Bryan previously served as the president of Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri, and is the author of a number of books, including Holiness by Grace.

Ligon Duncan (PhD, University of Edinburgh) is the chancellor & CEO and the John E. Richards Professor of Systematic and Historical Theology at Reformed Theological Seminary. He previously served as the senior minister of the historic First Presbyterian Church in Jackson, Mississippi, for seventeen years. He is a cofounder of Together for the Gospel, a senior fellow of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, and was the president of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals from 2004-2012. Duncan has edited, written, or contributed to numerous books. Ligon and his wife, Anne, have two children and live in Jackson, Mississippi.

D. A. Carson currently resides in Deerfield, in the state of Illinois. D. A. Carson was born in 1959.

D. A. Carson has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Bible Savvy
  2. Gospel Coalition

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
A Useful and Helpful Resource  Jan 19, 2007
Buying commentaries is often a difficult proposition. There are so many available and yet so few that are really solid. A good commentary is an invaluable aid in leading the reader to the cross; a poor commentary tends to lead anywhere but. With commentary prices being what they are, it hurts to purchase one only to find that it is a poor choice. New Testament Commentary Survey, edited by D.A. Carson and now in its sixth edition, seeks to provide guidance on the best options available.

Originally written by Anthony C. Thiselton under the title Personal Suggestions About a Minister's Library, the book was revised in 1973 and renamed to New Testament Commentary Survey. In 1976 D.A. Carson assumed authorship and updated it in 1976, 1984, 2001. "They years fly by," writes Carson, "and new commentaries keep appearing--and so we have arrived at the sixth edition" published in 2007 by Baker Academic.

The purpose of this book is "to provide theological students and ministers with a handy survey of the resources, especially commentaries, that are available in English to facilitate an understanding of the NT. The mature scholar is not in view." When writing a book such as this one, it would be easy to give a blanket endorsement of titles written by authors whose theology closely aligns with your own, but I was glad to see that Carson is able to look beyond this. "Theologically I am an evangelical, but many of the positive assessments offered in these notes are in connection with books written from the vantage point of some other theological tradition: the usefulness of a commentary sometimes turns on something other than the theological stance of its author--assuming, of course, that commentaries are read critically, as they should be whatever one's theological heritage. Conversely, just because a commentary stands within the evangelical tradition does not necessarily mean that it is a good book. It may be thoroughly orthodox but poorly written, uninformed, or quick to import from other biblical passages meanings that cannot rightly be found in the texts on which comment is being offered." This book, then, is a guide to commentaries and not necessarily to orthodoxy. Carson offers brief assessments of many works, including comments on "the work's level, general competence, and so forth." He points out the theological slant of a book when he feels this is important.

While the majority of the book deals with suggestions for individual books of the Bible, Carson does spend some time dealing with commentary series, both "series worth noting but not pursuing" and "more substantial series." He also glances at one-volume multi-author commentaries, one-author sets, and older commentaries. A complete chapter is dedicated to "Supplements to Commentaries" and covers resources such as New Testament introductions and New Testament theologies. These sections are followed by suggestions for each book of the Bible.

Because of the vast number of resources available, and because this book is meant to be only a survey, many commentaries receive only a brief paragraph. For example, when discussing MacArthur's commentary on Matthew, Carson writes, "A hybrid difficult to classify--part commentary, part expository sermon--is the work of John MacArthur in 4 vols (/Moody 1985-89, $21.99 per vol.). These books are wordy and often betray too little time and care taken with the text, so that they cannot be read as reliable commentary; but the amount of information goes beyond that of most expositions. Doubtless they will well serve the well-read layperson and the poorly trained preacher." When discussing further commentaries written by MacArthur, Carson tends to provide only a few words and then direct the reader back to these comments for an overview of the series. Some commentaries receive only a few words, such as these dealing with Ryken's commentary on Galatians: "The volume by Phillip Graham Ryken is solid Reformed exposition (/Presbyterian & Reformed 2005, $24.95)." An author index in the back is helpful to lead directly to Carson's assessment of the work of any particular author.

The book concludes with a list of "best buys," which does not necessarily list the best commentary for each of the books of the Bible, but serves as a subjective list that "identifies commentaries that are a good value for the money for the theological student or well-trained preacher who is interested in understanding the Scriptures and who is willing to read commentaries critically." It is a cheat-sheet of sorts, pointing to good books that can be had at a reasonable price.

While the reader's experience with this book will vary depending upon his agreement with Carson and Carson's theology, this volume is a helpful companion to those who wish to have some guidance in the commentaries they purchase. It is a resource that can benefit any pastor, student of theology, or anyone else who cares to purchase commentaries.
Disappointed  Jan 11, 2007
I anxiously awaited the new version of the survey. In the past it has proved to be invaluable in purchasing commentaries. Unfortunately I was disappointed. Not much new work has been done. Many of the comments will sound annoyingly the same...because they are! If you have a previous version save you money and wait for Glynn, he seems to make an effort to stay on top of the publishing world.
I'm disappointed that Carson's name is on this one, I expect more. Either a grad assistant did most of the work or the publisher needed sales.
On the bright side, if this is the first time you've used this survey it is indispensable.
Very Helpful and an Easy Read  Jul 18, 2006
So you decide you want to buy some commentaries. But which ones? The choices can be dizzying. Some focus on theology, others on the Greek, others on the cultural context. Some are for profesionals, some for bible students, some for laypersons. And with many commentaries running upwards of $40 or more, you have to be selective.

D.A. Carson's New Testament Commentary Survey is a useful tool for cutting through the commentary clutter. Carson is the well-respected research professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and co-author of probably the most popular introduction to the New Testament. In NTCS, he goes through every book in the New Testament and discusses all of the respective serious commentaries. He is candid about what he sees as the qualities and inadequacies of each. He describes their strengths in different areas, such as exegesis, theology, and cultural understanding. He evaluates their usefulness to different audiences, such as bible students, pastors, interested laypersons. The analysis is interesting and well written. The book is an easy read and avoids being dry or boring.

In addition to discussing the commentaries for each book of the New Testament, Carson discusses books that are not technically commentaries (in that they do not provide verse-by-verse discussion), but which focus on aspects of specific NT books. Carson also mentions the prices of each book discussed. Finally, there is a helpful "best buys" guide in the back that offers his admittedly subjective opinion on what the best values are for the "theological student" and "well-trained preacher."

I would have added another star if the there was a more systematic approach to grading the commentaries in different areas (theology, exegesis, etc.) and for level of skill targetted (academics/those proficient in Greek, laypersons, pastors, theology students, etc.). But even without this the survey is very useful.
Helpful  Feb 9, 2006
In the tradition of C. H. Spurgeon, who penned Commenting and Commentaries over 100 years ago, New Testament scholar Don Carson has produced a resource which is concise, interesting, and immensely user-friendly.

While Carson makes it clear that what is "best" among commentaries "can vary from reader to reader, and that it depends . . . on what kind of information a reader is looking for" [133], his sometimes humorous, often caustic, and always helpful critiques of modern commentaries reflects his belief that "the dominant need is to understand meanings accurately" [15]. His own skill as seasoned exegete of Scripture and his concern for exegetical precision makes this critique of commentaries invaluable.

The book is divided into four sections, the first of which contains "Introductory Notes," in which Carson discusses the need for different types of commentary, followed by brief comments on the merits and demerits of various series of commentaries (comments on individual volumes are in section three), one-volume multi-author commentaries (his highest recommendation being IVP's New Bible Commentary), older commentaries (Lightfoot, Calvin, and Henry are all mentioned positively, with a recommendation that Geoffrey Wilson's Digest of Reformed Comment series published by Banner of Truth be used "in conjunction with major exegetical works" [28]), and one-author sets.

Section two looks very briefly at volumes dealing with New Testament Introduction and New Testament Theology. "Pride of place must go to the mammoth work by Donald Guthrie," according to Carson [33], though he also mentions many others.

Section three is really the meat of the book, in which individual commentaries of every New Testament book are discussed. Carson's method is very helpful and easy to follow. He invariably begins by discussing the most helpful technical commentaries available, pointing out their strengths and weaknesses. Less helpful titles are mentioned briefly, often with strong (and, not unlike Spurgeon, sometimes quite humorous) criticism. Mid-level commentaries are then critiqued, while popular commentaries and sermonic expositions are discussed last. Carson always writes with the preaching pastor in mind and frequently points out factors which will make any given commentary of greater or lesser use in sermon preparation. Section four is a two-page list of "best buys," commentaries that Carson thinks will give you the most out of your money.

Perhaps it would be helpful to give a short digest of Carson's highest recommendations. Among commentaries on Matthew, Carson says that "pride of place should go to the new ICC commentary by W. D. Davies and Dale C. Allison" [42]. Craig Blomberg, Craig Keener, Leon Morris, and R. T. France also receive positive comments, and I can personally attest that Carson himself (in the EBC) has written a very reliable and useful commentary on this gospel. Among mid-level commentaries, Hendriksen is said to be "a useful, if stodgy, guide for the preacher who will wade through" [45].

On the Gospel of Mark, Carson recommends William Lane's contribution to the NICNT and C. E. B. Cranfield, among others. Among sermonic expositions, R. Kent Hughes receives very positive comments. In fact, Carson generally seems to favor Hughes over either MacArthur or Boice. Carson recommends Darrell L. Bock's two volumes in the BECNT on the gospel of Luke. Leon Morris in the Tyndale series is also mentioned positively, as is Hughes (once again), and Fred Craddock, who Carson says is interesting because he is "a fine homiletician" [57].

The fourth gospel, John, "has been well served . . . during the last half century," says Carson [59]. His top choice for commentaries on the Greek text is C. K. Barrett. Once more, Leon Morris is praised. Carson, himself, has also written a substantial work on this gospel, but with unaffected humility and a touch of dry wit, he says: "Carson's work is rather more difficult for me to assess" [60]! On the popular level, F. F. Bruce is highly recommended, along with Bruce Milne in the BST (a series Carson obviously favors). Regarding Acts, C. K. Barrett gets high marks in the technical realm, John Stott in the popular. (I've read the Stott commentary and it is excellent!) Other mentions include Ben Witherington III, I. Howard Marshall, and Richard Longenecker.

There have probably been more commentaries written on Romans than any other New Testament book. Carson devotes six pages to surveying the best that is out there, of which "probably the best . . . in English is the work of Douglas J. Moo" [72] in the NICNT. Moo is recommended over Thomas Schreiner, Charles Cranfield, and James Dunn. Joseph Fitzmyer, a Catholic scholar, is highly praised as having exegesis which "is often magisterial." "In many of the crucial passages, this work sounds far more Reformed than Catholic," Carson writes [73]. Morris, Murray, and others are all mentioned with appropriate notice of their respective strengths and weaknesses. Stott also is mentioned in a good light, as is Martyn Lloyd-Jones. John Piper's The Justification of God is said to be "the best exegetical and theological discussion of Romans 9" [79].

The Corinthian letters are discussed separately with positive remarks given to F. F. Bruce (on both letters), Anthony Thiselton, Gordon Fee, Craig Blomberg (these three on 1 Corinthians), C. K. Barrett, David Garland, Paul Barnett (NICNT recommended over BST), Colin Cruse, and Scott Hafeman (these last five on 2 Corinthians). Top billing goes to F. F. Bruce on Galatians. Timothy George and John Stott are also recommended.

Peter T. O'Brien is hailed as the one of best exegetes of the prison epistles (Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians-Philemon). In fact, Carson says (regarding the Ephesians volume in the Pillar series) that O'Brien "has thoughtfully absorbed and filtered the best material from earlier commentaries, but he has made his own contribution by sticking close to the text, tracing the theological argument with care and precision" [93]. This is quite a compliment, especially coming from Carson! Also positively mentioned on these Epistles are Andrew Lincoln and John Stott (Ephesians), Gordon Fee (Philippians), and David Garland and Murray J. Harris (Colossians/Philippians).

On the Thessalonian letters Carson recommends Charles Wanamaker on the Greek text and F. F. Bruce, for something more accessible. Carson prefers the NICNT installment of Leon Morris over the same author's Tyndale commentary. Stott's expositions of these letters are also recommended (I don't remember any negative comments on Stott, which says much!) William Barclay on Philippians, Colossians, and the Thessalonian letters is said to be "one of the best in the DSB series" [103]. George W. Knight III is in Carson's "must" column when it comes to the Pastorals. "It is cautious, conservative, thoughtful" [107]. There are also favorable comments on William Mounce, Thomas Oden, and Donald Guthrie.

For Hebrews, Carson points us to Harold W. Attridge on the Greek text and William Lane (WBC) for those whose "Greek is weak" [111]. Phillip Hughes and F. F. Bruce are said to complement one another, Hughes giving more history on interpretation. On the popular level, William Barclay, Raymond Brown, and Kent Hughes should be noticed. Douglas Moo has contributed a major work on James in the Pillar series (this series gets pretty good marks throughout Carson's Survey - of course, he is also the general editor!). And an out-of-print work by Gareth L. Reese is also recommended (if it can be found), along with Kent Hughes and J. Alec Motyer.

Paul J. Achtemeier is "the fullest commentary in English on the exegetical level" [118] when it comes to 1 Peter. Scot McKnight gets positive remarks (rather rare for the NIV Application series), as do J. N. D. Kelly and Wayne Grudem. On 2 Peter and Jude, Richard J. Bauckham in the WBC gets first place, hands-down, despite his disbelief in Petrine authorship of 2 Peter. Michael Green also gives "admirable treatment of these two short epistles" [122] in the Tyndale series. John Stott's work on the Letters of John is "one of the most useful conservative commentaries . . . so far as the preacher is concerned" [125].

Finally, on Revelation, Carson says that G. K. Beale writes the commentary that "best combines comprehensiveness with biblical fidelity" [127], though many other commentators (representing various eschatological camps) are mentioned with both positive and negative comments. A helpful index of names is included in the back of the book.

I can't recommend this book highly enough, especially to fellow preachers. It is short and easy to read (I read it in less than half a day) and I've no doubt that there are few scholars whose recommendations (or non-recommendations, and there are lots of those too!) could be more reliable. This new edition of Carson's excellent survey is a book that the preacher who is serious about sound exegesis can scarcely afford to be without. If frequently used, this resource will save both time and money.
NT Commentary Survey: A Review  Jun 3, 2002
D.A. Carson has given us a piece of his mind concerning the world of New Testament commentaries, and in a surprisingly entertaining fashion. He covers NT introductions, surveys, and theologies, then tells us what he thinks about almost every commentary series that you would know of (and some you don't know of), and goes book-by-book through the NT recommending (and rejecting) which commentaries are worth buying and reading. This resource is a must for all would-be expositors of the Bible.
What makes the book so readable is Carson's fresh and lively style. It is as if he sat down and just punched out a long essay on what he really thought about the resources available for New Testament exposition. His quips and succinct summaries are excellent, and sometimes quite humorous. Besides the glitches stated in the review above by Buddy Boone, this is an excellent work. Admittingly, Carson does not give equal space to all commentaries, but that's fine since all commentaries are not created equally. Of course, the author was probably constrained by the goals and size of the survey, and if you are left wondering what he really recommends about any NT book check the Best Buy section that he includes. If you wish to jump into the world of New Testament study, this is the place to leap (in other words buy the book).

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