Earlier today I posted at Amazon.ca this review of Lynn H. Cohick’s Philippians in The Story of God Bible Commentary (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 2013):
On my recent birthday my older daughter gave me one of the books on my wish list, Lynn H. Cohick’s Philippians in the Story of God Bible Commentary series. It was on my wish list because I want to emphasize Philippians’s application to Christian life when leading one of our church’s Life groups in a study of Philippians this fall and Philippians is the application commentary on Philippians most highly recommended by Denver Journal.
The Story of God Commentary series is under the editorship of Tremper Longman III (Old Testament) and Scot McKnight (New Testament). It examines each passage from three angles. First it cites (from the NIV) and introduces the passage, the introductions opening up discussion of the theme of the passage and/or tying the passage to its context in the book. Next it explains the passage in light of the Bible’s grand Story, which it describes as being “built around the … biblical themes of creation and fall, covenant and redemption, law and prophets, and especially God’s charge to humans as his image-bearers to rule under God” and as “coming to fulfillment in Jesus as the Messiah, Lord, and Savior of all.” Here the authors “explore biblical backgrounds, historical context, cultural codes, and theological interpretations” and “engage in words studies and interpret unique phrases as they attempt to build a sound and living reading of the text in light of the Story of the Bible.” Finally it considers how the text might be lived out today with the aim of compelling us “to live in our world so that our own story lines up with the Bible’s Story.”
On receiving Philippians, I found it so readable that I read through it immediately instead of just putting it with the other commentaries which I planned to use in preparing studies for the Life group. On doing so I found that even though the author’s explanations are generally easy to understand, they are based on thorough study and include discussion of controversial issues. Moreover they are so well documented that I’m tempted to use Philippians as my primary resource in preparing the studies, just referring to other resources as the author refers to them in her footnotes. Thus I highly recommend Philippians to both pastors and laymen in studying Philippians.
If I like Philippians so well, why have I rated it only 4 out of 5? Because I disagree with Lynn Cohick’s interpretation of a few passages. I won’t identify any of my disagreements here but may note some of them in the reports on our Life group’s study of Philippians that I’ll be posting at my Pauline Studies blog during the coming year.
The Life group study referred to in the review will begin in September. I plan to post before then two introductory articles here, one on the place and time of Paul’s writing Philippians and the other on his purpose(s) in writing it.