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THE COMMENTARY CONTROVERSY ANSWERS:

Should I Or Shouldn't I?

The Dangers:
1. It can lead to commentary-dependency (also know as lazy brain)

2. It can lead to commentary-opia (see only as the commentator sees)
    Some possible solutions:  (1) Do your own work first.  (2) Evaluate whether     the commentator is true to the Bible.  (3) Use more than one commentary.

The Values:
1. We can benefit from those who know more than we do about the Biblical languages, cultures of Biblical times, and the history of those times.  My personal favorites: F. F. Bruce, Kenneth Wuest, A. T. Robertson, D. Edmund Hiebert, Leon Morris, Alfred Edersheim (the Gospels), Merrill Tenney, William Barkley (questionable theology, but great scholarship), Homer Kent, Merrill Unger, Walter Kaiser, John C. Whitcomb, G. Campbell Morgan, Charles Feinberg (OT), E. J. Young (OT), Derek Kidner (OT),and John J. Davis (OT).

2. We can benefit from trained theologians.  My personal favorites: Martyn Lloyd-Jones, John Montgomery Boice, John MacArthur, and John Walvoord.

3. We can benefit spiritually from those who are more spiritually mature than we are:  Here are my personal favorites: Jonathan Edwards, Martyn-Lloyd-Jones, J. C. Ryle, Charles Spurgeon, John Stott, Ray Stedman, A. B. Bruce (the Gospels), J. Sidlow Baxter, Arthur Pink, and John Hunter.

4. We can benefit from those who are gifted in practical application.  My personal favorites:  Ray Stedman, Dave Roper, Warren Wiersbe, David Jeremiah, Luis Palau, Gene Getz, Watchman Nee, and Fritz Ridenour.

Diagram 1

Rehoboam (I Kings 12:8) (I John 2:20,21) (Proverbs 12:15, 13:10, 18:2)
Bereans (Acts 17:11) (I Thessalonians 5:19-21) (Proverbs 9:9, 15:22, 19:20, 20:18, 21:11) (Ephesians 4:11,12)
Corinthians (I Corinthians 1:12, 3:4) (II Timothy 4:2-4)
    
Types of Commentaries:

                                    FROM___Novice _______ __ TO ___Scholar_______

                                    FROM___Interpretation____ TO ___Application__ _

                                    LITTLE__Research     _____ TO MUCH__Research__

The Primary Objectives of Commentators:

Devotional – The focus is on applying Scriptural texts to your immediate                    spiritual needs.

Expositional – The focus is on the flow of thought in a book in the Bible or a                      part of the Bible and its application to our current situation.

Homiletic – The focus in very similar to a Pastor's sermons.  There will be the                  use of illustrations, stories, and outlines.

Exegetical – The focus is on the analysis of the original language of a Biblical                    text and interpreting it into English.

Critical – The focus is on a scholarly treatment of manuscript sources and               historical issues.  These commentaries emphasize the controversial               parts of the Bible.  They contain long introductions and long analyses               of difficult parts of the Bible.

Commentaries can usually be divided into two main types: (1) those that focus on the first three objectives and (2) those that focus on the last two objectives.  There are some commentaries that focus on four of the five objectives (William Hendricksen's NEW TESTAMENT COMMENTARY, for example).  But, I do not personally know of a commentary that successfully focuses on all five objectives.