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The 2012 Preaching Survey of the Year’s Best Books for Preachers

By R. Albert Mohler Jr. | President, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky.

James M. Hamilton Jr., associate professor of Biblical Theology at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, has produced a worthy commentary on the last book of the canon. Revelation: The Spirit Speaks to the Churches will add a great deal to our understanding of the Book of Revelation. Hamilton is a skilled biblical theologian, and this is evident throughout the commentary. As the Book of Revelation ends, focusing on the return of the Lord Jesus Christ, Hamilton reminds us of the importance of eschatology. "When Jesus comes again for His own, His coming will be as startling and rejuvenating, as thrilling and heartening, as enlightening and reassuring as was His resurrection from the dead."

Another important commentary to emerge on the Book of Revelation is Revelation in The New American Commentary Series published by Broadman and Holman. This long-awaited volume is the contribution of Paige Patterson, president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, where he also occupies the L.R. Scarborough Chair of Evangelism. The Book of Revelation has been one of Paige Patterson's life-long obsessions, and it was natural that he would be asked to write this volume. Patterson's new commentary is richly Christological and pays close heed to the text, offering a wealth of exegetical and theological insights, mixed with his own helpful observations, drawing from history and observations of life. Patterson is surely right when he observes with specific reference to Revelation 22:17, "The plaintive plea of the Spirit and the bride concluding the Apocalypse should be the appropriate consummation of the message of the church in every age."

Several other important volumes in worthy commentary series emerged during the past year. These include Paul's Letter to the Romans by Colin G. Kruse in The Pillar New Testament Commentary Series (Eerdmans). Kruse is senior lecturer of New Testament in Melbourne School of Theology in Australia. The Pillar New Testament Commentary is well known for its exegetical and theological worth under the general editorship of D.A. Carson of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.

Another of the most respected commentary series known to evangelicals is The New International Commentary on the New Testament. The Book of Hebrews is the subject of its latest volume as Gareth Lee Cockrill has produced The Epistle to the Hebrews (Eerdmans). This 700-page commentary will be essential to any preacher working through the Book of Hebrews.

Many have noted the relative neglect of the Psalms in terms of recent commentaries, and for that reason alone the emergence of the work of Allen P. Ross is most welcome. Ross, who is professor of Divinity at Beeson Divinity School, has produced volume 1 of a three-volume work. This first volume, A Commentary on the Psalms, Vol. 1:1-41 (Kregel Academic & Professional), covers the first 41 psalms, and it is rich in exegesis and understanding. As Ross affirms, "It is impossible to express adequately the value of the Book of Psalms to the household of faith. For approximately 3,000 years, psalms have been the heart of the spiritual life of the people of God."

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