The current economic downturn does not seem to have slowed publication of Bibles and Bible reference materials, though it often has made it more difficult to obtain review copies! I know it has made most people more careful about their purchases, and my aim in this article is to give some explanation about the new resources available so you might be helped in getting the most for your money.
I think the most significant study Bible to come out in this past year was The Lutheran Study Bible, ESV (Concordia). It is a superb study tool written from a clear, conservative, evangelical perspective. Within the biblical text, it keeps a running chronology and has four types of notes. First, it has the regular study Bible notes explaining various portions of the text. Second, there are “Law and Gospel Application Notes,” which summarize sections calling for application and praise as Bible reading is to be a devotional act. Third, quotes from church fathers are included in many places. Fourth, there are extended articles in various places.
Each book also has an introduction. Additionally, it contains several items to help orient someone to reading the Bible, including a nice summary essay on Bible reading and interpretation, an essay on Law & Gospel, Luther’s Small Catechism and an essay on the unity of Scripture. It also has a copy of the lectionaries, a two-year reading plan, a topical index and a significant “Biblical Chronology and World History.” Lastly, there is a nice touch of historical art with occasional illustrations from engravings by 19th century Lutheran artist, Julius Schnorr von Carlsfeld (who was influenced by Dürer and Holbein). This is a very nice product.
Another tradition-specific study Bible to come out this year is The Wesley Study Bible, edited by Joel Green and Will Willimon (Abingdon). The study notes are not drawn from John Wesley (as some might think) but are written by Wesleyan authors. I think this will be of most interest to those of the Wesleyan tradition. The study resources here are not as full as those in the Lutheran Study Bible or in standard study Bibles such as the ESV Study Bible or NLT Study Bible.
Oxford Press has produced The Scofield Study Bible, Centennial Edition as this highly influential study Bible first appeared in 1909. The study materials, however, are the same as in the 2003 edition.
Two new study Bibles fit more in the devotional realm. The Oswald Chambers Devotional Bible, ESV (Crossway) intersperses 365 readings from Chambers (each about one page) throughout the biblical text. Mosaic is an edition of the NLT with 340 pages of front matter, which includes artwork, meditations, suggested readings and quotes from authors from various times and places around the world. The biblical text is then uninterrupted. The value of the material in the front varies significantly.
Then, there are a couple of more idiosyncratic study Bibles. The Holy Bible in Its Original Order (Century One) is a new translation with commentary by Fred Coulter. Coulter puts forward an aggressive argument for his new translation—titling it A Faithful Version—and his unique arguments for the order of books. The translation uses the Byzantine text exclusively. His commentary also argues for the observance of the Sabbath on Saturday and against the Trinity, arguing that the Holy Spirit is not a Person but simply the force of the Father and Son. Second, Richard Lee’s The American Patriot’s Bible (Nelson) melds too closely God and country. It seems odd to have a nation-specific Bible given the transnational nature of the kingdom of God. The notes equate Moses with Abraham Lincoln as “freedom fighters.” The promotional video equates Jesus and the disciples with the Continental Congress as “Founding Fathers.”
Lastly, the ESV Minister’s Bible (Hendrickson) is a helpful tool and would make a nice ordination gift. The added materials are at the back. The topical listing of Scripture verses for various situations can be very helpful when called upon to minster to people in different situations. Also included are all the items typically found in a “service book”: guides and sample services for weddings, funerals, hospital visits and information on handling a large variety of situations in ministry.
In The Bible Among Other Myths: Unique Revelation or Just Ancient Literature? (Zondervan), John Oswalt provides a clear, helpful discussion of the relation of biblical narratives to the myths of the ancient world. While there are parallels between Scripture and other ancient literature, Oswalt shows how they are significantly different. This book can be helpful in preaching some of these passages and in arming your congregation for interacting with such ideas.
Walt Kaiser has built on his Toward an Old Testament Theology to produce a comprehensive biblical theology in The Promise-Plan of God: A Biblical Theology of the Old and New Testament (Zondervan). Kaiser is always readable and will be helpful as preachers seek to preach the whole of the Scripture. He also articulates his own way of navigating the connection between the Old and New Testament.
The third edition of George Montague’s Understanding the Bible is significantly revised and provides a helpful overoview of biblical interpretation from a fairly conservative Catholic position. Three Views on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament, edited by Gundry, Berding and Lunde (Zondervan) is a helpful (though not comprehensive) overview of this important hermeneutical issue. Walt Kaiser, Darrell Bock and Peter Enns defend three different approaches and interact with one another.
Richard Gamble’s The Whole Counsel of God: Volume 1, God’s Mighty Acts in the Old Testament (P&R) is a promising beginning to a fascinating and ambitious project. Gamble is working on a three-volume project, which intends to be a comprehensive biblical, systematic theology. It is biblical theology as it traces God’s revelation through both testaments (Vol. 1 and 2) and the subsequent reflection in the history of the church (Vol. 3). It is systematic theology as it seeks to integrate this revelation as the culmination of a distinct message.
This first volume then is an Old Testament theology. The first several chapters, however, include a significant discussion of how we do theology, the use of Scripture and the need to construct our theology according to the flow of the story line of Scripture rather than just along our own chosen abstract categories. In these chapters, Gamble summarizes the important conversation that has been going on about the relation between biblical and systematic theology. These chapters alone will make the book worthwhile for preachers as they think about how they are to preach the whole of the Bible. This will be a very useful volume for preachers even when you disagree with Gamble because he is dealing carefully with our central task of proclaiming the “whole counsel of God” (
Two other significant recent works of biblical theology are Greg Beale’s We Become What We Worship: A Biblical Theology of Idolatry (IVP) and Keith Mathison’s From Age to Age: The Unfolding of Biblical Eschatology (P&R). Beale surveys the entire Bible noticing how idolatry is discussed and highlighting the central theme that “we take on the characteristics of what we worship.” This is an important book for preachers as we discuss idolatry and how that is exhibited today even in settings where people do not bow down to images. Mathison’s book is a very significant work on eschatology. The book is a work of biblical theology rather than systematic theology; that is, following Vos among others, he seeks to trace the development of eschatology throughout the canon. In doing so, he surveys each biblical book or section. This is a long book, but one well worth consideration.
James Monson’s Geobasics in the Land of the Bible and Regions on the Run (Biblical Backgrounds) are some of the most fascinating tools I have seen on the geography of Palestine. Detailed maps and graphics provide rich insight to various parts of the biblical story in an engaging way.
James Beverly’s Nelson’s Illustrated Gudie to Religions (Thomas Nelson) is a thorough recent survey of the major world religions that can be a helpful tool as we increasingly encounter people from various religions.
Old Testament – General
Andrew Hill and John Walton’s A Survey of the Old Testament, (Zondervan) has been updated and expanded in a Third Edition. One key change is the move to full color. This continues to be a helpful standard reference. Sandra Richter’s The Epic of Eden: A Christian Entry into the Old Testament (IVP) is a readable introduction that seeks to give an overall, theological framework so people can better understand and appreciate the Old Testament. Richter centers on “covenant” as the guiding principle of the Old Testament.
While I really like the aim and presentation of Oxford’s Brief Introduction series, Michael Coogan’s A Brief Introduction to the Old Testament: The Hebrew Bible in Its Context is of less help to the preacher due to its very critical approach. More helpful is Robin Routledge’s Old Testament Theology: A Thematic Approach (IVP). Routledge writes explicitly as a Christian and a minister, viewing the OT as unified with the NT, positing an overall biblical theology. Routledge is more succinct than a number of more recent OT theologians and arranges the material topically rather than book by book.
John Sailhamer’s The Meaning of the Pentateuch (IVP) is one of the truly significant books of the year and has created quite a buzz already with high praise from many. The book is essentially a “theology of the Pentateuch” with Sailhamer’s call to pay attention to the text itself rather than the history behind the text. This will be a valuable source for deep reflection on interpreting and applying these important first five books of the Bible.
Bill Arnold’s Genesis (New Cambridge Bible Commentary) is a careful commentary on the Hebrew text from a less conservative perspective. It is more technical and less helpful for preaching. Similarly, Thomas Dozeman’s Exodus in ithe Eerdman’s Critical Commentary is really written to other OT scholars and will ve of less help to preachers. Any help on preaching Leviticus is welcome, so a sermonic commentary by an established scholar such as Ken Mathews is a real treat. His Leviticus: Holy God, Holy People (Preaching the Word; Crossway) contains sound, theologically rich exposition which will be very helpful for preaching. Robert VAsholz’s Levitcus (Christian Focus) also will serve preachers well as a fairly brief evangelical exposition self-consciously aware of the connection between the covenants.
Joshua (NIV Application Comm.; Zondervan) by Robert Hubbard Jr., in keeping with the series, contains quite a bit of thoughtful application of Joshua to contemporary needs and issues. The exposition is careful and well informed, making this a useful resource for preachers. Trent Butler’s Judges (Word Biblical Comm.; Nelson) is a thorough, up-to-date, technical commentary. Much of the technical notes on translation and form will be too much for week-to-week preaching, but the verse-by-verse exegesis and summary explanations are helpful—careful, balanced and showing concern for how the message of the book fits with the rest of the Bible.
The second edition of Ralph Klein’s 1 Samuel (WBC: Nelson) primarily updates references and bibliographies. Roger L. Omanson and John Ellington’s A Handbook on 1-2 Kings (2 vols., American Bible Society) is, like the rest of this series, not a standard commentary but a handbook designed to aid those translating the Bible into other languages without presupposing detailed knowledge of Hebrew. Thus, it will not be the primary source for preaching; but it does provide helpful information that can supplement standard commentaries particularly as you think about how to clarify portions of the text.
The Dictionary of the Old Testament: Wisdom, Poetry & Writings (ed. T. Longman III and P. Enns; IVP) takes its places alongside the other IVP dictionaries in this series as a “must have.” The entries are well-researched, up-to-date, readable and useful. Willem Van Gemeren’s original Psalms was one of my favorites in the Expositor’s Bible Commentary series (Zondervan), so I was pleased to see it updated in the new edition of the series. This revised edition is longer by 200 pages. Van Gemeren provides good guidance through the psalms, addressing the whole range from grammar to theology.
Craig Blaising and Carmen Hardin have edited Psalms 1-50 in the Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture series (IVP) producing a very helpful volume. Because this series has to choose brief snippets from various authors, the volumes vary in usefulness for preaching. I really have enjoyed this one, particularly in noticing how the fathers, as pastors, used the Psalms in teaching their people to pray and live. John Goldingay’s Psalms 90-150 (Baker Comm. on the OT; Baker) helpfully focuses on the text of individual psalms rather than speculations on redactional backgrounds or the arrangement of the Psalter as a whole. The exposition and concluding “Theological Implications” sections are helpful.
Michael Fox’s Proverbs 10-31 (Anchor Bible; Yale) is quite technical, in keeping with the series, but I often have found very useful nuggets in the explanations, as well as the thematic essays at the close of the volume. These essays (on growth of wisdom, ethics, revelation and knowledge) draw from Proverbs and connect these themes to broader theological and philosophical questions. At times, Fox sounds quite Augustinian. The essays alone make the book valuable.
Dean Wenthe’s Jeremiah, Lamentations (Ancient Christian Comm. Series; IVP) is shorter than some volumes in the series because, as he notes, the fathers did not comment as often on these books. Wenthe’s introduction is valuable, though; and I think he has provided helpful selections from the fathers. Philip Ryken’s Courage to Stand: Jeremiah’s Message for Post-Christian Times (P&R) contains 13 sermons from key themes in Jeremiah, particularly noticing similarities between Jeremiah’s day and our current “post-Christian” setting. As good sermons well applied, they will be useful for others’ preaching. Leslie Allen’s Jeremiah (Old Testament Library; WJK) is fairly technical and critical and of less use for preaching. John Mackay’s Lamentations (Christian Focus) is a good commentary for preaching. Mackay is aware of the issues but does not get bogged down in technicalities. Lamentations often is neglected, so this will be helpful.
Steven Tuell’s Ezekiel (New International Biblical Comm.; Hendrickson) is more concise than many other commentaries on this long prophetic book but does a good job of getting to the heart of the text. Michael Barrett’s Love Divine and Unfailing: The Gospel According to Hosea (P&R) is not a commentary on the whole book but an exposition of how the life and message of Hosea point to the gospel of Christ. This will be helpful in seeking to preach Hosea well in light of the new covenant.
Duane Garrett’s Amos: A Handbook on the Hebrew Text (Baylor Handbook on the Bible), in keeping with the series, is a serious interaction with the Hebrew text focusing on grammatical issues. For those whose Hebrew is in good working order, this will be quite useful. More than some other volumes in this series (it seems to me), Garrett points out connections to other portions of Scripture and makes more interpretive comments. Reed Lessing’s Amos (Concordia) is a great commentary which does not remain merely at the technical level but moves toward meaning and theology. This will be a helpful volume.
Phillip Cary’s Jonah (Brazos Theological Comm.; Baker) like the rest of the series seeks to focus on the overall meaning of the text rather than minute details. Unlike some other volumes, it handles the text clause by clause. It is readable and often suggestive, thus will be useful alongside a more detailed commentary. Walter Chantry’s Habakkuk: A Wrestler with God (Banner of Truth) contains good sermons on this oft-neglected prophet, which means this will be a useful resource.
New Testament – General
The Cradle, The Cross and the Crown: An Introduction to the New Testament (B&H) by Andreas Kostenberger, Scott Kellum and Charles Quarles is a very comprehensive, conservative introduction focusing on each book of the New Testament. In each book, it surveys the content and discusses theology. The New Testament in Antiquity: A Survey of the New Testament Within Its Cultural Context (Zondervan) by Gary Burge, Lynn Cohick and Gene Green is in full color with more photos and more emphasis on cultural background. Of the two, however, I would prefer the B&H volume because it simply gives more information for each book.
James Dunn’s Beginning from Jerusalem, Vol. 2: Christianity in the Making Series (Eerdmans) is a massive survey of the early church from the beginning of Acts to the deaths of Paul and Peter. It is informative though its bulk and price may be prohibitive.
Larry Helyer’s The Witness of Jesus, Paul and John: An Exploration in Biblical Theology (IVP) is an undergraduate textbook which can be helpful to pastors in several ways. Helyer summarizes the current discussion on how we do biblical theology thus providing a helpful reflection on how we understand the Bible as one cherent message. Then he gives his attempt at summarizing the central message of Jesus, Paul and John showing how they connect.
Eckhard Schnabel’s Paul the Missionary: Realities, Strategies adn Methods (IVP) is a major work on Paul, working through all his letters, examining the way in which he went about ministry. This book is very helpful not only in preaching these letters but also in thinking about how we do ministry.
Michael Bird’s Introducing Paul: The Man, His Mission and His Message (IVP) is a brief, readable, sensible summary of Pauline studies in an usable format. Of course, I don’t agree with all his conclusions; but he provides a good overview in a helpful manner, summarizing key aspects of Paul’s life and message along with a good dose of humor.
Raymond Collins’ The Power of Images in Paul (Liturgical Press) is a useful book on metaphor in Paul. Stephen Finlan’s The Apostle Paul and the Pauline Tradition (Liturgical Press) is a brief summary of each of Paul’s letters form a mroe critical perspective, which adds little to the more substantive works.
Books on the life and theology of Paul are numerous, but such books on John are very rare. That is one reason why I have been so glad to see Andreas Köstenberger’s A Theology of John’s Gospel and Letters (Zondervan). This is a very significant work by a prominent scholar who has spent much time in John. Köstenberger surveys each book or letter and deals with key theological themes. This volume is one of this year’s “must-haves.”
Daniel Doriani’s Matthew (Reformed Evangelical Comm.; P&R) gives us two volumes of sound, substantive sermons section by section through this gospel. This will be immensely helpful to preachers as Doriani demonstrates he is aware of the various issues in the text, believes the text and is concerned to apply it to the people of God.
Mark 8-16 by Joel Marcus (Anchor Bible; Yale) is very comprehensive, rich in background details, textual allusions, etc. This is probably now the most up-to-date comprehensive commentary on this gospel. Marcus gives more information than one can use, but this will be helpful to peruse. More valuable for the preacher is R. Stein’s Mark (Baker Exegetical Comm. on the NT). This is a significant work by a senior scholar who has worked with the gospels for many years. It has a brief introduction with no discussion of the literary shape of the gospel. The exposition is of the high quality we expect from Stein. This will be an exceptional choice for a preacher’s more detailed commentary.
Philip Ryken’s Luke (two volumes; REC; P&R) contains sound sermons, which handle the text carefully, reflect theologically and apply well pastorally. It is clear he did his homework, and this will be very helpful to the preacher. Banner of Truth has published selected sermons from John Calvin on Luke 1-2 under the title, Songs of the Nativity. Calvin, though often known only as a systematician, was a keen pastor and powerful preacher. Preachers today will here find a good example of applying the text faithfully to the various maladies of the soul. This is a good antidote to abstract preaching.
Grant Osborne’s The Gospel of John in Vol. 13 of the Cornerstone Biblical Commentary (Tyndale) in keeping with the series is more brief but well-worth consulting. Osborne covers the text well and makes good points of application. A new English translation of Augustine’s Homilies on the Gospel of John 1-40 (New City Press) also has been published. These homilies cover John 1-8 and demonstrate Augustine’s pastoral work as he seeks to elucidate the text for his hearers. I have found this volume very interesting and stimulating. It will not give you a standard commentary but is a helpful example of wrestling with the text theologically in an effort to teach and train a congregation.
Crossway has republished Martyn Lloyd-Jones’ sermons on John 14 under the title Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled (the previous edition was titled Be Still My Soul). The book contains eight sermons through this great text of comfort and exhibits Lloyd-Jones’ typical theological richness and application.
The Incarnation in the Gospels (REC; P&R) contains incarnation portions of the volumes from this series on Matthew, Luke and John by Daniel Doriani, Phil Ryken and Richard Phillips respectively. Two of these volumes are now out and included in this article, as well. This little volume brings the Christmas texts together in a helpful way (including John, which commentary has not yet been published), and it includes several helpful appendices on Advent and Christmas worship with suggestions for songs, readings and other resources.
Several commentaries on Acts have appeared this past year. Pride of place must go to David Peterson’s The Acts of the Apostles (Pillar New Testament Comm.; Eerdmans). Peterson’s commentary now stands with Bock’s (BECNT) as the key evangelical commentaries on this book. Peterson has room to deal with Acts adequately, and he is detailed without being overly technical. The commentary is readable and theological, thus very useful to the pastor.
Mikeal Parsons’ Acts (Paideia; Baker) will be a good supplement to the standard commentaries on Acts. He is particularly good at noting Old Testament quotations and allusions and gives significant attention to the flow of the narrative. He also pays serious attention to the rhetoric used in Acts, not just naming devices but explaining what they are and how they are used. Richard Pervo’s Acts (Hermeneia) is more readable and helpful than some of the older volumes in this series. It is still more technical and critical so that it is not a first choice for preaching (not to mention the prohibitive price) but can be helpful if you have the opportunity to consult it.
On the other end of the spectrum, Solid Ground Christian Books has reprinted Melancthon Jacobus’ Notes, Critical and Explanatory, on the Acts of the Apostles, a 19th century exposition which was greatly prized in its time. Spurgeon, for example praised Jacobus as a great help to those “who need to see the results of learning without the display of it.” I have found this commentary to be very helpful in thinking through the text theologically and pastorally. It will make a great addition alongside Peterson.
R.C. Sproul has published his 58-sermon series through Romans in his new St. Andrews Expositional Commentary series (Crossway). Sproul, as a clear communicator with theological depth, will be helpful to others preaching this significant epistle. Christopher Ash’s Teaching Romans (two volumes; Christian Focus) wil be an excellent addition to any preacher’s library as an immenselyy valuable supplement to the major commentaries. Ash does not delve delve every exegetical point but does isolate many of the key issues for teaching and preaching this important letter. (Like other volumes in this series) He provides ideas for several different ways of structuring a sermon series through the letter. This volume will be a great guide in using other sources as you study Romans.
Richard Phillips’ Saved by Grace: The Glory of Salvation in Ephesians 2 (P&R) is a series of sermons through this important chapter with a focus on theological exposition from a Reformed perspective. Phillips also applies and illustrates the text well, making this very helpful for preaching.
John Reumann’s Philippians (Anchor Bible Commentary; Yale), in keeping with this series, is very technical and really written to other specialists. This volume might be consulted from time to time but will not be crucial for preaching. Doug Moo’s The Letters to the Colossians and to Philemon (PNTC; Eerdmans) is very helpful. He is up-to-date, readable and theological. Moo, along with O’Brien, now would be standard commentaries for preachers on these letters in my mind.
Gordon Fee’s The First and Second Letters to the Thessalonians (New International Comm. on the NT; Eerdmans) is an ideal commentary for thinking through a text. As he has done elsewhere, Fee traces clearly the flow of thought of each passage, expounds on each element and concludes each section with a summary paragraph on the theology and application of that text. Fee’s commentaries are consistently among my favorites.
George Montague’s First and Second Timothy, Titus, one of the first volumes in the Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture (Baker), is well done, stimulating and theologically helpful. Of course, Protestant readers will differ in a number of places, but because Montague takes the text seriously as God’s Word, he draws out theologically useful considerations.
First and 2 Timothy and Titus, by Samuel Ngewa, the inaugural volume of the Africa Bible Commentary Series (Hippo Books) is a good beginning to an exciting project. The series will be written by African scholars who will be writing directly to their own contexts. Westerners can benefit by seeing how our brothers and sisters elsewhere are wrestling with and applying the text. Risto Saarinen’s The Pastoral Epistles with Philemon & Jude (BTC: Baker) adds little to these other commentaries.
Bruce Malina’s Timothy: Paul’s Closest Associate (Liturgical Press) is a disappointing book which can safely be skipped. It is an effort in social scientific investigation filled with questionable assumptions in which the canons of social scientific criticism are treated as more authoritative than the Scripture itself.
Three new commentaries on Hebrews have appeared, each with a different strength. My choice of these three is James Thompson’s Hebrews (Paideia; Baker). None of these three commentaries are as comprehensive as some previous ones; but Thompson provides a helpful theological reading of the book, obviously informed by the latest scholarship. The emphasis on theology and literary form make it useful to the preacher. Alan Mitchell’s Hebrews (Sacra Pagina; Liturgical Press) is more technical, but still quite readable. For each passage, it has a more technical section labeled “Notes” and then a theological reflection section. It provides a good treatment in both. It is probably not a first choice commentary but would be a good supplement. Edward Fudge’s Hebrews: Ancient Encouragement for Believers Today (Leafwood) is very thin, often just 2-3 pages on each paragraph in the text. It is intended for lay people, but preachers will need more. The Epistle to the Hebrews and Christian Theology, edited by Bauckham, Drive, Hart and MacDonald is a collection of academic essays on Hebrews. It is more detailed but contains some rich theological discussion.
Craig Blomberg and Mariam Kamell’s James is the inaugural volume in the Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. One of the distinctives of this series is that it provides a graphic layout of the structure of each section of text. This is helpful, especially in the epistles.
Second Peter & Jude (IVP New Testament Comm.) by Robert Harvey and Philip Towner is a helpful exposition. Harvey (on 2 Peter) provides numerous great quotes from church history and literature illustrating and applying the text. Donald Senior and Daniel Harrington’s 1 Peter, Jude and 2 Peter (Sacra Pagina; Liturgical Press) is more technical and comprehensive, though less geared toward application. Solid Ground has reprinted Thomas Adams’ An Exposition of Second Peter, which contains almost 900 two-column pages! Adams was a 17th century Puritan, and his exposition is in that style. Each text is examined thoroughly with theological and practical implications and applications being drawn out. The language is older and the text small, but there is much of benefit here. Perhaps the most immediately helpful to the preacher is Angus Macleay’s Teaching 1 Peter (Christian Focus). Not only does MacLeay provide exposition and application but his book opens with a discussion of various ways one might structure a series of sermons through 1 Peter.
A few studies in John’s letters have come out, and I am most excited about Bob Yarbrough’s 1-3 John (BECNT). Admittedly, I am a fan of Yarbrough; and reading the preface of this commentary will explain why. Humility, rejection of mere novelty and clear commitment to the faith come through clearly. Accordingly, this commentary will be a very useful tool for preachers. In keeping with the series, the commentary works with the Greek text and does so in a readable way, moving to the theology of the text. I think Judith Lieu’s I, II and III John (New Testament Library; WJK) is less helpful and less reliable theologically. It is technical, and (in keeping with series) gives attention to Greco-Roman parallels.
Ian Hamilton’s Let’s Study the Letters of John (Banner of Truth) is brief but is very useful at the expositional and pastoral level. Philip Comfort and Wendell Hawley’s 1-3 John in Vol. 13 of the Cornerstone Biblical Commentary (Tyndale; bound with Osborne’s John) is brief and not as helpful as Yarbrough.
I don’t always include monographs here, but Christopher Bass’s That You May Know: Assurance in 1 John (B&H) is a pastorally helpful book. He works through the theology of assurance as found in 1 John competently with the eye of a pastor. The technical work is here; but as his summary shows, he has in mind the pastoral labor of helping souls in anxiety. This is a useful work.
In my opinion, the most significant resource in biblical languages for preachers to come out in the last year is the UBS Greek New Testament: A Reader’s Edition (American Bible Society). This is a wonderful tool to help people read the Greek New Testament. Less common words or forms are listed and translated at the bottom of the page and a lexicon of the more common words is found at the back. This volume is superior to the much easier to identify (listed in columns rather than paragraph style). Any preacher who wants to renew or begin his or her Greek study can find a helpful ally in this tool.
In conjunction with the Reader’s Edition, Michael Burer and Jeffrey Miller’s A New Reader’s Lexicon of the Greet NT (Kregel) is a helpful tool. This lexicon replaces the earlier work of Sakae Kubo, going verse by verse through the New Testament defining every word which occurs less the 50 times. Such words already are defined at the bottom of the page in the UBS Greek New Testament: A Reader’s Edition. This lexicon will, however, provide more information. Thus, one can read the UBS Reader’s Edition and have this Reader’s Lexicon at hand for times when more information on a word is desired.
A few new grammars have also come out. David Alan Black’s helpful Learn to Read NT Greek (B&H) has been released in a 3rd edition. Black notes that the revision is light. Duane Garrett and Jason DeRouchie’s A Modern Grammar for Biblical Hebrew (B&H) is a new textbook from an established scholar. Lee Fields’ Hebrew for the Rest of Us: Using Hebrew Tools Without Mastering Biblical Hebrew (Zondervan) seeks to do for Hebrew what Bill Mounce did for Greek with Greek for the Rest of Us, which is to provide a basic introduction to the language so people can use basic study tools. For those who have kept up their Greek skills, Constantine Campbell provides a brief introduction to the important recent discussion of Greek verb tenses in Basics of Verbal Aspect in Biblical Greek (Zondervan). If your Greek is in good working order, this will be a valuable work to inform you of the idea of verbal aspect which will be showing up in more and more commentaries.
Lastly, Solid Ground Christian Books has done us a real service by reprinting A.T. Robertson’s The Minister and His Greek New Testament. This little book can be a real encouragement to preachers in persevering in their work with the languages.
I am necessarily more restricted in books in this area, but I will mention a few important new works. Nathan Feldmeth’s Pocket Dictionary of Church History (IVP) is a very helpful resource providing a quick guide to names, places, movements and events. Small, handy resources such as this one are invaluable.
Quite a number of books on John Calvin have come out this year, marking the 500th anniversary of his birth. Wulfert De Greef’s The Writings of John Calvin: An Introductory Guide (WJK) is a really helpful tool giving overview and context for Calvin’s massive literary output. P&R has republished Ford Lewis Battles’ The Piety of John Calvin: A Collection of His Spiritual Prose, Poems and Hymns. This is a great work presenting much of the heart of Calvin illustrating his pastoral concern for faithful living and worship. John Murray’s Calvin on Scripture and Divine Sovereignty also has been reprinted in a 50th anniversary edition (SGCB).