Category Archives: Commentaries

140+ Bible Commentaries for Sale

[Update: This collection has been sold and two alternate buyers are standing by.]

Happy Friday blog readers!

As I mentioned yesterday on Twitter I am selling off more than 140 of my Bible commentaries. This is a large portion of my personal commentary library, a library I painstakingly and selectively built over many years. By design, the collection is a well rounded mix of exegetical, expositional, and devotional works. It has served me well.

I’m selling the collection for two reasons: first, in the last two years I’ve been slowly transitioning most of my reference works to digital platforms (mainly Logos 4), and second, my personal library continues to grow, and has maxed out the room I have for bookshelves.

This would be a bulk sale and due to the size of this collection it would also need to be a local sale. I live in Gaithersburg, Maryland, so most likely the buyer will be from Maryland, DC, Pennsylvania, Virginia, etc. If you have friends in the area, please let them know about this.

Download the specifics here.

Thanks and enjoy your weekend!

Tony

Pillar NT Commentaries

In my opinion, the Pillar New Testament Series is one of the finest commentary sets available today. And recently Milton Essenburg, longtime editor at Eerdmans, posted the “inside story” on how the series began. In that short history he quotes from a 1992 letter he received from D. A. Carson, who would become the series editor. Carson writes:

Ideally, the Pillar series should be first-class exegesis capturing the flow of the argument, with sufficient interaction with the secondary literature to ensure that the work is current, while at the same time reflecting unselfconscious warmth, a certain spiritual vitality that shows itself in the form of expression and in unobtrusive application. [ht]

The series excels in each of these areas, making it a wonderful resource for pastors preparing sermons and for a much wider audience of Christians looking for reliable advanced resources to boost their own devotional study of the New Testament (I’ve been using the Hebrews commentary of late).

You can read the “inside story” here.

And here’s a list of the current and forthcoming volumes in the series:

  • 1988, Romans, by Leon Morris
  • 1990, John, by D. A. Carson
  • 1992, Matthew, by Leon Morris
  • 1999, Ephesians, by Peter T. O’Brien
  • 2000, James, by Douglas J. Moo
  • 2000, 1, 2, 3 John, by Colin G. Kruse
  • 2001, Mark, by James R. Edwards
  • 2002, 1 and 2 Thessalonians, by Gene L. Green
  • 2006, 2 Peter and Jude, by Peter H. Davids
  • 2008, Colossians and to Philemon, by Douglas J. Moo
  • 2009, Acts, by David G. Peterson
  • 2009, Philippians, by G. Walter Hansen
  • 2010, 1 Corinthians, by Roy Ciampa and Brian Rosner
  • 2010, Hebrews, by Peter T. O’Brien
  • no date, Luke, by Peter M. Head
  • no date, Romans, by Colin G. Kruse
  • no date, 2 Corinthians, by Mark A. Seifrid
  • no date, Galatians, by D. A. Carson
  • no date, Pastoral Epistles, by Robert W. Yarbrough
  • no date, 1 Peter, by Scott J. Hafemann
  • no date, Revelation, by D. A. Carson

Review: Logos Bible Software 4

In the past decade electronic Bible software has advanced radically. From the day in 2002 when I first installed BibleWorks 5.0 on my PC, I’ve watched Bible software develop at an impressive rate.

For nearly a year I’ve been running Logos/Libronix software and about two weeks ago I made the upgrade to Logos 4 Platinum on my MacBook Pro (currently in Alpha stage development). As a researcher I need a software program that is quick, intuitive, flexible, and well stocked with top-quality resources. And the new Logos 4 delivers on all these fronts.

I have logged over 30 hours so far on Logos 4, and I see four benefits that make it stand out: (1) the stock of high quality resources, (2) the flexible guides and searches, (3) resource ranking and clustering, and (4) improved access to my print library. Let me unpack each of these four benefits.

Benefit 1: Stock of high quality resources

Logos is unique when it comes to the breadth of resources available. You can see the full list of resources that come with the Platinum software package here. For me, these are just a few of the most helpful resources:

English Bibles
• English Standard Version
• Holman Christian Standard Bible
• New International Version

Interlinear Bibles
• ESV English–Greek Reverse Interlinear of the New Testament
• ESV English–Hebrew Reverse Interlinear of the Old Testament

Bible Commentaries
• Pillar New Testament Commentary (10 Vols.)
• The New International Greek Testament Commentary (13 Vols.)
• Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (8 Vols.)
• Baker New Testament Commentary (12 Vols.)
• New American Commentary (37 Vols.)
• Bible Exposition Commentary (23 Vols.)
• Bible Knowledge Commentary
• Charles Simeon’s Horae Homileticae Commentary (21 Vols.)
• Classic Commentaries on the Greek New Testament (14 Vols.)
• Keil and Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament (10 Vols.)
• The United Bible Societies’ New Testament Handbook Series (20 Vols.)
• The United Bible Societies’ Old Testament Handbook Series (21 Vols.)

Bible Reference
• Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible (4 Vols.)
• Eerdmans Bible Dictionary
• Eerdmans Dictionary of the Bible
• Encyclopedia of Christianity (Vols. 1–4)
• The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, rev. ed.
• Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Theology
• Studies in Dogmatics by Berkouwer (14 Vols.)
• God, Revelation and Authority by Carl F. H. Henry (6 Vols.)
• Great Doctrines of the Bible by Martyn Lloyd-Jones (3 Vols.)
• Oxford Movement Historical Theology Collection (10 Vols.)
• Systematic Theology by Charles Hodge
• Systematic Theology by Augustus Strong (3 Vols.)

Church History
• Early Church Fathers (37 Vols.)

Original Language Lexicons
• Brown Driver Briggs Hebrew Lexicon
• Exegetical Dictionary of the New Testament (3 Vols.)
• A Greek–English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, 3rd ed.
• Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (10 Vols.)

And 25 ancient texts and morphology resources are built-in (including NA27, LSGNT, and BHS). The amount of works, and the quality of those works, in the Platinum edition of Logos 4 is very impressive. In regards to NT commentaries, Logos 4 Platinum is unrivaled.

The list of available resources grows daily, allowing users to tailor Logos 4 to their specific needs and interests. Logos offers books they’re considering digitizing on their pre-publication program to gauge user interest. It’s one of the many ways in which user preferences are pulled into development.

Benefit 2: Flexible guides and searches

The search power of Logos 4 is impressive due to the creative use of eight distinct guides and search formats. The user can choose a specific mechanism based upon what will work best in a particular search.

The guides arrange the library’s data into four categories:

1. Passage Guide (great for accessing commentaries)
2. Exegetical Guide (great for digging deeper into a single passage and original language work)
3. Bible Word Study Guide (great for digging into lexicons on a particular word)
4. Custom Guides (great for mixing features from 1–3)

The searches are similar to the guides, the difference being that they don’t organize data in groups. The search options include:

1. Basic Search (library-wide searching or searching of particular portions of your library)
2. Bible Search (searching one, or more, or all, of your Bibles)
3. Morph Search (searching for particular Hebrew, Aramaic, or Greek words or morphological categories)
4. Syntax Search (searching for particular syntactical patterns in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek Bibles)

The different guide and search mechanisms allow the Logos software to reconfigure based upon wide variety of user intent.

To illustrate I’ll show you how I access my collection of commentaries through the “passage guide” (click the following image for a larger view). I’ve typed “John 3:16” in the search bar and all the available commentaries are listed in the top left box (A). My favored commentaries will rank highest, a feature I’ll explain later. I’ve selected three commentaries which all open to the exact spot I need. They include the Baker Exegetical Commentary by Andreas Köstenberger (B), the New American Commentary by Gerald Borchert (C), and of course Don Carson’s commentary in the Pillar series (D). Notice on Carson’s commentary I have opened up the drop-down outline of the book, making it easy to see where I’m at in the overall book. For this photo-op I’ve opened two other handy utility windows, an ESV Bible (F) and a handy little information window that automatically looks up whatever my cursor hovers over (D). In this case my cursor was hovering over a reference to Ex 34:6–7. Click on the picture for a larger view:

And by using this 6-window format, and due to the well-designed tab system, I can comfortably keep 20–40 books open on my desktop at the same time.

So that was in the “passage guide” function. Studying and comparing commentaries could not be easier. In the “basic search” I was surprised at how easy it was to re-find particular paragraphs within my library. Imagine walking into a library, removing a book off the shelf and reading a paragraph, placing the book back on the shelf, leaving and returning to the library in a week and attempting to find that same paragraph again. How easy would it be to find that page? Nearly impossible. Yet I’ve been constantly surprised how easily I can search the entire library to re-find paragraphs (even footnotes!) that I only remotely remember seeing previously. The access to information and the speed at which that information is available is very impressive.

This leads me to the third benefit.

Benefit 3: Resource ranking and clustering

Hosting over 2,000 books on my MacBook Pro is really handy (1,200+ in Logos). But it can also become a befuddled mess. The sheer quantity of information returned in search results can be overwhelmingly unhelpful. Let’s face it, not all books are equally useful on every topic.

To counter this problem, Logos 4 allows users to rank Bibles, commentaries, reference materials—really all the books—based upon user preference. Users can assign a star rating from between 0–5 on each resource. And search queries can be restricted to certain star levels. And this factor is why certain commentaries ranked higher than others in the screenshot I showed you earlier.

Also, users can also create customized collections of texts through tags. For example, all of my resources authored by D.A. Carson are tagged “DAC.” In the search query I can very quickly select this tag and limit my results only to the books in this collection.

These two options—ranking and clustering—bring a great deal of speed and focus to custom, library-wide, searches.

Benefit 4: Improved access to my print library

Still about half of my total library is comprised of printed books lined on shelves and I don’t intend to get rid of these books any time soon. One of the surprising benefits of Logos 4 was the amount of footnotes and references I noticed in my electronic research that pointed me back into my print library. Because of this, and because of the amount of relatively new reference works in Logos 4, I benefit more from my print library than ever before. Like I said, this was a surprising fruit of Logos 4.

Conclusion

This review on Logos 4 Platinum could continue on for a few more pages but I’ll stop now. There are dozens of other little features and functions that make Logos 4 a breeze to use. DV, I will take a closer look at these features and functions when work on the Mac version of Logos 4 is completed in the fall.

The bottom line: Logos 4 has taken a big stride forward in making premium Bible scholarship accessible to students of the Bible. And in the hands of discerning readers and wise pastors it will bless the Church in a big way.

Pillar NT Commentaries

Commentaries comprise at least one third of my library. Books that help you better understand the text of Scripture are worth the investment in my opinion. And of all the sets and series that I own I think the Pillar NT series is probably my favorite all around.

In his Guide to Biblical Commentaries (8th ed., 2009) John F. Evans writes this about the Pillar set:

The volumes available are strongly evangelical, well grounded in scholarship, insightful, and warmly recommended. I regard a good half of the series as first choices for pastors: Carson on John, Peterson on Acts, O’Brien on Ephesians, Moo’s two volumes on Colossians-Philemon and James, and Davids on 2 Peter-Jude. … Carson’s editorial work helps keep the standards high. (p. 22)

The series just expanded with the recent addition of Peter T. O’Brien’s anticipated commentary on Hebrews (note: I buy every commentary by O’Brien). For a limited time Westminster books is now offering O’Brien’s commentary at a generous 45% discount ($50.00 / $27.50).

And if you buy at least two Pillar commentaries, Westminster is offing an added 10% discount (offer ends March 9).

Here are the other titles in the series:

  • Matthew by Leon Morris — $50.00 / $30.50
  • Mark by James R. Edwards, Jr. — $50.00 / $31.50
  • John by D. A. Carson — $48.00 / $30.72
  • Acts by David Peterson — $65.00 / $39.65
  • Romans by Leon Morris — $45.00 / $27.00
  • Ephesians by Peter T. O’Brien — $44.00 / $28.16
  • Philippians by G. Walter Hansen — $44.00 / $28.16
  • Colossians and Philemon by Douglas J. Moo — $44.00 / $24.20
  • Thessalonians by Gene L. Green — $45.00 / $28.80
  • James by Douglas J. Moo — $34.00 / $20.40
  • 2 Peter and Jude by Peter Davids — $36.00 / $23.76
  • Letters of John by Colin Kruse — $34.00 / $21.76

Electronic book searches for sermon preparation

tsslogo.jpgToday’s post is for communicators who know the clarity a John Owen quote brings to a complex biblical topic or the punch a C.H. Spurgeon quote adds to application points. My goal today is to encourage evangelists, authors, bloggers, preachers in their work of reaching lost souls and edifying redeemed souls.

I will address various related questions: Are electronic books and printed books friends or enemies? How can I find the best electronic books? How do I search those works effectively? How do I find quotes on my topic? How do I best handle the quote in hand?

I regularly express my appreciation for paper books AND electronic books when it comes to sermon preparation. A useful library balances both. Electronic books provide a technological enhancement to printed books. Sometimes I want to search the Works of John Owen in a jiff (electronic), and sometimes I want to chain off several weeks to ice pick my way through an entire volume (printed). The electronic text enhances the printed copies by making them easier to navigate, but reading the full text of Communion with God on a computer screen would surely lead to a hyper-extended retina.

Read the rest of this entry

Book review: John Gill’s Exposition of the Old and New Testaments

Book review: John Gill’s Exposition of the Old and New Testaments (9 vols)

Everyone in history lives within a historical context. I love Meet the Puritans by Beeke and Peterson primarily because it offers biographies to introduce the context behind the best Puritan writers.

Now for some specific context. In 1517, Martin Luther nailed the 95 Theses to signal a shift away from Roman Catholic traditionalism towards a thoroughly biblical theology. This reformation burst on the scene and continued to develop with the Puritans that followed. This Reformation and Post-Reformation period stressed the fact that understanding divine realities demands faith, the illumination of the Spirit and divine revelation (God’s Word). In 1588, William Whitaker wrote,

“It is only the external light of nature that is required to learn thoroughly the arts of philosophy; but to understand theology aright, there is need of the internal light of the Holy Spirit, because the things of faith are not subject to the teaching of mere human reason” (Disputations on Holy Scripture, p. 364).

Unfortunately, this emphasis upon the preciousness of God’s Word and the primacy of its divine truth did not last unhindered.

The Enlightenment – with the rise of mathematics, science and philosophy – introduced a new “rational” interpretation upon divinity. Beginning around 1725, the rise in “rationalism” attempted to reduce faith to what can be proven with philosophy and reason. Truth no longer rested upon faith, the Spirit and revelation, but upon “demonstrable evidence and rational necessity.” Clearly, this was a serious break from the former traditions.

Needless to say, the rise in “rationalism” brought significant biblical compromise into the church by de-emphasizing the Word and faith-filled, Spirit-illuminated interpretation. In their place was erected a philosophical understanding of divinity. But philosophical interpretations of divine truth, Paul tells us, simply miss the point of the biblical gospel (1 Cor. 1:18-2:16).

John Gill

It was in the midst of this rise in rationalism that some writers stood faithful to a Spirit-led, literal interpretation of Scripture as the sole object of faith. One of the most prominent of these men was Baptist John Gill (1697-1771).

Gill was a prolific author and well-known Old Testament scholar. An excellent overview of John Gill’s life and works comes to us in a sermon Spurgeon preached on August 16th, 1859 at the laying of the first stone of the new Tabernacle building. You can read the entire sermon at CCEL. Here is an excerpt,

“A man of profound learning and deep piety, he was notable as a divine for the exactness of his systematic theology in which he maintained the doctrines of grace against the innovations of Arminian teachers. His Body of Divinity has long been held in the highest repute. As the fervent exposition of an entire and harmonious creed, it has no rival. His famous treatise entitled The Cause of God And Truth, obtained for him the championship of the Calvinistic School of Divinity.”

The eulogy delivered upon Gill’s death by Augustus Toplady reminds us that Gill was both forceful and intellectually skillful.

“That his labors were indefatigable, his life exemplary … if any one can be supposed to have trod the whole circle of human learning, it was this great and eminent person. His attainments, both in abstruse and polite literature, were equally extensive and profound, and so far as the distinguishing doctrines of grace are concerned, he never besieged an error which he did not force from its stronghold, nor ever encountered an adversary whom he did not baffle and subdue.”

The Commentary

John Gill’s commentary is nine volumes long, including six volumes on the Old Testament and three on the New Testament. At first glance this specific printing is superb! The facsimile printing comes in a larger book format and in higher quality cloth binding than expected.

Gill follows the traditional commentary style of a short summary of the book, summary of each chapter, and then commentary on each individual verse following up to the next chapter.

John Gill was a forefather of the Metropolitan Tabernacle we now most associate with Charles Spurgeon. Spurgeon, who spent much time reading and critiquing commentaries, is quick to say that he was unaware of a better commentator of the Old Testament. Gill’s greatest asset was his expertise as a Hebrew scholar.

Spurgeon had his criticisms as well. He wrote publicly that Gill used too many straw-man arguments and held loose interpretations of the Parables. Spurgeon wrote,

“Very seldom does he allow himself to be run away with by imagination, except now and then when he tries to open up a parable, and finds a meaning in every circumstance and minute detail; or when he falls upon a text which is not congenial with his creed, and hacks and hews terribly to bring the word of God into a more systematic shape. Gill is the Coryphaeus of hyper-Calvinism, but if his followers never went beyond their master, they would not go very far astray.”

But the bottom-line, Spurgeon writes, is that “the world and the church take leave to question his dogmatism, but they both bow before his erudition [learning] … For good, sound, massive, sober sense in commenting, who can excel Gill?”

At another place, Spurgeon considered this commentary “remarkable for the copiousness of its glossary, the brilliance of its argument, his apprehension of prophecy, and the richness of his Hebrew scholarship. His preparations for the pulpit having, as is well known, furnished the materials for the press, we can but reflect on the priceless value of his ministry.”

In other words, the obvious power of his public preaching endures through the press. This was not a man addicted to scholarship, but a man driven by the conviction to preach through the whole counsel of God. His commentaries exemplify what was certainly a “priceless ministry.”

Extras

It is encouraging to see publishers incorporating electronic books with printed books. This is a trend we see have recently seen Crossway pull off with great success.

This commentary set from The Baptist Standard Bearer comes bundled with a CD-ROM of The Collected Writings of John Gill, which includes the full text of his commentary, nearly 100 of his sermons and his many books (including the massive, 2,000 page Complete Body of Doctrinal and Practical Divinity and the 1,000 page The Cause of God and Truth). It makes a very helpful and handy complement to the printed commentary because it makes searching and copy-and-pasting of Gill’s material very easy to incorporate in sermon prep.

The set also includes the Life and Writings of the Rev. John Gill, D.D., a short biography written by John Rippon.

Conclusion

Richard Muller writes of Gill that he “stands as perhaps the most erudite [or learned] of the eighteenth-century Dissenting theologies in the tradition of the older orthodoxy” (Post-Reformation Reformed Dogmatics, 3:150). “Erudite” being the same word used by Spurgeon.

There seems to be a consensus that Gill’s writings are firmly founded upon solid biblical scholarship. He shows a deep level of understanding with Scripture, allowing the bible to interpret itself. His wealth of insight into the Hebrew language, tradition and culture soaks both the Old and New Testaments. John Gill’s commentary is an excellent work, worthy of the beautiful edition now available.

Now 240 years later this work stands as an ebenezer of one man’s faithfulness to preach through the entire bible in light of a culture encouraging men and women to judge divine reality through empty philosophical “rationalism.” He was and remains through his works “a star of the first magnitude amidst surrounding darkness” (Spurgeon).

———————————————-

Title: John Gill’s Exposition of the Old and New Testaments
Author: John Gill [1697-1771]
Boards: cloth (maroon, guilded)
Pages: 7,370
Volumes: 9
Dust jacket: no
Binding: Smyth sewn
Paper: normal
Topical index: no
Scriptural index: no (unnecessary in commentary)
Text: facsimile of 1809 ed. (London: Mathews and Leigh)
Extras: Comes with CD-ROM of Gill’s extensive writings in digital format and Life and Writings of the Rev. John Gill, D.D. by John Rippon, clothbound, published by Gano Books.
Publisher: Printed in 2006 by The Baptist Standard Bearer, Inc.
Price USD: $300.00/$250.00 from Vision Forum
ISBNs: none

The Puritan Study (Part 9) The Strategy of Building a Puritan Study

Part 9: The Strategy of Building a Puritan Library

I assume many of you are like me, lacking access to a solid library of Puritan literature. Here in my hometown we have no seminary and it is rare to find a fellow believer who has even heard of Spurgeon, not to mention Boston, Manton and Goodwin.

So building a Puritan library was my responsibility. I just started buying Puritans that I had indexes for and especially the Puritans published by The Banner of Truth. I learned from both my successes and mistakes.

The Strategy

First, I assume you already spend a fair amount of money on books right now. If you are like me, you probably look around your library with regret at some of the volumes that serve no purpose in your expositional research. For years, my library suffered from a clear game plan.

A poorly planned library will lack important reference books like commentaries and Puritan sermons. It will be heavy on contemporary controversies and issues books. Read blogs if you want to be up-to-date on the current trends in the church. Buy commentaries and Puritans if you want a solid expositional library.

A solid library that helps support the preacher or writer in their expositional work is no accident.

This post will help you define your own personal game plan.

Bottom line

The Puritan Study I have described in this series comes to a grand total of $1,500.00. That sounds like a lot but it figures out to $1.40 a day for 3 years (which is about what I spend at Starbucks). And to have this entire library in three years is pretty fast!

I’ve broken down my list of Puritans into $500 segments. Again, this list is ordered by availability and usefulness of each author. Your first $500 will be the best-spent money. The second and third $500 increments are important but not immediate.

(Note: What follows is a simple strategy for building a Puritan library. Specific reviews of each author and set will follow the Puritan Study series. Pictures of each set can be seen here. Updated (3/17/07): Note that most of these resources can be found at a more reasonable price through Monergism Books. Please check them before making any purchases.)

Here is my strategy, broken into three phases…

// THE FIRST $500

1. Charles Haddon Spurgeon (63 sermon vols.; CD-Rom)

I cannot begin with any more important preacher than Charles (C.H.) Spurgeon. The Puritans thoroughly impact everything Spurgeon preached or wrote. Look at his commentary on the Psalms (The Treasury of David) and you will see why Spurgeon is a priceless Puritan resource. He is the great Puritan synthesizer. Spurgeon’s complete works total about 150 volumes and you can download them all for $15.00 or buy the CD-Rom for $20.00 from Ages software. (If you have extra money, I would recommend buying some printed volumes from Pilgrim Publications but especially his autobiography and the classic book on pastoral ministry, Lectures to My Students.) [Read Piper's biography of Spurgeon here]

2. Jonathan Edwards (2 vol. works; printed)

An extraordinarily rich resource! These two volumes of works by Jonathan Edwards are gems to the Puritan researcher. I would recommend the Banner of Truth volumes for their sturdy binding. You can buy volumes one and two here in the Banner of Truth editions or a cheaper version. The complementary text files can be found online for free. [Read Piper's biography of Edwards here]

3. John Bunyan (3 vol. works; printed)

John Bunyan is most famous for his novel, The Pilgrim’s Progress. But he was also an incredibly gifted (and imaginative) preacher. These three clothbound volumes from the Banner of Truth are well built and come with an excellent topical index. You can find them for about $89.00. All of the associated text files can be found online for free. [Read Piper's biography of Bunyan here]

4. Thomas Boston (12 vol. works; printed)

Jonathan Edwards considered Thomas Boston, “a truly great divine.” Boston is one of my personal favorites. These precious volumes have provided me many years of sermon quotes and exegetical thoughts on God’s Word. The entire 12-volume set has been recently published by Tentmaker in a beautiful cloth binding and is available in the United States for $325.00 here or $250.00 here. Worth every penny! You can buy the incredible Memoirs alone. [Read our full review of this set here]

5. Thomas Manton (22 vol. works; CD-Rom)

A set that is simply too large to make affordable in print format. The CD-Rom of Manton’s complete 22-volume set can be purchased for only $10.00. A great price for a must-have set of works! The first three volumes are avaliable in print.

// THE SECOND $500

6. John Owen (16 vol. but especially vols. 1,2 and 6; printed)

All of John Owen’s 16-volumes works are excellent. I especially have found volumes one, two, six and seven of great use. You can add other volumes in the future but these three are essential. The volumes are clothbound (as you would expect from the Banner of Truth) and run about $25.00 each or $75.00 total. The text files are available online for free but you will want to read these volumes cover-to-cover, making the printed works a must. [Read Piper's biography of Owen here]

7. John Flavel (6 vol. works; printed)

Another excellent Puritan I have used on several occasions. Your meditations and sermons will be greatly blessed by Flavel. The Banner of Truth volumes are clothbound and beautiful. They sell for $150.00.

8. Richard Sibbes (7 vol. works; printed)

The “sweet dropper,” Sibbes was an incredible Puritan preacher. The Banner of Truth volumes are clothbound and run $126.00.

9. Jeremiah Burroughs (misc. books; printed)

Burroughs is the most difficult author on the list because his works are not collected and published by various companies. Several of his works comprise the Gospel Life series ($91.00). The six titles include Gospel Worship, Gospel Fear, Gospel Conversation, Gospel Revelation, Gospel Remission, and Gospel Reconciliation. Beyond this there are other Burroughs titles in print including The Sinfulness of Sin or The Evil of Evil ($17.00), The Excellency of a Gracious Spirit, Hope ($15.00), Irenicum to the Lovers of Truth and Peace ($22.00), The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment ($6.25), The Saints’ Happiness, The Saints’ Treasury and A Treatise of Earthly-Mindedness. All told, it would be easy to spend $180.00 on Burroughs alone. Still, his works are indexed and very valuable.

10. Thomas Brooks (6 vol. works; printed)

The Complete Works of Thomas Brooks in six volumes is available in cloth binding from Banner of Truth for $140.00. One Puritan scholar says of Brooks, “He had a body of divinity in his head and the power of it in his heart.” Incredible material!

// THE THIRD $500

11. Thomas Goodwin (12 vol. works; printed)

Reformation Heritage Books has recently reprinted the paperback version of Goodwin’s 12 volume works. This is a great service to the Puritan community and can be purchased for $240.00. I have yet to read a Puritan that glorifies the person and works of Christ more than Goodwin. [read our full review here]

12. John Newton (6 vol. works; printed)

“Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me” are the words of John Newton. An excellent preacher, his complete works are available in cloth binding for $144.00. [Read Piper's biography of Newton here]

13. David Clarkson (3 vol. works; printed)

Not as experiential as the authors above, but well indexed and valuable. The works of David Clarkson are available for $62.00.

14. Edward Reynolds (vols. 1,4,5,6 of 6 vol. works; printed)

Like Burroughs, the complete works of Reynolds are not available. Today there are five volumes in print: Commentary on Ecclesiastes, Meditations on the Holy Sacrament of the Lord’s Last Supper, Preaching Christ, Sinfulness Of Sin and Treatise on the Passions and Faculties of the Soul. All these valuable volumes can be purchased for about $115.00. Spurgeon wrote, “Reynolds was a man of vast learning and thoroughly evangelical spirit.” The digital files are beginning to appear on Google books for free download.

Conclusion

By this point you may feel totally overwhelmed (and broke). Remember, this is a long-term goal.

I don’t even think it would be beneficial to buy all these works at once! Slowly add works as you grow comfortable with the ones you already have.

If you follow this plan you will spend your money wisely and have a storehouse of expositional material at arm’s-reach. This is my promise to you: Even if the Lord blesses you with 30 more years of expositional ministry, you will never exhaust the Puritan Study you built in three years.

————–
Next time … Part 10: Concluding Thoughts, part 1
—————

Book review: An Exposition of the Prophecy of Hosea by Jeremiah Burroughs (1892777940)

Hosea

Hosea was a prophet called to speak to the Northern Kingdom, and although the book is fairly short (14 chapters), Hosea’s ministry was not (more than 70 years). Israel’s Northern kingdom had grown both prosperous and idolatrous, and Hosea was called in to remind them of their unfaithfulness.

The prophecies of Hosea continue in relevance and importance today. Simultaneously, as a culture grows prosperous, the heart grows idolatrous – and quickly forgets about God and the eternal things to come.

Burroughs writes, “It is easy for a minister of God to deal plainly with people in the time of adversity, but when men are in their pride and jollity, to deal faithfully with them is very difficult. That their great prosperity raised up and hardened their hearts with pride against the prophet appears plainly” (5-6).

Jeremiah Burroughs (c. 1600-1646)

Recently, Reformation Heritage Books, Inc. reprinted Jeremiah Burroughs classic commentary: An Exposition of the Prophecy of Hosea. Burroughs remains one of the most popular Puritan writers because of his warm devotional heart, keen exegetical eye, and sensitive perception to the sinful human heart. And these skills mark every page of his commentary.

Here is just one example.

Early in the commentary, Burroughs displays tremendous humility at the prospect of interpreting Scripture,

“… to the interpretation of Scripture, a Scripture frame of heart is necessary, a heart holy and heavenly, suitable to the holiness and heavenliness which are in the word … And because the authority of Scripture is supreme, we desire the prayers of you all to God for us that his fear may fall upon our hearts, that seeing we are men full of error and evil, yet we may not bring any scripture to maintain any erroneous conceit of our own heads nor any evil of our own hearts: this we know to be a dreadful evil” (2).

How many commentaries begin with an author stating an awareness of the “errors” and “evils” of his own heart and their danger in interpretation?

The commentary

The commentary was originally published in 4 volumes and is now printed in one large 700-page paperback volume. The text is clean and easy to read.

Burroughs actually died before he finished writing the 13th chapter. Thomas Hall completed chapter 13 and another famous Puritan, Edward Reynolds, completed chapter 14.

Big-picture overviews and help in discerning the major movements of Hosea are not the strengths of this commentary (nor most Puritan commentaries for that matter).

This commentary is high in value because, (as in most Puritan commentaries) the authors are skilled at unpacking each and every verse with dozens of observations. At times I was lost in the sheer volume of application that poured from each and every verse. Burroughs exemplifies the Puritan conviction that every verse in the bible, “is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Tim. 3:16).

Hosea 6:6

“For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings”

For Hosea 6:6, I give a few of Burrough’s observations as an example of what typifies this commentary.

Now, if you are used to blitzing through blog posts, I encourage you to stop. Just stop. You will need to print these excerpts to get the full effect. The Puritans are not conducive to speed reading. Take these in slowly:

Obs. 1. Carnal hearts which make little conscience of their duties, and are very cruel in their dealings towards men, yet may be contented to submit to instituted worship. This very scripture, ‘I will have mercy, and not sacrifice,’ is a secret rebuke to such people. … Because men may be exercised in instituted worship without any power of godliness, the outward act of performance is a very easy work to flesh and blood, there is little difficulty in it. Because it has the most show of the power of godliness; they seem to be as sincere as any in their worship, there is a great show in the flesh, in the outward man; whereas God’s worship is inward, soul worship, which carnal hearts cannot endure, nor do they desire it, it is outside worship which they prize.

Obs. 2. Carnal men think to satisfy their consciences by joining in outward ordinances. Thus did they in this place think to put off God and their own consciences, by living in the external acts of worship, while they continued in the love of known sin. What a deal of stir [provoking] had the prophet to convince these hypocrites of this their wickedness!

Obs. 4. The Lord has a high esteem of mercy; and it appears in this, that he will have it preferred before sacrifice, and this is called, a ‘sacrifice acceptable,’ and a sweet savor in God’s nostrils, Phil. 4:18. … O Christians! Imitate God in this, let your esteems of mercy be raised higher than ever before, from this that you have heard concerning its excellency. The works of mercy are glorious works, there is more in such than in those acts of religion which men think are more spiritual. I speak the more of this, because it is a scandal [testimony] which is laid upon godly men by the men of the world, that they are miserable and close-handed; now in this we should labor to convince the world by the practice of mercy.

Obs. 5. It is the Christian’s skill, when two duties come together, which to choose. This is a snare in which many Christians are caught and foiled; they think both must be done at the same time, whereas the one is the duty, the other not.

Obs. 6. Though the object of an action be spiritual, yet it is not a sufficient ground to prefer it before another action, whose object may be but natural. The ordinances of God have God for their object, and the enjoying of communion with him; yet in the performance of other actions which may be only natural, I may show more obedience to God than in offering up of sacrifice.

Obs. 7. If God’s own worship may be forborne in case of mercy, how much more men’s institutions and inventions!

Obs. 8. God will have mercy rather than disputing about sacrifices. Suppose there be a truth in that which is disputed about, yet God in this case will have mercy rather than sacrifice, rather than mercy shall be neglected he will have sacrifices omitted.

Obs. 9. Mercy must be preferred before our own wills and lusts. God is contented, that we may perform our duties to our brethren, to forbear his own ordinances; and shall we stand upon our wills and humors? O proud spirit, that exalteth thyself against the Lord; we must be content to deny ourselves very far for the public good, and for our brethren’s sake, since God is please to bear with men so far, as for a time to be without that honor, which he should have from men in their acknowledgment of him in public service.

Obs. 11. The duties of the first and second table are to be joined together. Mercy and sacrifice, knowledge of God and burnt-offerings, when in their place, are acceptable, therefore let us take heed of separating that which God has joined.

Obs. 12. The knowledge of God is a most excellent thing. This is that which sanctifies God’s name, and manifests him to be very glorious in the world. Paul accounted all things but loss and dung in comparison of the excellency of this knowledge of Christ. Instruct then your children and servants in this knowledge, else how can God have his glory from them? How few are there which glorify God as God! And the reason is, because of the ignorance which is in their minds, Eph. 4:18.

Obs. 13. Men may be very diligent in instituted worship, and yet very ignorant. None so acted in their instituted worship as these people, yet none so ignorant as they.

Obs. 14. Soul-worship must be preferred before all other worship. We must not give God a carrion service, a carcass without a soul.

All of these comments come from just 2 pages in the commentary! Multiply this times 350 and you see that this blog post is only a handful of application that originates from a mountain of truth. Spurgeon was right when he said this commentary is “A vast treasure-house of experimental exposition.”

Reformation Heritage Books has served expositors well in their commitment to reprinting a priceless commentary on Hosea that will certainly spur preachers on to put major significance on one minor prophet.


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Commentaries > OT > Minor Prophets > Hosea

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An Exposition of the Prophecy of Hosea, Jeremiah Burroughs, 9781892777942 , 1892777940, oversized paperback, 700 pages, Bible translation: KJV, $50.00/$38.00

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