Review: ESV Expository Commentary Series

Crossway recently released the first three volumes in their ESV Expository Commentary: Volume VII — Daniel-Malachi, Volume XI — Ephesians-Philemon, and Volume XII — Hebrews-Revelation.

Appearance

The set is well-made, a delight to hold, and attractive. The paper is thick and easy to read from. The ribbon marker is a nice touch. The Smyth-sewn binding seems like it will hold up to long-term use.

Scholarship

The set is edited by Iain M. Duguid, James M. Hamilton, and Jay Skylar. Among the authors are many trustworthy scholars, whose work I’ve come to trust.


WTS Books is offering the volumes on sale at a significant discount (bit.ly/ESVCommentary).


Series Goals

The aim of the series is “to help the church understand and apply the overarching storyline of the Bible.” The preface states that “each contributor has been asked to provide commentary that is:

exegetically sound—self-consciously submissive to the flow of thought and lines of reasoning discernible in the biblical text;

robustly biblical-theological—reading the Bible as diverse yet bearing an overarching unity, narrating a single storyline of redemption culminating in Christ;

globally aware—aimed as much as possible at a global audience, in line with Crossway’s mission to provide the Bible and theologically responsible resources to as many people around the world as possible;

broadly reformed—standing in the historical stream of the Reformation, affirming that salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, taught in Scripture alone, for God’s glory alone; holding high a big God with big grace for big sinners;

doctrinally conversant—fluent in theological discourse; drawing appropriate brief connections to matters of historical or current theological importance;

pastorally useful—transparently and reverently “sitting under the text”; avoiding lengthy grammatical/syntactical discussions;

application-minded—building brief but consistent bridges into contemporary living in both Western and non-Western contexts (being aware of the globally diverse contexts toward which these volumes are aimed)

efficient in expression—economical in its use of words; not a word-by-word analysis but a crisply moving exposition.


Thanks to Crossway’s generosity, I’m giving away three sets of the published volumes in October. Find details on the giveaway page.


Personal Impression

My perusal indicates the series achieved the goals outlined in the preface. I found the commentaries to be readable and easy to follow. They avoid overly academic issues without avoiding important doctrinal and interpretive issues. They apply the Scripture on a general level while avoiding unnecessary cultural restraints. Best of all, they practice biblical theology. The authors do not divorce the book studied from the whole of Scripture. They interpret each book within the storyline of the Bible. This equips readers to interpret all of Scripture by using these volumes.

If I have one disappointment in this series, it is the lack of female contributors. I share Crossway’s complementarian perspective. However, I do not think the inclusion of female scholars would violate the principles of complementarianism. I hope to see conservative female scholars contribute to future volumes.

Recommendation

I recommend this set both for pastors and households. It is a reliable go-to resource for the average church member. Collecting this set is a worthwhile investment in the home. I would love to see children and adolescents pull this down from the shelf at home to answer questions about the Bible.


Crossway provided me with a complimentary set to review on this blog. This donation does not influence my review.