Posts Tagged ‘Bible Commentaries’
Dr. Vic Reasoner is one of my favorite Arminian theologians today. His writings are biblical and yet he has in his mind the average preacher of God’s Word as he writes. Dr. Reasoner writes with a conviction that the Bible is the inerrant and infallible Word of God and that all doctrine must flow from the Word of God (Titus 2:1).
In this work, Dr. Reasoner goes verse by verse through the epistles of John and Jude. Dr. Reasoner leaves no stone uncovered as he writes. He deals with his text while also including sound Arminian theology in there as well. I appreciate how Dr. Reasoner is willing to deal with tough texts and along the way includes everything from doctrines of salvation, sin, holiness, sanctification, and even end times.
In regard to debated texts such as 1 John 2:1-2 within the Arminian/Calvinist debate, Dr. Reasoner does two things. First he deals with the text in regard to propitiation and then he looks at how Calvinists have understood John’s words in 1 John 2:2 in regard to an unlimited atonement. To the average reader 1 John 2:2 seems to teach that Jesus died for the entire world. John Wesley, for example, taught that Christ’s atonement was as extensive as the curse of sin. In other words, sin has extended to the entire world and likewise the work of Christ is powerful enough for the sins of the entire world. Sinners who go to hell go to hell because of their own sins and the fact that they have not repented and placed their faith in the Lord Jesus who alone can appease the wrath of a holy God by His graceful work of the cross.
The good thing about Dr. Reasoner’s commentaries are that while it is clear that Dr. Reasoner is a sound theologian and knows his content, he writes with the average preacher in mind. As a man who loves expository preaching and practices this art himself, Dr. Reasoner is offering his commentaries to help the preacher preach the text. He wants preachers to work through the text. Therefore his commentaries, as any good commentary will do, works through the letters. I read this work as a devotion. It is that easy to read and follow. So while Dr. Reasoner does dive into the Greek text or the history behind a debate over a text, he writes with the average preacher in mind.
Overall I once again am impressed by this commentary. I pray that Dr. Reasoner will write more biblical commentaries. While I praise God that we have so many good commentaries out there, we need more solid Arminian commentaries and this one fits the bill.
You can find more information about obtaining a copy of this commentary here.
I use to believe that reading a Bible commentary was something you only did for reference work only. If you were studying a passage for teaching, it was vital to do sound exegesis but using a good Bible commentary was necessary as well. These commentaries could vary from book to book in the Bible.
Now, however, I enjoy reading from a Bible commentary just for enjoyment in reading. There is much to learn from them. Granted, some of them can be more technical than others but a good commentary will use both sound doctrine, exegesis, and will offer encouragement and exhortation from the text. For instance, I have been reading Dr. John MacArthur’s commentary on the book of Galatians. It has been good reading. His commentary is a strong presentation of the gospel of Christ and he works through the text word for word. It is very good reading.
I also enjoy Dr. Vic Reasoner’s commentaries on Romans and Revelation. I hear that he is also working on a commentary on Ephesians. Dr. Reasoner writes from an Arminian perspective but what I appreciate is that Dr. Reasoner is not focused on proving Arminianism nor attacking Calvinism. His focus is the gospel of Christ much like Dr. MacArthur. Certainly his Arminianism does come out in texts where it is needful such as in debated texts in Romans. His commentary on Revelation is one of the first I have ever read from that comes from a partial preterist viewpoint.
My point is that commentaries can be valuable tools for Bible study. A good study Bible such as the ESV Study Bible or the Fire Bible can offer helpful study notes and commentary but they are no where as in-depth as a good Bible commentary. We need to study the Word of God as deep as we can (2 Timothy 2:15). The Word is our sword (Ephesians 6:17) and it is able to defeat the lies of the enemy and this sinful world. How important it is then to study and mediate upon God’s Word (John 17:17).
Romans is by far one of the most popular books in the New Testament for commentaries along with the book of Revelation. Romans is called the magnum opus of Paul the Apostle. It is the closest thing we have to a systematic theology text from Paul. Romans, in just 11 chapters, builds a case for Christianity as a fulfillment of God’s promises to His people Israel and establishes what this new life brings in Christ. No wonder it would be a popular book then to write a commentary.
There are many good Calvinist commentaries on the book of Romans so I don’t want to take away from my brethren of the work that they have done in seeking to write biblical commentaries on Romans. That said, I want to post some Arminian commentaries on the book of Romans. When it comes to Arminian commentaries, Arminians historically have written much on Romans and Hebrews. One writer at Amazon.com has put together a list of Arminian commentaries on Romans. You can find the link here.
A couple of comments about the list. First, my personal favorite Arminian commentary on the book of Romans is by Vic Reasoner. You can find his introduction about his book here. The book is a complete analysis of Romans. Dr. Reasoner deals with the texts and while he does interact with Calvinism here and there as he needs to, his point is not to build a case for Arminians but to simply teach the Scriptures. I rejoice in that! How important it is that biblical truth go forth and not just Arminianism or Calvinism. May Jesus always be exalted above all others!
One title I do not have but plan to get is by Dr. Jack Cottrell. His commentary on Romans use to be two-volumes but now is one volume from College Press. Cottrell is an excellent writer who writes from an Arminian but Restoration perspective. This would be played out especially in passages such as Romans 5:12-18 or 6:1-4. I appreciate Dr. Cottrell’s emphasis, like Reasoner’s, on the Bible being our main text and focus instead of Arminianism or other groups.
One final point is that it is interesting to read Arminian commentaries on Romans 7:14-25. Some Arminians argue along with Arminius that Romans 7 pictures a lost man. Others argue that Romans 7 is a struggling man. Robert Picirilli would represent this view whereas his friend F. Leroy Forlines would represent the view of Arminius. Interesting to say the least. I hold to the view of Arminius regarding Romans 7, that the person is lost and does not describe the normal behavior of a believer. I have heard so many abuses from Romans 7:14-25 to justify living in sin and living below the victory that God has called us to in Christ Jesus that He gives us in Romans 8.
Sorry for the ramble. Enjoy the commentaries!