Review: Philippians

Philippians

Philippians (Kerux Commentaries), Thomas Moore and Timothy D. Sprankle. Grand Rapids, Kregel Ministry, 2019.

Summary: A biblical commentary on Paul’s letter to the Philippians combining exegetical and preaching resources for each passage.

This commentary represents one of the first of a new commentary series published through Kregel Ministry. The approach in the Kerux Commentaries is to pair a biblical scholar and a preaching author, either a pastor or homiletician. The commentary is organized by preaching passages under an overall outline of the book. Following an overview of all the preaching passages and introduction covering typical introductory issues are exegetical and preaching resources for each passage.

Each section includes a brief section on the literary structure and themes of the passage, a short exposition, and then verse by verse exegesis of the passage including renderings of key Greek terms, sidebars on cultural backgrounds (e.g. slaves and servants, saints from Philippians 1:1-8), and the theological focus of the passage. This is followed by Preaching and Teaching Strategies: an exegetical and theological synthesis, the main preaching idea, contemporary connections, a section on creativity in presentation, a summary of preaching points, and then a list of discussion questions and additional resources.

The commentary highlights well some of the key themes in Philippians: the themes of joy, partnership in the gospel, the call to stand together, looking to others interests, highlighting the example of Christ, and the surpassing worth of knowing Christ and dependency upon him. In very readable form the exegetical part of the commentary sets out key textual issues, terms, and background and sums this up well in identifying the theological focus of the passage.

I found the preaching section less helpful. The preaching strategies did flow from exegesis and model this practice making a number of good points and suggested some creative ideas for presentation (e.g. on Philippians 1:27-30 on loyalty to Christ, suggesting use of a kingdom “pledge of allegiance.”). Perhaps it is my own preference to determine the preaching idea and homiletic outline from my own study and not preach someone else’s material, but I found these sections less helpful than the exegetical sections. Still, the preaching author often raised good ideas that “preached” to me, for example, from Philippians 2:5-8, he poses good questions about what it means to climb down the ladder of privilege.

The discussion questions are helpful for those using this commentary with adult education groups or those teaching the passage in a Bible study. The authors also offer an extensive reference section with eighteen pages of contemporary books, commentaries and articles on Philippians.

This commentary strikes a good balance between the highly technical commentaries and the popular commentaries that are often transcribed sermons. This is helpful for pastors and lay teachers who may not have extended time for study but want to give exegetically sound messages. Just don’t plagiarize the preaching material. I might be in the audience!

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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the publisher. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

One thought on “Review: Philippians

  1. Pingback: The Month in Reviews: April 2020 | Bob on Books

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