Monday, January 16, 2012

Theological Ethics: A Mustard Seed Approach

"God is light, and in Him is no un-Christlikeness"--Graham Cole

Take a few of Paul's commands to the church in Rome: "Love must be sincere.  Hate what is evil; cling to what is good" (12:9); "Do not repay anyone evil for evil; respect what is right in the sight of all men.  If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men" (12:17-18).

Do God and Jesus adhere to these ethical commands?*  Is it odd to consider that God himself clings to good, doesn't meet evildoers with evil and seeks peace with his creation?  Or that Jesus loved sincerely and did what was right in the sight of men? (I find that last bit especially interesting).

*I'm sorry I left out the Holy Spirit.  I'll try to make it up to him in a later post.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Review: Luke

The Zondervan Exegetical Commentary series is well underway, with the publication of James, Galatians, Matthew, Ephesians and now Luke joining the number. This volume follows the vision of the series with the focus on accessible Greek language examination/translation and theological discussion in the commentary, and with an application section that concludes each section.

David Garland works through Luke largely by means of literary criticism (akin to Osborne's work on Matthew). He observes differences between the gospels, but seldom takes time to expound or explain them (unlike Bock; however, see his discussion on the divorce logion in Lk 16:18). Depending on the section, he works verse-by-verse and comments concisely on important Greek words (sans transliteration!). He includes relevant Jewish and Greco-Roman writings to help seat Luke's account of Jesus inside its first-century world, and he isn't afraid to look to Acts when explaining Luke.

While all of this sounds like standard fare for a commentary, it is done exceptionally well by Garland. While not a Luke specialist per se, he is a commentary specialist--with commentaries on Mark, 1 Corinthians and Colossians/Philemon under his belt. As a result, his writing is clear and concise, and his prose often sparkles with clever turns of phrase. This is most evident in the application sections, where he encourages care for the needy or speaks on divorce with pastoral sensitivity.

Depending on what one needs in a commentary, this one-volume work is a great foundation for studying and preaching on Luke. Up-to-date, academically informed and pastorally sensitive--it is well worth having.

(This is verbatim my review posted on