Why Pastors Need Commentaries

Standing on the Shoulders of Others

Any of us that have preached understand that through the centuries there have been great preachers and great exegetes. You need to be willing to stand on the shoulders of others. When somebody says to me, "I’ve gone to seminary. All I need is my lexicon and my Greek and Hebrew Testament and I’m ready to go"—a knot goes off in my mind. The arrogance of thinking you can’t learn from others, or that others understand things that you wouldn’t even dream of, is just beyond me.

Now at the same time, I think that commentaries need to be respected and disrespected. In other words, you need to understand that your own work—thinking clearly—may be, at times, as good as the commentators. Or you may be right when the commentators are wrong.

Then you need to think about commentaries in the sense that you can have a critical commentary that is written from a particular viewpoint, which sees everything through that lens, and really nullifies all the research that is going on. You need to understand the lens that it is going through.

The Pastor's Book

R. Kent Hughes, Douglas Sean O'Donnell

Written by two seasoned pastors, this practical book is a comprehensive guide to nearly every facet of pastoral ministry, including pastoral counseling, hospital visitations, funerals, weddings, the sacraments, holiday services, and congregational music.

Eta Linnemann, a higher critical German scholar, burned all of her works that she had written before her conversion when she came to Christ and committed herself to Christ. So you need to be aware. And I think that after you have used commentaries for a while you can tell which ones are good. I will sometimes buy ten commentaries and find out that I’ve got three that are really useful.

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