Book Review: A Commentary on Judges and Ruth by Robert B. Chisholm Jr.

For pastors who teach God’s Word, commentaries are good tools to clarify one’s engagement with the Bible. That’s why I have become a big fan of the Kregel Exegetical Library, their commentaries engage the text and its application to life today.

The best communication of God’s Word builds on a solid study of the text, it’s message then and it’s message for today. That’s what Robert Chisholm Jr. does in A Commentary on Judges and Ruth, the latest addition to the Kregel Exegetical Library.

Each book receives a thorough look with a similar pattern. Chisholm provides his own translation especially focusing on clause movement, then engaging the exegetical background of the text leading to preaching guidelines that move from exegetical idea (what the text said then) to theological idea (what the text tells us about God) to homiletical trajectories that lead to a preaching idea(what truths from the text to share with God’s people today).

For Chisholm, his homiletical truths tied into the major themes he saw at work in each book. For Judges, this includes the role of the judges as deliverers who often govern and rule. He sets Othniel up as the ideal, but thought he missed an opportunity to affirm how God can use anybody and even their perceived weaknesses like Ehud being left handed.

I like that Chisholm builds toward a preaching idea and I especially appreciate the summary he gives in his introduction to each book. For Judges this provides a breakdown of the book for a series of 10 messages and for Ruth a series of 4.

In addition Chisholm contributes an overview of the commentaries he would recommend as well as good documentation of theological thought on both books for those who desire to go deeper.

I give A Commentary on Judges and Ruth 4 out of 5 stars. This is a great tool for pastors preparing to teach through Judges and Ruth to build on a solid foundation of the Biblical text. For those teaching Judges, I would also recommend Timothy Keller’s, Judges for You and for those dealing with Ruth, The Gospel of Ruth by Carolyn Custis James. I was surprised neither was included as a recommendation.

My thanks to Kregel Publishing for a free copy to review, I wasn’t required to give a positive review just an honest one.





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Filed under Book Review, Leadership in the Bible

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