If this letter becomes as controversial as the letter on Monday then I’ll have to rethink my strategies!
Hope you don’t mind this completely out of the blue email from a stranger, but I read Jesus Creed this last year and was really encouraged by what you had to write:
I am junior-year student from Multnomah Bible College in Portland, Oregon, and was wondering if you could recommend some commentaries on the Gospels and Acts… pretty, pretty, please? I don’t have many criterion, but I do have a few: I would like to avoid heavy Greek studies, “basic” or introductory works (700 page texts scare some, but not me!), and anything that is extensively secular.
Are there any in your library or that you have run across that are especially exceptional?
I get lots of letters out of the blue so no need to apologize.
Well, there are some exceptional ones and what I’ll do is mention two for each book, but I must admit this is hard because the best commentaries are nearly always rooted in the Greek text. And it is always good to read commentaries that differ with one another and, if possible, that differ with you so you can be challenged to think. I’m favoring here evangelical commentaries since you asked to avoid the “secular.” (I’ll not touch that word in this context, but it might be interesting for you to know that the approach of most commentaries is actually quite secular since they frequently do everything they can to bracket off faith assumptions and larger theological issues … but that’s for another day.)
R.T. France, The Gospel of Matthew
Craig Keener, Matthew
M.D. Hooker, Mark
R.T. France, The Gospel of Mark [Though based on the Greek text, he doesn’t overdo it.]
B. Witherington, The Gospel of Mark
J.B. Green, The Gospel according to Luke
D. Bock, Luke [This is on the Greek text, but readable; it is two volumes and you can chase down volume 2.]
R.E. Brown, Gospel of John [I see this is 40 years old; it is long and involved with some complicated theories; it is still the best theological commentary on John’s ideas there is.]
D.A. Carson, Gospel of John [It is either this or Leon Morris or Carson’s student, Andreas Koestenberger.]
D. Bock, Acts [This is brand, spankin’ new.]
F.F. Bruce, Acts of the Apostles [I can’t mention Acts without mentioning FF Bruce, for I cut my teeth on Acts with Bruce. Again, Ben Witherington has a nice commentary on Acts, too.]
Hope this gets you started. If you read the footnotes and the commentary interactions, you’ll know what to read next.