The Gospel According to St. John, by R. V. G. Tasker. Published by Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, Mich. Price $3.00.
This volume is one of the series of Tyndale Bible Commentaries. In a preface the author writes that the aim of these commentaries is “to place into the hands of students and serious readers of the New Testament, at a moderate cost, commentaries by a number of scholars who, while they are free to make their own individual contributions, are united in a common desire to promote a truly biblical theology.”
As to the general plan of this commentary on the gospel according to St. John, the author has divided the fourth gospel into different sections in order, first, to offer general comments on each section, and this is followed by some exegetical notes on some of the individual texts of the section that is discussed. The book makes very easy reading and the exegesis is on the whole quite sound and biblical. I would have liked a more careful and thorough interpretation of some of the terms of the text. To give just one example of what I mean by this: in the text of John 3:16, “for God so loved the world,” I would have expected an explanation of the term “world.” For this I looked in vain. The same is true of the same term “world” in John 17:9: “I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me: for they are thine.”
Nevertheless, I am glad to recommend this rather popular commentary to our readers.
The Epistle of Paul to the Philippians, by R. P. Matrin. Published by the Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, Mich. Price $3.00.
Also this commentary belongs to the Tyndale series mentioned above. After a general introduction in which the author writes about the Church at Philippi, the authorship of the epistle, the time and place of its composition, etc., he offers his commentary of the epistle. This I find rather careful and thorough. I recommend also this volume to our readers.
This does not mean, however, that I agree with all the exegesis that is here offered. Thus, for instance, I must differ with his explanation of chapter 2:12, 13: “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” The author prefers the interpretation of the term “salvation” in this text as referring, not to the individual salvation of each member, but “to the corporate life of the Philippian church.” And “the readers .are being encouraged to concentrate upon reforming their church life.” This is far fetched and certainly not in harmony with the Scriptural use of the term “salvation.”
But I say this in order to exhort the reader that they must always read critically, even commentaries.
The Epistle to the Romans, by John Murray. Published by Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, Mich. Price $5.00.
This is a commentary on the first eight chapters of the epistle to the Romans. It is designed to be a commentary, not only for scholars that are acquainted with the original languages of Scripture, but also for the general reader. Writes the author in a preface: “In accordance with the aim . . . that these commentaries could be freely used by those who are not familiar with the original languages of Scripture, I have consistently refrained from the use of Greek and Hebrew terms in the text of the commentary.”
In my opinion, this is the best commentary written in recent times. The style is clear and the exegesis is thorough. I would like to quote a few instances of what I expressed in the preceding sentence. Writing on the well-known section chapter 1:18-32, the author interprets the last clause of vs. 20 as follows: “The concluding clause of vs. 20 may require the rendering given in the version (R.V.H.H.) ‘that they may be without excuse,’ expressing purpose and not merely result . . . . Besides, even if we regard the clause in question as expressing result rather than design, we cannot eliminate from the all-inclusive ordination and providence of God the design which is, presupposed in the actual result. If inexcusableness is the result, it is the designed result from the aspect of the decretive ordination.”
Explaining the much-debated question whether in Rom. 7:14-25 the apostle is speaking of himself as a natural or a regenerate man, the author chooses for the latter interpretation and adduces five reasons or grounds for his explanation and then concludes: “For these reasons we are compelled to conclude that 7:14-25 is the delineation of Paul’s experience in the state of grace.”
Again, the clause “whom he foreknew” in chapter 8:29 the author rejects the interpretation of those that explain: “God foreknew who would believe; he foreknew them as his by faith.” Instead he shows from Scripture that the verb to know often includes to love. And he concludes: “It means ‘whom he set regard upon’ or ‘whom he knew from eternity with distinguishing affection and delight’ and is virtually equivalent to ‘whom he foreloved.’ ”
I recommend this commentary to all our readers.