Thursday, January 24, 2013

Review of 1 & 2 Thessalonians in the Zondervan Exegetical Commentary of the New Testament by Gary S. Shogren

Photo Credit: Zondervan

Rating: 5 out of 5

With any Bible commentary that I review, I try to focus on the areas where I've wrestled the most and had the most questions during my faith journey. With Gary S. Shogren's commentary of 1st and 2nd Thessalonians in the Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament, my focus was on what Shogren had to say about Paul's eschatology. All that to say that what I appreciated most was Shogren's handling of Christ's return and the gathering of the saints in 1 Thessalonians 4 and his discussion of the Man of Lawlessness in 2 Thessalonians.

When I first became a follower of Jesus, the Left Behind series of books were highly popular and I quickly subscribed to a pre-tribulational rapture interpretation of 1 Thessalonians 4. It wasn't long before I starred to see some inconsistencies with this view from a biblical standpoint. Shogren handles the issue carefully and without any disrespect to those who hold to the dispensational view. He shows, from looking at the Greek text, that Paul was describing Christ's return at the end of the age, after the Man of Lawlessness is revealed, when Jesus gathers all his people and then establishes his earthly eternal kingdom. Because I've wrestled with this for some time, I found this part of the commentary fascinating and enlightening.

I also appreciate Shogren's writing style and the way he presents various viewpoints before outlining why he believes one is more plausible than the others. The introduction is enlightening as well as he describes how the Thessalonian church came about and how the letters of Paul to them came about. I highly recommend this commentary for anyone studying Paul's letters to the Thessalonians.

Review copy provided by Zondervan

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