***Disclaimer: I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review, whether positive or negative.
Review: Ralph P. Martin, Philippians Tyndale New Testament Commentary series
About the Book:
The physical aspects of the book are not exactly “appealing.” The color is a flat green, dull, and certainly not going to “stand out” on your bookshelf. Again, this is purely based upon physical appearance. The size of the commentary, however, is medium in thickness and medium in height. That is, it is not the size of a systematic theology, but rather about the thickness of a personal size Bible. This makes it easy to carry, and because of its size, it is very lightweight. Size and width included, the length of the book is only 191 pages. Thankfully, reviews of commentaries are based on their content and not their cover.
Paul and his letter to the Philippians is one of the most enjoyed, most read books in the entire canon of Scripture. Next to either John or Romans, Philippians is certainly a beloved book to study in a small group, preach from for a series, or for personal spiritual nourishment. Martin hones in on the fact that the common lay person does not possess an Master of Divinity from a divinity school or seminary, and the reader can tell based upon how he introduces the historicity of Philippians, his analysis of the outline, and structure of the commentary based upon his proposed outline.
Martin gives the historicity and reliability of Paul’s authorship of Philippians its due space. He tackles the tough questions of location and unity in composition. What he does not do, however, is over indulge in scholarly words and structure the commentary where only the select in academia would even posses a hint of comprehension. Rather, Martin relays his research in such a way that the common lay person, the pastor post-seminary academia can comprehend, preach, and apply Paul’s message.
As far as the term “analysis”, he labels this section on a front and back page for the outline of Philippians; rather, the breakdown of how the book is structured. True analysis, the content, comes in the “commentary” section. He breaks down each section by its verse and/or any transition words. It is here that his use of a common language, rather than scholarly, that Martin is able to communicate the Greek intelligently enough to be scholarly, but common enough that someone without knowledge of Greek will understand the meaning of the text. This is something to be praised as not every commentary is effective at communicating the original language well.
All in all, a very “simple” commentary in terms of using it for notes and gathering information. I highly recommend putting it on any library shelf whether at home, in the office, or in the pastor’s study.