Book Review: Philippians
Author: Lynn H. Cohick
Publisher: Zondervan ISBN: 9780310327240
I have thoroughly enjoyed my reading and study of this Bible commentary on the Epistle to the Philippians. Zondervan touts this series as “A new commentary for today’s world, the Story of God Bible Commentary explains and illuminates each passage of Scripture in light of the Bible’s grand story.” I believe they have hit their mark and I find myself very satisfied and impressed with the results of their efforts thus far (I have also been working through Sermon on the Mount in the same series, written by Scot McKnight).
One of the more impressive points for this series is the exceptional blend of scholasticism and practical application with which the commentary has been written. It does not take much reading to realize the erudite study that has gone into this work; however, the high level of academia never smothers the reader. On the contrary, I found my reading experience highly engaging.
There are several things about this commentary that makes it a new favorite of mine. First, I really like the format. Zondervan has employed a three-stage outline to assist the reader through reading God’s Story. Stage, or section one, encourages the reader to “Listen to the Story.” Zondervan explains it as follows: “Listen to the Story includes the complete New International Version text with references to other texts at work in each passage encouraging the reader to hear it within the Bible’s grand story.” Section two, “Explain the Story” is described as exploring and illuminating each text as embedded in its canonical and historical setting. Finally, section three, seeks to impart practical application through “Living the Story.”
Regarding this particular volume, Philippians, I very much enjoyed Lynn Cohick’s treatment of the Christ Hymn (aka kenosis or self-emptying of Christ). While there is a great deal of study and academic insight evident in her work, I particularly delighted in her synthesis and subjective interpretation of her material. I have employed many resources (commentaries, papers, essays, and other) in my own studies and I have found objective interpretations do not always provide me the stimulus I need to engage my own thinking.
If there were any point that I find criticism, it would be in documentation of the resources. The book is well documented and annotated. There are source references at the bottom of every page, Scripture and subject index, and an author index. While these are certainly adequate, I would prefer a comprehensive bibliography of sources included in the appendices.
I rank this volume with four-stars. I don’t think it should be a standalone commentary as it is lacking some of the key features of some of my favorite resources when engaging deep study (timelines, graphs, charts, textual criticisms, etc.). I do think this is a “must have” compliment to any other commentary resource that might be your personal favorite.
I look forward to working in more volumes from this series.