As soon as I heard about Dr. Tom Schreiner’s Hebrews volume in the new Evangelical Biblical Theology Commentary (EBTC) series from Lexham Academic, I was interested.
I’ve come to appreciate the clarity, care, and insight with which Schreiner writes (I’ve been slowly working through his biblical theology The King in His Beauty). I also love the idea of making a commentary with a special emphasis on Biblical Theology, which is what the EBTC series is all about. (And oh yeah, the covers for the series are gorgeous—that makes a difference to me!)
A Uniquely Helpful Approach
The main purpose of the commentary series is not academic, although it is a quality piece of scholarship. “[W]e seek to relate biblical theology to our own lives and to the life of the church. Our desire is to equip those in Christian ministry who are called by God to preach and teach the precious truths of Scripture to their congregations, both in North America and in a global context” (xii).
The volume is divided in three main parts:
- An introduction of the book – about 50 pages that cover theories on the author, dating, purpose, background, outline of the book and more. (Read Schreiner’s “Hebrews and the Story Line of the Bible” section.)
- An exposition of the book with commentary – just shy of 400 pages. Schreiner breaks Hebrews up into logical pericopes and shares how each portion fits into the overall flow of the argument of Hebrews, finishing with a helpful “Bridge” section that helps readers see how the main points of the passage relate to us today.
- A section on Biblical and Theological Themes of the book – about 65 pages. While the commentary incorporates biblical theology throughout (it is Hebrews, after all), this final section is what makes the commentary stand out. The length is more accessible for pastors and other readers than a larger biblical theology volume like the New Studies in Biblical Theology.
It’s worth mentioning Schreiner’s unique view on the warnings and exhortations in Hebrews (6:4–8 for example). Schreiner lays out major interpretations before sharing his own, which he admits is a minority view of those with reformed soteriology (you can hear his explanation here). To summarize:
“The view that will be defended here is that the warnings are addressed to Christians. They aren’t merely about rewards, but eschatological salvation is at stake. In other words those who fall away will experience the judgment destined for the wicked. In all these respects my view is similar to the Arminian view. I will also argue, in contrast to the Arminian view, that the warnings are always effective in the lives of the elect, and thus the warnings are the means by which believers are preserved in their faith.”
Clear, Rich, and Accessible Commentary for Teachers
Schreiner’s writing is accessible, precise, and to the point. He digs into the Greek when appropriate and traces the argument of Hebrews masterfully, sharing helpful summary statements and main ideas of certain sections along the way—a service for busy preachers and teachers. The full volume is about 500 pages and thus passes the “No commentaries larger than 1 inch thick” test that my pastor recommended for preachers.
This volume is a great option for preachers and teachers of God’s Word wanting an accessible commentary that focuses on biblical theology. Schreiner is a seasoned New Testament scholar who clearly explains the text and doesn’t lose the forest for the trees in his commentary (one of my major pet peeves!). He deals respectfully with opinions of others and carefully explains his own positions.
If you’re looking to teach Hebrews or simply dig deeper into the book that could be described as the crown-jewel in New Testament Christology, Dr. Tom Schreiner’s new volume in the Evangelical Biblical Theological Commentary Series is worth checking out.
Note: You can enter to win the Logos Edition of this commentary series from Lexham Press. Contest ends 8/2/2021.