The Lectio Continua Expository Commentary on the New Testament
November 29, 2016
I love reading commentaries and have many of them: technical commentaries, semi-technical commentaries, devotional commentaries, practical commentaries, evangelical and Reformed commentaries. Recently, I received three volumes in the new Lectio ContinuaI Expository Commentary on the New Testament (LCECNT).1 This series was formerly published by Tolle Lege Press but has now been picked up by Reformation Heritage Books. Volumes currently available include Galatians by John Fesko, First Corinthians by Kim Riddlebarger, Hebrews by David McWilliams, and Revelation by Joel Beeke (released November 2016).
The series editors are Jon D. Payne and Joel Beeke.2 Authors will include an array of seasoned Reformed pastors from around the world and various Reformed denominations. Among them are Joel Beeke on the Gospel of Mark, Ian Campbell on the Gospel of Luke, Terry Johnson on the Gospel of John, Jon D. Payne on Acts, John Fesko on Romans, Ian Hamilton on Ephesians, Sinclair Ferguson on Colossians, Derek Thomas on Second Corinthians, and Richard D. Phillips on 1-3 John, to name a few.
Series endorsers include Hughes Oliphant Old, Carl Trueman, Michael Horton, and T. David Gordon. The goal of this work is to "provide lectio continua sermons which clearly and faithfully communicate the context, meaning, gravity and application of God's inerrant Word. Each volume of expositions aspires to be redemptive-historical, covenantal, Reformed and confessional, trinitarian, person-and-work-of-Christ-centered, and teeming with practical application" (from the Introduction).
Just as the wise preacher said, "of making many books there is no end" (Eccl. 12:12), the same is certainly true of Bible commentaries. As Christians living in the 21st century, we are blessed with an abundance of good commentary series from many different publishers. Some of my favorites are, The New International Greek Testament Commentary (NIGTC)3, The Baker Exegetical Commentary Series (BECNT), The Pillar New Testament Commentary (PNTC), and the Zondervan Exegetical Commentary Series (ZECNT).
All of these are good, solid, evangelical commentaries, excellent aids for the expositor of God's Word and worthy of regular consultation. Enter the new series by Reformation Heritage Books--The Lectio Continua Expository Commentary on the New Testament. My perusal of the early volumes is most encouraging, not only because all the writers are Reformed scholars I esteem, but also because this set is delightfully different from the aforementioned collections. As advertised, LCECNT is not "academic or highly technical," but sermonic and homiletical. It is pastoral, practical, insightful, theologically robust, warm and winsome, confessional, conversational, Calvinistic, and best of all, Christ-centered. There is much useful sermon material here, including helpful introductions, vivid illustrations, great quotations, and practical, gospel-focused applications. LCECNT handles the biblical text in a way that is faithful, clear, and immediately beneficial for the sheep of Jesus' fold, without getting bogged down in minutiae such as with textual variants and the like. Reading these commentaries is like sitting at the feet of a great expositor and having his notes right before you--a rare and rich treasure indeed!
After praying and doing my own exegetical work on a particular passage of Scripture, it is a privilege to consult the trustworthy works of others and discover what they wrote about the text before me. This tests my own exegesis and usually adds some profitable thoughts. In view of this, I believe that the new Lectio Continua Expository Commentary on the New Testament is a valuable tool for any minister of the gospel, filling in gaps where other commentaries leave us wanting, adding essential content especially suitable to preachers.4
From what I have already seen of the newest volume, Revelation, I highly recommend it. I have been greatly encouraged by it both theologically and practically, especially with its optimistic amillennial position. View it at Reformation Heritage Books.
Here is what others are saying:"Joel Beeke's new sermonic commentary on Revelation is one of the brightest resources I have seen to date on how we should face our perplexing future in the West: by studying afresh the triumphant Christ, whom John saw and described in the last book of the Bible. Dr. Beeke shows that the Apocalypse is not meant to be a closed, enigmatic book, for, on the contrary, through a proper interaction with it, the glory of the reigning Christ shines through. Dr. Beeke has encouraged me in this regard, and I shall be commending this volume to those in my classes and conferences. Read and rejoice!"
--Douglas Kelly, Professor Emeritus of Systematic Theology at Reformed Theological Seminary, Charlotte, North Carolina, and author of Revelation (Christian Focus)
"The book of Revelation promises a blessing to the one who reads it, but it is one of the most challenging books of the Bible. Joel Beeke shines bright exegetical light that both illumines the book and provides pastoral warmth to the heart. With Dr. Beeke as an able guide, readers can benefit from one of Scripture's richest feasts."
--John Fesko, Academic Dean, Professor of Systematic and Historical theology, Westminster Seminary, Escondido, California
"Dr. Beeke's work on Revelation is a fine example of the kind of expository preaching that God has frequently chosen to bless to the salvation of sinners, the edification of saints, the strengthening of the church, and the demolition of satanic strongholds. My hope and prayer is that this sermonic commentary on Revelation will encourage preachers to also take the plunge and preach many more sermons from this much-neglected but much-needed book."
--David Murray, Professor of Old Testament and Practical Theology, Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary, Grand Rapids, Michigan
A new promotional video for the Lectio Continua can be viewed on Vimeo.
1. Lectio continua is Latin for continuous reading or the systematic exposition of God's Word, "line upon line, precept upon precept." Lectio continua is the consecutive expository method of preaching the Bible which has deep roots in the Reformed tradition.
2. Jon D. Payne is Pastor of Christ Church Presbyterian (PCA), Charleston, South Carolina, and visiting professor of homiletics at Reformed Theological Seminary, Atlanta, GA. Joel Beeke is president and professor of systematic theology and homiletics at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary; a pastor of Heritage Reformed Congregation in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
3. The only caveat I offer is that The New International Greek Testament Commentary series is a bit uneven, theologically speaking (e.g., John Nolland on Matthew; James Dunn on Colossians and Philemon).
4. I will also recommend this series to my congregation and other non-office bearing friends for their own reading and edification.