Here's a little note if you're looking for stocking-stuffers for a pastor, Bible teacher or seminary student (at least). Kress Biblical Resources is offering four books at a staggering 75% discount for the Christmas month of December for American buyers.
The Pastoral Epistle for Pastors. John is pastor of a CMA church in Ohio. My first contact with John came when I reviewed his commentary on Proverbs. That began a cyber-friendship, which led to John's gracious agreement to read and critique the manuscript of my own book of Proverbs studies.
This volume is 623 pages long, and covers 1-2 Timothy and Titus. It is endorsed by Simon Kistemaker, Warren Wiersbe, Robert Gromacki, and Dick Mayhue. John is a very careful reader and commenter. Kitchen brings to my mind R. C. H. Lenski in this regard: he pores over every word and point of grammar with great care and reverence. John has a high regard for the text, and loves God. One of the qualities that stood out as I read John's volume on Proverbs, and the manuscript for his forthcoming book on Colossians, is how unhurriedly he deals with Scripture. By that I mean he deals with each verse with devoted concentration, turning over each word and each grammatical, syntactical, doctrinal facet to the best of his considerable ability.
The book is well-produced, as I've learned to expect of Kress. John crafts it to serve as commentary, counselor and coach, gearing the text for practical pastoral application. And so the introduction, while solid and sound, is not designed to deal with every critical theory that has ever been hatched. It is 19 pages long, and crowned with four pages of bibliography (in addition to a 9-page annotated bibliography added as an appendix).
The text is spotted with "Ministry Maxims" boxes, making pointed applications of various passages. For instance, the "Ministry Maxim" on 1 Tim. 1:20 is "Truth that is not protected is truth that is not truly believed" (80). The note on 1 Tim. 6:4 is "Ignorance and arrogance are seldom separated" (257). Indeed. Each section has a set of "Digging Deeper" questions meant to point to further thought and interaction with the text.
John may not be the full Calmaniac that I am, so you might want to "Calvinize" the text here and there. Though I haven't read it all, I've read a lot of John's careful work in Proverbs and Colossians, and there's nothing of the antagonism one gets (say) in Lenski. If I kept only 5-point Calvinist commentaries, I'd lose some of the best volumes in my library.
Kitchen's work is unfailingly reverent and careful, and I could see using this as a study guide for an elder's group, or for personal enrichment. In fact, I mentioned the annotated bibliographical appendix — that is actually one of five appendices. The others provide a pastor's self-guided study of the Pastoral Epistles, another on training local church leaders from these epistles, a topical guide to the ministry maxims, and another on preaching/teaching these epistles.
And now, for December only, if you use the code BR60833557256, you will get a 75% discount. I'm not great at The Maths, but I think that's about $10, which is a terrific buy.
- In Pursuit of Prodigals, by Stephen Davey
- The Book of James--A New Perspective, by William Varner
- The Discipline of Mercy: Seeking God in the Wake of Sin’s Misery, by Eric Kress and Paul Tautges
NOTE: If any of you have read any of them, please chime in. I'm particularly interested in hearing from anyone who's used the James study by Varner.