Friday, March 23, 2012
Book Review of Ezekiel, Daniel; Reformation Commentary on Scripture, Volume XII edited by Carl Beckwith
Reformation Commentary on Scripture
by Carl Beckwith
Published by IVP Academic
Reviewed by Clint Walker
Ezekiel, Daniel by Carl Beckwith is the second book published in what is expected to be a twenty-eight volume commentary series entitled The Reformation Commentary on Scripture. In each volume the editors attempt to assemble the teachings of the leaders and theologians of the Reformation, paying attention to both the most influential leaders as well as the diversity of thinkers throughout the movement.
This is an excellent commentary. As is true with many of the best commentaries, the introduction is a must read, and lays the foundation for the rest of what follows. In this introduction, Carl Beckwith helps us understand that Exekiel was not a high priority for the reformers to write about for most of their lives. Neither Calvin or Luther wrote a complete work on Ezekiel, although Calvin was trying to preach through at the same time he was dying. Daniel is a little more commonly studied by the most well-known reformers, mostly because of its role in messianic and apocolyptic prophecy.
Another thing that you learn from the introduction to Ezekiel, Daniel is that the editor makes liberal use of the independent and Anabaptist reformers. At points, even John Bunyan is included in this commentary. I was happy to see Richard Baxter was used as a resource as well.
I think this may be the case for two reasons. First, I think resources in certain sections of Ezekiel was hard to find, and thus the editor had to be more generous in his sourcing. Also, I wonder if the fact that Beckwith serves at a seminary that has more independent and Baptist leanings makes him more interested in what the reformers from those backgrounds have to say.
Throughout the book, with sources many may have heard of, and reformers they have never heard about, the reader is challenged to come back to the basics of what the Bible is saying. There is something good and right about reading interpreters that are not from one's own era. It helps the teacher of Scripture see God's Word from outside of their narrow circumstances and world view, and to understand the Word of God in greater context.
I spent a lot of time looking up my favorite passages, and reading what the saints of old had to say about the passages that speak so much to me. Often times, because the writers of old seem to have a way with the written word that allows the teachings they share to hit me in a whole new way.