Initial Thoughts

November 28, 2007 Leave a comment Go to comments

The Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament was one of the most highly anticipated books in recent memory. Such anticipation can sometimes lead to disappointment, but overall I have been pleased with the commentary. I have been steadily working through my copy and would like to offer some reflections.

1.) Carson and Beale state in the preface that many of the quotations and allusions are discussed in greater detail in essays, monographs, and commentaries, which points to the fact that the commentary is not meant to be exhaustive. I have mentioned before that any commentary always leaves the reader wanting more, especially when it comes to issues of redemptive-history, but I am glad to see this commentary offer a bibliography at the end of each book for further study for those who want to dig deeper into the issues.

2.) Some books are discussed in greater detail than others (e.g., 1-3 John is very short and Philemon is completely omitted), but it appears that the length of comments for each book has to do with how much it quotes or alludes to the Old Testament, rather than the author’s lack of interaction. Again, I think the bibliographical material will prove helpful for those who want further study.

3.) Anytime you have various contributors on a project some sections of the book will be inevitably more helpful than others. For example, I found Beale’s work on Colossians superb. As with most anything Beale writes, he does a thorough job detailing the relationship between the Old and New Testament. I found other sections of the commentary helpful too. For example, Thielman did a good job with Ephesians 6:1-3, but I wish he could elaborate more on the theme of new creation as it relates to this passage. I thought Watts did a fine job with Mark and Kostenberger’s introduction to John was very helpful and thorough. I was disappointed with some of the elements of Luke, written by Pao and Schnabel, particularly their discussion of Luke 24:13-35. Furthermore, I found Blomberg’s work on Matthew 2:16-18 adequate, but had hoped he would detail more fully the idea of exile as it relates to the Bethlehem massacre (Carson’s commentary on Matthew does a better job with this passage).

4.) I have yet to fully read every page in the commentary, but my initial readings have been satisfying and have met the expectations that the editors have stated in the preface and introduction. Carson and Beale mention that this commentary has taken almost a decade to complete, so I am very thankful for this volume, despite any minor criticism I may have. For those who have not interacted with how the New Testament uses the Old Testament this commentary will offer many new and fresh insights. For those who are familiar with the issues, it will probably leave you wanting more, but either way this volume is important because as Carson and Beale point out, it challenges us to deal with how the New Testament authors dealt with the Old Testament.

5.) Here is a list of forthcoming commentaries that will certainly be an expansion of what the author’s have written in the commentary.

Mark (NICNT, replaces William Lane), by Rikki Watts.

1 Corinthians (PNTC), by Brian Rosner and Roy Ciampa.

Ephesians (BEC), by Frank Thielman.

Colossians and Philemon (BEC), by G. K. Beale.

*Beale also has a NT / Biblical Theology due out in the future.

1-2 Thessalonians (BEC), by Jeffrey Weima.

1-3 John (NIGTC), by D. A. Carson.

I would be interested in any of your thoughts about the commentary.

  1. John Meade
    November 29, 2007 at 8:24 am


    I have only read the intro and some sections out of Hebrews and Revelation, and 1 Peter. Carson’s section on 1 Peter 1 did leave me a little unfulfilled since he admits upfront that he cannot interact with every point of connection between OT and 1 Peter 1.

    For example, I have an interest in the inheritance theme in 1 Peter 1:3-5. Carson notes the connection, but confesses he cannot expound on it. He attempts to major on the majors in 1 Peter, which has plenty of major issues.

    So I agree with your critique. The book is a great intro into the issues, and hopefully it will serve as a catalyst for deeper study.

    I would be interested in your full critique of Pao and Schnabel’s interpretation of Lk 24, if you have the time to write one up :).


  2. November 29, 2007 at 8:39 am

    I haven’t grabbed my copy yet. I am interested in Seifrid’s take on Romans. Any clue on when Beale’s NT/BT will be published?

  3. Chad
    November 29, 2007 at 9:46 am


    Check this link below.

    He contracted to write it in 1998, but I have no idea when it will be due out. The way these things go, it could be a long time.


  4. Chad
    November 29, 2007 at 10:28 am


    Thanks for the feedback.

    I agree with your comments about Carson on 1 Peter. I did expect more, but again this is a single volume work that will inevitably have some depth issues.

    My disappointment with Pao and Schnabel on Luke 24 is that they really have nothing to say about the passage. I know the passage is not a direct quotation or even a strong allusion to the OT, but this is one of the most crucial texts in the entire NT for understanding how the NT uses the OT. The passage does not give us a hermeneutical method, but it does lay the foundation for seeing Christ in the OT, which is how the NT uses the OT.

    1.) They state that when Jesus says, “Oh, how foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have declared,” that although it is not followed by an enumeration of OT prophetic passages, it did serve as a model for Christians of a “global reading of the OT.” Agreed, but can you expand on this “global reading of the OT” a bit more. What do you mean by “global reading,” what was this method, when did these Christian live, etc, etc?

    2.) They take Christ’s statement, “Moses and all the prophets,” and compare the suffering and rejection of OT prophets with that of Christ. Obviously, that is true, but the prophets speaking of Christ is much larger than simply their suffering and rejection as a type of Christ’s suffering and rejection. They had no examples from the OT of how Christ fulfills the words of Moses and the prophets.

    Although, they do make some connections between Christ and the OT within the gospel of Luke in their comments on 24:44-49, I just expected more on 24:13-35.


  5. November 30, 2007 at 6:03 pm

    Thanks. Bty, is Beale a Baptist?

  6. Chad
    December 1, 2007 at 1:41 am

    I don’t know if he is or not.

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