New Testament Commentary Survey, 7th ed. — Review

Carson, D. A. New Testament Commentary Survey. 7th ed. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2013. 176pp + xvi.

Carson’s New Testament Commentary Survey continues to be a popular bibliographic resource among a rather niche community in the biblical studies world. Carson serves at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (Deerfield, IL) as professor of New Testament and is a widely-respected biblical studies scholar. While Carson’s work is not alone in this market, many have grown to trust his judgments and appreciate his concise and terse annotations.

Carson’s Commentary Survey provides readers with his own ranking and assessment of modern commentaries. Bibliographic information and annotations fall into three sections in the book: commentary series or single volumes, New Testament surveys and theologies, and commentaries on individual books of the Bible. The first two sections are arranged alphabetically by series or work title; the last section is arranged by canonical order of the biblical books with each relevant commentary generally mentioned in descending order of recommendation. Only partial bibliographic information is provided for each work (typically missing the publisher and city), though each reference contains enough information to track down the work. Annotations vary from several sentences down to 1–2 (or less) sentences per work with most falling on the shorter end of the spectrum. The text is arranged into paragraphs, often with multiple works listed in a single paragraph. Italicized author names help distinguish the entries. Carson’s “Best Buys” (p. 167–68) are listed in a table toward the end of the book, for those looking for quick commentary suggestions, and an index of authors’ names helps readers work backward from specific commentary to Carson’s comments.

Summary: Carson’s Commentary Survey provides helpful bibliographic direction from an evangelical perspective. It is ideally suited to pastors and students relatively new to biblical studies, but may be profitable and even enjoyable to read for the seasoned scholar. The reference nature of the work and its relatively low cost (around $11 on Amazon.com) make it a helpful resource for most libraries. Recommended.

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