Several years ago, my plan for preaching started making a marked change in its direction. I started working with the process of expository preaching. To this date, I have completed several long passages of Scripture in this manner. When I started this journey, I realized that my study habits would have to change and also my reading tools would have to change also. Expository preaching means that you will have to use commentaries and language helps to accomplish the task of preaching God’s Word. So I started the process of purchasing good reference books that would serve more as tools to go back to more than once. Last year it was my good fortune to become a book reviewer for Kregel Publications. They have an arm called the Academic division that supplies some very good reference material for an expositor. This volume on Judges and Ruth was sent to me by Kregel.
The most recent commentary is written by Robert B. Chisholm Jr., A Commentary on Judges and Ruth. Kregel sent me this book several months ago while I was just beginning to do an expository series on Psalms. I judged this book by Chisholm and liked it so well that I ended up purchasing Kregel’s volumes on Psalms by Allen P. Ross (the last volume is not available yet which will cover Psalms 90-150). The Ross volumes are also very good and worth the investment.
There were three things in the Chisholm volume that I found helpful. First, I found the Preface to be very helpful. Chisholm explains how that he worked with the historical background and then made due diligence to provide a homiletical push that was very good. It also helps to know that Chisholm has taught at DTS for the past thirty years covering Judges and Ruth. Although, I did not find Chisholm chasing useless rabbits for the sake of academia in his work. He was very well balanced in his approach.
The second thing that I found beneficial in this volume was the chapter titles that he used. If you are preaching on a regular basis, you become very aware of the necessity to have a good title for your message. Chisholm’s chapter titles are like pouring a cup of water down one of the old-fashioned hand pumped wells so that the leather washer creates power to draw water to the surface. You will find your mind stimulated to create sermon titles from his work. For instance, Settling Down with the Enemy, Worshipping the Enemy’s gods, A Hesitant General and a Heroic Woman, Samson: A Lion Killer with a Sweet Tooth, and Sacrificial Love on Display. These are titles a preacher can work with. Furthermore, just reading through the commentary serves as fuel for creativity while you are in the hunt.
The third thing that I enjoyed was the footnotes and extensive bibliography. When I was a younger preacher, I thought the footnotes wasted good paper and ink and took away from the book. As I have aged, I have come to realize that the footnotes can send you in directions that you never would have taken had the author not taken the time to post them for your benefit. There are well over five-hundred references listed for Judges and Ruth. Admittedly some of these references are journal articles that may be hard to come by but there are many books that Chisholm credits that should one desire to do so, he can track down these also.
This book along with others in the Kregel series are worthy of your time and money. . .