Roy Ciampa and Brian Rosner team up to provide this commentary on First Corinthians in the highly respected, conservative Pillar Commentary series edited by D. A. Carson. At this point, I’ve used most of the volumes in this series, and even reviewed several of them, and can’t deny that this series is one of the premier ones on the New Testament. Many of us look forward to when the entire New Testament is covered.
This volume on First Corinthians is huge, at just under 900 pages, on this one of the more challenging books of the New Testament. After a lengthy bibliography, the authors dive into an Introduction. With a confession that First Corinthians is one of Paul’s most difficult letters, they then jump into a discussion of the background of the church in Corinth. That section is quite well done. Next, they examine the identity and aims of the apostle Paul. They conclude that “Paul’s aim, then, is to bring about true worship and obedience among the Gentiles, to the glory of God”.
In the discussion about the interpretation of the book, they outline the structure of First Corinthians. They feel “the four main elements of 1 Corinthians are (in order) wisdom, sexuality, worship, and resurrection/consummation”. A section that was a bit harder to follow was the biblical theological framework of First Corinthians. They pull in many parallels from the Old Testament. They discuss verbal aspect and finally conclude that a “biblical/Jewish approach provides a solid basis for appreciating the structure and coherence of Paul’s response to Corinthian problems and also does greater justice to the fundamentally Jewish character of Paul’s response to the Corinthians”. You will have to decide for yourself if you see the depths of the Jewish character that they do.
The commentary itself is outstanding and of the high-caliber writing that we are used to finding in the Pillar commentary series. When checking several of the more notorious problem passages, you will find the authors arguing clearly and helpfully. I really liked what they had to say! I’m sure scholars will love this detailed volume. On the other hand, this volume is likely the top exegetical commentary on First Corinthians available to pastors today.
I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.