This revised edition of Gordon Fee’s highly-respected commentary on First Corinthians in the New International Commentary on the New Testament (NICNT) series should be in every pastor’s library. I’ve used the old edition in my studies for some time, and I’m glad to see it revised to now extend its life several more decades. Fee is an acknowledged master of commentary writing. In other words, he knows how to argue his points and be interesting in every passage.
Though the bibliography is greatly expanded, the Introduction has not changed much since the original edition. I appreciate such an engaging Introduction in only 20 pages that really hits on what I’m looking for in the introductory material. He begins by describing the city and its people and transitions beautifully into the problem the Corinthian church faced. I’m not sure I fully reject, as he does, that this letter is a response to divisions becoming parties in the church. His proposed reconstruction that the problem is between Paul and the church itself is at least interesting, even if we can’t fully agree with it. There’s so much learning to be found whether you agree with that or not.
He covered critical questions in two paragraphs. I loved it! In one power-packed paragraph, he completely dismantles many of the critical theories floating around about the Corinthian letters today. From there, he dives into theological issues and begins with eschatology. He discusses the gospel and ethical life, and ends with the church itself. It’s good all around.
I found more editing and updating in the commentary proper. The overall conclusions are unchanged, but it is spiced up a bit. I still can’t agree with his extreme egalitarian viewpoint on some of the text (for example, check out page 545 for his somersaults on the idea of “head”). I can’t follow him in chapters 12 through 14 when he talks about his views on the Spirit, nor can I accept his excising of 14:34-35. That’s not a reasonable way to dodge a text you don’t like. Even with those caveats, this is a top-flight commentary.
At minimum, this is a top-three commentary among all commentaries on the Book of First Corinthians. Some of my friends say it’s number one. In any event, every pastor needs it at hand. You simply can’t do without it!
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.