Philippians (EEC) by Keown–2 In-depth volumes on Philippians

 

book phil eec

In this latest release in hardback of the Evangelical Exegetical Commentary (EEC) series, Mark Keown hits a home run. As one who owns all the modern, major exegetical commentaries on Philippians, I can say unequivocally that these two volumes on Philippians are the most thorough we have today. As a bonus, its stance is warmly conservative. As I understand it, as is the case with all volumes in the series, this two-volume set was first released as one volume in digital form. Readers like me who will defiantly only use a book that can be held in our hands must be grateful to Lexham Press for providing these two attractive volumes for us.

Volume 1 covers Philippians 1:1-2:18 and with indices runs over 550 pages. See what I mean about thorough! This volume contains the Introduction to the Book of Philippians and runs to 92 pages alone. I appreciate that the author’s love of Philippians becomes apparent on page 1. To me, that’s essential to a good commentary. Keown quickly establishes his acceptance of Paul as the author. After discussing the role of Timothy in this letter, he dives into Paul in Rome and thoroughly describes the scene there. Next, he explains the integrity of Philippians. He picks apart the multiple–letter hypothesis and sees Philippians as a unified whole. After carefully examining the evidence, he’s comfortable with a conservative dating.

After he works his way through the data in Philippians, he reviews the recipients of the letter and gives us background on the town of Philippi itself. From there, he delves into the Philippian church and draws a careful picture of its makeup. That church’s need transitions him into some of the themes that we find in Philippians. He concludes that section with finding the “cruciform” life in the letter. The next section tackles the genre of Philippians. He finds it hard to fit in the straitjacket of one narrow description. After describing the use of the Old Testament in Philippians, he explains thematic and structural analysis of the book. Though brief, it is very good and clear. After an outline, he provides a lengthy bibliography.

In every passage he gives an introduction for the passage itself, followed by the portion of outline in play, translation, textual notes, and all followed by detailed commentary. This is where the commentary is impressive. Though it might be lengthier than many will want for Philippians, there’s no doubt that it addresses every exegetical issue imaginable. In other words, it’s not going to miss something that you think ought to be discussed. What makes it superior to many other major commentaries of great length is that its bulk is not made up of esoteric, somewhat off-topic discussion. No, he gives us mostly exegesis.

I predict that this commentary will prove to be widely used in the years ahead. I highly recommend 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.

Volume 2 covers Philippians 2:19-4:23 in the Evangelical Exegetical Commentary (EEC) series, and continues the thoroughness found in the first volume. With indices, it runs to almost 570 pages. Just like the first volume on Philippians, its claim to fame is detailed exegesis. Other major tomes addressing Philippians on the exegetical level often run on side paths that many Bible students think go nowhere. I so appreciate that this volume is always wrestling with the text.

As a case in point, check out the commentary on Philippians 4:13. In six pages of commentary, every word is thoroughly investigated. Options are weighed and conclusions are explained. Hard questions are not dodged either. After all the exegetical work, he explains the major interpretive issues. How wide is the application of this famous verse? He doesn’t just spout off an answer, and though he warns against taking in too wide a direction, he explains why we can take it farther than the narrowest interpretation with good reason. It’s in places like that we discover the commentator’s skill found in this volume.

In every passage he gives an introduction for the passage itself, followed by the portion of outline in play, translation, textual notes, and all followed by detailed commentary. This is where the commentary is impressive. Though it might be lengthier than many will want for Philippians, there’s no doubt that it addresses every exegetical issue imaginable. In other words, it’s not going to miss something that you think ought to be discussed. What makes it superior to many other major commentaries of great length is that its bulk is not made up of esoteric, somewhat off-topic discussion. No, he gives us mostly exegesis.

I predict that this commentary will prove to be widely used in the years ahead. I highly recommend 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.

 

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