Saturday, August 28, 2010

New Commentary on Hebrews by David L. Allen

Today I found a surprise package on my doorstep. Broadman & Holman sent me a complimentary review copy of David L. Allen's commentary on Hebrews. I am thrilled! I want to thank Jim Baird from B & H for the review copy.

Currently, I am working my way through about 65 commentaries or so on Hebrews for my dissertation (all lined up in one long row on my tables in my home office), so the arrival of this commentary is quite timely. In due course I will post a thorough review of this commentary. I also plan to post my recommendations on the best commentaries on Hebrews once I have worked my way through them sometime in the future.

I currently teach a Sunday school class at my local church and we are working our way through the historical books of the OT. I have been generally impressed with the quality of the commentaries in the New American Commentary series. They are readable and thorough in their comments, so they are ideal for pastors to use, yet they are scholarly enough that scholars can benefit from them too. In my estimation it is one of the best overall series on the OT there is (and I have been using commentaries from other series like the AB, OTL, WBC, Interpretation, Tyndale etc.), perhaps matched only by the NICOT. Other series may be more thorough in technical matters, but for preparation for teaching and preaching, this series is tops. So, I expect some good things from this commentary.

The book weighs in at 671 pages so it is quite meaty. The 72-page introduction includes topics on the nature of the book, historical circumstances (authorship, recipients, location, date), purpose, theology, use of the OT, and an outline and structure of the book. The author is dean of the School of Theology, professor of preaching, and director of the Center for Biblical Preaching at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, TX. I have heard him speak and he is quite an engaging speaker so I hope his commentary will be equally engaging.


  1. Brian - congratulations on your discipline. Tov. As for me, I am correcting my mistakes constantly. Do you think there is any correlation between the Psalms of approach (120-134) and the invitation to approach in the letter to the Hebrews?

  2. Hi Bob, this has not occurred to me. I don't work in the Psalms in the depth that you do. Currently, I am only working with the psalms that Hebrews quotes or alludes to. Do you see any correlations?

  3. It was a bit of a shot in the dark - perhaps there are indexes in the commentaries that you have that would tell you if others have made this suggestion. It feels like a suitable analogy - but the psalms lack the entry into the holy place at that point in the psalms. Psalm 15, 24 of course refer to this and Psalm 119 culminates the Torah poems that started with Psalm 1. I think the anointing in the psalms is pointing to a Hebrew way of understanding such things - probably not grasped by every religious any more than the NT Spirit is grasped since of course the wind blows where it wills. I think the psalmists - particularly the envelope of personal psalms of David that opens and closes the psalter - indicate a special knowledge that is pointing past the court of the Israelites. David anticipates this to Michal's horror in Psalm 132. Psalm 139 also is well placed to indicate a relationship closer than the distance implied in the cult.

  4. Well, I will try to keep some of this in mind as I work my way through the commentaries. Hebrews does not directly quote any of the Songs of Ascent. To the best of my knowledge Hebrews does not allude to the psalms either.