Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Pulpit Review: Verbum Dei Populo

Lockwood, Gregory J. 1 Corinthians (Concordia Popular Commentary). St. Louis: Concordia, 2010. 373 Pages. Paper. $24.99. (P)

The latest volume in the Concordia Popular Commentary series is 1 Corinthians. My family has a tradition of "Christmas money" in addition to some gifts. Those funds help in times of emergency. They also provide money to spend on great items on sale after Christmas or into the new year. This is a great book for lay Bible students. You could even spend your "Christmas money."

This commentary draws its content from the Concordia Commentary series. This new lay-friendly edition includes all of the original translation and commentary but excludes technical notes, original biblical languages, and terminology required of an academic edition.
Today's world holds similar challenges that were present in Corinth during Paul's time. This commentary shows how Paul witnesses to Christ as a clear beacon who guides us through all of lives issues.

The Reverend Dr. Gregory J. Lockwood is a professor at Australian Lutheran College in Adelaide. He has previously served as a missionary in Papua New Guinea, as a parish pastor, and as a professor at Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, Indiana. (publisher's website)
"What happens in Corinth stays in Corinth." Vegas didn't come up with the concept. They borrowed it and marketed it better.  This volume is an introduction to that world and the Christians who struggled and/or remained faithful in a very specific "valley of the shadow," Corinth.

Highlights for readers include:
  • The Prefaces (vii). The Editor and Author do a great job of preparing the reader for some of the best English-language commentaries currently in print. Readers, especially Lutherans, need to know what makes these commentaries uniquely helpful ways to understand the Bible text.
  • Teaching on Closed Communion (230ff). Why are Missouri Synod Lutherans considered "odd" because they do what a majority of Christians still practice, a practice that was nearly universal for 2000 years because it is biblical, apostolic, pastoral, and confessional?
  • The Excursus on Worship Practice Today (287ff). I intend to call the CPH permissions department to request the privilege of reproducing these three pages for use by delegates to the Wyoming District LCMS Theological Conference on Worship. For example: "Untold damage has been caused to congregations by the reckless and iconoclastic jettisoning of the church's historic liturgies and hymns in the interests of 'change'" (288).
  • The Excursus on The Ordination of Women (299ff). It concludes with an extended quotation by Mrs. Sara Low, a laywoman opposed to the Church of England approving the ordination of women. She concludes: "What of tomorrow? If you wake in the morning having voted yes, you'll know that you have voted for a Church irreconcilably divided, for whom the revealed truth of God is no longer authoritative. If you vote no, you will wake to tears and a healing ministry, but above all to the possibility of a renewed New Testament Church, for all of us could then be united in encouraging, training and funding the ministry of priest, deacon, teacher, prophet, healer, administrator, spiritual director--all promised by the Holy Spirit. I urge Synod to vote for the authority of the Word of God, for the unity of Christ's Church and against this ruinous legistlation" (315).
Lockwood's commentary on 1 Corinthians for the Concordia Popular Commentary is the second-best commentary on 1 Corinthians I own. That is because Lockwood's commentary on 1 Corinthians for the Concordia Commentary series is the best. 

Concordia Publishing House, please continue this series. Keep the price point right where it is or lower. Consider CPC volumes for special seasonal sales. And, might we suggest that Proverbs would be a great next volume for Concordia Popular Commentary?

Pastors, consider using both volumes in these series together as an outline of an in-depth verse-by-verse Bible study series.

The Rev. Paul J Cain is Pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church, Sheridan, Wyoming, Headmaster of Martin Luther Grammar School, a member of the Board of Directors of The Consortium for Classical and Lutheran Education, Wyoming District Worship Chairman, and Editor of QBR.