About Joey Cochran

http://www.jtcochran.com

I was raised in Texas and graduated from the University of Texas at Arlington with a Bachelors of Business Administration in 2004 and completed my Master of Theology from Dallas Seminary in 2009. I served as the General Manager of Campus Dining Services for Dallas Seminary during my seminary years. I currently serve as the High School Pastor at Fellowship Bible Church Tulsa. Before joining the Fellowship Bible Church staff, I volunteered in youth ministry for ten years. I am married to Kendall, the most amazing woman I've ever met. She is a graduate of Dallas Baptist University with a Bachelors of Arts in Psychology. We are blessed with one daughter, Chloe born October 2008 and one son Asher born June 2011. I enjoy analyzing music and movies, and I also enjoy making social and cultural observations and commentary. I have an incredible passion for youth ministry, and I have a scholars heart. I really enjoy reading and studying about the New Testament, Old Testament, Theology, Pastoral Ministry, and Youth Ministry.

Posts by Joey Cochran:

Jonathan Edwards: An Interview with Pastor Josh Moody

the-works-of-jonathan-edwardsTo commemorate Logos’s release of Yale University Press’s 26 Volume definitive set of Jonathan Edwards’ works, I am hosting a series of interviews with pastors and scholars with whom Edwards and his works has had massive influence.

If you’d like to read a summary on the importance of Edwards’ works, along with the significance of the Yale Edition of Edwards’ works, and three ways to access this edition, you may do so here where I introduced this series.

Today we sit and listen to Pastor Josh Moody as he shares about Jonathan Edwards.

1. What originally drew your interest to study Jonathan Edwards? What about him, his preaching, and his writing caught your attention?

It was really quite random! I was studying the birth of modern western secularism, studying in particular the French Philosophies and other Enlightenment thinkers, and I was trying to find someone writing at the same time who could act as a foil to their secularistic propositions and assumptions. Wandering down the university “stacks” in the library where I was studying, I was thinking about this, praying about it, when I “happened” to pull out a book at random. I opened a page at random and it was Edwards’ well-known (not well-known to me at the time) drawing of how spiders look like they are apparently flying through the air. It looked Newton-esque; I checked the date, it was early Enlightenment period. Fascinated, I picked out another volume at random. It was a Puritan sermon. I wondered right then whether I had found the person who could help me construct an intellectual response to the birth of modern western secularism.

2. What academic work have you done on Jonathan Edwards? Would you summarize it briefly? 

My Ph.D. is published as Jonathan Edwards and the Enlightenment: Knowing the Presence of God. My other more scholarly writing, though not quite academic level in the high-end sense of that word, is called Jonathan Edwards and Justification. It’s a book that I edited in collaboration with some friends and colleagues.

3. Is there a sermon or work of Edwards that many might not know, which has had a significant impact on you? In what way did it affect you? 

It’s fairly familiar to Edwards scholars, I think, but the sermon that has probably had the biggest impact on me is “God Glorified in Man’s Dependence.” It’s Edwards’ early attempt to set out his theological agenda. It was preached before an audience of learned pastors in Boston. It was published afterwards. I think it has all the elements of Edwards’ theology in it.

Other than that, rifling through Edwards’ sermon manuscripts at the Beinecke hour after hour was a privilege. I did it for the research, and would often find I was stopped in my tracks to think through personal matters, or be driven to worship Christ. Not many people preach with the kind of depth and rigor that Edwards did then – and you probably can’t get away with that sort of style in most churches anymore – so I found I had never really been exposed to the sort of theological juice that Edwards pumped into me as I studied him.

Really obscure, I loved coming across little bits of handwritten notes asking for pastoral prayer from people in Edwards’ congregation. I think that pastoral side of Edwards is often overshadowed by his intellectual genius, and by the later conflict in his church, but given his happy family life I have an inkling that in heaven we will discover many people who felt shepherded by Edwards.

4. What does Edwards’ works offer to today’s pastors? Why should they read widely from his works?

Ah, well that could enlist a long answer from me! I suppose three or four areas come to mind. First, I think Edwards is in some ways the American Augustine. So if you really want to understand contemporary American Evangelicalism you need to have some familiarity with Edwards. Second, I think Edwards’ works on assessing revival, and in particular “The Religious Affections” are a brilliant handbook for doing soul work in congregations. Edwards helps you see how to discern spiritual life and how to encourage it. Third, Edwards’ works on promoting revival, in particular “The History of the Work of Redemption,” make you long for greater spiritual fervor and passion in your own life and in the lives of others, and by and large I think in a healthy way. Fourth, because Edwards was clearly not perfect, and made mistakes, it also is helpful to read his material to learn from him, as in learning what not to do. In particular, I wouldn’t copy my pastoral approach on what at least appears to have been Edwards’ model!

5. Why would you recommend the Yale edition of Edwards over other editions that are in print?

Yale is the major scholarly work in print.

 

joshmoodyJosh Moody (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is senior pastor of College Church in Wheaton, Illinois. His books include Journey to JoyJonathan Edwards and Justification, No Other Gospel, and The God-Centered Life. He is also the president and founder of God Centered Life Ministries. Follow @godcenteredlife on Twitter.

Living as Awakened Sinners (Servants of Grace Guest Contribution)

In the Valley of Vision there is a prayer called “The Awakened Sinner.” This prayer has two movements. First, it is a reproof to forgetful souls, who chase vanity and forget the creaturely need for the Creator. The second movement is a confession to the Creator for forgetfulness of Him. People forget, neglect, and overlook His greatness and His goodness in that He created them and made them His possession for His purpose.

The good news is He is not forgetful — except of our sin. More than that, not only does He not forget, but He is faithful to wrench His children out of slumber, awakening them to sin and His holiness.

It’s interesting when I share with others about the gospel. They either have two responses. They are either asleep to sin or in despair of sin. It’s easier to help someone in despair to see that Jesus death is sufficient to cover his or her sin than it is to help the one who is asleep to sin. Those asleep to sin assume innocence of sin or obsoleteness of sin. The Holiness of God has no value with this person and personal holiness is inconsequential.

Unfortunately, it does not help these people when God’s people are asleep to sin too.

READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE AT SERVANTS OF GRACE…

Convictional Civility edited by Mitchell, Sanderson, and Thornbury

convictional-civilityBibliography

Ben Mitchell, Carla D. Sanderson, and Gregory A. Thornbury. Convictional Civility: Essays in Honor of David S. Dockery. Nashville: B&H, 2015. 196 pp. $29.99

Category

Theology

Summary

I can pinpoint three significant encounters with David Dockery. The first encounter was in reading Interpreting the New Testament as a seminary student, a work in which he edited and contributed an early chapter, “A Historical Survey of the New Testament.” The second, when Dockery spoke at my seminary commencement — sharing specifically about the tornado that struck Union University. The third, at a dinner in the home of Scott Manetsch, just after Dockery’s recent arrival as President of Trinity International University. Each encounter left me more impressed with this kind eyed and courageously spirited man.

Convictional Civility is a festschrift in honor of David S. Dockery. A festschrift is a celebratory collection of essays in honor of the work, accomplishments, and character of a person, in this case David S. Dockery. This festschrift commemorates Dockery’s departure as President of Union University in Jackson Tennessee. As one of the editors, Carla Sanderson, puts it: “This volume is not intended to signify the pinnacle of Dockery’s career, his retirement, or his culminating work as a senior statesman. It is not the placement of a period on his legacy but rather the placement of a commemorative semicolon” (vii).

Convictional Civility has two parts. The first part is a collection of nine essays from the following contributors: James Leo Garrett Jr., Timothy George, Millard Erickson, R. Albert Mohler Jr., Robert Smith Jr., Gene C. Fant Jr., Hunter Baker, Autumn Alcott Ridenour, and C. Ben Mitchell. These essays are well researched, significant contributions from friends and admirers of David Dockery. These contributions explore various perspectives on the concept of convictional civility, a phrase that describes David Dockery’s leadership. The second part is a series of twelve tributes, each about two pages long. These tributes, similar to the essays, share the significant influence Dockery has had on the many people he has led. These individuals take a moment to offer Dockery their best wishes and express gratitude for his legacy of convictional civility.

Benefit for Pastoral Ministry

Each of the nine essays in part one of Convictional Civility do not just celebrate the man, David Dockery, but they celebrate the ideas and principles that he champions. Timothy George relays the story of Dockery as a Baptist Statesman, who endeavors to keep the peace and foster a culture of civility, even in the midst of factions differing on vantage points or conclusions on certain matters (“With David Dockery Among Baptists and Evangelicals”). Millard Erickson impressively looks at each of the book title’s terms: conviction and civility, pondering how our culture has so lost its way from both of these terms (“Toward Convictional Civility”). R. Albert Mohler, resolute as ever, leverages his skillful study of worldviews and secularization to help readers value the kind of convictional clarity that David Dockery embodies (“Convictional Clarity”). This is just a sampling of the unique contributions that Convictional Civility offers.

Another editor of Convictional Civility, Gregory Alan Thornbury, writes in the afterword: “David Dockery’s leadership is characterized by grace and truth. And time after time, he has endeavored not to get the order wrong” (128). Throughout these essays and tributes, we see glimpses of the truthfulness of Thornbury’s observation. We see Dockery’s enduring influence and love for the church, both of which are recognized by his prolific scholarly work and noble efforts as a statesman.

Pastors need to look to examples like Dockery as they wrestle against the ongoing temptation to forsake principles for pragmatism. Gene C. Fant Jr.’s contribution on “Leadership Lessons from David S. Dockery” is a wonderful starting place for this. The moving case study (pp. 77-80) — recounting the devastating tornado that struck Union University and the courageous and optimistic leadership which Dockery possessed — conveys the crucial need of building your practice on principles in preparation for the crucible of leadership.

Finally, throughout Convictional Leadership, we do not just get leadership principles but we learn a narrative. It’s a narrative of crisis between the church, the academy, and the state. These three spheres historically fostered powerful movements like the renaissance, the reformation, and the revivals. Yet, secularization has successfully minimalized or dominated each of these spheres. Convictional Leadership is an irenic attempt to rejoin the lectern to the pulpit. Just as Robert Smith posits: “There must always be a connection between the academy and the church congregation, the lectern and the pulpit” (60).

Convictional Civility isn’t your normal, run of the mill book on pastoral leadership or spiritual living. The contributions to this book from first rate scholars doing first rate research make Convictional Civility far more perceptive.

Rating

Essential         Recommended          Helpful          Pass It By

Recommendation

Convictional Civility invigorates pastors, through David Dockery’s influence, to be charitable and truthful in all they do.

View-Worthy: 2.23

Preview

Involve Everyone in Evangelism, Killing Your Evangelism, Snapchat, Who Are You Married To?

Headliner

Ed Stetzer. 4 Ways to Involve Everyone in Evangelism. (CT)

Many people have slipped into the mindset that evangelism is a gift that some believers have and others do not. The reality is that when someone becomes reconciled to God, He sends them out to reconcile others. That’s not a gift—we all have the responsibility to take Christ to others.

Deal of the Day

Four Views on the Apostle Paul $3.79

Book Review

Joe Thorn. Experiencing the Trinity. Reviewed by David Steele.

Links

Trevin Wax. Answering “No” to One of These Questions Will Kill Your Evangelism.

Our pastor, Mike Lee, recently preached on evangelism by offering five questions that need to be answered by those who seek to be faithful in following the Great Commission. I’ve adapted these questions here and added a sixth. I commend them to you because they peel back the layers of our defensiveness toward evangelism and help us see what needs to be in place before we will be confident, joyful, and effective tellers of the good news.

Answer “no” to any of these questions and your evangelistic passion will suffer.

Chris Martin. Student Pastors, Stop Being Afraid of Snapchat.

People use perfectly neutral tools for good and ill, and Snapchat is simply the newest case of that.

Ray Ortlund. Who Are You Married To?

Being married to Mr. Law never changed us.  But being married to Mr. Grace is changing us deep within, and it shows.

Edify

Psalm 119:35 “Lead me in the path of your commandments, for I delight in it.”

“Be walking Bibles.” C. H. Spurgeon

View-Worthy: 2.20

Preview

No More Cursive, Prepare Kids for Suffering, Get Fired in the Interview, Leaders & Delegation.

Headliner

Andree Seu Peterson. No More Cursive Writing. (WORLD)

But mainly I learned that in a generation from now, people will not be able to read the personal letters and many of the historical artifacts at the National Historic Park—because they are penned in cursive, and the schools are not teaching cursive anymore.

Deal of the Day

Everyone’s a Theologian by R. C. Sproul $3.99

Book Review

Jeff Medders. Gospel Formed. Reviewed by Dave Jenkins. (SoG)

Links

Cameron Cole. The Hard Truths Prepare Kids for Suffering. (TGC)

As a youth pastor and Christian parent, one consideration tends to dominate my mindset: am I fostering sustainable faith in Christ in my students and children? I have a limited season of special influence within these relationships, and I want to do everything within my power to cultivate enduring Christian faith.

At the 2013 Rooted Conference, Jared Wilson opened with a penetrating question: will my children be prepared to suffer? Jesus guarantees that all Christians will encounter tribulation (John 16:33). Consequently, a critical aspect of youth discipleship involves anticipating the tragedy that awaits our children and training students in such a way that they can walk through suffering while trusting God and his goodness.

Denny Burk. Get Fired in the Interview.

When I was in college and aspiring to ministry, I was greatly influenced by a pastor in Denton, Texas. His name is Tommy Nelson, and he is preaching in the chapel of Southern Seminary this morning. Among the many nuggets of wisdom that I gleaned from him in those days was this: “Get fired in the interview.”

What was he talking about? He was telling all of us young aspiring preachers exactly what we should be doing when candidating for a pastorate. It was sage advice for me then, and I reckon it is sage advice for any aspiring pastor who may be reading this now. When the pastor-search committee interviews you, don’t hold anything back in terms of your beliefs or philosophy of ministry. If there’s a deal-breaker between you and the church, it’s better for that to come out in the interview stage than after they’ve already hired you. Lay all your cards out on the table, and let the chips fall where they may.

Chuck Lawless. 12 Reasons Why Church Leaders Don’t Delegate.

I admit it – I don’t delegate responsibilities as much as I should. In my attempts to do better, though, I’ve tried to learn from others who share the same struggle. Based on my own experiences and these informal interviews, here are twelve reasons for church leaders not delegating.

Edify

Psalm 119:32 “I will run in the way of your commandments when you enlarge my heart!”

“We have hungered to be masters of the Word much more that we have hungered to be mastered by it.” D. A. Carson

Jonathan Edwards: An Interview with Professor Glenn Kreider

the-works-of-jonathan-edwardsTo commemorate Logos’s release of Yale University Press’s 26 Volume definitive set of Jonathan Edwards’ works, I am hosting a series of interviews with pastors and scholars with whom Edwards and his works has had massive influence.

If you’d like to read a summary on the importance of Edwards’ works, along with the significance of the Yale Edition of Edwards’ works, and three ways to access this edition, you may do so here where I introduced this series.

Today we sit and listen to Professor Glenn Kreider as he shares about Jonathan Edwards.

1. What originally drew your interest to study Jonathan Edwards? What about him, his preaching, and his writing caught your attention?

From a young age I was attracted to American colonial history. As a Christian I was interested in religion in the colonies. As a Pennsylvanian, I was interested in the degree to which the other colonies practiced freedom of religion. Anyone interested in those topics soon discovers the Northampton pastor Jonathan Edwards. As I read about Edwards and then read his works, I was fascinated by the scholarship and the pastoral heart of this man. He became my mentor and the focus of study in my PhD program. I am particularly interested in the way he reads the Scriptures and the role the Scriptures play in his theological method.

2. What academic work have you done on Jonathan Edwards? Would you summarize it briefly? 

My dissertation on Edwards’s theological and hermeneutical method has been published as Jonathan Edwards’s Interpretation of Revelation 4:1—8:1 (Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 2004). I have presented several papers on Edwards at meetings of professional societies and have published several articles on Edwards and prayer.

3. Is there a sermon or work of Edwards that many might not know, which has had a significant impact on you? In what way did it affect you?

Everyone thinks they know “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.” This most famous of Edwards’s sermons is easily stereotyped as a hellfire and brimstone sermon, as the portrayal of the wrathful and vindictive God of Puritan theology. Of course, the wrath of God is a major theme in the sermon. But over and over again, the pastor reminds his audience that God is gracious and merciful to them, that their ability to hear the sermon is due only to God’s grace, that as long as they breathe they have the opportunity to repent and turn to God for salvation.

Edwards’s History of the Work of Redemption is my favorite work. In it he argues that the Bible is the story of God’s redemptive work.  From Edwards, I have learned to read the Bible through this interpretive lens. From Genesis to Revelation, the Scriptures record the fulfillment of the trinity’s plan of redemption of all creation.

4. What does Edwards’ works offer to today’s pastors? Why should they read widely from his works?

Edwards was a man of his time. We do not live in the same culture he did. But pastors can learn from Edwards in several ways. Edwards was a man of the Scriptures; he devoted his life to reading, understanding, and communicating God’s Word. He was a man of evangelism and mission; he cared deeply about the souls of his flock. He was a man of prayer and preparation; he was fully devoted to excellence in scholarship. He spent time in study and prayer as well as devoting himself to his family and to the congregation in Northampton. Everything he did he did well. He was a man who read voraciously. He did not have access to books to any degree comparable to our day, but he read what he could. His passion was to communicate the truth of God to his audience. He was a model of a pastor scholar.

5. Why would you recommend the Yale edition of Edwards over other editions that are in print?

In the Yale edition of Edwards’s works, we have the best critical editions of his works. They are the result of painstaking effort by the world’s best Edwardsean scholars. In most volumes, an editor’s introduction identifies key issues, presents major scholarship, and explains the major issues in the work. In Logos, the ability to search the writings and the integration of exegetical and theological tools enhance the usefulness.

 

glennkreiderGlenn Kreider (PhD, Dallas Theological Seminary) is Professor of Theological Studies at Dallas Theological Seminary where he teaches systematic and historical theology courses. His research interests include Jonathan Edwards, theological method, and eschatology. He is the author of God with Us: Exploring God’s Personal Interactions with His People throughout the Bible. (Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 2014). Follow @gkreider on twitter.

 

View-Worthy: 2.18

Preview

Kuyper to Mars, Trueman on Ash Wednesday, Prophetic Voice of Leslie Knope, Parenting Social Media Scorecard.

Headliner

Dylan Pahman. Would Kuyper Go to Mars? (Acton)

Deal of the Day

The Gospel by Ray Ortlund $3.99

Book Review

Josh Moody and Robin Weekes. Burning Hearts: Preaching to the Affections. Reviewed by Benjamin Vrbicek.

Links

Carl Trueman. Ash Wednesday: Picking and Choosing our Piety. (Ref21)

It’s that time of year again: the ancient tradition of Lent, kick-started by Ash Wednesday. It is also the time of year when us confessional types brace ourselves for the annual onslaught of a more recent tradition: that of evangelical pundits, with no affiliation to such branches of the church, writing articles extolling Lent’s virtues to their own eclectic constituency.

Tish Harrison Warren. The Prophetic Voice of Leslie Knope. (CT)

In the midst of its great comedy, the Emmy-nominated NBC sitcom Parks and Recreation offers a prophetic voice that urges us to consider again what it might look like to be peacemakers and culture-shapers. In a society marked by cynicism, abstraction, and hyper-mobility, Leslie Knope acts with genuine passion (even to the point where it’s a little awkward) and seeks the common good in concrete, small ways.

Barnabas Piper. The Christian Parenting Social Media Score Card.

If you are a parent and a Christian you have certain obligations to your children, to the church, the world, and most of all to SOCIAL MEDIA. It is imperative that you properly and publicly document your parenting exploits so that other parents will know the standard up to which they must live. You can’t trust them to use their Bibles, good judgment, and close friendships to get better parenting! No, they need you.

Edify

Psalm 119:24 “Your testimonies are my delight; they are my counselors.”

“All who forsake the Word fall into idolatry.” John Calvin

When Working for a Woman… (CBMW Guest Contribution)

Many men work for female bosses in the workplace.  How should men work in such a way that shows honor, both to God, and to their bosses who are female?

—————-

Even though statistics indicate that only a small margin of females have top roles as CEO’s (less than 5% in Fortune 500 and 1,000 companies according to Catalyst Research), a pew research report from December 2013 acknowledges that nearly the same percentage of women as men are working in managerial and administration roles. Men, this means that approximately half of you have a female boss.

Having a female boss is no different than having a king, a master, a mother, and a sister. In fact, it’s precisely like having all of those wrapped into one. Your female boss is worthy of the petitions a subject gives on behalf of his king, the hard work a servant gives his master, the honor a son gives his mother, and the protection a brother gives his sister.

How you do this is challenging. Not because your boss is female, but because you are human. Humans have a difficult time submitting to anything. They have a difficult time bending their knee to the King and Lord, Jesus. They have a difficult time submitting to mothers, fathers, and siblings. Workers, males and females alike, have difficulty submitting to bosses, male or female. We war against submission. If we didn’t, then God through his Son, prophets, and apostles would not have reminded us all so often to learn submission.

So fellas, when working for a woman, do so in these four ways.

READ THE REST OF “WHEN WORKING FOR A WOMAN” AT CBMW…

View-Worthy: 2.17

Preview

The Atlantic ISIS Article. Biblical Meditation on ISIS Execution, Awesome God/Boring Church, Extraordinary Skill for Ordinary Christians.

Headliner

Graeme Wood. What ISIS Really Wants. (The Atlantic)

What is the Islamic State

Where did it come from, and what are its intentions? The simplicity of these questions can be deceiving, and few Western leaders seem to know the answers.

Deal of the Day

Jesus, Continued… by J D Greear $0.99

Book Review

Joe Rigney. The Things of God. Reviewed by Andrew Walker. (TGC)

Links

Justin Taylor. Tom Schreiner: A Biblical Meditation on the ISIS Execution of 21 Christians.

Most of us have read the story of 21 Egyptian Christians kidnapped in Libya. An ISIS video showed about 12 of them being beheaded, and it is quite certain that all of them were murdered.

Trevin Wax. Awesome God in a Boring Church.

The surveys and statistics are consistent: people who attend church services regularly are much more likely to adhere to Christianity’s doctrines and moral teachings.

Tim Challies. An Extraordinary Skill for Ordinary Christians.

I think the reason we dream of helping others through extravagant wealth is that it feels like those extravagant deeds count for more. So many of our good deeds are so small. They seem paltry. Instead of handing over the keys to a brand new car, we hand over a slightly over-cooked casserole. Instead of funding an extreme makeover for that person’s home, we show up on Saturday morning to help apply a new coat of paint.

Edify

“As we search the Scriptures, we must allow them to search us, to sit in judgment upon our character and conduct.” Jerry Bridges

Psalm 119:11 “I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.”

Secondary Sources and Sermon Preparation

From time to time Redeemer Fellowship receives honest questions from pastors curious about how we do things. Sometimes I have the pleasure of responding to those questions, especially when the topic falls within the wheelhouse of my skill set. Recently, a young pastor e-mailed Redeemer and asked about how Joe and the other pastors at the church use commentaries for sermon preparation. After fielding this question for this pastor, I thought that the response might also be beneficial for others to think through how they might use secondary sources and what priority they should have in sermon preparation.

Like the e-mail, this article takes special consideration of how my mentor, Pastor Joe Thorn, uses secondary sources in his sermon preparation. And no article right now that involves Joe can run without a shameless plug for Experiencing the Trinity, Joe’s newest book that releases very soon from Crossway. You’re welcome!

So without further ado, here are four thoughts about secondary sources and sermon preparation:

The Primary Source for Sermon Preparation

First, primary in study and sermon preparation is the meditative process of applying the text to your own heart. Pastor Joe always emphasizes this with those he leads and trains in preaching. He spends the majority of his preparation with his Bible and a moleskin, more or less journaling through his sermon. Key to this process is always applying the gospel to the preacher’s heart. This is truly one of the catalysts for earnestness in the pulpit. As you see your great need for the gospel, it helps you convey that need in turn to those that you are blessed to lead.

Time and Tested Secondary Sources

Second, that said, Joe and the rest of us do consult secondary sources. I’ve noticed that Joe typically orders the Banner of Truth Commentary that is a companion to the sermon series he is preaching on a book of the Bible. For instance, right now as we go through 1 John, Joe keeps this commentary from Robert Candlish nearby.

Almost always you’ll also find hints and nods to John Calvin’s commentary in the sermons. Likewise, Joe especially, and the rest of us aspire to retrieve doctrinal specifics from the Puritans. An example from this last sermon that Joe preached on 1 John 1:8-10 is his numerous references to the Sinfulness of Sin by Ralph Venning.

Present Day Reliable Secondary Sources

Third, present day commentaries should be used when you have specific questions to the text that might not be readily answered through study alone. You need expert advice. In that case, probably the best approach is to take a case by case look at each of the major commentary series and measure the trustworthiness of the commentator. Is the commentary written by someone likeminded to you theologically?

I can’t speak for Joe in this case, but for me, I find myself impressed with the Zondervan Exegetical Commentary Series, Baker Exegetical Commentaries of the New Testament, and the NIVAC sets. They are all three fairly accessible and written by trustworthy evangelical scholars. Those who are still training in the languages or have not been trained in the biblical languages will be able to use those commentaries effectively. Still, I always check the credibility of the author before I give weight to what they say. Typically, I don’t reference or quote this study in the sermon, neither does Joe, unless it is critical to do so.

Interestingly enough, after my Edwards interview series that’s running on Thursdays, I plan on doing a series that features a major commentary series, giving an overview of the series, and reviewing a recent commentary from that series.

Secondary Sources that Inform

Fourth, this is just my opinion, I don’t really know where Joe would weigh in here. Except that realistically a lead pastor probably doesn’t have as much band width to do this. I like to have the commentary from each major set and like to be able to dialogue with a spectrum of views. Though I don’t have time to read all the commentaries cover to cover, for specific sermons I like to always consult another commentary that might not be such an obvious choice, perhaps one which I might defer tradition-wise or interpretive method.For instance, when I preached through the first three chapters of Galatians last year in various contexts, I liked to see what J. Louis Martyn (Anchor), James D G Dunn (Blacks), and Scot McKnight (NIVAC) had to say, though my tendency would be to rely on Schreiner (ZECNT) and Moo (BECNT) because I agree with their view of justification. I didn’t have time to consult all of these commentaries for every sermon, but each sermon I might pick one of those others to glance through or look at how they interpreted a particular verse. That way I was at least informed in how they would handle it or how someone from a different view might handle it.

The value of this typically doesn’t have weight during the sermon but is helpful for those after sermon, hand-shake conversations, where someone inquires about your wider knowledge of the passage. People love to talk about what McKnight or Richard Hays thinks about Galatians. Be prepared for those conversations and anticipate what the concerns or curiosities might be.

Keep Learning

If you’re a preacher or aspire to be a preacher, I hope you found this helpful. If you have any further questions, concerns, or comments, I want to hear them. I love interacting on this stuff! Be blessed as you continue to grow and develop as a preacher. Never stop learning. That’s an important element of this whole sermon preparation process.