Commentary on Hebrews by Thomas R. Schreiner

Commentary on HebrewsBiblical Theology for Christian Proclamation – Commentary on Hebrews. Thomas R. Schreiner. General Editors, T. Desmond Alexander, Andreas J. Kostenberger, and Thomas R. Schreiner. Nashville, B&H Academic, 2015. 400 pp. $39.99. Purchase at Amazon for less.

Introduction

Thomas R. Schreiner is the James Buchanan Harrison Professor of New Testament Interpretation and Professor of Biblical Theology at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, KY. He serves as Associated Dean of the School of Theology.

Dr. Schreiner joined the Southern faculty in 1997 after serving 11 years on the faculty at Bethel Theological Seminary. He also taught New Testament at Azusa Pacific University. Dr. Schreiner, a Pauline scholar, is the author or editor of several books and commentaries.

Introduction to the Series

The Biblical Theology for Christian Proclamation Commentary series explores the theology of the Bible in considerable depth, spanning both Testaments. Authors come from a variety of backgrounds and perspectives, though all affirm the inerrancy and inspiration of Scripture. United in their high view of Scripture, and in their belief in the underlying unity of Scripture, which is ultimately grounded in the unity of God himself, each author explores the contribution of a given book or group of books to the theology of Scripture as a whole. While conceived as stand-alone volumes, each volume thus also makes a contribution to the larger whole. All volumes provide a discussion of introductory matters, including the historical setting and the literary structure of a given book of Scripture. Also included is an exegetical treatment of all the relevant passages in succinct commentary-style format. The biblical theology approach of the series will also inform and play a role in the commentary proper. The commentator permits a discussion between the commentary proper and the biblical theology that it reflects by a series of cross-references.

The major contribution of each volume, however, is a thorough discussion of the most important themes of the biblical book in relation to the canon as a whole. This format allows each contributor to ground Biblical Theology, as is proper, in an appropriate appraisal of the relevant historical and literary features of a particular book in Scripture while at the same time focusing on its major theological contribution to the entire Christian canon in the context of the larger salvation-historical metanarrative of Scripture. Within this overall format, there will be room for each individual contributor to explore the major themes of his or her particular corpus in the way he or she sees most appropriate for the material under consideration.

This format, in itself, would already be a valuable contribution to Biblical Theology. But there are other series that try to accomplish a survey of the Bible’s theology as well. What distinguishes the present series is its orientation toward Christian proclamation. This is the Biblical Theology for Christian Proclamation commentary series! As a result, the ultimate purpose of this set of volumes is not exclusively, or even primarily, academic. Rather, we seek to relate Biblical Theology to our own lives and to the life of the church. Our desire is to equip those in Christian ministry who are called by God to preach and teach the precious truths of Scripture to their congregations, both in North America and in a global context.

It is our hope and our prayer that the 40 volumes of this series, once completed, will bear witness to the unity in diversity of the canon of Scripture as they probe the individual contributions of each of its 66 books. The authors and editors are united in their desire that in so doing the series will magnify the name of Christ and bring glory to the triune God who revealed himself in Scripture so that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved—to the glory of God the Father and his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, under the illumination of the Holy Spirit, and for the good of his church. To God alone be the glory: soli Deo gloria.

Summary of this Commentary

In his volume on Hebrews, Thomas R. Schreiner says, “The words of Jesus on the cross, ‘it is finished’ (John 19:30) capture the theology of Hebrews.

“My aim in this commentary is to focus on the biblical theology of the letter. The emphasis on biblical theology shows up especially in the introduction and conclusion where theological structures and themes are considered. In the introduction I will examine four different structures that are woven into the entire letter: 1) promise/fulfillment; 2) eschatology; 3) typology; and 4) spatial orientation (which can also be described as the relationship between heaven and earth in the letter). The commentary will conclude, after presenting an exegesis of each chapter, with a discussion of some major theological themes in Hebrews.”

Review

As with any commentary, you have your front matter to the book of the Bible being considered (author, date of writing, genre, purpose, etc.). You also have your exposition of the text of the particular book. What sets this commentary apart is it emphasis on the biblical and theological themes found within the text. Furthermore, the Introduction looks at the book of Hebrews and where it fits in with the story line of the Bible as a whole.

The strength lies in the focus. Whereas other commentaries look at the books largely from a single unit perspective, Schreiner here strives, and succeeds, in showing how (negatively) the Bible would not be complete with the omission of the book of Hebrews. Positively, he shows how the book of Hebrews not only fits well in the Bible and largely explains how the Old Testament ought to be interpreted in light of Christ but how the book of Hebrews is necessary for our understanding of Christ.

Recommendation

What better commentary to begin a series on biblical theology than the book of Hebrews? Schreiner nails it with this commentary and whets the appetite for pastors and Christians devoted to studying the Word of God. If Schreiner writes it, it is worth reading. This commentary is no exception. I highly commend this to all Christians.