Jones, Rhys Iwan. Joel & Obadiah – Disaster and Deliverance. Scotland: Cross Focus Publications, 2015. 128 pp. $14.99. Purchase at Amazon for less.
Iwan Rhys Jones is Director of Postgraduate Studies and Lecturer in Hebrew and Old Testament Studies at Wales Evangelical School of Theology in Bridgend, Wales. He also serves as an elder in his congregation.
The Focus on the Bible commentary series “are popular level commentaries especially useful for pastors and small group leaders. They are useful for personal devotions and spiritual growth. Many of the authors of the commentaries are leading expositors of God’s Word on their speciality subjects. The series holds to the inerrancy of scripture and the uniqueness of Christ in salvation.”
Quite simply, this book is a commentary on the Old Testament books of Joel and Obadiah. As such, it is organized in chapter and verse format offering somewhat extensive introductions to both books.
From the back of the book:
Disaster and Deliverance, these two words sum up something of the message of both Joel and Obadiah. In Joel, the prophet begins by announcing a disaster in terms of a locust invasion, which has affected Judah. This, however, is but the pretext for warning of an even greater disaster on the horizon for Judah. Nevertheless, the prophet holds out the prospect of deliverance. In the case of Obadiah, the focus is on Edom. Edom’s pride and longstanding hostility against the people of God has led her to be party to an attack upon them, and as a result, she is threatened with disaster. The people of God, meanwhile, are assured of better things at the hand of the LORD.These two prophets and their message of disaster and deliverance will both challenge and reassure all who have ears to hear.
This is a very readable commentary that is not dry nor insulting. There is much information to be gleaned from these books (as there is in all of the Bible!) that Jones does a phenomenal job of writing a commentary that offers an excellent introduction while also helping the reader to begin to plumb the depths of the riches of both.
This book can be used a simple commentary looking microscopically at the individual verses, but I believe there is something lost in using it only as such. The strength of this commentary is its devotional aspect. Jones tells the story with content and historical and theological insight lacking in many resource. He strikes a perfect balance of disaster and deliverance. Hence, the appropriate subtitle to the book.
As the name of the series is Focus on the Bible, you will want an open Bible next to you as you will want to know what the Word says and what Jones is saying about the Word. In the end, you will find that your focus will be entirely on the subject of the Bible…God.
If you are looking for a solid commentary that is both informational and not too academic, you will greatly appreciate Joel & Obadiah. If you are looking for an introductory academic commentary, you will appreciate Joel & Obadiah. I highly commend this commentary to all Christians looking to engage the Bible with a more informed mind.