Book Review: St Andrews Expositional Commentary – Mark

MAR08BH_200x1000Today I will be reviewing the entry in Reformation Trust’s “St Andrews Expositional Commentary” series, Mark.

This entry, like others in the series, is a written by RC Sproul, and represents his experience preaching through various books of the Bible. Unlike other commentaries, this passage tends to focus on large pericopes rather than taking a smaller granular approach. This is not to say that it is not detailed, just that it breaks the text up into larger portions than more technical commentaries.

Overall, I was a little disappointed going into the book. However, I don’t think this was a result of anything faulty with the book itself, more with my expectations. As someone holding multiple degrees in Biblical Studies and Theology, I have a lot of experiences with technical commentaries. What I was expecting was an in depth analysis of sentence structure, grammatical notes, and copious amounts of citations.

That is not what I found. The book speaks very little about any of those things, and there are almost no citations in the text.

What this work represents more is a collection of Dr Sproul’s personal notes (which clearly reflect lots of study) on the book. He does at times discuss original language, but more often than not what you are getting is a distilled version of what he would preach on a Sunday morning. Another good comparison might be to view these as an expanded version of the notes one might find in an average study Bible.

While this may not be extremely helpful to a pastor or scholar who is preparing an in depth exegetical paper or sermon, it would likely be very helpful to someone who is reading the text and would like clarification on a particular section.

I would recommend this book to lay persons who do not wish to purchase a full blown technical commentary, or do not feel that the technical commentary is accessible enough. It would also make a great addition to the library of a small group leader or lay Bible study leader. The commentary in the work is easy to access and reflects a genuine exposition of the text, however it is not sufficiently detailed enough to be beneficial to someone who has formal training in the area.

Please note: Reformation Trust / Ligonier Ministries has provided me with an electronic version of this book for review purposes, and will be providing me with a hard copy edition in exchange for this review. They do not require positive reviews, nor have they edited or modified this review in any way.