series: Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible

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In this addition to the well-received Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible, esteemed theologian R. R. Reno offers a theological exegesis of Genesis. This commentary, like each in the series, is designed to serve the church—providing a rich resource for preachers, teachers, students, and study groups—and demonstrate the continuing intellectual and practical viability of theological interpretation of the Bible.

The general editor for the Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible is R. R. Reno (editor, First Things). Series editors include Robert W. Jenson (Center of Theological Inquiry); Robert Louis Wilken (University of Virginia); Ephraim Radner (Wycliffe College, University of Toronto); Michael Root (Catholic University of America); and George Sumner (Episcopal Diocese of Dallas).

Volumes in the Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible

R. R. Reno (editor, First Things) on Genesis Thomas Joseph White (Thomistic Institute at the Angelicum in Rome) on Exodus Ephraim Radner (Wycliffe College, University of Toronto) on Leviticus David L. Stubbs (Western Theological Seminary) on Numbers Telford Work (Westmont College) on Deuteronomy Paul Hinlicky (Roanoke College) on Joshua Laura A. Smit (Calvin University) and Stephen Fowl (Loyola University Maryland) on Judges & Ruth Francesca Aran Murphy (University of Notre Dame) on 1 Samuel Robert Barron (Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles) on 2 Samuel Peter J. Leithart (Theopolis Institute for Bible, Liturgy, and Culture) on 1 & 2 Kings Peter J. Leithart (Theopolis Institute for Bible, Liturgy, and Culture) on 1 & 2 Chronicles Matthew Levering (Mundelein Seminary) on Ezra & Nehemiah Samuel Wells (St. Martin-in-the-Fields Anglican Church, London) and George Sumner (Episcopal Diocese of Dallas) on Esther & Daniel Ellen T. Charry (Princeton Theological Seminary) on Psalms 1–50 Jason Byassee (Vancouver School of Theology) on Psalms 101–150 Daniel J. Treier (Wheaton College Graduate School) on Proverbs & Ecclesiastes Paul J. Griffiths on Song of Songs Robert W. Jenson (1930–2017; Center of Theological Inquiry) on Ezekiel Phillip Cary (Eastern University) on Jonah Stanley Hauerwas (Duke Divinity School) on Matthew David Lyle Jeffrey (Baylor University) on Luke Jaroslav Pelikan (1923–2006; Yale University) on Acts Kimlyn J. Bender (Truett Theological Seminary, Baylor University) on 1 Corinthians Kathryn Greene-McCreight (The Episcopal Church at Yale) on Galatians Michael Allen (Reformed Theological Seminary, Orlando) on Ephesians George Hunsinger (Princeton Theological Seminary) on Philippians Christopher R. Seitz (Wycliffe College, University of Toronto) on Colossians Douglas Farrow (McGill University) on 1 & 2 Thessalonians Risto Saarinen (University of Helsinki) on the Pastoral Epistles with Philemon & Jude Douglas Harink (The King’s University College) on 1 & 2 Peter Joseph L. Mangina (Wycliffe College, University of Toronto) on Revelation


"Rusty Reno has done what Augustine could not--write a theologically satisfying single-volume commentary on the whole of Genesis. Of course, Augustine didn't have the benefit of reading Genesis through Rashi, Aquinas, Barth, Ochs, and even modern historical critics. This is the right way to read Scripture--as a multigenerational exegetical workshop among Christians, Jews, and interested others, not looking for more or less reliable historical information or literary pre-history but for the sort of wisdom that instills love and finally holiness."--Jason Byassee, Butler Chair in Homiletics and Biblical Hermeneutics, Vancouver School of Theology

"For Reno, the overriding concern of Genesis corresponds to the goal of exegesis: God gives us his promise so that we may move forward ever more deeply into the beginning, into the mystery of Christ. The result is a passionately written commentary that dissolves the divide between exegesis and theology as well as the gap between exposition and application. Those wondering how we might possibly follow in the footsteps of our premodern interpreters of Scripture can do no better than to read Reno's commentary."--Hans Boersma, J. I. Packer Professor of Theology, Regent College

"Rusty Reno's Genesis invites readers into a rich conversation that includes the rest of the Bible, the early church fathers, and Rashi, all for the sake of showing how Genesis beckons us forward to Christ and so continues to speak to the church today. Lively and provocative, this is a commentary that never ducks difficult interpretative questions. Those who read this stimulating commentary will be drawn back to the text of Genesis to ask whether they have read it as attentively as they should have."--Nathan MacDonald, reader in the interpretation of the Old Testament, fellow and college lecturer in theology, St. John's College, University of Cambridge

Praise for the Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible:
"What a splendid idea! Many preachers have been longing for more commentaries that are not only exegetical but theological in the best sense: arising out of the conviction that God, through his Word, still speaks in our time. For those of us who take our copies of Martin Luther's Galatians and Karl Barth's Romans from the shelves on a regular basis, this new series in that tradition promises renewed vigor for preaching, and therefore for the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church in our time."--Fleming Rutledge, author of The Bible and The New York Times and The Seven Last Words from the Cross

"This new series places the accent on 'theological' and reflects current interpretive ferment marked by growing resistance to the historical-critical project. It may be that scripture interpretation is too important to be left to the exegetes, and so a return to the theologians. We will wait with great anticipation for this new series, at least aware that the outcomes of interpretation are largely determined by the questions asked. It is never too late to ask better questions; with a focus on the theological tradition, this series holds the promise of asking interpretive questions that are deeply grounded in the primal claims of faith. The rich promise of the series is indicated by the stature and erudition of the commentators. Brazos has enormous promises to keep with this project, and we wait with eagerness for its appearing!"--Walter Brueggemann, Columbia Theological Seminary

"The Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible makes a most welcome contribution to the church, the academic world, and the general public at large. By enlisting a wide range of Protestant, Catholic, and Orthodox theologians who differ on much, but who agree on the truth of the Nicene Creed, the series also represents ecumenical activity of the very best kind. It is always a daunting challenge to expound the church's sacred book both simply and deeply, but this impressive line-up of authors is very well situated for the attempt."--Mark A. Noll, University of Notre Dame

"Preachers and teachers in particular, but thoughtful Christians more generally, have long lamented the slide of biblical scholarship into hyper-specialized critical studies of ancient texts in remote historical context. It is no wonder, therefore, that the Brazos Theological Commentary is being so warmly welcomed. The outstanding array of authors, beginning with Jaroslav Pelikan's splendid commentary on the Acts of the Apostles, is, at long last, reclaiming the Bible as the book of the living community of faith that is the church."--Richard John Neuhaus, author of American Babylon: Notes of a Christian Exile

"Contemporary application of the Bible to life is the preacher's business. But no worthy contemporary application is possible without a thorough understanding of the ancient text. The Brazos Theological Commentary exists to provide an accessible authority so that the preacher's application will be a ready bandage for all the hurts of life. We who serve the pulpit want a commentary we can understand, and those who hear us expect us to give them a usable word. The Brazos Commentary offers just the right level of light to make illuminating the word the joy it was meant to be."--Calvin Miller, author of A Hunger for the Holy and Loving God Up Close

"For pastors, wanting to get at the theological heart of a text, there is some good stuff. When I am preaching, I usually try to take a peek at the Brazos volume."--Nijay K. Gupta, assistant professor of New Testament, Northeastern Seminary, Roberts Wesleyan College

The Author

  1. R. R. Reno

    R. R. Reno

    R. R. Reno (PhD, Yale University) is editor of First Things. He taught theology at Creighton University for two decades. He is the author of many books, including Return of the Strong Gods and Resurrecting the Idea of a Christian...

    Continue reading about R. R. Reno


"This volume in this series is significant not least because it is written by the series editor, Rusty Reno. . . . His choice of historical interlocutors for his own volume is careful and rewarding, including Origen, Augustine, and Rashi. . . . A stimulating way of reading Scripture that is serious, demanding, and yet not without humour and humanity."--Mark W. Elliott, Expository Times

"Reno's approach is creative. . . . While Genesis recounts the origin of all that is, it really reveals the origin of all that will be. This anticipatory bent, which Reno pursues in his comments, lends the commentary its theological power. . . . Reno finds his most fruitful conversation partners in premodern authors. Rashi, Origen, Rabbinic Targums, and especially Augustine loom large. . . . This work explores the narrative revelation of God in a particular, worldly history, an embodied history. Reno's work places the end goal of this history in the New Testament narrative of Jesus Christ. It is a wholly Christian canonical project, familiar with the church's long and ongoing conversation with these texts. Utilizing various methodologies, it provides an example of a reading strategy conducted within the Nicene tradition."--Lissa M. Wray Beal, Journal of Hebrew Scriptures

"Reno has written a model theological commentary. . . . He interacts with a diverse range of sources including modern commentators . . . ancient Jewish commentators . . . and ancient Christian commentators. . . . However, he also incorporates other notable theological works . . . and literary works . . . as the subject matter permits. In his exposition, he not only interacts with expected themes . . . but also with themes that are not typically given as much attention. . . . The author's overriding commitment [is] to place the grand and unified story of God's covenant faithfulness on display."--Brian Asbill, Theological Book Review

"Reno's commentary on Genesis stands out by providing a purely theological approach to the Scriptures. . . . Reno's imagery and diversity of sources is a gold mine for the reader. . . . Reno has the style of swinging the reader from earthly levels to citations and concepts from Augustine's City of God, and from the Targums into a play by Lord Byron that explores the personality of Cain. He also constantly swings from the message of Genesis into the message of the NT, tying concepts and themes together that will be helpful for preachers, teachers, and students as they seek to expound the Word of God and make its message relevant to the modern audience. This is a great commentary for those who seek to be exposed to a wide diversity of theological views that have been put forth regarding the book of Genesis."--Rick Painter, Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society

"Reno does a masterful job of interacting with the writings of the church fathers, Jewish targums, rabbinic Midrash, and Reformation interpreters. . . . The insights produced by this theological exchange are profound. . . . The triumvirate of canon, reason, and tradition serves as Reno's primary guide in his work on Genesis. The result is an impressive example of modern figurative exegesis that participates in the communal and dialogic style of biblical interpretation of a past era. . . . This commentary provides an important voice in representing explicitly theological readings in the ongoing conversation about biblical interpretation. Furthermore, it is an invaluable resource for preachers, scholars, and students of Scripture alike, supplying the rich theological reflection of past voices that is missing in so much of modern biblical scholarship. For these reasons, it has earned both my deep appreciation and my enthusiastic recommendation."--Amanda W. Benckhuysen, Calvin Theological Journal

"[This volume] unapologetically aims to serve those who allow the Bible to evoke larger questions about life, the universe, and God, and who, with Reno, choose to read Genesis 'as a promise-driven, future-oriented text.'. . . He practices the sort of close reading that brings theological awareness of the trajectory and fullness of Scripture to the meaning of a single verse, allowing it to resonate between the Old Testament and the New. . . . Reno's adroit incorporation of diverse ways of reading not only draws upon ancient Christian commentary, but mirrors its methods. Just as Augustine could draw upon the lexical details of the Psalms to draw further theological meaning out of the text, Reno ably pulls in historical information where it can illuminate the theological shape of the text. With his literary flourishes of metaphor and turns of phrase, Reno provides an enjoyable commentary on Genesis as well as a well-Scriptured one."--Rachel M. Billings, Christian Reflection