Luke

series: Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible

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The Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible (BTCB) enlists leading theologians to read and interpret Scripture for the twenty-first century. In this addition to the well-received series, acclaimed professor of literature David Lyle Jeffrey offers theological exegesis of Luke.

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).

Scheduled Contributors R. R. Reno (editor, First Things) on Genesis Thomas Joseph White (Dominican House of Studies) 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 College) and Stephen Fowl (Loyola College) 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 Charles Raith II (John Brown University) on Job Ellen T. Charry (Princeton Theological Seminary) on Psalms 1–50 Lauren Winner (Duke Divinity School) on Psalms 51–100 Jason Byassee (Vancouver School of Theology) on Psalms 101–150 Reinhard Hütter (Duke Divinity School) on Psalm 119 Daniel J. Treier (Wheaton College) on Proverbs & Ecclesiastes Paul J. Griffiths (Duke Divinity School) on Song of Songs Paul Martens (Baylor University) on Isaiah Kevin Vanhoozer (Trinity Evangelical Divinity School) on Jeremiah Robert W. Jenson (Center of Theological Inquiry) on Ezekiel Mark S. Gignilliat (Beeson Divinity School, Samford University) on the Minor Prophets Phillip Cary (Eastern University) on Jonah James B. Jordan (Theopolis Institute for Bible, Liturgy, and Culture) on Zechariah & Haggai Stanley Hauerwas (Duke Divinity School) on Matthew John Michael McDermott (Pontifical College Josephinum, Columbus, OH) on Mark David Lyle Jeffrey (Baylor University) on Luke Bruce Marshall (Southern Methodist University) on John Jaroslav Pelikan (Yale University) on Acts David Yeago (Trinity School for Ministry) on Romans Kimlyn Bender (Truett Theological Seminary, Baylor University) on 1 Corinthians D. Brent Laytham (St. Mary’s Seminary & University) on 2 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 R. David Nelson (Baker Academic & Brazos Press) on Hebrews Timothy George (Beeson Divinity School, Samford University) on James Douglas Harink (The King’s University College) on 1 & 2 Peter Michael Root (Catholic University of America) on the Letters of John Joseph L. Mangina (Wycliffe College, University of Toronto) on Revelation


Endorsements

"If there are any lingering doubts about the wisdom of Brazos Press publishing a series of theological commentaries on the books of the Bible, David Lyle Jeffrey's commentary on Luke will lay those doubts to rest. Jeffrey is at home in modern critical literature, he knows the church fathers and medieval interpreters, and he makes good use of the Reformers, most notably Calvin. He brightens the discussion with literary allusions and poems. He draws illuminating parallels from unexpected places in the scriptures. But what makes this commentary a delight to read is that Jeffrey is a close reader of the Gospel of Luke and on every page displays a serious effort to understand the sacred text in light of the church's faith. A superb addition to the series."

Robert Louis Wilken, William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of the History of Christianity emeritus, University of Virginia

"Could it be that God intends us to read Luke's Gospel for spiritual nourishment? If so, there could hardly be a better guide than David Lyle Jeffrey. This commentary is vintage Jeffrey, with his winning prose, literary sensitivity, and unmatched familiarity with Christian spiritual guides of the past--from Chrysostom and Bede to Aquinas and the medieval Franciscans--and the most notable exegetes and theologians writing today. Jeffrey also attends to the insights that can be gleaned from the great Christian poets whom he knows so well. The connection between learning about Jesus and loving Jesus is on full display in this beautiful work."

Matthew Levering, professor of theology, University of Dayton

"Only a genuine 'lover of God' can reflect on Luke's Gospel with the kind of eloquent beauty that David Lyle Jeffrey displays in this commentary. Drawing on a wide range of earlier 'lovers of God' throughout the centuries--commentators, painters, and poets--this book is living testimony that reading in line with faithful readers throughout the centuries makes us enter more deeply into Luke's portrayal of the beauty of divine redemption."

Hans Boersma, J. I. Packer Professor of Theology, Regent College

"It is sheer delight to encounter David Lyle Jeffrey's beautiful, soaring prose about Luke, the most beautiful book ever written. With both 'polish and secular eloquence'--to echo Thomas Aquinas's characterization of the third evangelist--Jeffrey 'opens up' the rich subtleties and intricate ironies of Luke's elucidation of why Jesus of Nazareth matters. Seldom do we find such thick theological description presented in such artistically textured speech. Learn from a master and never be the same again!"

David P. Moessner, professor of biblical theology, University of Dubuque/University of Pretoria

"Always attentive to the text and sensitive to the historical background, especially the Old Testament, David Lyle Jeffrey opens the reader's eyes to the literary artistry, spiritual drama, and theological depth of Luke's portrait of Jesus's life, teaching, death, and resurrection. Drawing deeply from the wellspring of the church's living tradition, Jeffrey's commentary allows us to hear anew the voice of the evangelist as it's been born by the Holy Spirit down through the ages into our own life and time. Beautifully written, this volume will prove equally valuable for study or contemplation, preaching or prayer. Truly one of the exemplary works in this popular series."

Scott Hahn, Pope Benedict XVI Chair of Biblical Theology and Liturgical Proclamation, St. Vincent Seminary; professor of scripture and theology, Franciscan University of Steubenville

"Brazos commentaries assert that in the interpretation of scripture 'dogma clarifies rather than obscures'--a controversial pudding, which critics sometimes deem underwhelming in the proof. David Jeffrey's fresh take on this genre mounts an energetic rebuttal: he brings to bear a lifetime's treasury of literary learning in the Christian tradition, deployed with outstanding sensitivity to the gospel's texture and to the life-giving witness of its faithful readers through the ages. With its exciting, theologically vibrant range of reference across twenty centuries of interpretation, this is a terrific contribution. No commentary of this kind can hope to cross every exegete's t or to dot every dogmatician's i. But Jeffrey on Luke brings the evangelist to life for us on a brilliant exegetical and theological tour of attentive gospel interpretation down the ages. It's a gem. Take and read!"

Markus Bockmuehl, professor of biblical and early Christian studies, Keble College, University of Oxford

"Drawing on a rich palette of historic Christian reflection, Jeffrey provides an exposition of Luke that invites one into a spiritually rich engagement with this Gospel. In Jeffrey's hands the giants of the past, the wider context of scripture, and key features of the text itself direct our focus to the Jesus to whom Luke bears testimony."

John Nolland, director of studies and tutor in New Testament, Trinity College Bristol

"A work of such literary beauty and theological bounty as Luke's Gospel demands an interpreter steeped in the thick literary and theological heritage of Christian thought. In this lively and learned commentary, distinguished humanities scholar David Lyle Jeffrey clears the bar with room to spare. Deftly mining the rich reflections of church fathers from Ambrose to Aquinas, Bede to Bonaventure, Chrysostom to Calvin, enhanced by illuminating insights from medieval and renaissance painting and poetry, Jeffrey provides a faithful, panoramic reading of Luke with the 'communion of saints.' An invaluable resource for understanding and proclaiming Luke's good news."

F. Scott Spencer, professor of New Testament and preaching, Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond

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, are, 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, Portland Seminary


The Author

  1. David Lyle Jeffrey

    David Lyle Jeffrey

    David Lyle Jeffrey (PhD, Princeton University) is distinguished professor of literature and humanities at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, and professor emeritus of English literature at the University of Ottawa. He is the author of numerous books, including...

    Continue reading about David Lyle Jeffrey

Reviews

"The series in which this volume appears shows what is gained when biblical commentaries are written by those who are expert in the related field of theology. In this case the author is also learned not only in biblical studies but also (and primarily) in English literature. The resulting volume thus combines expert knowledge of the usual grist in the commentator's mill with other helpful disciplines. As befits a contributor to the series, he knows well the exegetical and expository history of the interpretation of Luke. . . . The author also makes good use of contemporary commentators. . . . The theological coverage is broad. . . . But in addition to all this there is the bonus of Jeffrey's specialty in literary studies. The outcome is a surprisingly comprehensive approach to the text which pays attention to matters of literary structure that are theologically relevant."

I. Howard Marshall,

Expository Times

"Jeffrey is not afraid to grapple with theological controversies occasioned by the text. . . . This book is carefully researched and edited. . . . I highly recommend to a wide ecumenical audience this elegant and religious theological commentary on Luke. It successfully reads the Lucan Gospel 'in the company of the saints and faithful of all ages.'"

William S. Kurz, SJ,

Catholic Biblical Quarterly

"This unique commentary series interprets the biblical text from a theological perspective in order to open up new vistas of meaning. . . . As a literary critic who is also attuned to biblical interpretation, [Jeffrey] brings a special quality to this task. His approach is to read Luke's Gospel in the company of previous interpreters, ancient and modern. The end result is a beautiful exposition of Luke, blending in patristic comments and snatches of poetry along with medieval and modern interpretations of individual passages in the Gospel. The format of the series does not include the text of the gospel itself, but the reader who follows through with this commentary in hand will be richly rewarded."

Donald Senior, CP,

The Bible Today

"[The] Brazos Theological Commentary [on the Bible] has . . . offered a breath of fresh air to the sometimes stale academic air of commentaries. . . . I have often mined various commentaries, not looking for critical explanation of the text as much as some insight about a particular doctrine that emanates from it. Yet rarely do authors venture deeply into those issues. . . . The Brazos series (Luke in particular) is fundamentally different because these commentaries 'are born out of the conviction that dogma clarifies rather than obscures.' This, of course, does not mean there is no textual criticism--there is plenty--but paired with hard Greek work is also history, tradition, and theology. This makes the commentary not only a nice read, but a helpful tool for the teacher, preacher, scholar, and layperson. . . . Jeffrey's training as a literary scholar shows through in his break down (and reading) of the text. . . . I found this refreshing because in taking a more canonical approach I felt further engrossed in the actual story of Scripture. . . . Jeffrey has a light effervescent style of engaging the text without being trifle. For those responsible for teaching this makes a ready resource for engaging illustrations. This is a great commentary series for its scholarship and unabashed emphasis on how scripture leads us into the sacred story of self-giving love. I would commend David Lyle Jeffrey's volume on Luke in particular for those, especially in ministry, who are looking to dive deeper into the theological power of Luke."

Jordan Kellicut,

Englewood Review of Books

"Jeffrey's commentary on Luke makes a shining contribution [to the Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible]. . . . He is a distinguished medievalist, a historian of literature and art, and a contributor to scholarship on both the Old and New Testaments. Unequivocal commitment to orthodox Christianity is the unifying thread of his numerous and polymathic writings. . . . This is the rare commentary that has literary merit in its own right. . . . I don't mean simply that this commentary is a joy to read, though that is the case. It is also attentive to the Gospel's use of words and literary devices such as metaphor and irony. . . . Jeffrey not only notices these things, but prepares his reader to do so. . . . Jeffrey is not burdened with the young scholar's craving to be original. His long immersion in Christian interpretation, starting with the church fathers and including Scholastic, Reformation, and modern commentary, equips him for a more generous undertaking. . . . Jeffrey does show originality, of course, in the discernment with which he brings forth from this treasury things new and old. [The commentary] directs the reader to apt literary, iconographic, and artistic appropriations of biblical themes. . . . Readers who wish to have their understanding of Scripture broadened, and their faith increased, will find here the guidance they seek."

Graeme Hunter,

Touchstone

"A fine work. . . . Jeffrey excels in capturing the overall picture of each scene and helps us read the text with the church through the ages. . . . [A] great resource."

Ray Van Neste,

Preaching

"Jeffrey's reading of Luke provides insights for those who would read it in 'the company of the saints and faithful of all ages.'"

Interpretation

"A welcome addition to the Brazos Theological Commentary Series. . . . This commentary reminds the reader that the art of biblical interpretation does not appear in a historical vacuum but is a deeply ecclesiastical practice; the interpreter converses not only with the voice of Scripture, but also with a chorus of biblical interpreters from the past. . . . One feature that especially enriches this commentary is Jeffrey's frequent interaction with (largely Western) art tradition. . . . This commentary is a delightful read. . . . This work may not replace existing critical commentaries, but it is an important supplement to purely academic approaches to the Sacred Scripture of the church. The reader with an interest in a theological reading of Luke's gospel will be richly rewarded by this commentary."

Kazuhiko Yamazaki-Ransom,

Trinity Journal

"Jeffrey's primary expertise as a literary scholar results in a commentary full of astute observations about Luke's style, structure, and order. . . . However, I consider Jeffrey's interaction with the larger Christian tradition--commentaries, sermons, poetry, artwork, and music--to be his most unique and valuable contribution. . . . At points he discusses how passages from Luke were used in theological controversies. . . . These contributions would prove especially valuable to someone interested in the history of interpretation of the Bible. . . . Jeffrey has produced a lucid synthesis of a vast amount of research that is accessible to serious laypersons or pastoral teachers. For this feat he is to be commended. This volume will be a welcome addition to the shelves of professors, pastors, and students alike. I can imagine a professor assigning this commentary in a hermeneutics class as a basis for discussion of different methods of interpretation throughout the church's history. It would also be valuable to an upper-level class on Luke."

Heather Gorman,

Stone-Campbell Journal

"Those accustomed to technical commentaries will find Jeffrey's long, unbroken narratives refreshing. . . . Jeffrey uses footnotes sparingly, and the volume contains a helpful subject and Scripture index. Jeffrey's bibliography of 'frequently cited' works contains both modern scholarship and ancient, writings from medieval times and from the Reformation. The combination provides a bird's-eye view of the historical understanding of Luke. Those who are interested in the church fathers will find this resource helpful. Pastors will find a treasury of ready-made quotations and illustrations from church history already connected to appropriate passages of Scripture."

Jeffrey E. Miller,

Bible Study Magazine


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