The Pastoral Epistles with Philemon & Jude

series: Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible

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This addition to the Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible offers a new interpretation of the theology and the narrative context of the Pastoral Epistles, Philemon, and Jude. Risto Saarinen makes three unique claims: 1) the Pastoral Epistles need to be understood in terms of character formation and diagnostic language, 2) the treatment of gifts and giving is a prominent feature of the epistles, and 3) a theological exegesis of these books results in a new view regarding the nature of doctrine.

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

"Risto Saarinen's commentary on the Pastoral Epistles, Philemon, and Jude does an excellent job of mediating the insights of recent large-scale works in a readable exposition that concentrates on theology, bringing in from time to time the contributions of such expositors as Chrysostom and Calvin. Helpful appendices and excursuses break new ground in situating the letters within the context of ancient teachings on moderation, mental disorders, and generosity, and the author's background in Scandinavian Lutheranism affords a fresh perspective. Saarinen is not uncritical of what he sees as the Pastor's misogynism and argues that following literally his tendency to accommodate church practice to contemporary social standards may achieve today the opposite effect from what was intended. His hermeneutical approach in terms of theological subjects and elucidatory predicates offers a fresh entry into the teaching of Jude. This is a stimulating study that helpfully and sympathetically challenges some traditionalist approaches without being the last word on the subject."--I. Howard Marshall, University of Aberdeen

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, assistant professor of New Testament, Northeastern Seminary, Roberts Wesleyan College


The Author

  1. Risto Saarinen

    Risto Saarinen

    Risto Saarinen (Dr. theol., Dr. phil., University of Helsinki) is professor of ecumenical theology at the University of Helsinki in Helskinki, Finland, and an honorary professor at the University of Aarhus. He is also an ordained pastor of the Finnish...

    Continue reading about Risto Saarinen

Reviews

"[T]his is neither a standard historical-critical commentary nor an ordinary monograph in systematic theology. Saarinen sees the Pastoral Epistles as late first-century compositions by someone seeking to defend Paul's legacy. . . . One aim of the series is to provide 'experiments in postcritical doctrinal interpretation' so that we might 'rehabilitate our exegetical imaginations.' Anyone interested in such a project will find this commentary rich in erudition and insight."--Patrick Gray, Religious Studies Review

"The Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible is a grand experiment in theological hermeneutics. . . . Saarinen's commentary is a lively interplay of theological reflection and biblical exegesis. . . . He catches a lot, and he is clearly going somewhere as he moves along. Saarinen knows his endgame strategy as well as his opening gambits. The endgame, in this case, involves a few theoretical novelties. These are summarized in three important appendixes. . . . Appendix A offers reflections on the 'moderation of emotion.'. . . Appendix B fascinates, for it examines the theme of 'mental disorders.'. . . Given the close connection between extreme doctrines and mental disorder in the modern world, Saarinen's reflections on the topic are worthy of sustained attention. For those hoping to read more of Saarinen on giving and the gift, Appendix C does not disappoint. . . . The commentary may whet readers' appetites for further reading in contemporary phenomenology and theology of the gift. Finally, since many preachers and teachers are looking for exemplary expositions of 'difficult' texts in the Scriptures, it is worth noting that Saarinen offers one of the most exemplary readings of 1 Tim 2:8-15 (How Men and Women Should Behave) this reviewer has ever read."--Clint Schnekloth, Word & World

"[Saarinen's] whole commentary not only fleshes out Jude ('the most neglected book in the New Testament') a bit further: it also gives extensive treatment on four pauline epistles. . . . Saarinen manages to treat each book on its own terms, which makes for rewarding reading. . . . What he makes of the pastorals--which have often been maligned for somehow losing the tonic focus on christology in the certainly-pauline letters--goes a long way toward redeeming their value for the serious business of theology two thousand years later."--lutheranforum.org