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on April 13, 2004
I purchased my Pulpit Commentary in the mid-1980's and even then at $199 for the 23 volume set, I knew it was a steal- the best money a poor country preacher with a wife and three little ones could spend. The advantage to this set is its sheer size, taking almost five feet of shelving in my office library. Yes they are old, originally written in the 19th century. Yes, the homilies are, for the most part, unusable in the postmodern age, but, nevertheless, they remain a valuable resource. Let's look at the good, the bad and the ugly about these commentaries.
The good: The sheer size of these volumes. I have a complete commentary on the entire Bible. They represent the best of 19th century evangelical scholarship.
The bad: The quality is uneven. Each commentary has multiple sets of authors contributing articles and homilies. You will quickly learn which authors transcend time and write with insight applicable to the 21st century.
The ugly: If you try preaching some of these homilies, your congregation will run you out of town on a rail. For the most part, they are shallow, dated and have little bearing for the postmodern world.
Would I recommend purchasing this set? Only if the price was right. $800 is just too much for commentaries this old. But the final test of a commentary is this: Do you still use them twenty years after purchase? Yeah, I do. They are a good resource.
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