Book Review – Exalting Jesus in Philippians
Exalting Jesus in Philippians is a new commentary on Philippians written by Tony Merida and Francis Chan. It is one of the latest additions to the Christ-Centered Exposition series of commentaries edited by Merida, David Platt, and Daniel Akin. Like the other commentaries in this series, Exalting Jesus in Philippians is easy to read and full of practical applications. One of the strengths of this commentary is that it is written in such a way that a pastor can use it to glean pastoral applications from Philippians while the average Christian can also use it in their personal study. This is great for “boots on the ground” Christian living and application of scripture. In fact, I would argue that this is the most important style of commentary that a pastor or lay person could read. The downside to this of course is that Exalting Jesus in Philippians lacks the academic rigor that many pastors and academic-minded students will want. That is not to say that this commentary lacks an intellectual foundation. It doesn’t. In fact, one of the things the authors did very well was to not allow their profound understanding of the textual nuances become the focus of the commentary. Their interpretation was clearly under-girded by a rich foundation in Biblical studies but rather than touting their academic knowledge of language and context, they simply communicated their knowledge in a way that any reader will be able to grasp the fundamental message of Philippians.
If I have any complaints at all about Exalting Jesus in Philippians, it is the distracting way that the authors intermingled their personal narratives into the applications. To be sure, the illustrations from their personal lives were valuable, but they had a distracting habit of parenthetically inserting the name of which author was telling the story. For example, in the opening sentences to the commentary on Philippians 2:5-11 the author writes,
” Last week, I (Tony) went into a store to grab a bottle of water . . .”
I’m sure this is simply a personal preference, but to be honest I’m not too concerned with which of the authors is telling the story. I found that it distracted from the “Christ-Centered” nature of the commentary by making it personality centered. Again, this wasn’t terrible but I did find it distracting and after a while it began to be mildly annoying. I understand that many will appreciate this approach. After all, it lends a sort of personal nature to the commentary. However, I believe that could have been accomplished while not becoming distracting. I would have preferred the authors to simply use the illustration and not worry about which one was being credited for the life event.
Overall Exalting Jesus in Philippians is a good well rounded commentary that upholds the doctrines of the Reformation while not overly focusing on the doctrine as the main point. The authors did a wonderful job making Philippians relevant and easy to understand. I appreciate the work being done in this series and in this commentary in particular. Christians will certainly benefit from this commentary for a long time.
Where to purchase Exalting Jesus in Philippians
Christianbook.com (CBD) – Christ-Centered Exposition Commentary: Exalting Jesus in Philippians
About the Authors
Tony Merida is lead pastor of Imago Dei Church in Raleigh, North Carolina. He earned a Ph.D. in preaching from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and serves as associate professor of Preaching at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. His books include Faithful Preaching and Orphanology.
Francis Chan is the best-selling author of Crazy Love and Forgotten God and the host of theBASIC.series. He has also written the children’s books Halfway Herbert, The Big Red Tractor and the Little Village andRonnie Wilson’s Gift. Francis is the founding pastor of Cornerstone Church in Simi Valley, California, and is the founder of Eternity Bible College. He also sits on the board of directors of Children’s Hunger Fund and World Impact. Francis lives in California with his wife, Lisa, and their four children.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Holman Reference, BH Publishing Group in exchange for an online review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
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