When it comes to expositing and faithfully teaching the Bible, John MacArthur is a name respected by many. He has been preaching at Grace Community Church and heading Grace to You since 1969. In that time he has written nearly 400 books and study guides that have been published throughout the world. The reach of his ministry has allowed his ever popular MacArthur Study Bible to be translated into at least 8 different languages. It’s an understatement to say that MacArthur is a household name in evangelicalism.
Aside from his study Bible, Dr. MacArthur is best known for his MacArthur New Testament Commentary. The commentary series began 32 years ago (1983) when he published his commentary on Hebrews. Since that time he has meticulously preached through the New Testament at his church and written detailed verse-by-verse commentary on each New Testament book. This year the final two volumes (Mark 1-8 & Mark 9-16) were released, completing the series. Today I want to show you how you can glean from MacArthur’s insight on any New Testament passage while studying in Bible+.
Why This Commentary?
One of the questions that’s often asked when discussing commentaries is, “Why should I buy commentary ABC instead of commentary XYZ?” Here are a couple reasons why the MacArthur New Testament Commentary is a valuable resource to have in your library.
First, when you look at most modern commentary sets, each volume is typically written by a different author. While there may be a singular general editor, there may be differences of theology and understanding among the authors, making for a lack of consistency across volumes. What’s more, sometimes the same author will write a commentary on a book of the Bible for different commentary series. For example, Douglas Moo has written a commentary on Romans for both the New International Commentary and NIV Application Commentary series, and a commentary on James for the Pillar New Testament and Tyndale New Testament Commentary series. The advantage of the MacArthur New Testament Commentary is its singular voice. You’re not going to encounter the issues you may find in other series. Having one author write the entire series provides a level of consistency in thought and teaching that isn’t necessarily possible in the other commentary sets. Whether or not you agree with what is taught, at least you know it will be consistent throughout the entirety of the series.
Second, John MacArthur is not just a Bible scholar, he is also a pastor. This may not seem like something that would be important, but it means this commentary has a different tone and approach than other series. There is a difference between writing a commentary academia and writing for the general Christian population. MacArthur’s commentary certainly falls in the latter. His tone is pastoral and stays away from being unnecessarily complex. Every passage is explained clearly so that you have little to no questions afterward. His exegesis of the text also makes applying the text to your life easy. This makes it an easy commentary to read, whether you’re in the pew or pulpit.
Using the Commentary
Like many resources in Bible+, the best way to get the most out of your library is by using the Resource Guide; the MacArthur New Testament Commentary is no exception. To illustrate, let’s assume we’re starting to read Mark’s gospel and are using MacArthur’s commentary to aide our study.
When beginning a study on a new book of the Bible, one of the first things you want to do is get some background information. Resource Guide makes this easy. Simply scroll down to the “Introductions” section, where we find 5 hits for our commentary.
Here we find information about the gospel, it’s author, date, audience, purpose, and other issues worth keeping in mind.
Next, you’ll want to get a feel for how the book is laid out, so let’s find an outline. Again, the Resource Guide shows us that MacArthur has an outline for our book, and we see that it is quite extensive. One thing worth noting is that the book’s outline also serves as the layout for the commentary. This helps in seeing how a handful of verses relate to their larger context. Personally, I refer to the outline often throughout the course of studying a book of the Bible, as it keeps the big picture in view.
Finally, when it’s time to dive into the commentary text, the Resource Guide is again our friend. Instead of hunting down the commentary on your passage, let Resource Guide do the heavy lifting. Find the MacArthur New Testament Commentary in the commentaries section, find your passage, and commence reading. This saves you both time and effort while studying, which is useful with our busy lives.
Alternatively, you can leave the MacArthur New Testament Commentary open in your split window and it’ll always be at the right location when you need it. This will save you even more time if you don’t plan on consulting other resources.
No matter who you are, the MacArthur New Testament Commentary is an excellent go to resource for New Testament studies. MacArthur’s knack for explaining the text is second to none and easy to follow. Even if you don’t completely agree with him theologically, you can still appreciate his clear exegesis and application.
Add the MacArthur New Testament Commentary to your Olive Tree library today while it’s on sale. Whether you’re buying the full set, upgrading, or buying an individual volume, we have a deal that will fit any budget.