Thursday, April 09, 2009
I finished a Sunday morning series through the Gospel of Mark a few weeks ago. Every once in a while someone will ask what I read to prepare. The key reading, of course, is the text itself. When I am preaching a series through a book, I usually read sequentially through at least two or three commentaries. I try to read at least one older commentary and one or more modern ones. For Mark, I read Matthew Henry's commentary. I also read William Hendriksen's Mark (Baker, 1975) and Edmund Hiebert's The Gospel According to Mark: An Expositional Commentary (Bob Jones Press, 1994). I was really helped by all of these both to understand and to preach the text of Mark. At the beginning of the study I was also reading James A. Brooks' Mark (B&H, 1991) in the New American Commentary series, but I did not find it be of much spiritual or homiletical help, so I dropped it. The longer I am in the preaching ministry, the less useful I am finding newer commentaries that focus on dialogue with contemporary scholarship. As with so many things, the older are often better.