A Brief Book Notice from Books At a Glance
by Fred G. Zaspel
A few years ago now I preached through the prophecy of Daniel at our church, and I wanted to mention here some resources that I found most fruitful for the preacher. First, Sinclair Ferguson’s Daniel volume in The Preacher’s Commentary series (formerly, The Communicator’s Commentary) is a model of pastoral exposition that captures the point of each passage, its theological significance, and its personal application. This book has been around since 1988, and my guess is it will remain available for a good while yet. His expositions rest on careful research and yet maintain the richness and warmth that marks Ferguson’s well-known preaching. Again, a model of pastoral exposition.
The other volume that deserves special mention is Sidney’ Greidanus’s Preaching Christ from Daniel: Foundations for Expository Sermons. Greidanus presents an exposition of each chapter, but he first sketches out the kind of spadework the preacher must do to put together his exposition. He surveys literary structure, theological connections, redemptive-historical connections, and other details in the text that point us to the prophecy’s ultimate climax in the Lord Jesus. Though much more thorough than Ferguson, Greidanus is very accessible to any pastor with average education. And although you will not necessarily follow him at every point (and, frankly, some of his “connections” to Christ are weak), it is yet a “must-have” resource for sermon preparation.
These two books in particular – Ferguson and Greidanus – even if you may not go along with them at every point (and I don’t), are important for the expositor-pastor. I’m not a prophet, but I can easily predict that within minutes after you begin reading either of these two books you will be itching to expound Daniel for your own congregation. Enjoy!
I might mention Tremper Longman also, whose contribution in the NIV Application Commentary series is helpful for preachers also in that his points of application (usually) actually follow the focus of each passage at hand – a quality far too often missing in much “expository” preaching.
For an understanding of Daniel in terms of its Biblical-Theological connections, both within Daniel and the rest of Scripture (before and after), James Hamilton’s NSBT volume, With the Clouds of Heaven, is in a class by itself. This is a very important, even essential resource for connecting Daniel’s message and prophecy to the rest of Scripture. You don’t want to preach through Daniel without having read this book!
For closer exegetical and historical analysis, the value of Joyce Baldwin’s brief commentary far exceeds its size. The brief commentary by Gleason Archer in the original Expositor’s Bible Commentary is excellent – really very helpful for its size; the replacement by Andrew Hill in the “Revised Edition” of EBC surpasses Archer in some ways, but I did not find it as useful overall. Dispensationalists will want to read standard works such as John Whitcomb, John Walvoord, Robert Duncan Culver (see here also), and Leon Wood. Alternatively, E.J. Young’s commentary is given in large part to disproving dispensationalist interpretations. Leupold deserves mention also.
And the list goes on….
Buy the books
DANIEL (THE PREACHER'S COMMENTARY SERIES), by Sinclair B. Ferguson
PREACHING CHRIST FROM DANIEL: FOUNDATIONS FOR EXPOSITORY SERMONS, by Sidney Greidanus