B. Jason Epps’ Review of LEVITICUS: HOLY GOD, HOLY PEOPLE (PREACHING THE WORD), by Kenneth A. Mathews

Published on August 29, 2022 by Eugene Ho

Crossway, 2019 | 304 pages

A Book Review from Books At a Glance

by B. Jason Epps


Dr. Kenneth A. Mathews is a professor of Old Testament and Hebrew at Beeson Divinity School. The intended audience for this commentary series is preachers and their congregations. This commentary, therefore, is very approachable and easy to read. Mathews regularly includes contemporary examples to support his points. For the chapter titles, he includes large sections of Scripture. He further subdivides these textual units within the chapter, assigning a thematic summary statement. He includes the verse references for the particular section, but it is apparent his structure is not sequential, but rather thematic.

Throughout the commentary, he constantly connects Leviticus to the New Testament, showing its practical implications for New Testament believers. Even though he is a professor of Old Testament and Hebrew, he rarely utilizes Hebrew in this commentary. When he does, he transliterates the Hebrew into English. He only utilizes this if the term is key to the understanding of the passage.

In the first chapter of this commentary, instead of providing the usual information like date and author, Mathews includes the thematic setting of Leviticus and discusses the grand themes of Leviticus, like the need for mitigation and God’s holiness. Throughout the commentary, he not only connects Leviticus to the New Testament, but to the entire corpus of the Old Testament. Indirectly he is arguing that Leviticus, which has been so often ignored in our churches, is intertwined with the totality of Scripture.

This commentary, in a sense, can model a construction and delivery of a sermon on Leviticus. This commentary, therefore, can be helpful to preachers so that they can have a mindset for preaching Leviticus and for the laity to give them a broad understanding of Leviticus so they are not bogged down in the ritualistic minutia. In so doing, this commentary fights biblical illiteracy with a two-pronged approach.

In general, this commentary accomplishes its goals with flying colors. It makes a much-neglected book of the Old Testament applicable and engaging. The commentary itself, however, does not include much interaction with scholarly sources, but has an extensive bibliography that allows readers to go deeper if they wish. As such, this commentary would be helpful for anyone seeking to get a broad understanding of the themes and importance of Leviticus while providing an avenue to do future further research.


B. Jason Epps

Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary

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Crossway, 2019 | 304 pages

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