My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This summer I have preached through I and Second Samuel and Peterson's was one of the commentaries I read along the way. I used this commentary six years ago when I preached on these texts, but at that time I only read bits and pieces of this commentary.
Peterson's commentary is not one of my favourites but is also useful. Let me explain. I really enjoyed David Jobling's volume on I Samuel because it is very critical and raises lots of provocative questions. Other commentators do something similar. Peterson generally does not do this. He does not explore most of the critical issues and he does not deconstruct. He reads the story as revelation and helpful for the Christian life. Therefore, his takes are generally positive. Each story has something to learn from it.
This approach, while not intellectually stimulating, can actually be helpful for the preacher. Though I often disagreed with Peterson or was turned off by his too positive approach, and though my own preaching does engage more of the critical issues, I was occasionally drawn to one of his nuggets of spiritual wisdom which was helpful in proclamation.
Plus I deeply appreciate his contention that engaging with these stories, we learn about ourselves. That these stories are our stories. That is also my approach to preaching them. Consider, for example, the final sentence of the book: "Insofar as this is also the story of every man and woman, we see ourselves led through the concentric circles, affirmed in our basic humanness, confronted with the inescapable conditions of our culture, and from time to time finding our true voice at the center, speaking to and for God."
I, therefore, do recommend this volume for the preacher's library, but only read in tandem with more critical commentaries that do deconstruct the text.
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