Dr Hendriksen’s success as a commentator has been rendered noteworthy by his refusal to accept the prevailing assumption that the best commentaries are written primarily for specialists and for academics. His justification lies in his understanding of the intention of Scripture itself. Thus in his Introduction toLuke he writes:
This Gospel is a book of Doctrine showing us what to believe . . . a book of Ethics telling us how to live . . . a book of Comfort teaching us why to rejoice … a book of Prophecy informing us what to expect.
It is because the New Testament Commentary stays so close to Scripture in aim and content that its popularity and usefulness will outlive the present age. No 20th-century author has done more to restore the belief that commentaries should be a part of the common reading of the church. Hendriksen, writes The Baptist Standard, is ‘a penman for all people,’ and many would share the conviction of Edwin Palmer (Executive Secretary of the New International Version of the Bible), ‘I know of no finer commentaries in the English language.’
This volume – which was the last of the series on the four Gospels to be produced – has various new features which probably express the writer’s final decisions on the best arrangement for a commentary, notably:
- A more basic and lengthy discussion of critical theories.
- The treatment of Greek words, phrases, and constructions has been separated from the main text.
- A special introduction to Luke’s central section (9:51-18:14), because this part of the book has given rise to doubts and problems.
- ‘Practical lessons’ at the close of indicated sections.
- Two special studies on locating and interpreting parables.
- A Subject Index for the synoptic Gospels.