Criswell Theological Review 2.1 (1987) 141-144

[Copyright © 1987 by Criswell College, cited with permission;

digitally prepared for use at Gordon and Criswell Colleges and elsewhere]











Criswell College, Dallas, TX 75201



Other than the need for an occasional message on stewardship, the book of

Malachi has received little attention. Such neglect has unintentially relegated

the book to a secondary status. Consequently, it is seldom that one thinks of

Malachi when considering the OT prophets. This neglect is due in part to its

location in the English Bible and to its question and answer style which may

not seem as appealing as the typical prophetic style of proclamation. One

only needs to look at the average theological library or to remember the last

message from Malachi that was not on stewardship to see this neglect exists.

It is hoped that this article will encourage and assist the readers in their study

and preaching of Malachi.

††††††††††† The best overall commentary is the recent work by W. C. Kaiser, Jr.

entitled Malachi: God's Unchanging Love. His purpose is not to do an exege-

sis based on sound hermeneutical principles alone but to bridge the gap

between the then and now. His book is thus an excellent balance between the

technical and the practical. His combination of both the descriptive element

with the normative element has produced a commentary that rises above the

mere informative level. Kaiser includes two appendixes which not only add

important supportive material but also help to maintain clarity and flow

throughout his exposition of the text. The first appendix deals with contextual,

syntactical, verbal, theological and homiletical analysis. His second appendix

on the usefulness of commentaries for Bible study and preaching serves not

only as an excellent standard for evaluating other commentaries but also for

evaluating Kaiser's book on Malachi. His commentary is conservative in

stance and easy to understand. His introduction is very good. His balance of

the practical and theological with the exegetical and technical, may in large

measure be a prototype of a new breed of commentaries. Godís unchanging




love and man's response to it are at the heart of the Covenant relationship

between God and his people.

††††††††††† The outstanding example of the technical-textual commentary of the OT

is the series by C. F. Keil and F. Delitzsch. Their commentary is the standard

in the field of OT commentaries and a classic in its own right. Though dated,

it still serves as the primary measure by which all other works are judged.

Keil's volume on The Twelve Minor Prophets is conservative in scope and

serves as a scholarly foundation upon which any in-depth study of Malachi is

to be made.

††††††††††† The best of the scholarly-evangelical commentaries is the newly released

volume in The New International Commentary on the Old Testament by

P. A. Verhoef. He maintains a conservative perspective with sufficient support

for his views in the introductory matters as well as his exegetical material.

Structural analysis undergirds his entire exposition. A second contribution to

this perspective worthy of consideration is J. Baldwin's work in The Tyndale

Old Testament Commentaries. Though her structural divisions of Malachi are

the same as those used by Verhoef, she does not incorporate the principles of

structural analysis throughout her verse by verse exposition as he.

††††††††††† The best representation of the critical commentaries is J. M. P. Smith's

work on Malachi in The International Critical Commentary. Its emphasis on

the technical and descriptive, however, taxes the soul of its spiritual vitality.

Typical of this theological persuasion is the view that Malachi is not a

personal name but serves only as a title. Also common to the critical perspec-

tive is the interpretation of Mal 4:4-6 not as a profound conclusion to the

book but as the product of a later editor. R. Dentan's and W. Sperry's commentary

on Malachi in The Interpreter's Bible and R. Smith's exposition in the Word Biblical

Commentary are additional Scholarly examples of this perspective.

††††††††††† The most useful of the practical-general commentaries is H. Wolf's study

of Malachi in the Everyman's Bible Commentary. It is conservative, non-

technical and easy to understand. As with the other contributions in this

series, the layman, the pastor and the introductory Bible student are the

primary readers for whom this book is written. Other conservative commen-

taries that are clear and practical are R. Alden's contribution to The Exposi-

tor's Bible Commentary, R. Bailey's exposition called God's Questions and

Answers, T. Bennett's presentation in The Broadman Bible Commentary,

C. Feinberg's The Minor Prophets, W. Greathouse's study in the Beacon Bible

Commentary, H. Hailey's book entitled A Commentary on the Minor Proph-

ets and T. Laetsch's work on the minor prophets in the Bible Commentary. A

practical but liberal commentary is Malachi: A Study Guide Commentary

authored by C. Isbell. Another of the same perspective is R. Mason's presen-

tation in The Cambridge Bible Commentary on the New English Bible.

Of the devotional-homiletical type of commentaries, the one by J. McGee

is sufficient to serve as a recent example. Other works of this category but

much older would be by W. Deane, J. Exell, A MacClaren, G. Campbell

Morgan and J. Wolfendale. When mindful of the limitations of this group of

commentaries, one is then able to benefit from such works.



Selected Bibliography


Alden, Robert L. "Malachi." The Expositor's Bible Commentary. Grand

††††††††††† Rapids: Zondervan, 1985.

Bailey, Robert W. God's Questions and Answers: Contemporary Studies in

††††††††††† Malachi. New York: Seabury, 1977.

Baldwin, Joyce G. "Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi." The Tyndale Old Testa-

††††††††††† ment Commentaries. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1972.

Bennett, T. Miles. "Malachi." The Broadman Bible Commentary. Nashville:

††††††††††† Broadman, 1972.

Deane, W. J. and Prout, E. S. "Malachi." The Pulpit Commentary. Grand

††††††††††† Rapids: Eerdmans, 1977. Reprint.

Dentaon, Robert C. & Sperry, Willard L. "The Book of Malachi." The

††††††††††† Interpreter's Bible. New York: Abingdon, 1956.

Dods, Marcus. "The Post-Exilian Prophets: Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi."

††††††††††† Handbooks for Bible Classes. Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1879.

Exell, Joseph S. "Malachi." The Biblical Illustrator. Grand Rapids: Baker,

††††††††††† 1973. Reprint.

Fausset, A. R. "Malachi." A Commentary Critical, Experimental, and Practi-

††††††††††† cal on the Old and New Testament. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1866.

Feinberg, Charles L. The Minor Prophets. Chicago: Moody, 1976.

Greathouse, William M. "The Book of Malachi." Beacon Bible Commentary.

††††††††††† Kansas City: Beacon Hill Press, 1966.

Hailey, Homer. A Commentary on the Minor Prophets. Grand Rapids: Baker,

††††††††††† 1972.

Henry, Matthew. "Malachi." Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole

††††††††††† Bible. New York: Fleming H. Revell.

Ironside, H. A. Notes on the Minor Prophets. Neptune, NJ: Loizeaux Brothers,

††††††††††† 1909.

Isbell, Charles D. Malachi: A Study Guide Commentary. Grand Rapids:

††††††††††† Zondervan, 1980.

Jones, Douglas R. Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi. London: SCM, 1972.

Kaiser, Walter C. Malachi: God's Unchanging Love. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1984.

Keil, Carl F. "The Twelve Minor Prophets." Biblical Commentary on the Old

††††††††††† Testament. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1949. Reprint.

Laetsch, Theo. "The Minor Prophets." Bible Commentary. St. Louis: Con-

cordia, 1956.

MacClaren, Alexander. "Malachi." Expositions of Holy Scripture. New York:

††††††††††† Hodder & Stoughton, n.d.

Mason, Rex. "The Books of Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi." The Cambridge

††††††††††† Bible Commentary of the New English Bible. Cambridge: University

††††††††††† Press, 1977.

McGee, J. Vernon. Malachi. Pasadena: Thru the Bible Books, 1979.

Moore, Thomas V. "A Commentary on Haggai & Malachi." The Geneva

Series of Commentaries. Edinburgh: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1960.




Morgan, G. Campbell. Malachi's Message For Today. Grand Rapids: Baker,

††††††††††† 1972. Reprint.

________. The Minor Prophets; The Men and Their Messages. Old Tappan, NJ:

††††††††††† Fleming H. Revell, 1960.

Packard, Joseph. "The Book of Malachi." Lange's Commentary on the Holy

††††††††††† Scripture. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1960. New Edition.

Perowne, T. T. "Malachi." The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges.

††††††††††† Cambridge: University Press, 1893.

Pusey, E. B. The Minor Prophets. New York: Funk & Wagnalls, 1885.

Ries, Claude A. "The Book of Malachi." The Wesleyan Bible Commentary.

††††††††††† Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1969.

Robinson, George L. The Twelve Minor Prophets. New York: Harper &

††††††††††† Brothers, 1926.

Smith, George Adam. The Twelve Prophets Commonly Called Minor. New

††††††††††† York: Funk & Wagnalls, 1900.

Smith, John Merline Powis. "A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the

††††††††††† Book of Malachi." The International Critical Commentary. Edinburgh:

††††††††††† T. & T. Clark,)912.

Smith, Ralph L. "Micah-Malachi." Word Biblical Commentary. Waco: Word,

††††††††††† 1984.

Verhoef, Pieter A. "The Books of Haggai and Malachi." The New Inter-

††††††††††† national Commentary on the Old Testament. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans,

††††††††††† 1987.

Wolf, Herbert. "Haggai and Malachi:--Rededication and Renewal." Every-

††††††††††† mans Bible Commentary. Chicago: Moody, 1976.

Wolfendale, James. The Preacher's Complete Homiletic Commentary of the

††††††††††† Books of the Minor Prophets. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1978. Reprint.



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