Criswell Theological Review 2.1 (1987) 141-144
[Copyright © 1987 by
digitally prepared for use at
A REVIEW ARTICLE
ON THE BOOK OF MALACHI
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
142 ††††††††††††††† CRISWELL THEOLOGICAL REVIEW
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.
Galeotti: COMMENTARIES ON THE BOOK OF MALACHI ††† 143
Alden, Robert L. "Malachi." The Expositor's Bible Commentary. Grand
††††††††††† Rapids: Zondervan, 1985.
Bailey, Robert W. God's Questions and Answers: Contemporary Studies in
Baldwin, Joyce G. "Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi." The Tyndale Old Testa-
††††††††††† ment Commentaries.
Miles. "Malachi." The Broadman Bible Commentary.
††††††††††† 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
Dods, Marcus. "The Post-Exilian Prophets: Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi."
††††††††††† Handbooks for
Joseph S. "Malachi." The Biblical Illustrator.
††††††††††† 1973. Reprint.
Fausset, A. R. "Malachi." A Commentary Critical, Experimental, and Practi-
††††††††††† cal on the
Old and New Testament.
Charles L. The Minor Prophets.
Greathouse, William M. "The Book of Malachi." Beacon Bible Commentary.
Homer. A Commentary on the Minor Prophets.
Henry, Matthew. "Malachi." Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole
A. Notes on the Minor Prophets.
Charles D. Malachi: A Study Guide Commentary.
††††††††††† Zondervan, 1980.
Douglas R. Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi.
Walter C. †Malachi: God's Unchanging
Keil, Carl F. "The Twelve Minor Prophets." Biblical Commentary on the Old
Theo. "The Minor Prophets." Bible Commentary.
Alexander. "Malachi." Expositions
of Holy Scripture.
††††††††††† Hodder & Stoughton, n.d.
Mason, Rex. "The Books of Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi." The
††††††††††† Bible Commentary
of the New English Bible.
††††††††††† Press, 1977.
Thomas V. "A Commentary on Haggai & Malachi." The
Series of Commentaries.
144 ††††††††††††††† CRISWELL THEOLOGICAL REVIEW
Campbell. Malachi's Message For Today.
††††††††††† 1972. Reprint.
Minor Prophets; The Men and Their Messages. Old
††††††††††† Fleming H. Revell, 1960.
Packard, Joseph. "The Book of Malachi." Lange's Commentary on the Holy
T. "Malachi." The
B. The Minor Prophets.
Ries, Claude A. "The Book of Malachi." The Wesleyan Bible Commentary.
George L. The Twelve Minor Prophets.
††††††††††† Brothers, 1926.
Smith, George Adam. The Twelve Prophets Commonly Called Minor. New
Smith, John Merline Powis. "A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the
††††††††††† Book of
Malachi." The International Critical
††††††††††† T. & T. Clark,)912.
L. "Micah-Malachi." Word Biblical Commentary.
Verhoef, Pieter A. "The Books of Haggai and Malachi." The New Inter-
Commentary on the Old Testament.
Wolf, Herbert. "Haggai and Malachi:--Rededication and Renewal." Every-
††††††††††† mans Bible
Wolfendale, James. The Preacher's Complete Homiletic Commentary of the
††††††††††† Books of the Minor
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