Despite the riches at the disposal of anyone who is serious about teaching the Bible, there are still some parts of the Old Testament where we are not well-served with full-length commentaries which take the biblical text seriously in its biblical-theological context. The great news is we can now take the post-exilic Prophets Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi off that list! Anthony Petterson has served us well with the latest volume in the Apollos Old Testament Commentary Series. All the volumes in this set are worth a look, but if they have a weakness, it is a lack of attention to Biblical Theology as they get bogged down on the detail of academic study rather than keeping the needs of the church in focus. Not so with this volume. This is commentary writing at its best – Christ-centred, careful, thoughtful, pastoral and passionate.
Petterson guides us through the world after the exile with a sure touch, bringing to life the writing of these three quite different prophets in a deeply helpful way without ever losing touch with the unfolding sweep of the whole Bible, and the coming Lord Jesus to whom they point. The introductory section alone (especially that on the Historical Background) is worth the purchase price.
Throughout its almost 400 pages, the commentary strikes a balance between raising the key issues in contemporary debates (notably the place of each ‘Minor Prophet’ in the Book of the Twelve) and ensuring that due attention is given to the text, with Petterson’s careful and persuasive exegesis a model for anyone teaching these books. With the added attraction that this volume is written by an Australian (with a little help from the bracing air of Ireland along the way!), this should be more than enough to ensure that these books are preached significantly more often (and more helpfully) than in the recent past, with Petterson’s book providing a reliable guide along the way.