Exploring the Bible: 1 and 2 Thessalonians
Day One, 248 pages £8.00,
The appropriate subtitle of this book is: ‘A practical commentary’. Based on his own scholarly and pastoral insights, along with well chosen quotations from other commentators, the author moves briskly but thoroughly through the text.
The introduction sets the style and pace for the book, providing clear background information to the letters in a condensed and readable way.
Throughout, the content is helpful, but several things are worthy of special mention. There is an excellent treatment of the ‘signs of true conversion’, based on 1 Thessalonians 1:6-10 (pp. 33-39).
Then there is the way Dr Jebb, having commented on a passage, stops to pick up and develop some particular theme or application, e.g. ‘How not to be a witness’ and ‘How to be a witness’, based on 1 Thessalonians 2:1-12 (pp. 56-62).
The book is packed with the observations of the experienced pastor. For example, there are some helpful thoughts on God’s will, based on 1 Thessalonians 4:3 (p.98), where we read: ‘It is not an opposing force we have to cope with but a power on which we can depend’. There is a well-balanced coverage of the subject of ‘love’, based on 1 Thessalonians 3:12 (pp. 85-87).
And, when writing on the problem of false teaching, based on 2 Thessalonians 2:1-2 (p.177), Dr Jebb notes that ‘while false doctrine may be received in a moment, its effects may be felt for a long time’.
As would be expected in a commentary on 1 and 2 Thessalonians, ‘the day of the Lord’ is a key feature, and again Dr Jebb’s treatment is balanced and timely. He works his way through the text, being careful to expound only what the apostle Paul teaches and reveals.
Four subjects are briefly considered in the appendix: ‘The meaning of “heart” in Scripture’; ‘The theme of deception in the New Testament’; ‘The last things’; and ‘The question of alcohol’.
These are interesting, thought-provoking and maybe a little controversial, but all worth reading, and they add to the value of the book.