DDT Review of Jon Courson’s Application Commentary Volumes 1-3 by Jon Courson
Page Number: 4,000+
Author Theology: New Evangelical, Calvary Chapel-ish
Bible Text: KJV
Sometimes titles are relatively worthless, or worse even than that: deceptive. Not this one! It is not an Explanation Commentary, nor is it a Textual Commentary. It focuses on application.
Courson wrote this like a complete commentary on the Bible; however, it is available separately in three volumes (Gen-Job; Psa-Mal; Matt-Rev). As of April, 2023, theWord Bible software offers the volumes individually, or if purchased all together, at a discount (and if you like this style of commentary, why would you not buy it in its entirety?).
Strictly speaking, Courson is an expositor; but he is certainly not exegetical in his comments. Let me explain. Good exposition is building a rhetorical bridge from “what it meant when written to its original audience” to “what it means today to my congregation.”
Exegesis is studying to understand what the text meant. It focuses on language and culture. A technical commentary often focuses on exegesis – sometimes exclusively. That is a great feature in the study; but will put everyone to sleep in the pew.
Some commentaries strike a balance between “what it meant” to “what it means.” This type of commentary will answer broad textual questions, but often skips the fine points of understanding a text.
Courson? He moves right to application (you probably expected that, since the title of his commentary is “Jon Courson’s Application Commentary”). This might seem “fluff” to some; but a good expositor will quickly recognize the skill required to make accurate application look easy. Courson has that in spades.
BONUS: Sporadically, a topic will arise in the text that he wants to explore deeper. So he’ll write, something like this, from 1Ki 8:57-61 – “For a topical study of 1 Kings 8:57-61, entitled ‘The Building Blocks of Blessing,’ turn to page 984.” And when these comments intersect your specific study area, whoo boy, what a boon to your final presentation! These selections, though sparse, are expositional gold. [DDT Note: These bonus writings are quite sparse in Vol 1-2, and only a little more common in Vol 3.]
WHAT I LIKE
TheWord has organized these commentary volumes as a hybrid commentary type with nice hyperlinks. Functionally, the topic tree window is organized by chapter, but the verse clicks work by verse. This allows relatively simple navigation from either the commentary window or the Bible view window. It also allows those “bonus topical studies” to show up right in the text, and it makes them easily clickable. You’ll be able to see these points in the included picture at the bottom of this review.
The text is easy to read. The included KJV text is in a very light burgandy color, which makes it easy to not only see the KJV text, but to easily see the difference as to where the Bible ends and Courson’s comments (in black) begin.
I like to read Courson near the end of my research. He gives great ideas for how to bring the ancient text to modern living. And he does it well. I would have liked more of his “bonus” writings, though.
PROCESSING THE COMMENTARY IN THEWORD BIBLE SOFTWARE
As noted above, the commentary is laid out chapter by chapter, but the verse comments are clickable. That means, if you click on Exodus 13:20, the commentary moves right to Exodus 13:20, and not Exodus 13:1. This is very helpful, especially, when using TW’s commentary pop-up links inside the bible window.
There are no page numbers in the text; but fear not! When Courson directs you to “page 984″ for that bonus topical material, TW puts the link right in the commentary text (blue hyperlinks), AND inside the commentary topic tree. Trust me – all of Courson’s material is easy to find.
Intrinsic verse references (“2:10″) are all hyperlinked, just like you would expect from a premium module.
While Courson will rarely reference a Hebrew or Greek word, I did not note any instance where that word was hyperlinked to original language resources.
I like Courson. I have used him in other formats. This one is the best I’ve used. This is a DDT recommended resource.
Dave Thomason – “DoctorDaveT” of www.DoctorDaveT.com