Few things should be more exciting to contemporary readers of the Bible than a previously unpublished work by Meredith G. Kline. Kline was an influential American Old Testament scholar and a formative voice of Covenant theology within the Reformed tradition. Kline received a ThB and a ThM from Westminster Theological Seminary, and a PhD from Dropsie University. With a teaching career that stretched over five decades and a list of publications that is equally as impressive, it is hard to imagine exactly how far the influence of Kline has reached. Nevertheless, Genesis: A New Commentary, edited by Kline’s grandson, Jonathan G. Kline, is yet another shining reminder of a legacy that sought nothing more than to illuminate the Savior through an unquenchable passion for the Old Testament Scriptures.
Genesis: A New Commentary is in many ways a brief, more distilled companion commentary to Kline’s well-known magnum opus Kingdom Prologue: Genesis Foundations for a Covenantal Worldview. It contains roughly 150 pages of content, large font, and a spacious verse-by-verse format that is easy to follow. For a commentary on Genesis it’s small, and thus, some may deem it as insignificant because of its size. But, as they say, “never judge a book by its cover.”
Three things should be noted here. First, those familiar with Kline’s work will be well aware of his unusual ability to pack sizable amounts of information into just a few sentences. This commentary on Genesis likely displays Kline’s ability more consistently than many of his other writings. Second, for the busy pastor or teacher, the brevity of this commentary will actually yield more fruit than some of the larger and more technical works. This is not to discourage the use of larger and more detailed commentaries. In fact, the opposite is true. However, Kline’s keenness and sensitivity to the larger covenantal picture is beyond the scope of most commentaries, and to get that in such a small and readable package guarantees many years of fruitful reflection. Lastly, the editor has also provided footnotes with references to relevant articles and books written by Kline to further illuminate difficult or important themes in the commentary. This welcomed addition to the commentary allows the reader to explore the depths of Kline’s insight, which often times is established on a more detailed treatment elsewhere.
Those who have enjoyed and benefited from the writing and teaching ministry of Meredith G. Kline are no doubt rejoicing at the publication of this significant little commentary. Kline’s insights are rich and thought provoking, and while many readers may differ with him at points (I am thinking specifically here about his understanding of the initial chapters of Genesis and his Reformed/Covenantal presuppositions), his breadth of understanding is truly breathtaking and worthy of engagement. As mentioned above, Genesis: A New Commentary by Meredith G. Kline guarantees many years of fruitful reflection. My appreciation goes out to Hendrickson Publishers and Kline’s grandson, Jonathan G, Kline, for making this important work available to the public. It should be on the shelf of every serious student of Genesis.