Review: Daniel (SOGBC)

418k1bx5DzLWendy L. Widder is a contributing editor at Logos Bible Software and the author of several books, including Living Whole Without a Better Half (Kregel, 2014), A Match Made in Heaven: How Singles and the Church Can Live Happily Ever After (Kregel, 2003), and various publications under Lexham Press. She holds a Ph.D. in Near Eastern studies from the University of the Free State, a master of arts in Hebrew and Semitic studies from the University of Wisconsin–Madison, and a master of divinity degree from Grand Rapids Theological Seminary. Most recently, Widder offers readers a much-anticipated volume on Daniel in the Story of God Bible Commentary.

Daniel by Wendy L. Widder is a unique and welcomed addition to this increasingly popular series. Widder has a clear passion for the local church, and this volume demonstrates that on almost every page. The commentary opens with a brief introduction to the book, including comments surrounding some of the distinctive features of the genre of Daniel, the context and purpose of the book, authorship, date, etc. Widder affirms the events in the book happened to “a real Daniel and his Judean peers in sixth-century BC-Babylonian exile, and that the prophecies are accurate,” but also recognizes the limitations of knowing who compiled the book in its final form (p. 5).

As the commentary proper opens the reader is guided passage-by-passage through three major sections: (1) LISTEN to the Story—includes the NIV translation with additional references to encourage the reader to hear the story within its broader biblical context, (2) EXPLAIN the Story—explores and illuminates each passage within its canonical and historical setting, and (3) LIVE the Story—reflects how each passage can be lived today and includes contemporary stories and illustrations to aid teachers, preachers, and beyond.

Where issues of disagreements are inevitable for the book of Daniel, Widder does an exceptional job directing the concerns back towards the purpose of the book and away from theological traps. In this respect, Widder demonstrates how to handle the text in a corporate setting and allows the reader formulate thoughts in a similar direction. This, in my opinion, is one of the best aspects of Widder’s work here, and it will inevitably prove useful for the target audience of the series. Like I mentioned above, Widder has a clear passion for the local church, and it is evident on almost every page.

The Story of God Bible Commentary: Daniel by Wendy L. Widder is a unique contribution that offers a unified presentation of one of the most theologically significant books of the Old Testament. Widder is well-informed and easy to read, and any lack of distinctive interpretive contribution is made up for in her keen ability to keep sight of the whole amid the details. Widder makes Daniel fun and interesting again for those who may have “heard enough” about its many theological controversies. This is a worthwhile read if you are studying Daniel. It comes highly recommended and will be extremely useful for those teaching the book!

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