With some trepidation I post the following: As tears of sorrow poured from my eyes as my heart grieved over the unfruitfulness of my life and the wasted time in sin and vanity that plagues all true Christians to one extent or another, I began to read a commentary that I had never read before. Below is a paragraph or two that brought fear in my heart of what I too often sense in modern Christian scholarship. And I think that this tendency is nowhere more prevalent than in Reformed scholarship. And yes, too often the case right here on the Puritan Board. "I" dotting and "T" crossing is excellent and necessary if, and only if, it leads to a more profound humility and a heartbroken discovery of the complete bankruptcy of each of our hearts that in turn leads us to our only hope in life and death being in God's mercy and patience and genuine love for us his dear adopted sons and daughters of dust. To be correct in our theology is of use only in as far as we are corrected by it in the deepest recesses of our hearts. From the Introduction of: DAWN OF A KINGDOM The message of 1 Samuel by Gordon J. Keddie Note: I thank God for the notable exceptions to the absoluteness of Keddie's evaluation below. The goal of all Old Testament study ought to be a more perfect discipleship to the Lord. All of God’s Word is directed towards the moulding of heart and mind and the transformation of behaviour, to the end that we might be holy as God is holy. Sad to say, modern biblical scholarship has all but abandoned this calling in favour of a kind of technical exegesis which, while meticulous in its dissection of the text and abounding in ingenious and intricate theories of its origins, is strangely arid and virtually devoid of any contemporary application. The secularization of modern life, having banished the Bible from every sphere of human existence except the realm of private faith, has now succeeded in expelling faith from the Bible itself! It seems hardly possible, I know, but a half-hour study of many of the modern commentaries—even those that are ostensibly conservative and evangelical—will reveal a disturbing unwillingness to make concrete application of the teaching of the Word of God to our lives. Biblical scholarship has ceased to be devotional both in its very nature and in its thrust. Secular methodology has hijacked biblical study. It is academically unacceptable today to expound Scripture in terms of its redemptive, devotional and prophetic purposes. A chasm has been opened between ‘serious’ study (‘scholarly’ commentaries) and ‘devotional’ or ‘layman’s’ exposition. And here’s the rub: the life-changing power of the Word of God has been relegated to the realm of the non-scholarly, the private and the relatively uninformed! Current studies in the historical books of the Old Testament are particularly blighted with this plague of secular intellectualization. If you are looking for commentaries that will warm your soul and stir you to refreshed discipleship to Christ, you will look in vain. I cannot whole-heartedly recommend even one, although Keil and Delitzsch, now over a century old, does include some directions and exhortations. The older evangelical commentators, like Charles Simeon, Thomas Scott and Matthew Henry were, of course, committed to pressing home the message of the Word—they knew that scholarship was nothing if it did not point people to Christ! Of the modern writers, R. P. Gordon’s 1 & 2 Samuel is the most recent and the best. But you will need to go to Matthew Henry and A. W. Pink’s Life of David for something to touch your soul. Keddie, G. J. (1988). Dawn of a Kingdom: The Message of 1 Samuel (p. 11). Darlington, England: Evangelical Press. How much more I could say about the beauty of brokenness and true humility before God. Words fail me to express how he has led feeble me, after so many years, to yearn for, love and fellowship with this adorable tripartite being. It would be too intimate to express any more publically. Nehemiah 9:5 "Stand up and bless the Lord your God for ever and ever: and blessed be thy glorious name, which is exalted above all blessing and praise."