One of the dreams of every aspiring Bible scholar is to continue expanding and improving his or her personal library. Inevitably this involves the acquisition of both individual reference volumes and sometimes even entire dictionary or commentary collections. Personally, I’m at a stage where I have a strong base of the “must have” books for my chosen areas of study. However, one area my library is still lacking in, is a few larger commentary sets covering both the old and new testaments. If shelf space and budget were no concern, I’d prefer to acquire the majority of my new library additions in print. However, that is not the case during this season of life, so the idea of purchasing an entire commentary collection digitally through a platform like Logos Bible Software has become increasingly more appealing.
As I’ve been considering additions to my library, one of the commentary sets that caught my eye recently was the Poor Man’s Old and New Testament Commentary set by Robert Hawker. The first thing that drew me in was the name. I had never heard of Poor Man’s, but it got me thinking there was going to be a good cost to benefit ratio in there somewhere for a frugal guy like me. The second thing that intrigued me was the endorsements. I highly respect Dr. Joel R. Beeke and a am a fan of Charles Spurgeon, so their words definitely had weight for me. Here’s a bit of what they each had to say about Robert Hawker:
“Hawker excels in Christ-centered, experiential divinity. He was taught by the Spirit how to find Christ in the Scriptures, as well as how to present Him to hungry sinners in search of daily communion with a personal Redeemer. For the genuine Christian, here is devotional writing at its best: it is always warmly Christ-centered, eminently practical, personally searching.”
—Joel R. Beeke
“There is always such a savor of the Lord Jesus Christ in Dr. Hawker that you cannot read him without profit . . . Full of devotion and sweetness.”
—Lectures to My Students, vol. 4, by Charles Spurgeon
And the third thing that drew me in was the price. Some commentary sets can run you into several hundreds and even thousands of dollars. At the time of this review, Poor Man’s Old and New Testament Commentary is available from LOGOS Bible Software for a mere $126.95, which is a $345.05 savings when compared to buying these twelve volumes in print.
Given the strong endorsements from Beeke and Spurgeon, I was curious to find out a bit more about Robert Hawker. Here are some of the things I found particularly interesting about his life:
- Lived from 1753-1827.
- Married Anna Reins when he was 19 years old. They had 8 children together.
- Studied medicine and served in the marines as an assistant surgeon.
- Received a Doctor of Divinity from the University of Edinburgh.
- Diligently served the poor and oppressed.
For more on Robert Hawker, see the Poor Man’s Old and New Testament Commentary product page at LOGOS.com and the Robert Hawker entry at Wikipedia.org.
Next let’s take a look at what you’ll actually get in these twelve volumes. The major bonus with this collection is that besides the nine volumes covering the old and new testaments, you also get three additional volumes by Hawker, they are:
- The Poor Man’s Concordance and Dictionary to the Sacred Scriptures – “Much more than a dictionary, Hawker’s dictionary offers encyclopedic knowledge on every word in the Authorized Version of the Bible. In addition to definitions, Hawker also includes essays on the theological meaning and significance of biblical words. Designed as a companion volume to the Poor Man’s Commentary, this volume is a wonderful capstone to that monumental work that has benefited so many over the past two centuries.”
- The Poor Man’s Morning Portion – “This morning devotional contains Scripture and reflections for every day of the year. Written for the “poor in spirit,” this gem of Christian devotion brings you the riches of Christ every morning.”
- The Poor Man’s Evening Portion – “Like Hawker’s Poor Man’s Morning Portion, this evening devotional contains Scripture and reflections for every day of the year. Written for the “poor in spirit,” you will find the riches of Christ as you lay down every evening with this gem of Christian devotion.”
What I especially appreciate about these additional volumes is that they give the reader an opportunity to step away from the more academic commentaries and experience Hawker’s mind and thought in writings with a slightly different focus. It’s rare that you have the chance to interact with these other types of writing in a commentary set, so be sure to take full advantage of these to get a fuller understanding of the mind and character of Robert Hawker.
The other nine volumes are made up of the commentaries covering the Old and new Testaments. Here’s how they break down by volume:
- Old Testament Commentary, Vol. 1: Geneses – Numbers
- Old Testament Commentary, Vol. 2: Deuteronomy – 2 Samuel
- Old Testament Commentary, Vol. 3: 1 Kings – Esther
- Old Testament Commentary, Vol. 4: Job – Psalms
- Old Testament Commentary, Vol. 5: Proverbs – Lamentations
- Old Testament Commentary, Vol. 6: Ezekiel – Malachi
- New Testament Commentary, Vol. 1: Matthew – John
- New Testament Commentary, Vol. 2: Acts – Ephesians
- New Testament Commentary, Vol. 3: Philippians – Revelation
Read part two of my review here: LINK
This product was provided by LOGOS Bible Software for review. The reviewer was under no obligation to offer a favorable review.