Here’s one tried and true rule of thumb for buying New Testament commentaries: If it’s written by D.A. Carson, Douglas Moo, or Peter O’Brien, buy it. It’s never failed me yet.

Peter O’Brien has a new commentary out on The Letter to the Hebrews. It’s the latest installment in the excellent Pillar Series, published by Eerdmans and edited by Carson.

I had the opportunity to read some of the commentary in pre-publication form, and (as expected) the material is top-notch. Dr. O’Brien has the ability to focus on the most important things and to offer insightful, judicious commentary. As one reads, it’s obvious that he’s not merely exegeting and commenting but worshipping as he does it.

Here is what Carson says about O’Brien and his work in the preface to the commentary:

With his many years of service as scholar, missionary, and long-time lecturer at Moore Theological College, Peter O’Brien has earned a reputation that is well-nigh unique. It is the combination of virtues that is compelling: great care in handling the Scriptures, fairness in dealing with the views of others, a characteristic understatement combined with a passion for the centrality of the gospel, and, uniting all the rest, a gentleness of spirit that has captured the minds and hearts of colleagues, friends, and several decades of students. In the cutthroat world of scholarship it is difficult to find someone who will say a bad word about Peter O’Brien.

Among commentary readers Dr. O’Brien is doubtless best known for his commentaries on Paul’s prison epistles, Ephesians, Philippians, and
Colossians. The volume on Ephesians, of course, is published in the Pillar series, and it has become one of the “standard” works on that letter, not least for those preparing to teach and preach the text. Here Dr. O’Brien branches outside the Pauline corpus. The most recent six years of his life have been devoted to Hebrews, a book not always easy to understand but demonstrably important for Christians who want to know how firstcentury believers read the old covenant Scriptures. Such inquiry is the first step in building up a profoundly biblical theology, a profoundly canonical theology. It would be difficult to find a more helpful guide than Dr. O’Brien, or a guide better endowed with his combination of competence and genial wisdom. It is a pleasure to commend this work by a dear friend.

Here some additional endorsements:

“Peter O’Brien has produced an engaging new commentary on Hebrews that will be of particular benefit to preachers, teachers, and students. Using insights from discourse analysis, he explains how shifts in the argument take place and clarifies the way exposition and exhortation function together to achieve the author’s aim. Although there are detailed discussions of technical matters at critical points, these do not disturb the flow of the commentary”
—David Peterson, Moore Theological College

“O’Brien’s commentary on the letter to the Hebrews is a balanced and comprehensive assessment of current work on the epistle, together with many fresh insights. the text of the commentary is clear, both in detail and in its general structure. . . . I cannot commend this work too highly.”
—Paul Ellingworth, University of Aberdeen

“For careful scholarship and clear thinking there are very few commentary writers I respect more than Peter O’Brien, and his commentary on Hebrews does not disappoint. Masterfully interfacing with recent scholarship, O’Brien time and again plunges into the discussion of difficult passages with spot-on exegesis, lucidly explaining both the intent and the implications of the author’s words. Due to a noticeable upturn in Hebrews research over the past two decades, the church has been blessed with many fine commentaries on this most enigmatic of New Testament books. Yet pastors are sure to embrace this particular commentary as a theologically rich, consistently edifying, and singularly useful. I gladly recommend it.”
—George Guthrie, Union University

You can read O’Brien’s outline, select bibliography, and introduction online for free.

The book is on sale for a limited time for 45% off the retail price.

WTS Books is also running a special, where buying two Pillar commentaries will give you an additional 10% discount.

The offer ends March 9.

You can see all the Pillar volumes here.