Monday, August 17, 2015

The Four Gospels (Holy Trinity Publications)

Recently, I received the book The Four Gospels in the mail to review. I knew the author's name, Archbishop Averky (Tasushev) by name, but I didn't know much about him. However, I have a great love for Scriptural commentaries, so I knew I wanted to read this work. Before I tell you about it though, let me tell you about Archbishop Averky (Taushev). He was born in 1906 to a noble family, and had a deep desire for monasticism at an early age. In 1931, he was tonsured a monk and ordained a deacon. The following year he was ordained a hieromonk. In 1951, he began teaching at Holy Trinity Seminary, and in 1960 he was elected the fourth abbot of the Holy Trinity Monastery.

The Four Gospels is a beautiful, purple hardcover book that is billed as Volume I of the series "Commentary on the Holy Scriptures of the New Testament." For some foolish reason, I thought this volume meant that there were individual volumes for each of the four Gospels, and that Volume I just covered Matthew. However, it instead encompasses all four Gospels in one and weaves them together to arrange the sections chronologically. The volume begins with an impressive 40 page introduction, which covers the New Testament canon, language of the New Testament, when the New Testament was written, why there are four Gospels, and the characteristics of each Gospel. This is one of the best introductions I have read to the New Testament and worth the price of the book alone. At the end of the introduction, Archbishop Averky (Tasushev) tells us about others who have attempted to synthesize the Gospels and the three part natural division of the Gospels - 1. The coming into the world of Jesus, 2. the preaching of Jesus, and the last days of the earthly life of Jesus. The book itself is divided (fittingly) into seven sections:

1. The Coming into the World of the Lord Jesus Christ
2. The Public Ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ: Events of His Life Before the First Passover
3. The First Passover of the Public Ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ
4. The Second Passover of the Public Ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ
5. The Third Passover of the Public Ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ
6. The Last Days of the Earthly Life of the Lord Jesus Christ
7. The Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ

At the end of this work are sources, notes, a subject index, and a Scripture index. The two indices prove to be exceedingly helpful. Reading through this volume, you can see the immense knowledge of Scripture that Archbishop Averky (Taushev). For example, we all know that Jesus' ministry was three years, but more light was shed on Jesus' ministry by dividing it into Passovers and proved a useful framework. Some sections are found in all four Gospels, and where this happens Archbishop Averky (Taushev) points out little details that a certain Evangelist noted that the others didn't. Though this book was written by an archbishop of the Russian Orthodox Church, I find it suitable for Catholics and Protestants as well. So whether you have never read the Gospels or read them hundreds of times, you will be spiritually enriched with your reading of this commentary. I cannot wait for Volume II on The Epistles to be released.

This book was provided to me for free by Holy Trinity Publications in exchange for an honest review. If you found this review helpful, please click here and hit Yes!