Craig Keener's 1-2 Corinthians is a wonderfully engaging and easily read commentary on Paul's letters to the Corinthians. It is tightly packed with documented information from ancient sources on the historical/social/cultural setting of Corinth in Paul's time. This information enables the reader to understand more clearly the intentions behind Paul's letters to the Corinthians, underlining how the cultural emphasis on rhetoric in Paul's time shaped his writings.
Grace is Not Faceless focuses on Mary, mother of Jesus: her presentation in Scripture and reception throughout church history, with careful attention to the poetry of Isaiah and that of subsequent writers.
Alan Johnson's work on 1 Corinthians is particularly engaging. His reference notes and bibliography provide an entry into further study if desired, all while maintaining an appealing readable style. He deftly bridges the two horizons of the Greco-Roman culture and American culture.
Seventeen essays explore how the biblical Miriam, Mary the mother of Jesus, Mary of Bethany, and Mary Magdalene were portrayed in the early Christian era, also touching on Jewish and Muslim interpretations.