2005 Survey Of Bibles And Bible Reference Michael Duduit November 1, 2005 Charles Spurgeon once observed, “Nobody ever outgrows Scripture; the book widens and deepens with our years.” No one better understands that truth than the preacher who spends years digging deep into the truths of God’s Word. With the Bible as the source of our proclamation, we will never lack for a meaningful message to share with God’s people. That is why those who preach are always seeking to better understand and interpret the truths of God’s Word through preaching. That means continuing to seek out those resources which will make us more able expositors. That’s why for many years, Preaching magazine has taken time at the end of each year to recognize the Bibles and Bible reference tools that have become available in recent months. We know it is vital that preachers be able to deal accurately with the text in the process of driving home its meaning. Bibles In most recent years, we have been able to discuss a recently-released translation of the Scripture, such as the Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB) or the English Standard Version (ESV). This year, however, no such new release is available. That does not mean, though, that publishers haven’t been busy releasing additional editions of their existing translations in a variety of covers and approaches. For example, Broadman & Holman issued The Minister’s Bible earlier this year, containing the HCSB text in a volume adapted to the needs of ministers. The single column format with wide margins is certainly a benefit for preaching and making marginal notes. I also like the two ribbon markers instead of the traditional one. The volume also contains 54 pages of material designed to assist ministers dealing with a variety of pastoral needs, from weddings and funerals to counseling and visitation. Of course, we are often seeking Bibles that aren’t aimed at our ministerial responsibilities. If you’ve got kids in the family, there are a variety of Bibles available which offer features and resources aimed at the younger crowd. For example, Tommy Nelson publishers (the children’s division of Thomas Nelson) offers John MacArthur’s A Faith to Grow on Bible and Max Lucado’s Hermie & Friends Bible, both targeted at kids ages 7-11. One thing I appreciate about both volumes is that they don’t try to decorate every page with “cutesy” features; most of it is the text of scripture. Both include some helpful teaching tools for kids. The MacArthur edition seems targeted at the older end of the age range, while I suspect the Lucado/Hermie version is going to be more of a hit with younger children because of the cartoon “bug” art. But either one will offer helpful resources for children as they begin to grow in God’s Word. Commentaries Of the publishing of commentaries there is no end – or so it seems. Actually, contemporary pastors are blessed with a wealth of exegetical and interpretative resources for the study of Scripture. Each year we welcome new additions to some of the outstanding commentary series being developed. For example, one of the series we have praised year after year is the Ancient Christian Commentary in Scripture (InterVarsity), for which Thomas Oden serves as general editor. The ACCS – which is more than half-way to its ultimately goal of 28-volumes – is a patristic commentary which draws on seven centuries of early Christian writers, compiled so as to allow us to explore scripture through the eyes of the early church fathers. This year saw three new volumes of ACCS released: Hebrews (NT Vol. X), edited by Eric M. Heen and Philip D.W. Krey, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1-2 Samuel (OT Vol. IV), edited by John R. Franke, and Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon (OT Vol. IX), edited by J. Robert Wright. The contemporary biblical expositor will profit greatly from the opportunity to counsel with our brothers of long ago, gaining intriguing insights into the meaning of scripture. Another excellent series is the Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (ECNT), and there are three new releases in this series in 2005: John by Andreas J. Köstenberger, Philippians (2nd edition) by Moises Sílva, and 1 Peter by Karen H. Jobes. The volumes in this series are written by outstanding evangelical scholars, yet are written in a style that makes them accessible to most pastors and teachers. This is an excellent series for preachers who wish to take advantage of the best in recent evangelical scholarship in their sermon preparation. Much as Baker is helping us with outstanding New Testament scholarship, Eerdmans is providing a superb Old Testament series through The New International Commentary on the Old Testament (NICOT). The most recent release in this series is Bruce Waltke’s two volume series on Proverbs. Walter Kaiser says that it is “destined to become the outstanding commentary on this book of the Bible,” which is testimony enough for me. Waltke offers helpful insights that emphasize the ongoing relevance of this book for contemporary Christian living. For those seeking a more intense level of study – and who are comfortable with use of biblical languages – the New International Greek Testament Commentary (NIGTC) from Eerdmans is a splendid resource. This year saw the release of a new volume, The Second Epistle to the Corinthians by Murray J. Harris. Harris’s insights allow us to engage with the teachings of this Pauline letter in an even more profound way. The Interpretation series from Westminster John Knox continues to be a popular series with many preachers. Written primarily by scholars from the mainline traditions, the series is written primarily to be an aid to preaching and teaching in the church, though still informed by recent scholarship. The final volume of this series was released this year: Song of Songs by Robert W. Jenson. Speaking of the Song of Songs, that biblical book is the subject in the first volume of a new series, the Baker Commentary on the Old Testament Wisdom and Psalms, edited by Tremper Longman III. Song of Songs is written by Richard S. Hess, and provides helpful exegetical and interpretive insights for the preacher or teacher. As we noted in last year’s survey, if you look up the word “massive” in the dictionary, you’re likely to find a picture of the Concordia Commentary series (from Concordia Publishing House). These commentaries are written by outstanding Lutheran scholars, and offer a comprehensive treatment of their selected books. The most recent release in that series is Joshua by Adolph L. Harstad. Harstad provides more than 900 pages of insights relating to the book of Joshua, including much that will be helpful to the preaching minister. The preacher or teacher looking for a one-volume commentary will want to consider a newly-released work, The MacArthur Bible Commentary (Thomas Nelson) by John MacArthur. Those who enjoy MacArthur’s solid biblical expositions in the pulpit will likewise benefit from the brief but useful comments provided in this helpful volume. Another work of interest to pastors – particulary those with a dispensational and premillenial perspective – will be Behold the King: A Study of Matthew (Kregel) by Stanley D. Toussaint of Dallas Seminary. Originally published in 1980, it has been re-released for a new generation of pastors and students. ___________________________ Michael Duduit is Editor of Preaching magazine and President of American Ministry Resources. 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