Sunday 29 September 2013

Story of God Bible Commentary

It would be easy to become cynical at what might feel like a never-ending attempt on the part of publishers to invent ever-new series of commentaries on the Bible, each with their own distinctive slant.

That, I think, would be a shame. Commentary writing has an ancient pedigree; it reminds us of our place as the most recent in a long line of those who have gone before us, who themselves have sought to understand and expound the Bible for the benefit of others. But most of all, commentary writing keeps us close to Scripture. I see it as a mark of a commitment to the notion that this collection of texts matters.

So it is that I was very interested to see that Zondervan have not one but two new series starting over the next four months or so: ‘Hearing the Message of Scripture’ (on the Old Testament), and the ‘Story of God Bible Commentary’ (on the entire Bible).

The latter has a dedicated website with further information here (including an explanatory video), from which the following information is taken:

‘A new commentary for today’s world, the Story of God Bible Commentary explains and illuminates each passage of Scripture in light of the Bible’s grand story. The first commentary series to do so, SGBC offers a clear and compelling exposition of biblical texts, guiding everyday readers in how to creatively and faithfully live out the Bible in their own contexts. Its story-centric approach is ideal for pastors, students, Sunday school teachers, and laypeople alike.’

‘Zondervan’s vision for the Story of God Bible Commentary series is to provide... a clear and compelling exposition of the Bible set in the context of the Bible’s narrative arc. The authors of each commentary study and probe the Bible as God’s story to discern and then articulate ways the Bible’s story can be lived faithfully and creatively in the culture today.’

Each volume will adopt the following structure in dealing with biblical passages:

• Section 1: Listen to the Story – the NIV Bible passage under consideration is included
• Section 2: Interpret the Story – the passage is investigated for its essential message and meaning
• Section 3: Live the Story – here the author seeks to answer the question: ‘how do we live this text in the world today?’, and offers reflections, illustrations, and suggestions for daily Christian life and practice.

The first two volumes, due out before Christmas this year, are by Scot McKnight (on the Sermon on the Mount) and Lynn H. Cohick (on Philippians). There is a pdf sample of McKnigh’s volume here, and one of Cohick’s here.

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