Bible Dictionary and Commentary Set, best bang for your buck

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Edwin Bowden | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Oct 27 2010 11:22 AM

Sam West:

Greg Corbin:
you will need to buy a top notch Bible dictionary/encyclopedia because none of the packages have them.  That's another advantage of getting at least to Gold. It gives you the Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible - not nearly as good as ISBE, but superior to all of the dictionaries in your present package. It is servicable until you can afford to add ISBE or Anchor Yale. The Bible dictionary/encyclopedia issue is an easy one to overlook, but it is important.

Thanks Greg for the help and think i will go for the Gold and I do have the Anhor Yeal.

I upgraded from Gold to Platinum and think that it is one of the best values in the Logos lineup of pkgs. I have no knowledge of Hebrew and my exposure to Greek 40 yrs ago is too rusty to be reliable. The non-language tools are excellent in Platinum.

If you go with the Gold upgrade (a good pkg), you might review what other titles are available in the Platinum pkg that may be of interest to you in the future (PIllar, etc.). That way, as you add other titles to your library, you're not adding titles that you might later get if you upgraded to Platinum.

Logos might make you an offer in the future on an upgrade that makes it worthwhile to you.

If you don't already have a Logos salesman that you are working with, I recommend you talking to Dave Kaplan. Logos salesman can be valuable to you and save you money.

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Jonathan Burke | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Oct 27 2010 9:16 PM

I would also recommend the Hermeneia and Continental Commentaries (63 vols.). That's 63 volumes of extensive and detailed scholarly commentary, including European works which provide commentary outside the US evangelical mainstream. The Continental Commentary Series (19 vols.), is $600 on its own, so you're basically getting them free with Hermeneia.

Notable authors off the top of my head include Westermann, Milgrom, Johnson, Osiek, Kloppenborg, Robinson, Jewett, Conzelmann, Dibelius, Bultmann, and Achtemeier.

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Dan DeVilder | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Oct 28 2010 7:20 AM

Sean,  lots of input, eh?  Here are some things to add to what has been said (and reflect on a bit of it, too):

  1. always consider an upgrade to the next level or two.  You can get good commentary sets and additional resources.
  2. Pulpit: I open it once in a while, and close it.   It obviously is valuable to some.
  3. Preacher's: They have good illustrations at times.  Doesn't really wrestle with the text.  It's value to you is dependent on what you need to shore up in your preaching.
  4. Tyndale: I am sooo glad I got it.  Some NT volumes are  too brief, but it has very nice scholarship on a lot of books and isn't too technical.  Not much application.  More for understanding phrases and words, some context, thinking through theology, etc.  Tends to be more Amillenial
  5. EBC: Some excellent volumes, but many mediocre ones.  Some are too brief, others, like Carson's magnum opus "Matthew" are detailed and very technical.  I liked Philippians and Hebrews, and some others.  John and Luke were pretty worthless to me, as some OT ones I have used.  More premillenial.
  6. ISBE: My old favorite favorite Encyclopedia: complete, conservative, quality.  But it is now 30 years old or so.
  7. Anchor Yale: also older and mix of "liberal" and "conservative."  but I have read some of the best articles EVER in there.  Bought it on sale during last year's "12 days of Logos".  So glad I have it.
  8. ZEB (Zond. Enc. of the Bible): Just recently purchased it, and it looks very very good so far.  I can't compare it over all to the others just yet, but I would say it could supplant ISBE: more current, great scholarship (if you are okay with conservative scholarship), NICE COLOR PICTURES!  Light years ahead of the old Z. Pictorial Enc. Bible, which I hated.
  9. IVP sets: very very good, but different than ISBE and the like, but I can't really explain how. 

There ya go.  Happy studying!

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Posts 365
Sam West | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Oct 28 2010 11:33 AM

Dan DeVilder:

Sean,  lots of input, eh?  Here are some things to add to what has been said (and reflect on a bit of it, too):

  1. always consider an upgrade to the next level or two.  You can get good commentary sets and additional resources.
  2. Pulpit: I open it once in a while, and close it.   It obviously is valuable to some.
  3. Preacher's: They have good illustrations at times.  Doesn't really wrestle with the text.  It's value to you is dependent on what you need to shore up in your preaching.
  4. Tyndale: I am sooo glad I got it.  Some NT volumes are  too brief, but it has very nice scholarship on a lot of books and isn't too technical.  Not much application.  More for understanding phrases and words, some context, thinking through theology, etc.  Tends to be more Amillenial
  5. EBC: Some excellent volumes, but many mediocre ones.  Some are too brief, others, like Carson's magnum opus "Matthew" are detailed and very technical.  I liked Philippians and Hebrews, and some others.  John and Luke were pretty worthless to me, as some OT ones I have used.  More premillenial.
  6. ISBE: My old favorite favorite Encyclopedia: complete, conservative, quality.  But it is now 30 years old or so.
  7. Anchor Yale: also older and mix of "liberal" and "conservative."  but I have read some of the best articles EVER in there.  Bought it on sale during last year's "12 days of Logos".  So glad I have it.
  8. ZEB (Zond. Enc. of the Bible): Just recently purchased it, and it looks very very good so far.  I can't compare it over all to the others just yet, but I would say it could supplant ISBE: more current, great scholarship (if you are okay with conservative scholarship), NICE COLOR PICTURES!  Light years ahead of the old Z. Pictorial Enc. Bible, which I hated.
  9. IVP sets: very very good, but different than ISBE and the like, but I can't really explain how. 

There ya go.  Happy studying!

Dan you sound like you are real knowledgeable about selecting commentaries and I know you are because I seen you on the forum a lot talking about and offering good advice about them. Having said all that l would like to ask you some questions if you don’t mind. Let me point out right here I am not a preacher or pastor occasionally teach a class just like to study Gods Word. Anyway my first question [1] what do you mean when you say conservative?  [2] What is the different kind of commentaries? I love those that offer several schools of thought on a tough Scripture. What do we call those?  [3] If I bite the bullet and go on up to platinum what’s your thoughts on those commentaries? I don’t see any of those talked about very much on the forum. I have used the web and tried to research some of them and the web don’t even recognize some of them. [4] Does logos run a good sale on the good ones like you like and if so when should I look for such a sale? [5] $850 to upgrade.  Could I buy a couple sets of good quality commentaries for that money and be just as well off?

Thanks Dan

 

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DAL | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Oct 28 2010 12:12 PM

I don't know what your budget is, but you might want to try Logos Payment Plan and you can get Anchor YB Dictionary and Expositor's Bible Commentary.  I like the EBC as a good starter set better than the pulpit IMO.  I still use Pulpit and wouldn't dismiss it completely, but if  you plan to upgrade later it will be included in your upgrade.  On dictionaries, I'd rather recommend the IVP Reference Collection 3.0 -- you'll get a lot of dictionaries that contain more conservative material than the Anchor does.  But in the end, it'll be up to you how you want to spend your money.

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Dan DeVilder | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Oct 28 2010 2:04 PM

Sam West:
Dan you sound like you are real knowledgeable about selecting commentaries

Thank you for your kind words.  I do use commentaries and try to remember or reflect on things about them.  I am also a preacher and went through Bible college and seminary, where I used many, in addition to learning to do my own "original work" and not just rely on them.  That said, in spite of your kind words, I am not an expert, but if I can help, I will.  And i know more about them than technical issues--other people on the forums are much more able than I.

Sam West:
[1] what do you mean when you say conservative?

Slinging labels is not helpful, even though I obviously do it.  I use it as a generality, there is not an exact litmus test.  But a conservative will (generally speaking) believe in the bodily resurrection of Jesus, believe the Bible is really inspired by God and trustworthy and authoritative, believe in the supernatural activities and experiences (such has miracles, virgin birth) etc.  I am not trying to pick a fight or say that "liberal" people don't believe some (all?) of those things, nor that all that a "conservative" says is completely accurate or devoid of incorrect bias.  I grew up as a missionary kid in Germany in the 70's.  There, the contrast was a lot more stark between "liberal" and "conservative." 

in the realm of commentaries, as an example, it would not be uncommon to see in OT "liberal" commentaries frequent reference to "J" "E" "P" "D" as references to different types of editors and editing schools who put together the texts, or doubt that "King David" was a real person.  Conservatives might be more inclined to say that it is quite possible that Moses could have composed most of the Pentateuch, that David was historical, etc.  That is a broad brush stroke, and you will find all kinds of lines crossed both ways (for instance, it IS clear that on some level "editing" went on in the OT, but the question is "how much."  But hopefully that gives you some feel about how I use conservative without locking me in to an exact litmus test.

What I am not doing is determining someone's salvation by that label.  Others might.  BUT NOT ON THIS FORUM!!!  Wink

Sam West:
[2] What is the different kind of commentaries?

There are a lot of ways you can categorize things, here are some ways people do here on the forums and my own understanding of what that might mean:

  1. Academic/Advanced: uses a lot of Greek, Hebrew, grammar, etc.  References a lot of other commentators to interact, support your conclusions or to discredit their ideas.  Lots of references and footnotes.  Tedious reading
  2. Intermediate: tries to deal with the thrust of the text's meaning and interact with thorny theological or grammar and syntax or word meaning.  But doesn't get totally bogged down in typing examples in Greek only (for example) and is more readable.  Don't have to be a trained Bible scholar to read, but you have better be a regular Sunday School attendee and been to a workshop or two.  Big Smile
  3. Expository: doesn't spend as much time explaining how they got their conclusions, but do a really nice job in stating them and giving (this is important!) lots of cool illustrations guys and gals can pilfer for a preaching or teaching gig.
  4. Beginner: doesn't tell you a whole lot, but doesn't confuse you either, and only costs $5.

(obviously some of the above is a bit tongue in cheek)

But there are many other ways to look at a commentary: do they spend more time looking at theological issues (like the nature of sin, holiness, etc) or do they look at the rhetorical flow and structure (like Witherington's "Socio-Rhetorical Commentaries", do they pay attention to overall context (like RT France's NICNT commentary on Matthew) or focus more on the trees (like Ellington's Hebrews commentary).

Sam West:
I love those that offer several schools of thought on a tough Scripture.

me too.  I also find that having more commentaries increases the likelihood that:

  1. I will find input on the specific question/problem I have
  2. I can play different views off each other (but always be careful)
  3. I can see more of the original context of what one commentator actually said if he/she is quoted by others.
  4. I get different ways of looking at the text (devotional thoughts, theological importance, big picture thinking, etc)

Sam West:
What do we call those?

no clue.  (are you referring to ones like the "4 views on Revelation"?

 

Sam West:
[3] If I bite the bullet and go on up to platinum what’s your thoughts on those commentaries?

There are many good ones, but it all depends on what is helpful to you.  If you can, look them up on Amazon (but don't buy! lol) or Google read them a bit to see if they are helpful to you.  also go to bestcommentaries dot com for user reviews.  hopefully Logos will introduce this capability on their website.  Here are some of my thoughts on those specifically new to Platinum commentaries:

  • Baker Exegetical: very well thought of, but set is very incomplete.  A bit more on the technical side.  Luke is considered one of the most complete recent commentaries on that book.
  • Baker New Testament.  Written by Howard Hendricks and Simon Kistemaker.  Not as much variety of thought, and pretty verbose, but easier to digest and pretty helpful in many ways.  I think they are Reformed in theology.  Could be wrong
  • Believer's Church.  Never use it.  Don't know if good or bad.
  • Charles Simeon's Horae . . .I have not used it much--when I go to it, it seems he has not referred to my text, lol.  Old school Reformed thinker (turn of 19th/20th century?).  Many guys on Logos profess their love and reliance on his thought.
  • Classic Commentaries: 19th century dudes, often more technical.  Very respected in their day, and still.  Rarely use them, but did recently on a Hebrews study, when Westcott was referred to by someone else.
  • Ironside: no clue.
  • Pillar: very good.  Probably in the "intermediate" category.  Leaning more Reformed, Calvinist.  (Peter O'brien, DA Carson, etc).

Sam West:
[4] Does logos run a good sale on the good ones like you like and if so when should I look for such a sale?

I don't know when they run sales on sets.  But I have seen them pop up (like WBC, which is a good set, but more technical, even though at the end of each section they have an 'explanation" section that summarizes all the previous talk into something more manageable) at just about any time.  ALWAYS call sales or email them (I use Jared, but everybody swears by "their" guy, so you will be well treated regardless).  But around Christmas and March Madness (college basketball tournament time) you will see specials, but usually just one volume (I picked up a $120 volume on the Pastoral Epistles for $30), but you don't know who/if/what price it will be, necessarily.  Those are more for individual volumes, dictionaries, small collections of a particular author, etc.

 

Sam West:
[5] $850 to upgrade.  Could I buy a couple sets of good quality commentaries for that money and be just as well off?

Sam, I assume you mean it will cost you that much to go Platinum, not necessarily that you have that money around.  It will have to be up to you.  You will be getting much more than commentaries in Logos base packages, so you need to look at that.  I basically went line by line when I upgraded, made notes of what I KNEW I wanted and how much it would cost to by on its own.  Totaled all that up and compared that to the cost of the upgrade.  I have chosen upgrade every time, although Portfolio was a real head scratcher--but I caved.

You could get a few really good sets that you might use more often with that money: Tyndale, EBC, NIVAC, and more.  Diversify.  Consider Ancient Christian Commentary (or the "Catena Aurea" on pre-pub) for something completely different.

Are you near a theological library, or can you loan some from a local library?  Take some home, review them.

 

You'll never have enough time to read all of them.  But will they be useful to your study, growth, and searches?

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Nord Zootman | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Oct 28 2010 4:10 PM

Dan,

Great answer, but one small correction  -

"Baker New Testament.  Written by Howard Hendricks and Simon Kistemaker.  Not as much variety of thought, and pretty verbose, but easier to digest and pretty helpful in many ways.  I think they are Reformed in theology.  Could be wrong"

That should be William Hendriksen, not Howard Hendricks.  You are right that Hendriksen is reformed (Hendricks is dispensational).

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Dan DeVilder | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Oct 28 2010 4:49 PM

Nord Zootman:

Dan,

Great answer, but one small correction  -

"Baker New Testament.  Written by Howard Hendricks and Simon Kistemaker.  Not as much variety of thought, and pretty verbose, but easier to digest and pretty helpful in many ways.  I think they are Reformed in theology.  Could be wrong"

That should be William Hendriksen, not Howard Hendricks.  You are right that Hendriksen is reformed (Hendricks is dispensational).

of course!  I hate when I do that.  I used to get Orson Wells, George Orwell, and HG Wells all mixed up. 

 

 

 

not to mention Moses and Noah.

 

 

 

 

yikes.

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Dan DeVilder | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Oct 28 2010 4:50 PM

search elsewhere and you will find me saying "Paul Meier" instead of John P. Meier. . . . Zip it!

 

 

 

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Nord Zootman | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Oct 29 2010 8:34 AM

Dan DeVilder:
of course!  I hate when I do that.  I used to get Orson Wells, George Orwell, and HG Wells all mixed up

 

 

are they related to the woman at the well?

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Dan DeVilder | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Oct 29 2010 10:16 AM

Nord Zootman:

Dan DeVilder:
of course!  I hate when I do that.  I used to get Orson Wells, George Orwell, and HG Wells all mixed up

 

 

are they related to the woman at the well?

Nord . . . I LOVE your humor!  We need to get together!  Big Smile

 

. . . your name is quite cool, too!

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Posts 171
Abi Gail | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Oct 29 2010 10:25 AM

Dan VanDeVilderHooten:
. . . your name is quite cool, too!

                                    Your name is quite unique, as well.Stick out tongue

~

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Dan DeVilder | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Oct 29 2010 11:07 AM

Abi Gail:

Dan VanDeVilderHooten:
. . . your name is quite cool, too!

                                    Your name is quite unique, as well.Stick out tongue

Hey now!  I feel somehow violated . . . and mocked!  Wink

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Posts 171
Abi Gail | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Oct 29 2010 11:15 AM

             I would like to offer my deepest, sincere, heartfelt apology...maybe I will, someday...when I quit snickerin'Cool 

~

Posts 12
Holly Haines | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Apr 12 2012 9:45 AM

Great lists!

NICOT/NT, WBC, AB, WBC, and BECNT would all be considered "Technical" commentaries.  All excellent but you only need one or two.  Unfortunately, the way they are published in Logos you have to get the entire set and choosing NIGTC or BECNT leaves you without OT resources.

TOTC/TNTC, Pillar, and NAC would be considered less technical and give you little on the original language but more on homiletic interpretation.  NIVAC falls into this category also and is one of the best in application-based commentaries.  I would recommend getting one technical and one application commentary.

ICC has a few great resources (Matthew, Acts, Pastorals, Romans) but also has a lot of dead weight from volumes published in the 1895-1927 span.  Better to get individual volumes when they go on sale.  I would pick NICOT/NT over AB because the scholarship is more recent. WBC (59 vols) is also very good and at $700 is an excellent value.

Just a note that I bought nearly all my commentary sets for less than current list price.  Either wait for a sale or call and negotiate - if you are a pastor or student they usually give discounts.  Also if you upgrade and already have some of the books in the new collection they will negotiate prices with you.

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alabama24 | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Apr 12 2012 10:32 AM

Holly - Welcome to the forums! Thanks for your insights on commentaries. Smile 

FYI - when you are responding to a post, it is often helpful to see when the post was created. You can find this info just to the right of the persons username in the post. 

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Posts 13
Sean Collins | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Apr 12 2012 8:14 PM

alabama24:

Holly - Welcome to the forums! Thanks for your insights on commentaries. Smile 

FYI - when you are responding to a post, it is often helpful to see when the post was created. You can find this info just to the right of the persons username in the post. 

This is an oldie, but goody discussion Wink Imagine my surprise this afternoon when I got an email kicked to me because of this thread. Needless to say it has been awhile.

Sean

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alabama24 | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Apr 12 2012 8:28 PM

Sometimes old threads being revived can be fun… Some times. This is probably one of them. Smile

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