Understanding the Bible Commentary Series: New Testament.

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Mark Roberts | Forum Activity | Posted: Tue, Aug 7 2012 8:02 PM

Understanding series is on sale for $99.99.  Comments on this?  What's its intended and best use?

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Andrew Malone | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Aug 7 2012 11:03 PM

The product page captures some useful information:

This is the rebranded version of the New International Biblical Commentary: New Testament. It contains all the same content.

That NIBC series has its own strengths and weaknesses. I'll comment only on the NT series, although there's also an OT series (almost complete in print and, I've just noticed, now on prepub yet oddly missing a few existing volumes).

That older series was published roughly 1988–1993 (with a few stragglers later in the decade) based on the NIV. Note, though, that that series itself was basically a revision of content released (with the Good News Bible text) earlier in the 80s. So the first observation is that the commentary comments themselves are pretty old.

The series is helpful in that it does a paragraph-by-paragraph overview of each Bible book's contents. I recommend them to students and pastors who are trying to get a good bird's-eye view of a passage. There are sometimes some extra scholarly hints, such as useful cross-references to other Bible passages, and some extended notes on textual issues or similar.

Contributors include some big names who know their stuff. Their ability to produce meaty scholarly works gives us confidence in these "lighter" volumes. The series presumes a conservative view of Scripture, biblical history, etc. and is "safe" in that respect.

With the $100 special, I'll be recommending this to people who want to get a complete NT library, though recognising that the insights they gain will be of more the forest than the trees.

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NB.Mick | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Aug 8 2012 5:00 AM

I'm a bit on the fence regarding this new offer. I think the commentaries are good, maybe in terms of technicality somewhere between "The Bible Speaks Today" and the "Tyndale Commentaries", which I own both.

Andrew Malone:
Contributors include some big names who know their stuff. Their ability to produce meaty scholarly works gives us confidence in these "lighter" volumes.

That's surely one of the big plusses. I have the commentary on the pastoral epistles by Gordon Fee from this series (not available individually in Logos so far), which currently ranks at #5 in http://www.bestcommentaries.com/pastoral-epistles/ but BestC favors technical commentaries, so some Amazon reviewers disagree and would put it at "head and shoulders above all". I think this five-star-reviewer's reasoning (rated helpful by 33 of 33 viewers) may shed some light on the overall series as well:

If you want volume of pages then Mounce is the one you want. If GREEK is what you want then Marshall and Knight are for you. But if you want to understand the Pastoral Epistles as you never have before, see and appreciate the truths in these 3 books as never before, Fee is your man.

Mounce is WBC, Marshall is ICC and Knight is NIGTC. These three top scholars rank above the NIBCNT/UTBNT commentary on BestC.

Andrew Malone:
This is the rebranded version of the New International Biblical Commentary: New Testament. It contains all the same content. ... That older series was published roughly 1988–1993 (with a few stragglers later in the decade) based on the NIV. Note, though, that that series itself was basically a revision of content released (with the Good News Bible text) earlier in the 80s

From the Preface to the 1990's revised edition of  "1 & 2 Timothy, Titus": The present edition of this commentary has been totally reset and rewritten to comment on the text of the New International Version (NIV). Nonetheless, it is still substantially the same as the original Good News Commentary, first published in 1984. I have taken the opportunity to correct some errors in the first edition, as well as to rewrite and add a few sentences for the sake of clarity. Since this edition is intended to be basically the same commentary as before, I resisted the temptation to update the bibliography and thus to interact with some significant recent studies.

However, there's no rule newer=better, especially if the goal isn't to be a "commentary on commentaries" (see below).

Andrew Malone:
The series is helpful in that it does a paragraph-by-paragraph overview of each Bible book's contents

It seems to me, the commentary does treat the books verse by verse in the sections, but it doesn't go into technical details of each and every word. Note that 350 pages on the pastorals is not really slim.

Maybe a quote from the original preface is helpful: Commentaries are of several kinds. Some interpret the text by carrying on a running dialogue with previous commentaries; others are written as if there had been no previous commentaries. Some are concerned strictly with exegesis (what the text meant to its original recipients); others are more concerned with the here and now, that is, how this word applies for today, but without sufficient regard for what it originally meant (except when they have difficulties to get around!). Since this commentary is purposely of a single kind and has a rather singular point of view, it seemed appropriate at the outset to explain what is intended. The basic concern throughout is with exegesis, an exposition of Paul’s intent in writing these letters to Timothy and Titus in their historical context. But since I am also a committed believer in Scripture as God’s Word, it will be clear throughout that more is at stake than merely being informed about the past. However, despite the concern that these letters be heard as God’s Word for today, there has been every attempt to remove dogmatic or partisan applications. Hence the reader for the most part has been left on her or his own to “make the applications.” 

One feature is that the commentary clearly differentiates between the non-technical and the technical part. The former only occasionaly will refer to the Greek text; interaction with other commentators, interdependencies with non-biblical ANE literature etc will occur in the latter, which is headed "Additional notes to...". See these screenshots from a PBB: 

Non-technical notes, titled (note also the TOC which should give some indication of the introductory matter treated) 

more technical "Additional notes" (I show some additional things in the TOC)

However, while Fee seemed to me an indispensible buy back then (as I wanted to see his treatment of the "do not teach"-passage), this may be one of the best of the series - and how many lighter-weight NT commentaries one does need?

 

 

 

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