How many commentaries are enough?

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Paul C | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jul 23 2014 11:54 AM

Deleted a poor attempt at humor. Sad

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mab | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jul 23 2014 12:00 PM

The seminary concern was the root of why I opted to invest in Logos. I had Bible school and a BA in a non-theological major. From my observation, seminary study is largely reading intensively. You can do that quite well in Logos apart from paying someone for the privilege of receiving a list of textbooks and other references. And you'd be getting Logos anyway. 

The mind of man is the mill of God, not to grind chaff, but wheat. Thomas Manton | Study hard, for the well is deep, and our brains are shallow. Richard Baxter

Posts 2081
Randy W. Sims | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jul 23 2014 12:09 PM

Richard DeRuiter:
About 90% of the time, I use just 3 or 4 commentary sets. But for particularly difficult texts, or when I have a specific question that is not addressed in my main sets, I might pour through many, many more.

Is there a way to search the list of Commentaries (or any guide section) returned by a PG? Just the individual commentaries, not the sets.

Posts 11188
Denise | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jul 23 2014 12:47 PM

Paul C ... your approach to commentaries has no basis in good Bible study. A commentator, if commentating correctly, can not commentate incorrectly; else how could you trust his or her commentating.  Therefore, there's no need to use multiple commentators (unless of course, more commentating on the same comments may be commendable).  But this should be the exception, not the rule, though it often depends.

But to simplify the point, it's like a football team.  You root on one. Not 'many'.  You don't root for the best quarterback, and then switch to the best linebacker on another team.  That'd be dangerous as a spectator.

"God will save his fallen angels and their broken wings He'll mend."

Posts 9947
George Somsel | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jul 23 2014 12:50 PM

Denise:
Luckily for the seminarians, the good apostle Paul went to seminary.  Just the wrong one.

Really?  I thought he went to Calvin Theological Seminary.  Wink

george
gfsomsel

יְמֵי־שְׁנוֹתֵינוּ בָהֶם שִׁבְעִים שָׁנָה וְאִם בִּגְבוּרֹת שְׁמוֹנִים שָׁנָה וְרָהְבָּם עָמָל וָאָוֶן

Posts 8967
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Matthew C Jones | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jul 23 2014 12:52 PM

Denise:
I've never met anyone that wastes money on what they don't believe.

I would not call it a "waste" but I spend a lot  some of my money on resources I don't believe in.

Logos 7 Collectors Edition

Posts 11188
Denise | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jul 23 2014 1:09 PM

No, George. CTS used 'chairs'.  Paul advocated 'no chairs' for a good rigorous seminary (and presumably instructors that didn't wear shoes, though I'd assume outside, it might get a bit raunchy).

And yes, Super, interestingly, the forum is populated by many that seek a wide range of perspectives.  I've just never met one in person. Not trying to be critical, etc.

"God will save his fallen angels and their broken wings He'll mend."

Posts 2628
David Ames | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jul 23 2014 1:09 PM

Super.Tramp:

Denise:
I've never met anyone that wastes money on what they don't believe.

I would not call it a "waste" but I spend a lot  some of my money on resources I don't believe in.

How many would one need to review all of the different stands and by reviewing them can anyone figure out which stand is correct?  

Do we read them to back what we already know or find the truth [what ever that might be]?

[Add me to that list along with Super Tramp]  

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jul 23 2014 1:13 PM

Denise:
A commentator, if commentating correctly, can not commentate incorrectly; else how could you trust his or her commentating.

I will grant you this statement (with reservations ... everyone makes mistakes and is limited in their knowledge).

Denise:
Therefore, there's no need to use multiple commentators (unless of course, more commentating on the same comments may be commendable).  But this should be the exception, not the rule, though it often depends.

Disagree strongly. The commentaries of a philologist, a rhetorician, a historian, a social scientist, a linguist, a structuralist, a literary theorist ... will differ significantly in the type of comment they can make about the text because their skills vary. The primary reason for reading commentaries is to tap into the expertise of those whose training gives them a different perspective than my own.

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

Posts 9947
George Somsel | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jul 23 2014 1:57 PM

Denise:

No, George. CTS used 'chairs'.  Paul advocated 'no chairs' for a good rigorous seminary (and presumably instructors that didn't wear shoes, though I'd assume outside, it might get a bit raunchy).

And yes, Super, interestingly, the forum is populated by many that seek a wide range of perspectives.  I've just never met one in person. Not trying to be critical, etc.

How do you know that CTS used chairs?  I don't recall seeing you there.  How do you suppose that Eutychus managed to fall asleep?

george
gfsomsel

יְמֵי־שְׁנוֹתֵינוּ בָהֶם שִׁבְעִים שָׁנָה וְאִם בִּגְבוּרֹת שְׁמוֹנִים שָׁנָה וְרָהְבָּם עָמָל וָאָוֶן

Posts 9947
George Somsel | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jul 23 2014 2:05 PM

Denise:
 Indeed, I've never met anyone that wastes money on what they don't believe.

I just finished reading Eliminating Satan and Hell:  Affirming a Compassionate Creator-God.  Some things I agree with, but a number of points aren't in accordance with my view of the bible (and its relationship to science).  Are you saying I wasted my money?  When I read books on JWs, am I wasting my money?  Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.

george
gfsomsel

יְמֵי־שְׁנוֹתֵינוּ בָהֶם שִׁבְעִים שָׁנָה וְאִם בִּגְבוּרֹת שְׁמוֹנִים שָׁנָה וְרָהְבָּם עָמָל וָאָוֶן

Posts 406
Paul C | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jul 23 2014 2:42 PM

Denise:
A commentator, if commentating correctly, can not commentate incorrectly; else how could you trust his or her commentating.
My post was tongue in cheek. I certainly hope yours is too. Otherwise we have some discussing to do. Wink

Posts 11188
Denise | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jul 23 2014 2:47 PM

Yes, George, sitting in a window sill would seem to violate the sit-on-the-floor rule.  But it may well be that early Christian seminaries allowed window-sill sitting.  This could have been verbal guidance; not written.  And yes, I'll fess up ... I wasn't able to pass the entrance exams at CTS.

But, as I mentioned to Super, and having chatted with mucho Christians over the years, the broad majority (99.99%?) pretty much dance with the one that brought them.  My comment that you quoted was relative to these folks (and my poor wording).

And continuing concerning 'truth', I very much doubt one could demonstrate that 'truth' is determinable by human beings.  Humans aren't divine. The same is similarly true on recognizing a divine one.  And don't get offended ... I'm simply pointing out even in the OT/NT, the humans often didn't 'get it', even with 'amazing works'.

And MJ ... I'd LOVE to have a commentary by a philologist, a rhetorician, a historian, a social scientist, a linguist, a structuralist, a literary theorist or so on.  Wow! Wouldn't that be great.  Unfortunately (and thanks to Logos), we're limited to a random sequence of articles in the various journals.  You're too far ahead of your time!

"God will save his fallen angels and their broken wings He'll mend."

Posts 3
LJ | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jul 23 2014 4:39 PM

I've been thinking about similar question as I train ministry workers in a developing country and I'm reminded of quote from Kierkegaard as food for thought:

"Above all, read the New Testament without a commentary... Every commentary detracts. He who sits with ten open commentaries and read the Holy Scriptures - well, he is probably writing the eleventh, but he deals with Scripture contra naturam".

I would apply it to the OT studies as well. You could possibly argue that its an overstatement and he becomes even more pointed against Christian scholarship, but it does make me think hard whether I really do need another commentary and whether having more is actually a good thing.

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George Somsel | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jul 23 2014 5:17 PM

LJ:

I've been thinking about similar question as I train ministry workers in a developing country and I'm reminded of quote from Kierkegaard as food for thought:

"Above all, read the New Testament without a commentary... Every commentary detracts. He who sits with ten open commentaries and read the Holy Scriptures - well, he is probably writing the eleventh, but he deals with Scripture contra naturam".

I would apply it to the OT studies as well. You could possibly argue that its an overstatement and he becomes even more pointed against Christian scholarship, but it does make me think hard whether I really do need another commentary and whether having more is actually a good thing.

Yes and no.  Too many commentaries can muddy the situation, but we must remember that we are reading texts in a different language written at a time vastly removed from our own with customs differing from ours.  Sometimes a little help is needed.

george
gfsomsel

יְמֵי־שְׁנוֹתֵינוּ בָהֶם שִׁבְעִים שָׁנָה וְאִם בִּגְבוּרֹת שְׁמוֹנִים שָׁנָה וְרָהְבָּם עָמָל וָאָוֶן

Posts 2588
Lee | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jul 23 2014 5:25 PM

LJ:

I've been thinking about similar question as I train ministry workers in a developing country

That fact alone throws up a whole spectrum of considerations. Balance and much wisdom are needed. Sometimes the relative lack of economic means and other resources turns out to be a blessing! Sometimes, not.

Ironically, Kierkegaard was writing within an entirely different milieu, and in an environment of excess. I would apply his comment with care.

Broad rule of thumb: do what you can to bring your friends closer to God's will, do not forget to learn from them too, and always pray much.

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jul 23 2014 5:53 PM

LJ:
"Above all, read the New Testament without a commentary... Every commentary detracts. He who sits with ten open commentaries and read the Holy Scriptures - well, he is probably writing the eleventh, but he deals with Scripture contra naturam".

I always assume that people read without a commentary or at most only a minimal commentary to ensure basic understanding. Why do I assume that? Because that is the common experience in my tradition ... you tell the recent converts by their stack of commentaries. However, I also assume that most Bible study leaders need to read commentaries and background material in order to be able to answer others' questions.

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

Posts 3251
Whyndell Grizzard | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jul 23 2014 6:04 PM

If the Bible is the Word of God, inspired or written by the unction or direction of the Spirit of God (i.e. Holy Spirit) would He not by virtue of the Word alone draw and teach us? even without commentaries? AHHH! but we're directed that...

"11 And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the  knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fulness of Christ. 14 As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves, and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; 15 but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him, who is the head, even Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by that which every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love."

So teachers have an important place- but they are not God- but His servants, like all of us His children. So where does this leave us- read the verses again- balance Brethern, balance- Christ :)

This was a reminder to myself today- I needed it- badly.

Posts 9947
George Somsel | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jul 23 2014 6:26 PM

Whyndell Grizzard:

If the Bible is the Word of God, inspired or written by the unction or direction of the Spirit of God (i.e. Holy Spirit) would He not by virtue of the Word alone draw and teach us? even without commentaries? AHHH! but we're directed that...

"11 And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the  knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fulness of Christ. 14 As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves, and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; 15 but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him, who is the head, even Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by that which every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love."

So teachers have an important place- but they are not God- but His servants, like all of us His children. So where does this leave us- read the verses again- balance Brethern, balance- Christ :)

This was a reminder to myself today- I needed it- badly.

Oh, please spare me.  "Study to show yourself approved unto God …"  It doesn't come magically by infusion.

george
gfsomsel

יְמֵי־שְׁנוֹתֵינוּ בָהֶם שִׁבְעִים שָׁנָה וְאִם בִּגְבוּרֹת שְׁמוֹנִים שָׁנָה וְרָהְבָּם עָמָל וָאָוֶן

Posts 8967
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Matthew C Jones | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jul 23 2014 6:53 PM

Whyndell Grizzard:
If the Bible is the Word of God, inspired or written by the unction or direction of the Spirit of God (i.e. Holy Spirit) would He not by virtue of the Word alone draw and teach us? even without commentaries?

Yes Balance? Yes, balance.

Logos 7 Collectors Edition

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