Commentaries: conservative and Liberal

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Rosie Perera | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Feb 19 2014 12:30 PM

I am very interested in this new series of commentaries that traces what has been thought about a certain passage over the centuries, and how it has been received and responded to historically, in theology, the arts, etc. I hope we can get it in Logos before long:

Blackwell Bible Commentaries

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Feb 19 2014 12:54 PM

Paul Terry:
Now I am at a place where I am really trying to understand what the different *CHRISTIAN* beliefs are based on. I was planning to use commentaries and theology books to try figure this out.

That's one reason I read creeds and compare what beliefs are "supported" by the same scripture references.

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

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Rosie Perera | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Feb 19 2014 1:05 PM

Paul Terry:
Now I am at a place where I am really trying to understand what the different *CHRISTIAN* beliefs are based on. I was planning to use commentaries and theology books to try figure this out.

BTW, this is what ultimately drove me to seminary. I'd been exposed to bits of all kinds of streams of Christianity and wanted to understand what was true, and what I believed out of it all, and how to explain it to others. Came away much more understanding of others, and much less certain that there was ONE correct group out there for me to find and align myself with whereas all the others had it wrong (or partially wrong). The key to coming to this sense of peace about it all was that I chose to attend a transdenominational seminary. Obviously, if I'd picked a confessional one, that would have steered me in a particular direction which I would have either bought hook-line-and-sinker (unlikely, given the thinker that I am) or resisted to the point of hating my experience. I'm so glad I ended up studying at Regent College. It built a solid foundation for me to evaluate beliefs on my own, instead of feeding me what to believe.

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Dan Francis | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Feb 19 2014 5:22 PM

elnwood:

I noticed they mentioned:

At the request of Professor Ramp (Professor of Homiletics, 1998-2001), a contingent of Bible Division faculty met to discuss what commentaries we would suggest for preachers.  We agreed that volumes in the following series are generally very good:

    1. The Interpretation Commentary series Interpretation: A Bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching (INT) (43 vols.)

    2. The Westminster Bible Companion Westminster Bible Companion Series (33 vols.)

    3. The Augsburg Commentary on the New Testament (ACNT) Augsburg Commentary on the New Testament (ACNT) (15 vols.)

    4. The New Interpreter’s Bible, 12 volumes, Nashville:  Abingdon, 1994- New Interpreter's Bible (12 vols.)

It is Interesting and nice that all 4 of these series are are Logos (NIB is still in pre pub but should be here soon enough)......

-Dan

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Dan Francis | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Feb 19 2014 5:29 PM

Rosie Perera:

I am very interested in this new series of commentaries that traces what has been thought about a certain passage over the centuries, and how it has been received and responded to historically, in theology, the arts, etc. I hope we can get it in Logos before long:

Blackwell Bible Commentaries

Yes

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William Gabriel | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Feb 19 2014 8:34 PM

Rosie Perera:

BTW, this is what ultimately drove me to seminary. I'd been exposed to bits of all kinds of streams of Christianity and wanted to understand what was true, and what I believed out of it all, and how to explain it to others. Came away much more understanding of others, and much less certain that there was ONE correct group out there for me to find and align myself with whereas all the others had it wrong (or partially wrong). The key to coming to this sense of peace about it all was that I chose to attend a transdenominational seminary. Obviously, if I'd picked a confessional one, that would have steered me in a particular direction which I would have either bought hook-line-and-sinker (unlikely, given the thinker that I am) or resisted to the point of hating my experience. I'm so glad I ended up studying at Regent College. It built a solid foundation for me to evaluate beliefs on my own, instead of feeding me what to believe.

In the end we're each to test everything and hold fast to what is good (1 Thess 5:21), so there is an imperative to work all that stuff out. Yet, despite what conclusion each of us comes to, there is still one absolute Truth out there. I don't pretend to have it all figured out (of course I'm wrong), though I certainly hope that the Holy Spirit is drawing me closer to it the more I read the Word and commune with God. Things like commentaries and sermons and discussions are of course helpful. But I don't want someone like Paul coming to the conclusion that Christianity is some kind of spiritual pluralism.

ps, Regent has always been a fascinating school--I would love to go there (among several other schools too Wink). Given their doctrinal statement, though, can you say they're not confessional?

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Rosie Perera | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Feb 19 2014 10:37 PM

William Gabriel:
Given their doctrinal statement, though, can you say they're not confessional?

They have a doctrinal statement (modeled on that of the World Evangelical Fellowship), but students don't have to sign it to be admitted. Faculty do, though they've had some summer school faculty in the past (such as Madeleine l'Engle) who couldn't in good conscience sign, and they've made exceptions for them if it was someone extraordinary. They've had Catholic and Orthodox summer school profs, for example, and invited Neil Postman (secular Jew) to give the prestigious Laing Lectures one year. While they do believe there is ultimate Truth in some particulars (notably the areas where they are doctrinally firm), I think they celebrate a diversity of viewpoints on things that are not central to salvation. They are not afraid of a good debate between brothers and sisters in Christ where each takes an opposite position. They recognize that "now we know in part, then we shall know fully, even as we are fully known." And we grow from hearing each other present our views and findings. That isn't some kind of spiritual pluralism, where you pick what you like as if from a shopping mall. It's more of a trajectory towards fuller understanding of Truth.

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Feb 20 2014 12:03 AM

In contrast GTU Berkeley offers:

Schools:

  • American Baptist Seminary of the West
  • Church Divinity School of the Pacific
  • Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology
  • Franciscan School of Theology
  • Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University
  • Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary
  • Pacific School of Religion
  • San Francisco Theological Seminary
  • Starr King School for the Ministry

Centers:

  • Asia Project
  • Black Church/Africana Religious Studies
  • The Center for Islamic Studies
  • The Center for Jewish Studies
  • The Center for the Arts, Religion, and Education
  • Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences
  • Institute of Buddhist Studies
  • New College Berkeley (Evangelical)
  • Patriarch Athenagoras Orthodox Institute
  • The School of Applied Theology
  • Women's Studies in Religion

with cross-registration privileges at University of California Berkeley

and It has the largest theological library west of the Mississippi.

While I know of several multi-denominational seminaries, I don't know any with the breadth of GTU. It certainly teaches/requires that one learn to think independently.

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

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Old School Saint | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Feb 20 2014 4:03 AM

Just want to clarify one thing. I am not saying Matthew Henry's commentary is worthless and just one mans opinion.

I am saying that in the 1980s that was my view of it and as a result I never looked at commentaries again.

Now I own Logos 5 Portfolio and have a lot of commentaries. Also have WBC and others not included in the Portfolio collection.

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tom | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Feb 20 2014 6:05 AM

Paul Terry:

Just want to clarify one thing. I am not saying Matthew Henry's commentary is worthless and just one mans opinion.

I am saying that in the 1980s that was my view of it and as a result I never looked at commentaries again.

Now I own Logos 5 Portfolio and have a lot of commentaries. Also have WBC and others not included in the Portfolio collection.

FYI... I will say that the commentary is worthless to me, and it is worthless for me because I do not care for the type of commentary it is.  I like commentaries like the Hermeneia series.  I also know that Hermeneia series is a worthless commentary series to others.  

They type of commentary is more important than if it is a 'liberal' or a 'conservative' commentary IMHO.

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Denise | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Feb 20 2014 6:23 AM

I'm just the opposite Tom ... theology is more important than type.

I wonder if it's how I grew up; I was taught there was a single truth (ours of course). And unfortunately the billions of people that had obviously missed the boat ... well what can one say?

I exagerated that statement just to illustrate how the thinking worked. And so a diverse opinion is of no value if it's wrong.  (Again I exagerated the last statement to illustrate the point).

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

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Friedrich | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Feb 20 2014 6:24 AM

Wow, Paul, you have a good sized library!  Including commentaries!  I don't know if I skipped your response, but wondering if you did check out the recommended "best commentaries" website.  I also enjoyed many comments, including Rosie's "Blackwell" reference and Martha's comment about reading creeds.  And the other one referring to the denominations' history/distinctives.

I am wondering if you might find it helpful to start a thread well before you study a particular book on people's favorite commentaries on that book, and why they list it as favorite.  That might give you some idea on holes you want to fill in your library.  And it would narrow it down.  Essentially you are asking a million logos people to make comments on commentaries that cover each of the 66 books of the Bible, which, to my calculation, results in 5,789,428,221,443.67 suggestions.  Stick out tongue


Be assured, however, that people LOVE sharing their opinion, and commentary discussion on this forum ranks just a hair below our beloved controversy threads.  So you will, and have already, received input.  Big Smile

Peace out. 

Dan

I like Apples.  Especially Honeycrisp.

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William Gabriel | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Feb 20 2014 6:57 AM

Paul Terry:

Just want to clarify one thing. I am not saying Matthew Henry's commentary is worthless and just one mans opinion.

I am saying that in the 1980s that was my view of it and as a result I never looked at commentaries again.

Now I own Logos 5 Portfolio and have a lot of commentaries. Also have WBC and others not included in the Portfolio collection.

What I find interesting is that Matthew Henry's was probably the first commentary I ever picked up and tried to read through when I was younger. It's a tough place to start with, and I think you've got to have some good mojo going with Puritan era writing to appreciate him. 

There is something to the fact that his commentary set is the work of one man. I probably line up with MH's theology pretty well, but when I read through his commentary, I find myself disagreeing with him quite a bit. Sounds bad, but consider the benefit. You have to work through the text and draw conclusions to disagree with another man's thoughts. Perhaps MH would convince you of his interpretation, perhaps he will help convince you that your exegetical work is sound. Either way it forces you to wrestle through the text.

Another thing with it being the work of one man is that he won't have an evenly spread expertise on all the Scriptures. I really appreciate John MacArthur too (don't necessarily line up with his eschatology) and he has a lot of valuable things to say in his commentary set too. But in the end it is just one man. So I think there's value in having a collection of commentaries, from individual men, yes, but also commentary sets written by experts in their fields (e.g. WBC). I think you'll benefit from both types, even if you can't necessarily digest MH only.

There's been much advice given on how commentaries should interface with your work flow, so I won't make any additional comments on that. I just wanted to point out that one commentary may be of some value, but a collection could be of much value.

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Dan Francis | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Feb 20 2014 10:14 AM

For me personally I would start with the New Interpreter's Bible as I consider it the best over all commentary. It is not all liberal or conservative, It has critical sections that are far from exhaustive but cover each topic fairly usually touching on other opinions. It's reflections offer great insight for devotion and preaching. This series should ship in a few months and would advise you to pre order it... THE WORSE CASE scenario  is you have to call up Logos and tell tell them it is not for you after examining it for 2-3 weeks. It is not quite yet under contract with enough orders... Sorry to have reported what I thought was good news. But soon hopefully.

-Dan

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Feb 20 2014 12:58 PM

Denise:
And so a diverse opinion is of no value if it's wrong.

But, but ... wrong views can help you sharpen your correct view, find a new and better way to express your correct view, spark new ideas regarding the consequences of your view, and (shh we don't want to scare people off) make you think something new that you don't know if it's right or wrong (yet).Hmm

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

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Jack Caviness | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Feb 20 2014 1:27 PM

MJ. Smith:
make you think something new that you don't know if it's right or wrong (yet).Hmm

If I thunk it, it must be true Cool

{informal or humorous past and past participle of think: who would've thunk it?} Southern US English

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Denise | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Feb 20 2014 6:30 PM

I'm sorry MJ. Is your logic dog out having his dinner?

When someone is correct (knows the truth), then the most that can happen is to simply bask in the confident knowledge.  Indeed, one must try to be humble in the face of everyone else being wrong. 

Further, in any tiresome arguments with those not being correct (everyone else), one must simply remind them that if they knew the truth, they would simply agree.  The very fact that they are arguing demonstrates just how bad their plight is.

This is why you can always tell when someone is not confident of simply being correct: they're reading commentaries (written by other people who might be corrrect but it's not likely).

Ok ... looks like logic dog is finished eating.

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

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