Commentaries

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Deacon, Nov 15, 2008.

  1. Deacon

    Deacon
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    Why do you use a commentary? What are the benefits?

    Pro
    • Explains passages/improves your understanding
    • Help you avoid errors and misunderstandings about the Bible
    • Check your own interpretation of Scripture

    Con
    • Expensive
    • They don’t seem to answer the questions you want answered
    • Dependency weakens your own observation skills
    • They can shake your beliefs/faith


    What advice would you give the new Christian regarding the use of commentaries in their own study of the Bible?

    What do you find useful and how do you use it?

    And another question, What basic books should a beginner studying the Bible have?

    Rob
     
  2. Psalm 95

    Psalm 95
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    My recomendation to have a one volume commentary that is used only after studying a passage your self.

    Study Bibles has the commentary to easily avalible, the risk is that you read the commentary before you have studied the passage in depth by your self.
     
  3. Martin

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    ==I usually use commentaries to verify what I am already thinking, to challenge what I am thinking, or to clearify some point. The trouble I have with commentaries is that they are just someone's understanding of the text. They maybe perfectly correct but they are not infallible. My favorite popular level commentary is William MacDonald's "Believers Bible Commentary". It is one volume and not that expensive. Perfect for new believers or mature believers who want to get away from the technical language used in some commentaries.



    ==Realize that no Bible commentary is infallible. The Bible is the best commentary on the Bible.

    ==Introduction books. I would point to books like "Encountering The New Testament" by Elwell and Yarbrough, "Basic Theology" by Charles Ryrie, and "Willmington's Guide to the Bible" by Harold Willmington. There are others but those are three really good introductory books. I certainly wish someone had recommended them to me when I was a young Christian.
     
  4. Jim1999

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    Have any of you seen Spurgeon's library? Have you every seen the massive libraries of preachers of note?

    I can't imagine entering the pulpit week after week without the assistance of commentaries and other books.

    Might just as well ask why go to seminary?

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  5. Marcia

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    I think for new believers this is good advice, although I must admit I used a study Bible as a new believer (NIV study Bible, and then others). I think if the new believer understands that commentaries are not infallible and that there are different views on certain passages, it's okay.

    I've learned how there are disagreements on certain passages especially, but it does not shake my faith. I find commentaries and study bibles now to be very helpful and I appreciate them. I've learned a lot from them about the history and culture related to certain passages in the Bible that helps me.

    Also, for disputed translations or passages that have several interpretations, I like the NET Bible's notes which really goes into all the different views and then explains why the are going with whichever view they go with.
     
  6. Dr. Bob

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    I "STAND ON THE SHOULDERS OF GIANTS" of all eras when I read commentaries. To think that I alone have all the insights and thoughts on a passage is ludicrous.

    So I am preaching a two-part message on the "new covenant" in Jer 31. I will read EVERYTHING I CAN GET MY HANDS ON because it is a difficult concept and my observations and evaluations might be way out in left field.

    But prior to any commentator, I read in 10 translations, then translate myself the appropriate passage and context (easy for me in Greek, ugly in Hebrew!) I have an expository outline penciled and how I am going to present God's message to His people. But I am blinded by my training, my mindset, my 21st Century mentality, even my definition of words. I need help.

    THEN I see what others have gleaned, parallel passages, etc and often just scrap my meager outline and meld a new, enriched outline that will help me (and thus help others) deal with the passage.
     
  7. hawg_427

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    For a new Christian a one book commentary would be good while they are still feeding on MILK. But once you start sinking your teeth into the MEAT of the Bible the commentaries with several books are better. I have Warren Wiersbe's Bible Exposition Commentary 6 Volumes, Thru the Bible by Vernon McGee 5 Vol's and I am saving up for John MacArthur's NT Commentary 27 Volumes. I have Philippians by Boice and will get Romans by Boice later on. I think using different commentaries is good for a Christian that want's to get into a deeper study of the Bible. You don't have to be a Preacher to get into the Word Deep.:praying:
     
  8. Jim1999

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    When I first started out, my first commentary was a gift of Matthew Henry's Commentary. I still use it, alongside An American Commentary of the New Testament (good Baptist commentary) and The New International Commentary on the Old and New Testaments.

    A good dictionary of the Bible is a must, and above all, before one even begins to study the Bible, read Grasping God's Word by J. Scott Duvall and J. Daniel Hays.......hermeneutics, hermeneutics..how to interpret the Bible. This book will do you more good than all the Greek and Hebrew you can muster in anything short of a lifetime.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  9. preachinjesus

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    As mentioned before you are getting a world class position from someone who as a world class (usually) education to get better perspective.

    Good commentaries help explain nuances which might be overlooked. Great commentaries provide that same insight while also giving applications for teaching and preaching.

    I use extremely technical commentaries from diverse series to supplement my studying after my initial observations and translation work. It is where I'm comfortable and they usually help drawing out appropriate nuances. :)

    I rarely buy straight sets but prefer finding the best for a book from a number of sets. DA Carson's New Testament Commentary Survey and Tremper Longman III's Old Testament Commentary Survey are important for anyone serious about getting good commentaries. Each provides terrific insights to understanding the nature of commentaries and which ones really engage the text.



    I would probably give them Matthew Henry's commentary because it is simple and to the point. It doesn't get into too much detail. I'd supplement it with Wilimington's Guide to the Bible.


    At least five translations of the Scriptures from across the spectrum of formal to dynamic equivalances (ESV, NIV, NET, NJKV, NLT, etc)
    How to Read the Bible for All It's Worth
    How to Choose a Translation for All It's Worth
    Wilmington's Guide to the Bible
    The Message of the Old Testament by Mark Dever
    The Message of the New Testament by Mark Dever
    Basic Christianity by John RW Stott
    An Introduction to the New Testament by DA Carson and Doug Moo
    An Introduction to the Old Testament by Tremper Longman III and Raymond Dillard
    The Holman Bible Atlas
    The Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary
    The New Manners and Customs of the Bible Times by Ralph Gower

    Just a few suggestions...there are more to add as the reader grows but this should get one started. :)
     
  10. Timsings

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    I'm not preaching, but I use commentaries for the preparation of my Sunday School lessons. Over the last 20 years, I have accumulated almost a complete set of The Anchor Bible series. Depending on the particular volume, they range from way more detail than I need to less than I would like. But, all in all, they give me what I need: background in history, language, theology, culture, sociology, etc. I Also, I have a few individual volumes on various books. I also rely on several general survey books, especially Walter Brueggemann's Old Testament Theology. He has done commentaries on Genesis and Jeremiah, and books on OT prophecy, Psalms (2), and several other aspects of OT theology.

    Tim Reynolds
     

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