B&H completes Old Testament commentary
The commentary is a resource that encourages pastors, teachers and students "to engage with Scripture," said Steve Bond, senior editorial director for Holman Bibles and Bible reference at B&H Publishing Group.
"The Bible is a vast book that was written over a span of 1,000 years by 40 different authors living in different cultures who spoke different languages," Bond said. "The Holman Old Testament Commentary exegetes the text in such a way that it is applicable even in the 21st century."
The commentary was a multi-year undertaking. The first volume, Daniel, was published in 2001.
Each volume features biblical exposition of chapters, life principles and applications, teaching outlines, additional scholarship and insight and discussion topics.
"This commentary is unique because it provides the teacher or pastor most all of the components they need to teach or preach a passage of Scripture," Bond said. "Many commentaries just have exposition and that's very important, but the Holman commentary provides additional teaching aids like illustrations, historical references and supporting research."
The application focus is a unique feature to the commentary, Bond added.
"The writers help teachers convey the message of the text in its original context but also help them see the principle from the passage and how it applies throughout the week," he said.
"These volumes just give the teachers a good start in preparing to teach and preach," Bond said. Many pastors don't have the resources to have a researcher on staff who can provide background material for sermons, he said, but the commentary assembles these elements in one place so teachers and pastors have more time to pray, focus and let the biblical text do its work in them.
"I feel very confident in placing these commentaries in the hands of laypeople and pastors" in how the authors of the 20 volumes relay clear exposition of the text.
"The commentary was written by authors who hold to inerrancy of Scripture and who are trustworthy Bible interpreters," he said, mentioning that the Old Testament commentary uses the New International Version because the commentary was under development before the Holman Christian Standard Bible existed.
Akin to the work of other authors of the commentary, Steve Andrews, professor of Old Testament, Hebrew and archaeology at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Mo., carefully compared the Hebrew text with the New International Version before writing the volume on 1 Samuel.
"I have found that the study of the original languages enables one to be a better interpreter and expositor of the Word of God," Andrews said. "Doing this helps avoid doctrinal mistakes and the misinformed speculation of secondary literature. It also provides access to the best scholarly and devotional sources and gives the student of the Word the confidence to compare and evaluate the ancient and modern translations of the Bible."
Max Anders, creator and general editor of the Holman Old Testament Commentary, said understanding the Old Testament has the potential to renew spiritual vitality in churches.
"Our understanding of Scripture is increasingly shallow," Anders said. "Our appreciation of God is increasingly shallow. Our eternal perspective is increasingly shallow. Our Christ-like character is increasingly shallow. Yet many people hunger for a deeper understanding of Scripture and a deeper walk with God."
As pastors and Bible teachers go more deeply into the Old Testament for their own lives, Anders said they can pass on a new spiritual vitality in their churches in several ways:
First, the Bible is one story of redemption from Genesis to Revelation, Anders said, noting, "If we do not understand the Old Testament, we do not understand the first half of God's story of redemption, and our appreciation for what God has done in Jesus is cut in half."
Second, the Old Testament contains prophecies and promises fulfilled in the New Testament. "When we understand the prophecies and promises, and see them fulfilled or expanded in the New Testament, we understand that the world is not spinning out of control but is unfolding God's profound plan to redeem and restore humanity," Anders said. "It helps us see that we can trust God no matter what."
Third, the Old Testament was written "for our instruction" in New Testament times (Romans 15:4), Anders said. "From the story of the crossing of the Red Sea, we learn that God can deliver us when no solution to our problem is on the horizon," he said. "From Joseph we learn that our trials are preparation for God's blessing and use. From David's sin we learn that repentance will bring about restoration. We can learn how to live more biblically by studying the Old Testament."
Fourth, the Old Testament is a picture of New Testament truth. "The entire sacrificial system, as well as the layout of the tabernacle and temple, are physical things designed to picture sin, alienation from God, sacrifice, redemption and restoration to God," Anders said. "We have a stunted understanding of our hopeless condition in sin and our redemption in Jesus without an understanding of the Old Testament."
The Holman Old Testament Commentary and single volumes are available at LifeWayStores.com. The Holman New Testament Commentary, a 12-volume set that was completed in 2001, also is available. The B&H Publishing Group is a division of LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention.
Kelly Shrout is the employee communications editor at LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention.