Friday, October 31, 2008

Baker Staff Pictured in Time Magazine

Three staff members of Baker Book House were recently pictured in Time Magazine (although unnamed the woman writing the Bible verse is our manager Sue Smith, in the background and to her right you see our assistant manger Sally Holefca and me, Louis McBride) in conjunction with Zondervan's Bible Across America Campaign . We were excited to be a part of this historic event. Zondervan is crossing the nation and having each verse of the Bible handwritten by people from across the nation. My verse was Genesis 1:3 "And God said, 'Let there be light,' and there was light." Zondervan will actually make two copies (I wrote the verse twice). One will be auctioned and the proceeds will go to the International Bible Society and the other will be given to the Smithsonian Institute. You can go to the link above and see exactly where the traveling four-person team is located. If you have an opportunity to take part of this I would highly encourage it. Go to the above link and click on "Route" and then "Timeline" to find out when they will be close to your neighborhood.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Jonah - Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible

Brazos Theological Commentaries are designed to be theologically creative, broadly ecumenical, Biblical commentaries, which offer variant readings and methodologies for approaching Biblical texts. They are minimally technical in presentation, while offering rich theological insight for the laity and theologically trained student of scripture. The editors, which include R. R. Reno and Ephraim Radner, believe that the way we teach and approach scripture has been reformulated to exclude most people who have not been “trained” theologically by an institution of higher education. In this sense, BrazosTheological Commentaries are a corrective to the dominance of professionalized theology where one must first do the hard work of hermeneutics, exegesis, textual studies, in order to correctly interpret the text. A commentary’s role, according to Hauerwas (in His Brazos commentary on Matthew) is to make a better follower of Jesus Christ and his church. The author of each commentary chooses his/her own interpretive methodology. Thus some authors choose to depart from the standard and modern historical critical method of interpretation, and fully choose a more historically based (if I can use such a judgment) method, such a typology. As a whole, the series assumes that the tradition of the Church, which includes the Apostles and Paul, still have legitimate reasons and approaches to the meaning of textual studies.
The Brazos series also blends this interpretation with today’s culture for a commentary that is sensitive and engaging to modern readers. Brazos is a creative, theologically sensitive, imaginative series sure to invoke piety and passion to worship and serve God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit with heart and mind.
The seventh commentary in the Brazos series is on Jonah by Phillip Cary. His basic approach is to see Jonah through a typological reading, as it is related to/fulfilled in Jesus Christ. As an Old Testament Studies professor I get a little nervous when I hear this approach is being used, partially because the original text is usually neglected and any interpretation is offered. I was ecstatic to read that Cary’s approach tries to link the historical account to the typology itself. He believes typology is only valid if you can connect it with the original historical reading of the text. Jonah was written after the return from the exile, and the book itself is a parable, which tries to connect the historical account of Israel with the story of Jonah. Don’t understand how? Read it and you will see that Phillip Cary did his homework. Even better, the parable connects the gourd at the end of the story (which withers away) with the messianic line. Many people who read Jonah closely point out the abrupt ending. But through Cary’s reading of Jonah, the end of the story does not reveal a fickle and pouting prophet who is upset that God took away his comfort and shade, but rather he represents the anger of Israel that there is no messianic line for the messiah to come, and God is saving gentiles! This also has connections with Isaiah’s vision for a new humanity in chapters 56-66. Cary points out the comedic elements in the book, which are abounding! He writes with passion, intelligence, creativity and the ability for anyone to pick up the book of Jonah and immerse themselves in it.
- Eric Karloski works in the Used Book Department at Baker Book House and has recently been accepted for a position as Professor of Old Testament Studies at Life Theological Seminary, Bhubaneswar, India

Friday, October 17, 2008

Jesus Wants to Save Christians by Rob Bell and Don Golden

Biblical scholar, Ben Witherington III wrote an extensive review on Jesus Wants to Save Christians. I recommend taking a look at it, read it right here.
Andrew Rogers is a promotions manager for Zondervan. Check back every Friday for what's new from Zondervan.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

ESV Study Bible - Available Now

The long-awaited ESV Study Bible has arrived. This study Bible has several features you won't want to miss. There are over 200 full-color maps which are printed alongside the text and notes throughout the Bible. In addition to this are 15 full-color maps at the back of the Bible with the first one being "The Middle East Today." Over 50 articles are included which cover a wide range of topics from Theology of the Old Testament, Theology of the New Testament, Biblical Ethics (13 articles), The Canon of the Old Testament, The Canon of the New Testament, The Septuagint, and many more.
The contributors of the study notes represent some of the finest in contemporary conservative Christian scholarship. Among them are Gordon Wenham, Duane A. Garrett, C. John Collins, Andreas J. Kostenberger, Clinton Arnold, Grant Osborne, Robert Yarbrough and Thomas R. Schreiner to name only a few. Finally, these Bibles have been printed on the finest paper and are all Smyth-Sewn to ensure a quality final product. With your purchase of the print edition you will always have access to a FREE ESV Online Study Bible which offers the full content of the print version, plus additional unique features. You must see these first hand in order to appreciate it fully so stop in today and see for yourself. You won't be disappointed.

Friday, October 10, 2008

The latest in the BECNT Series is in!

Robert Yarbrough's commentary on the Epistles of John is now in stock. The highly-acclaimed series (Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament) is now joined with another outstanding contribution. Yarbrough brings a unique blend of academic scholarship and pastoral warmth to these often neglected New Testament books. He is clearly in his element as he weaves the thought of the Epistles with John's Gospel. A regular feature of the series is to comment on textual variants. Yarbrough takes this one step further in that he addresses every textual variant in John's Epistles found in NA27. This is, in part, to show there is "no reasonable grounds for suspicion of the soundness of our knowledge of what the author. . . wrote" and demonstrates that the inferences drawn by scholars such as Bart Ehrman are "considerably overstated." Some Calvinists will anxiously turn to I John 2:2 to see what Yarbrough does with this controversial text. I found his treatment sound and fair and most Calvinists, I suspect, will be happy with his exegesis. Others will look at his treatment of the "sin unto death" (I John 5:16). Here Yarbrough must be read carefully. His own translation is a bit awkward: "There is sin that is unto death. Making request in prayer for those committing that sin is not something I am saying to do." But this translation is an attempt "to emphasize what John's diction may seek to stress in Greek." Yarbrough wisely interprets this passage "in a way that comports with a close reading of the entire epistle." Essentially he believes the sin unto death is "to have a heart unchanged by God's love in Christ and so to persist in convictions and acts and commitments. . ." Overall, so far I've found Yarbrough to be sensitive to the complexities of the text throughout the book of I John (I've not had a chance yet to get the 2 and 3 John) without bogging the reader down with too many details. This series has been one of my favorites and I am already impressed with this latest addition. See an interview with Robert Yarbrough by Colin Hansen here.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Bringing the Bible to Life - Study Guide Series

The Bringing the Bible to Life series is an exciting new line of study guide curriculum that launched this fall with six different guides: Genesis, Esther, John, Romans, Ephesians and Hebrews.

These guides were based on the award-winning NIV Application Commentary series. This means that each guide brings with it the insights of top evangelical scholars like Douglas Moo, John Walton and Karen Jobes to name a few.

But enough with the basic facts, I should tell you why I recommend this series: because for someone who has grown up in church (like myself) this study guide curriculum goes refreshingly deeper than other series. I don't say that to put down other books, or to exonerate myself, but just to recognize that when you grow up in the church it's easy to know all of the "right answers" to common Bible study questions and it's easy to get bored with Bible study. Because this series focuses on scholarship (but still maintains accesibility) it is challenging me to think more deeply about verses I've heard many times, and exposing me to knowledge about the text that you only typically find in commentaries.

I recommend this series to those who want something "deeper" in their small groups and Sunday school classes, and I especially recommend it to those who have been through numerous study guides and programs before - these might reignite your passion to study the Bible again. My Bible study group just started Romans. As we work through it, I'll add other thoughts about the series to this post, so check back!

Andrew Rogers is a Promotions Manager for Zondervan. Check back each Friday for his New From Zondervan reviews.