Zondervan’s new The Story of God Bible Commentary series is the one of the latest attempts to provide Bible exposition in its redemptive-historical light for contemporary readers. The Old Testament volumes approach each successive biblical passage from three angles.
- Listen to the Story: a reading of the biblical text along with any possible ancient Near Eastern literary connections.
- Explain the Story: not a verse-by-verse commentary but an exposition of the passage at hand in light of its immediate context and the Bible’s own “big story.”
- Live the Story: theological application of the teaching of each passage to contemporary life and issues of contemporary concern.
These are not intended to be “academic” commentaries, but attention is given to matters of special difficulty or concern, and sufficient explanations of each successive passage are provided. The audience in mind seems to be the busy preacher and other Christian readers.
Tremper Longman is widely recognized for his expertise in Old Testament studies, and his Genesis volume is a rich resource for the preacher. The expositions and redemptive-historical remarks are very well-informed, and the theological applications (“Live the Story”) are consistently of contemporary significance (dare I use the word, “relevant”?), and he insightfully connects the biblical text to issues of life for today’s readers. Of course it goes without saying that no commentary – especially on Genesis! – will make all readers equally happy at every turn. Not all will appreciate his understanding of the creation days, and most evangelicals (like me!) will regret the lack of definitiveness with regard to the historicity of Adam – a needless weakness, it seems to me, and an opportunity missed for a work that is otherwise so valuable. But all will appreciate his careful understanding of the biblical text itself and that within the Bible’s larger story. The remarks are relatively brief yet consistently informative and highly suggestive. Doubtless many preachers will find his commentary to be a fertile source in sermon preparation.
Fred G. Zaspel
Buy the books
GENESIS (THE STORY OF GOD BIBLE COMMENTARY)