2004, Vol. 1, No. 2
Additional Sources for the Pastor’s
Professor of New Testament and Exegesis at Assemblies
of God Theological Seminary
Some time ago, this illustration about topical preaching
was making the rounds. A sermon contains the sacred number
of points—three—just like the number in the
Trinity. The sermon’s format is the “typical
topical,” with this outline: Point 1: “Choose
a Biblical Text,” Point 2: “Depart from the
Text,” Point 3: “Never Return to the Text.
Preaching is hard work at all of its stages, but a number
of helps can enrich preachers’ libraries, deepen
their preaching and spirituality and help them avoid identifying
with this story.
Frederick Danker’s Multipurpose Tools for Bible
Study: Revised and Expanded Edition (Augsburg Fortress
Press, 2003) with interactive CD is a treasury chest
of instructions showing how to navigate a host of reference
helps and get the most out of them. For all serious students
of the Bible, this is the book with which to begin. Multipurpose
Tools also has helpful explanatory sections on ancient
documents, as the Dead Sea Scrolls, and current hermeneutical
methods, like Social Scientific Criticism.
Baker Books published Guide to New Testament Exegesis, edited
by Scot McKnight, a series of short and helpful how-to
paperback books that are excellent guides for interpreting
biblical texts. The series is arranged around the various
genre of the New Testament. Individual titles in this series
are Introducing New Testament Interpretation (1992); Interpreting
the Synoptic Gospels (1988); Interpreting the Gospel
of John (1992); Interpreting the Pauline Epistles (1990);
and Interpreting the Book of Revelation (1992).
These books contain a wealth of helps and sources and are
a bonanza for preaching. They will impress students of
the Bible by showing, for example, how to analyze a text
and do word studies.
Of equal assistance is Gordon D. Fee’s New Testament
Exegesis: A Handbook for Students and Pastors, Third
edition (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2002).
In two sections, he provides instructions and examples
for longer exegesis papers as well as for a shorter process
to benefit pastoral preaching. Also very valuable are
Fee’s suggestions about references and other sources.
In this regard, keep in mind David R. Bauer’s An
Annotated Guide to Biblical Resources for Ministry (Peabody,
MA: Hendrickson Publishers, Inc., 2003). This is an excellent
bibliographic source for a variety of works going far
beyond what I can do in this short essay.
Often, commentaries are best purchased because of the
author’s specialization and the preacher’s
needs. Several kinds of commentaries exist: critical, theological,
devotional, archaeological, homiletical, applicational,
and the like. For preaching, a combination of commentary
types is useful so that preachers can secure sufficient
depth while being practical, relevant, up-to-date, and
of course, sensitive to their tradition and experience,
in this case, Pentecostal and Charismatic. Here is a list
of commentaries I place high on the must-have list. I list
a few that are sensitive to, or written by, Pentecostals/charismatics.
Some may be too technical to be read straight through or
for light reading
Gordon Fee is the editor of the New International Commentary
on the New Testament series by Eerdmans. He authored The
First Epistle to the Corinthians (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans
Publishing Co., 1987) and Paul’s Letter to the
Philippians (1995). Fee also published a commentary
on the Pastoral Epistles: 1 and 2 Timothy. New International
Biblical Commentary Series (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson
Publishers, Inc., 1995).
In the NIC series mentioned above, Joel B. Green’s The
Gospel of Luke (1997) is exceptional. He provides
background information seldom seen and takes a different
approach from others in this same series. Another commentary
to be commended is Ben Witherington III, The Acts
of the Apostles: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary, paperback
(Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1997).
Craig Keener is writing some of today’s best commentaries.
Besides his helpful monographs, And Marries Another:
Divorce and Remarriage Teaching in the New Testament (Peabody,
MA: Hendrickson Publishers, Inc., 1991) and Paul,
Women, and Wives: Marriage and Women’s Ministry in
the Letters of Paul (Hendrickson, 1992), he produced The
IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament (Downers
Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1993), A Commentary on
the Gospel of Matthew (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans Publishing
Company, 1999), and The Gospel of John: A Commentary,
2 Vols. (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, Inc., 2003).
This latest volume is one of the most significant commentaries
on John that exists and will probably remain so for some
time to come. Keener has 30,000 references in it.1 He
has two more titles of interest that are forthcoming: a
commentary on Acts for Eerdmans Publishing Company and
1 and 2 Corinthians for Cambridge Press. He also has written Revelation:
The NIV Application Commentary (Grand Rapids: Zondervan,
Students, teachers, pastors and scholars will benefit
from a new Zondervan series Zondervan Illustrated Bible
Backgrounds Commentary. Clinton E. Arnold is editing
the New Testament volumes; the Old Testament volumes are
in process. Spiced with charts, pictures, time lines, maps,
sidebar articles, customs, and the like, it makes a valuable
reference tool. Another commentary in this genre, a companion
to Craig Keener’s IVP Background, is the IVP
Bible Background Commentary: Genesis-Deuteronomy (Downers
Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2000) by John H. Walton
and Victor H. Matthews and The IVP Bible Background
Commentary: Old Testament (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity
Press, 2000), also by Walton and Matthews as well as Mark
Chavalas.3 On this
note, it is appropriate to bring attention to a few other
sources that help immensely with understanding the background
of the Bible. They are the Social World of Ancient Israel:
1250-587 BCE (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers Inc.,
1993); The Family, Religion, and Culture series
including Families in Ancient Israel by Leo
G. Perdue, Joseph, John J. Collins, and Carol Meyers (Louisville,
KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 1997), and Families
in the New Testament World: Households and House Churches by
Carolyn Osiek and David L. Balch (Louisville, KY: Westminster
John Knox Press, 1997).4
Several books provide background assistance for understanding
Acts. One of the best is Witness to the Gospel: The
Theology of Acts edited by I. Howard Marshall and David
Peterson (Grand Rapids: Erdmann’s Publishing Co.,
1998). In the same category is The Book of Acts in Its
First Century Setting , the outstanding series edited
by Bruce W. Winter with consulting editors I. Howard Marshall
and David Gill. The individual volumes are: Ancient
Literary Settings, vol. 1 Bruce W. Winter and Andrew
D. Clarke, eds., (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans Publishing Co.,
1993); Graeco-Roman Setting, Vol. 2, David W.J.
Gill and Conrad Gempf, eds., (1994); Paul in Roman Custody,
Vol. 3, Brian Rapske, (1994); Palestinian Setting,
Vol. 4, Richard Bauckham ( 1995); and Diaspora Setting,
Vol. 5, Irina Levinskaya, (1996). Also useful is the Zondervan
Handbook to the Bible, Completely Revised and Expanded
Edition (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1999).
Of special note is Word Biblical Commentary, a
technical set nearly complete, now published by Nelson
and available on CD through Logos. Also quite helpful is
the Expositor’s Bible Commentary (Zondervan
Publishing House) in either twelve hardback volumes or
an interactive CD. This set, aimed especially for the pastor,
contains excellent introductory articles for the Old and
New Testaments as well as commentary on each Bible book.
Other Reference Works
Publishers of books and software often take advantage
of older works that are in the public domain. They are
free, and publishers do not have to worry about copyright
infringement. However, biblical studies have advanced so
far in linguistics, history, methodology, and archaeology
that older works are rendered obsolete. Nonetheless, some
publishers make millions of dollars from sales of these
public domain materials. Newer and current works are readily
available, and often available in software packages that
make copying and printing their material in word processing
programs. I place the following resources in these categories.
Some of the books listed above could be included here
but are not because of unnecessary duplication. Along with
the public domain works noted above, several of the following
works are available on CDs.
Important aids in Old Testament studies include the multi-volume Theological
Dictionary of the Old Testament edited by G. Johannes
and Helmer Ringgren Botterweck (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans
Publishing Co., 1974) that has several translators, the
first three volumes retranslated to be acceptable to
the academy. Still in process is David J.A. Clines, ed., The
Dictionary of Classical Hebrew, Vols. 1-8 (Sheffield:
Sheffield Academic Press, 1993). Others are R. Laird,
Harris, ed., Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, 2
Vols. (Chicago: Moody Press, 1980); Ernst Jenni and Claus
Westermann, Theological Lexicon of the Old Testament,
3 Vols., translated by publisher (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson
Publishers, 1997); and Willem A. VanGemeren, gen.
ed., New International Dictionary of Old Testament
Theology and Exegesis, Vols. 1-5 (Grand Rapids: Zondervan
Publishing House: 1997).
Horst Balz and Gerhard Schneider, eds. Exegetical Dictionary
of the New Testament, 3 Vols. (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans
Publishing Co., 1990-1993). Colin Brown, gen. ed., The
New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology, 3
Vols. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House: 1975-1978).
Frederick William Danker, rev. & ed., A Greek-English
Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian
Literature. 3rd Edition [also known as BDAG] (Chicago & London:
The University of Chicago Press, 2000). Gerhard, Kittel,
ed., Theological Dictionary of the NewTestament, 10
Vols., Translated and edited by Geoffrey W. Bromiley
(Grand Rapids: Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1965-76). This
also exists in one volume, condensed and abridged, that
is especially useful for pastors and other students (also
available on CD with Scholars Library by Logos). Johannes
P. Louw & Eugene A. Nida, eds., Greek-English
Lexicon of the New Testament Based on Semantic Domains.
2nd Ed. (New York: United Bible Societies:
1988-89). Ceslas Spicq, Theological Lexicon of the
New Testament, 3 Vols., Translated by James D. Ernest
(Peabody: MA: 1994). Verlyn Verbrugge, ed., The NIV
Theological Dictionary of New Testament Words: An Abridgment
of New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology (Grand
Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 2000). Since A
Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other
Early Christian Literature [noted above] is limited
in scope, it is helpful to have at one’s side Liddell
and Scott’s A Greek--English Lexicon (New
York: American Book Co., 1897), and its supplement (Oxford:
Clarendon Press, 1968), containing words from the classical
Greek period and the LXX (Greek translation of the Hebrew
Bible; BC 250--).
Among helpful Bible dictionaries are George Arthur Buttrick,
ed., The Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible:
An Illustrated Encyclopedia, 4 Vols. (Nashville: Abingdon
Press: 1962) [Supplementary Volume (1976)]; Craig A. Evans & Stanley
E. Porter, eds., Dictionary of New Testament Backgrounds (Downers
Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2000). Joel B. Green, Scot
McKnight, and I. Howard Marshall, eds., Dictionary of
Jesus and the Gospels (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity
Press, 1992); David Noel Freedman, Editor-in-chief, The
Anchor Bible Dictionary, 6 Vols. (New York, et. al.:
Doubleday, 1992). Gerald F Hawthorne, Ralph P. Martin,
and Daniel G. Reid, Dictionary of Paul and His Letters (Downers
Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1993); and Ralph P. Martin
and Peter H. Davids, Dictionary of the Later New Testament & Its
Developments (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press,
Also important for students of the Bible are books that
provide background information. These secondary resources
should not replace one’s personal engagement of the
primary text, the Bible itself, but they can be helpful.
Raymond B. Dillard and Tremper Longman III, An Introduction
to the Old Testament (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing
House, 1994); Raymond E. Brown, An Introduction to the
New Testament (New York: Doubleday, 1997); and D.A.
Carson, Douglas J. Moo, and Leon Morris, An Introduction
to the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing
A recent publication expressing the need for a biblical
theology covering all the issues is T. Desmond Alexander,
et. al., eds. New Dictionary of Biblical Theology.
Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2000. This volume
is in three parts: (1) discussion of issues, (2) articles
on backgrounds of books and (3) articles on biblical theological
topics. The purpose of this reference is to encourage more
biblical theological preaching and understanding—a
Old Testament Theology
Helpful works in Old Testament Theology are Brevard S.
Childs, Old Testament Theology in a Canonical Context.
(Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1986); William A. Dyrness, Themes:
Old Testament Theology (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity
Press, 1979), valuable because Dyrness takes a cross-cultural
approach; Walther Eichrodt, Theology of the Old Testament,
2 Vols. (Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, n.d.); Robert
L. Hubbard, Jr., Robert K. Johnston, and Robert P. Meye, Studies
in Old Testament Theology: Historical and Contemporary
Images of God and His People (Dallas: Word Publishing,
1992); Walter C. Kaiser, Toward Rediscovering the Old
Testament (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House,
1987); Elmer A. Martens, God’s Design: A Focus
on Old Testament Theology (Grand Rapids: Baker Book
House, 1981); Ralph L. Smith, Old Testament Theology:
Its History, Method, and Message (Nashville: Broadman & Holman
Publishers, 1993); and Gerhard von Rad, Old Testament
Theology, 2 Vols. (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1967).
Do not ignore some because they are perceived as being
moderate or liberal. For example, von Rad, a German scholar,
has one of the best chapters relating to the exile, new
exodus, and suffering servant of Isaiah that one can find.5 Surprisingly,
the more conservative scholar, Kaiser in his Toward
Rediscovering the Old Testament, largely ignores this
important Isaiah material. New Testament scholars know
these topics of Isaiah, and his Spirit related material,
to be significant.
New Testament Theology
Significant for New Testament Theology are G. R. Beasley-Murray, Gospel
of Life: Theology in the Fourth Gospel. (Peabody,
MA: Hendrickson Publishers, Inc., 1991); James D.G. Dunn, The
Theology of Paul the Apostle (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans
Publishing Co., 1998) [a must read for Chapter 5 “The
Beginning of Salvation,” Par. 13 – “The
Crucial Transition,” Par. 15 – “Participation
in Christ,” Par. 16 – “The Gift of
the Spirit”; Chapter 6: “The Process of Salvation,” Par.
18 – “The Eschatological Tension,” Par.
19 – “Israel”; Chapter 7: “The
Church,” Par. 20 – “The Body of Christ,” Par.
21 – “Ministry and Office”; Chapter
9: “Epilogue,” Par. 25 – “Prolegomena
to a Theology of Paul”]; L.Goppelt, Theology
of the New Testament, 2 Vols. (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans
Publishing Co., 1981; 1982); D. Guthrie, New Testament
Theology (Downer’s Grove, IL: InterVarsity
Press, 1981); George E. Ladd, A Theology of the New
Testament (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans Publishing Co.,
1974); Leon Morris, New Testament Theology (Grand
Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1986); and R. F.
O'Toole, The Unity of Luke's Theology (Wilmington:
Michael Glazier, 1984). One, just off the press, comes
with high expectations and I find it very useful: I.
Howard Marshall, New Testament Theology (Downers
Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2004). Not only does Marshall
introduce the field of biblical theology, a most needful
area; he also gives the theology of individual books
Software Bible Programs
I judge a software programs by at least three criteria.
(1) Does it provide me with the information I need for
Bible study easily and quickly? (2) Since public domain
material is everywhere, even on the Internet, does it have
the capacity to add to its library new and updated books?
(3) Does it notify of and provide updates and fixes (patches,
etc.) for its existing software over the Internet?
Although a number of Bible software programs exist, I
recommend two—each with strengths and weaknesses—Bible
Works 6 and Logos.6 Both
have powerful capacities to provide more data than a person
can assimilate. For example, one can select what information
to seek on a single Bible verse from a command center or
tool bar, give the command, and up to hundreds of pages
of information are generated in a matter of seconds. These
results give parsing, lexical definitions, concordance
and commentary data, and other information. Bible Works
6 is more user friendly and powerful, in my opinion.
I use it for Bible material management. It has numerous
texts and translations that easily can be accessed in seconds
once the user becomes acquainted with its commands. It
also offers an aid for diagramming sentences and for doing
syntactical analysis (most helpful for Bible study and
sermon preparation); it has a biblical timeline that can
be manipulated and copied for excellent PowerPoint® presentations
as well as an impressive chart system for showing word
frequencies. BW 6 has redundancies of command—there
are numerous ways to get at the same search or work. One
weakness of BW 6 is that it does not have the number
of add-ons that Logos does. I have both programs and use
each for different purposes. Logos has a host of helps
that can be purchased and incorporated into its search
capacity. Many of the references and lexicons can be bought
on CDs and they can be included into one’s word search.
For example, one can search for “Abraham” or “faith” and
references will show up in writings such as those of Josephus,
Philo, and the Church Fathers. One can get an InterVarsity
set of references as well as the large Word Biblical Commentaries. Anchor
Bible Dictionary also can be added on.
All of these software packages can be loaded on to a laptop
computer and carried around the world. This is very useful
for missionaries, not only for having a great library in
the middle of Africa or Singapore (for me), but more than
likely (BW6, especially) it has a translation for
one’s own place of ministry in the world.
I have covered more than three points here. While one
can conclude that these suggestions are not sacred, they
will be, I trust, helpful. The references and lists here
are only the beginning of a host of new materials that
aid the preacher to “feed the sheep” and never depart from the
biblical text—something sacred in itself.
1. The publisher’s
website says more than 20,000; he says 30,000, e-mail message.
2. On this note, The
NIV Application Commentary series published by Zondervan
is to be commended. These volumes have all the requisite
elements—contemporary, specialization in the
field, technical questions, and application.
3. Old Testament commentaries
are not abundant in these lists, in part because Spirit
issues are more directly related to the New Testament.
4. See Susan R. Garrett’s
review of the latter in Christian Century,
115:35 (12/16/98):1223-26. Find it at http://search.epnet.com/direct.asp?an=1385535&db=afh.
5. 2: 238-62. Just “spit
out the bones” and
take the meat.
6. Find more information at www.bibleworks.com and www.logos.com/. If
ordering Logos Bible Software, I recommend the Scholars Library package.
Friday, June 16, 2006 10:22 AM