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How is the "Hearing the Message of Scripture" Commentary Series Unique?

Categories Old Testament Book Excerpts

Hms_contributorsYesterday Zondervan Academic introduced a new Old Testament commentary series, the Hearing the Message of Scripture series. It will serve and assist pastors and teachers in their study of the Old Testament by helping them better understand and convey the meaning behind each text.

We believe this new commentary series fills a unique, vital gap between those series that focus on word-by-word and verse-by-verse analysis or theological reflections. Contributors to the series still provide such expected analysis, but they go one step further.

As series editor Daniel I. Block explains, "The primary goal of this commentary series is to help serious students of Scripture, as well as those charged with preaching and teaching the Word of God, to hear the messages of Scripture as biblical authors intended them to be heard…"

In other words, careful attention is paid to the flow and argument of the texts' original authors.

He goes on, "The commentators in this series recognize that too little attention has been paid to biblical authors as rhetoricians, to their larger rhetorical and theological agendas, and especially to the means by which they tried to achieve their goals."

Thus this new, unique series aims to help pastors and Bible teachers hear the original message of Scripture, and then convey that message through relevant, impactful teachings.

As you can see from the list of volume contributors, the Hearing the Message of Scripture series is stacked with leading Old Testament biblical scholars. Read the excerpt from the introduction to the series to further understand how this new series is unique and will benefit your own study of the Old Testament.

Download a PDF sample from Obadiah (Block) and Jonah (Youngblood) to preview these inaugural volumes.

 

Modern audiences are often taken in by the oratorical skill and creativity of preachers and teachers. However, they tend to forget that the authority of proclamation is directly related to the correspondence of the key points of the sermon to the message the biblical authors were trying to communicate. Since we confess that “all Scripture [including the entirety of the OT] is God-breathed and useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that [all God’s people] may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Tim 3:16 – 17 NIV), it seems essential that those who proclaim its message should pay close attention to the rhetorical agendas of biblical authors.

Too often modern readers, including preachers, are either baffled by OT texts, or they simply get out of them that for which they are looking. Many commentaries available to pastors and teachers try to resolve the dilemma either through word-by-word and verse-by-verse analysis or synthetic theological reflections on the text without careful attention to the flow and argument of that text.

The commentators in this series recognize that too little attention has been paid to biblical authors as rhetoricians, to their larger rhetorical and theological agendas, and especially to the means by which they tried to achieve their goals. Like effective communicators in every age, biblical authors were driven by a passion to communicate a message. So we must inquire not only what that message was, but also what strategies they used to impress their message on their hearers’ ears. This reference to “hearers” rather than to readers is intentional, since the biblical texts were written to be heard…

While the contributors to this series acknowledge with Paul that every Scripture—that is, every passage in the Hebrew Bible—is God-breathed, we also recognize that the inspired authors possessed a vast repertoire of rhetorical and literary strategies. These included not only the special use of words and figures of speech, but also the deliberate selection, arrangement, and shaping of ideas. The primary goal of this commentary series is to help serious students of Scripture, as well as those charged with preaching and teaching the Word of God, to hear the messages of Scripture as biblical authors intended them to be heard…

[W]hen dealing with specific texts, the authors of the commentaries in this series are concerned with three principal questions:

  1. What are the principal theological points the biblical writers are making? 
  2. How do biblical writers make those points?
  3. What significance does the message of the present text have for understanding the message of the biblical book within which it is embedded and the message of the Scriptures as a whole?

The achievement of these goals requires careful attention to the way ideas are expressed in the OT, including the selection and arrangement of materials and the syntactical shaping of the text.

…Rather than focusing on words or phrases, contributors to this series will concentrate on the flow of thought in the biblical writings, both at the macroscopic level of entire compositions and at the microscopic level of individual text units; in so doing we hope to help other readers of Scripture grasp both the message and the rhetorical force of OT texts. When we hear the message of Scripture, we gain access to the mind of God. 

Job, NIVAC

Hearing the Message of Scripture Commentary Series

Edited by Daniel I. Block

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Introducing the "Hearing the Message of Scripture" Series
Introducing the "Hearing the Message of Scripture" Series Zondervan Academic is pleased to introduce a new commentary series on the Old Testament, the Hearing the Message of Scri...
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