I am honored to lead the Resources Division at LifeWay and serve with a team of leaders who are passionate to serve the Church in her mission of making disciples. Each Wednesday, I share the heart behind one of the resources our team has developed and give an opportunity for you to register to win a free copy of the resource. This week’s giveaway is the digital edition of the first 11 volumes of our (B&H Publishing) new commentary series, the Christ-Centered Exposition Commentary. Our WORDSearch team helped with this post.
A commentary must never replace one’s reading and study in the Scripture itself, as a commentary is our best attempt to interpret and apply the text to our lives and should not be equated with the text itself. Yet commentaries can be extremely helpful to the teacher/preacher as they help with studying. As you study, here are five questions to ask yourself.
1. What is the Bible saying?
There’s a good reason you can easily find over one hundred English translations of the Bible. Translating Greek and Hebrew into English is a difficult task. Students often consult several translations at the same time to understand subtleties in the text. An expert commentary author will do this for us, explaining exactly what the Bible is saying in a given passage.
2. What does the Bible text mean?
Most commentaries go beyond explaining what the Bible text is saying by uncovering what each passage means. The commentator will take into account the context of each passage. By understanding what the text meant to the culture for which it was originally written, much can be understood regarding what it means for us today.
3. How do I apply what the Bible says?
Many excellent commentaries will go a step further by suggesting what to do with your new understanding of the text. This is known as application. Proper application is extremely helpful when creating sermons and Bible lessons.
4. How does this fit with the whole story of the Bible?
It has often been said that “the Bible is its own best commentary.” This is true and a good commentator will provide plenty of supporting Scriptures and cross-references where one passage will reinforce and shed new light on another. Jesus Christ and the story of redemption can be found in every book of the Bible. B&H Publishing is currently releasing volumes in a new series, the Christ-Centered Exposition Commentary, which is our giveaway resource this week.
5. How should I preach or teach this to others?
Most commentaries are written with the preacher and teacher in mind. You’ll find practical illustrations, applications, outlines, and alliteration that is easy to incorporate into lessons and sermons.
As you use commentaries, you may want to consider a digital commentary. WORDsearch Bible Software, the digital arm of B&H Publishing, serves preachers and students of the Bible with digital editions of thousands of Bible study tools including many commentaries. Digital commentaries offer faster, easier research, and they are less expensive than printed books. For more information on WORDsearch digital Bible study tools, go to www.wordsearchbible.com.
Register here or in the form below before 11:59pm tonight, Wednesday, October 5, to win one of 10 giveaway bundles of WORDsearchSoftware with 11 volumes of the Christ-Centered Exposition Commentary. This package will download to your PC or Mac, and can also be used on any mobile device. We will email the winners on Thursday, October 6.