Categories: The Bible
What resources (besides BibleWise) should I be using to expand my horizons?
This is a frequently asked (and not easily answered) question for Bible scholars. The answer depends in large part on what kind of information you're seeking. Are you looking for a one-volume Bible commentary that will give some measure of historical information and a guideline for each book? Are you interested in exploring a particular book in depth? Or maybe you want to really get into it and pursue an intense study of the whole Bible.
If you're looking for a simple commentary, there are several choices. The Interpreter's Bible has a one-volume commentary that was published in 1971. The Southern Baptists have published the Mercer Commentary on the Bible, which is considerably newer. And the Catholic scholars have updated The [New] Jerome Bible Commentary. I have not used this last one, but scholars have given it high ratings.
If you're interested in exploring a specific book, I would suggest finding out if there is a seminary or bible college in your community. They will have dozens of books on each book of the Bible and might allow you, as an interested party, to use their library. That will also allow you to see which series appeals to your particular interests, as there are many to choose from.
If you want to do an intense study of the whole Bible, the New Interpreter's Bible series is a good place to start and an excellent commentary. Published in the latter 1990's, it comes in twelve volumes, which can often be found online for a reduced price. (Check out eBay, Amazon, Half-price Books, ABE.com, to name just a few.) After that, your choices are limited only by your pocketbook. Many commentary series publish a separate book for each book in the Bible – at 60+ books, it can add up fast. Before you start investing in these, I would again encourage you to check out local libraries or seminary libraries to decide which ones appeal to you. Scholarship has changed a lot in the past 30 years, so be mindful of the copyright dates. Yet, some of the old classics have proven to be timeless (Matthew Henry – 1700's; JA Alexander -- 1860's; Lenski – 1930's; Moffatt 1930-40's; Barclay -- 1960's). Newer series that you might want to check out would include Interpretation (Old and New Testaments), Pillar New Testament Commentaries, Sacra Pagina, Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament, The NIV Application Commentary (Old and New Testaments), The Abingdon New Testament Commentary, The New International Commentary on the Old and New Testaments, The New International Biblical Commentary (Old and New Testaments), and the Augsburg Commentary on the New Testament.
This is not meant to be an exhaustive list. Those of you familiar with The Researched Bible Guide will know that the back cover lists over 60 books in its bibliography. Additionally, Bible Study Seminars is looking to publish a Bible Study Guide within the next two years to help those wanting to do a more systematic study of the Bible.