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The Baker Illustrated Bible Background Commentary

, 2020
ISBN: 9781493431755

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Fascinating cultural and historical insights into God's Word.

We are far removed from the time and culture of the biblical world, and this distance easily leads to misunderstanding and misinterpretation. Our understanding and appreciation of God's Word increase exponentially when we know the historical and cultural context in which the biblical books were written. Richly illustrated with full-color photos throughout, The Baker Illustrated Bible Background Commentary includes articles by leading Old and New Testament scholars on subjects such as

  • countries, cities, and cultures of the Holy Land and the Greco-Roman world
  • trade, travel, and business
  • religious groups and customs
  • fashion, athletics, feasts, and celebrations
  • honor, shame, and hospitality
  • and much more

This colorful, informative volume is an essential companion for pastors, teachers, and laypeople who want to enhance their personal Bible study and help others do the same.

Resource Experts
  • Examines religious groups and customs
  • Explores themes of honor, shame, and hospitality
  • Provides an essential companion for pastors, teachers, and laypeople

Top Highlights

“The NT uses the name ‘Herod’ for a variety of members of the Herodian dynasty. Here the king is Herod Agrippa I, son of Aristobulus IV and grandson of Herod the Great. He had influential friends in Rome, including the emperors Caligula and Claudius, and eventually he was appointed king over Judea, Samaria, Galilee, Perea, Iturea, and Trachonitus, regions almost as vast as those ruled by his famous grandfather. He was well liked by his Jewish subjects and was viewed as a defender of the Jewish faith.” (Page 1030)

“The term ‘Christian’ evidently was coined by non-Christians in Antioch in order to distinguish the followers of Jesus from other Jews (cf. 26:28; 1 Pet. 4:16). It does not mean ‘little Christs,’ as some have claimed, but rather refers to followers or supporters of Christ.” (Page 1029)

“He was one of Jesus’s ‘inner circle’ of three disciples—Peter, James, and John (Mark 5:37; 9:2; 13:3; 14:33). Death ‘with the sword’ usually means beheading.” (Page 1030)

“Four squads of four soldiers (12:4). The four squads probably rotated, each taking a day watch and a night watch.” (Page 1030)

“punishment that their captives would have received” (Page 1031)

I love this book for three reasons. First, though the book is large, the articles are short, to the point, and cover a range of issues. Second, the articles are clear and informative and will make better readers and followers of Jesus. Third, the book is beautifully designed and supplemented. Reading the Bible is a communal, contextual, and constructive act. Thankfully, this book brings readers into conversation with many who have studied the context of Scripture in depth. This is a great resource that will serve the church for many years to come.

—Patrick Schreiner, assistant professor of New Testament language and literature, Western Seminary

Scott Duvall and Daniel Hays have assembled a first-class team of biblical scholars to explore the important background material related to both the Old Testament and the New. More than merely a survey of dates, times, places, people, and events, as significant as those things may be, The Baker Illustrated Bible Background Commentary provides illumination to challenging and perplexing interpretive issues, guiding readers to fresh understandings of the biblical text. Drawing on recent archaeological findings and insights from ancient sources, the informative articles, combined with the well-researched textual commentary, provide a rich resource for students, teachers, and pastors. As an added bonus, the book is helpfully and beautifully illustrated. It is a genuine joy to recommend this splendid resource.

—David S. Dockery, Distinguished Professor of Theology, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary

Hays and Duvall have done the church a favor in bringing to us The Baker Illustrated Bible Background Commentary. By offering keen theological insight into the text, helpful historical and cultural analysis, and full-color pictures to go along with it, they have given every person desiring to grow in their knowledge of the Bible an invaluable tool to do so. This is a wonderful resource that both pastors and lay leaders will find extremely beneficial in their teaching and study of Scripture. I highly recommend it.

—Dr. Jarrett Stephens, teaching pastor, Prestonwood Baptist Church

J. Scott Duvall (PhD, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary) is professor of New Testament and J. C. and Mae Fuller Chair of Biblical Studies at Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, Arkansas.

J. Daniel Hays (PhD, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary) is dean of the School of Christian Studies and professor of biblical studies at Ouachita Baptist University.


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    Dennis Adams


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