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Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary: New Testament and Old Testament (9 vols.)
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Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary: New Testament and Old Testament (9 vols.)

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Zondervan 2002–2009

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The Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary: Old Testament and New Testament (9 vols.) brings to life the world of the Scriptures through informative entries and full-color photos and graphics. Backed by the best scholarship, readers will find it is the premier commentary set for connecting with the historical and cultural context of the Bible.

This collection includes five volumes taking you passage-by-passage through each book of the Old Testament, as well as four volumes walking you verse-by-verse through the books of the New Testament. It introduces the cultural and historical contexts surrounding Scripture, bringing you a deeper understanding of passages that may have been confusing to you in the past. Uncover the rich beauty and significance of David’s psalms. Deepen your understanding of Jesus’ teachings. Discover the Bible’s relevance in your life.

Written in a clear, engaging style, the Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary: Old Testament and New Testament (9 vols.) provides a new and accessible approach that more technical expository and exegetical commentaries don’t offer. What’s more, Logos Bible Software gives you the most advanced tools and features for reading and studying the Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary. With Logos, you can search the entire nine-volume set by topic or Scripture reference. Learn more about the people, places, and historical events behind the text you’re studying. Incorporate pictures, illustrations, and graphics in sermons or lesson plans. Find relevant results from this commentary when you run a Passage Guide.

The Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary: Old Testament (5 vols.) was winner of the 2011 Christian Book Award for Bible Reference.

Key Features

  • Thousands of photographs, drawings, maps, diagrams, and charts provide a visual feast which breathes fresh life into the text
  • Passage-by-passage commentary presents archaeological findings, historical explanations, geographic insights, notes on manners and customs, and more
  • Commentary based on relevant papyri, inscriptions, archaeological discoveries
  • Studies of Judaism, Roman culture, Hellenism, and other features of the world of the New Testament
  • Reflections on the Bible’s relevance for twenty-first century living


  • Clinton E. Arnold (Ph.D., University of Aberdeen), General Editor and author of chapters on Acts, Ephesians, and Colossians
  • David W. Baker (Ph.D., University of London), Isaiah
  • S. M. Baugh (Ph.D., University of California, Irvine), 1 & 2 Timothy, Titus, and Philemon
  • Daniel I. Block (D.Phil., University of Liverpool), Judges
  • Daniel Bodi (Ph.D., Union Theological Seminary), Ezekiel
  • Eugene Carpenter (Ph.D., Fuller Theological Seminary), Deuteronomy
  • Mark W. Chavalas (Ph.D., University of California at Los Angeles), Joel, Zephaniah
  • R. Dennis Cole (Ph.D., New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary), Numbers
  • Izak Cornelius (D.Lit., University of Stellenbosch), Job
  • Peter H. Davids (Ph.D., University of Manchester), 1 Peter
  • Paul Ferris Jr. (Ph.D., Dropsie College for Hebrew and Cognate Learning), Lamentations
  • Roy E. Gane (Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley), Leviticus
  • David E. Garland (Ph.D., Southern Baptist Theological Seminary), Mark
  • Duane Garrett (Ph.D., Baylor University), Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs
  • David W. J. Gill (D.Phil., University of Oxford), 1 Corinthians
  • George H. Guthrie (Ph.D., Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary), Hebrews
  • Richard S. Hess (Ph.D., Hebrew Union College), Joshua
  • John W. Hilber (Ph.D., Cambridge University), Psalms
  • Andrew E. Hill (Ph.D., University of Michigan), Malachi
  • Kenneth Hoglund (Ph.D., Duke University), Haggai, Zechariah
  • Moyer V. Hubbard (D.Phil., University of Oxford), 2 Corinthians
  • Philip S. Johnston (Ph.D. Cambridge University), Amos
  • Andreas J. Köstenberger (Ph.D., Trinity Evangelical Divinity School), John
  • V. Philips Long (Ph.D., Cambridge University), 1 & 2 Samuel
  • Tremper Longman III (Ph.D., Yale University), Proverbs
  • Ernest C. Lucas (Ph.D., University of Liverpool), Daniel
  • Frederick J. Mabie (Ph.D., University of California at Los Angeles), 2 Chronicles
  • Dale W. Manor (Ph.D., University of Arizona), Ruth
  • Ralph P. Martin (Ph.D., University of London, King’s College), Galatians
  • Daniel M. Master (Ph.D., Harvard University), Micah
  • Victor H. Matthews (Ph.D., Brandeis University), Habakkuk
  • Alan R. Millard (M.Phil., Oxford University; FSA), Obadiah/Nahum
  • John M. Monson (Ph.D., Harvard University), 1 Kings
  • Douglas J. Moo (Ph.D., University of St. Andrews), Romans, James, 2 Peter, and Jude
  • Iain Provan (Ph.D., Cambridge University), 2 Kings
  • Simon Sherwin (Ph.D., St. Edmund’s College, Cambridge), 1 Chronicles
  • Mark L. Strauss (Ph.D., University of Aberdeen), Luke
  • J. Glen Taylor (Ph.D., Yale University), Hosea
  • Frank Thielman (Ph.D., Duke University), Philippians
  • Anthony Tomasino (Ph.D., University of Chicago), Esther
  • Steven M. Voth (Ph.D. Hebrew Union College), Jeremiah
  • John H. Walton (Ph.D., Hebrew Union College). Genesis, Jonah
  • Jeffrey A. D. Weima (Ph.D., University of Toronto), 1 & 2 Thessalonians
  • Bruce Wells (Ph.D., John Hopkins University), Exodus
  • Michael J. Wilkins (Ph.D., Fuller Theological Seminary), Matthew
  • Mark W. Wilson (D.Litt. et Phil., University of South Africa), Revelation
  • Julie L. Wu (Ph.D., Fuller Theological Seminary), Galatians
  • Edwin M. Yamauchi (Ph. D., D., Brandeis University), Ezra, Nehemiah
  • Robert W. Yarbrough (Ph.D., University of Aberdeen), 1, 2, 3 John

Praise for the Print Edition

This is a unique and important commentary. It is a milestone in the collection and comparative interpretation of ancient Near Eastern texts, pictures, and other archaeological materials as well as geographical, historical, and cultural information as they relate to the Old Testament. There is nothing else like it available today. . . . There will always be disagreements between scholars on such matters, but the many comparative and archaeological resources assembled in these volumes make it a veritable gold mine for those who desire to take the ancient context of the Lord’s work and word seriously in their study, teaching, and preaching of Holy Scripture.

—Richard E. Averbeck, Professor of Old Testament and Semitic Languages, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

As a pastor, I am certain that the Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary: Old Testament is a deeply valuable tool for ministry. With rock-solid scholarship, relevant commentary, and gripping visual illustrations, this will be a great tool for believers for years to come.

—Kevin G. Harney, pastor and author of Organic Outreach for Ordinary People

To me, every Christian should own these commentaries. I say that very seriously because when you study Scripture without looking into the historical and cultural background of what was happening when each part of the Bible was written, we miss incredibly so much meaning, understanding and depth. Using these commentaries when studying Scripture turns our study into a multi-dimensional and extremely colorful study. You will have so many ‘Oh! That’s what that means!’ or ‘Now that makes sense!’ moments when studying with this commentary. I cannot imagine doing any study of the Bible without it quite honestly and couldn’t recommend a commentary of this type any higher.

—Dan Kimball, pastor and author of They Like Jesus but Not the Church

This tool is a rich gift to everyone who seeks to teach Scriptures.

—John Ortberg, author and pastor

This is an impressive and rich resource . . . judiciously researched. . . . Notwithstanding their traditional approach to Scripture, I heartily recommend this series with enthusiasm.

—Shalom Paul, Professor Emeritus and former Chair of the Bible Department, Hebrew University

Enables scholars, pastors, and laity to access the rich data from over 170 years of explorations and excavations in the Near East.

—K. Lawsom Younger, Professor of Old Testament, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

Overall, this is a very fine set that will help a reader to gain a foundation of understanding the historical environment of the first century AD, the context in which the New Testament was inspired, written, and disseminated throughout the early Church. It would of course make an excellent addition to a church library.

—Kevin P. Edgecomb, biblicalia

This is one of the most helpful resources to me when preparing Bible studies and messages. Each New Testament book is written by a reputable, evangelical scholar who has expertise in that particular book. For each New Testament book, there is a very helpful capsule in the beginning that tells you the important facts of each book (author, date, occasion, and key themes). Next, there is a helpful brief commentary for the whole book. There are excellent, color in-text maps as you read the commentary. Furthermore, there are great feature articles that give you insights into some of the pertinent beliefs, gods/goddesses, and key terms that are featured in the New Testament book. There is also a capsule on ‘reflections’ that help the reader ponder and meditate on key themes and concepts. Finally, there is a wonderful annotated bibliography at the end of each book for further, suggested reading. I give it my highest recommendation and believe that it will be an excellent resource for laypersons, seminary students, pastors, professors, and Sunday school teachers.

—Online Reviewer

Product Details

  • Title: Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary: New Testament and Old Testament
  • Publisher: Zondervan
  • Volumes: 9
  • Pages: 4,852

Volume 1: Genesis, Exodus, Numbers, Deuteronomy

  • Editor: John H. Walton
  • Publisher: Zondervan
  • Publication Date: 2009
  • Pages: 571

Volume 2: Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel

  • Editor: John H. Walton
  • Publisher: Zondervan
  • Publication Date: 2009
  • Pages: 673

Volume 3: 1 & 2 Kings, 1 & 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther

  • Editor: John H. Walton
  • Publisher: Zondervan
  • Publication Date: 2009
  • Pages: 529

Volume 4: Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel

  • Editor: John H. Walton
  • Publisher: Zondervan
  • Publication Date: 2009
  • Pages: 598

Volume 5: The Minor Prophets, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs

  • Editor: John H. Walton
  • Publisher: Zondervan
  • Publication Date: 2009
  • Pages: 557

Volume 1: Matthew, Mark, Luke

  • Editor: Clinton E. Arnold
  • Publisher: Zondervan
  • Publication Date: 2002
  • Pages: 516

Volume 2: John, Acts

  • Editor: Clinton E. Arnold
  • Publisher: Zondervan
  • Publication Date: 2002
  • Pages: 504

Volume 3: Romans to Philemon

  • Editor: Clinton E. Arnold
  • Publisher: Zondervan
  • Publication Date: 2002
  • Pages: 520

Volume 4: Hebrews to Revelation

  • Editor: Clinton E. Arnold
  • Publisher: Zondervan
  • Publication Date: 2002
  • Pages: 384

About the Editors

John H. Walton is the professor of Old Testament at Wheaton College Graduate School. He is the author or coauthor of several books, including Chronological and Background Charts of the Old Testament; Ancient Israelite Literature in Its Cultural Context; Covenant: God’s Purpose, God’s Plan; The IVP Bible Background Commentary: Old Testament; and A Survey of the Old Testament.

Clinton E. Arnold serves as the professor of New Testament language and literature and the department chair of New Testament studies at Talbot School of Theology in La Mirada, California. He has contributed to many journals such as Novum Testamentum and Journal for the Study of the New Testament, and is the author of How We Got the Bible, Ephesians: Power and Magic, and Powers of Darkness: Principalities and Powers in Paul's Letters, among others.