Since a commentary is a fundamental tool for the expositor or teacher who seeks to interpret and apply Scripture in the church or classroom, the NAC focuses on communicating the theological structure and content of each biblical book. The writers seek to illuminate both the historical meaning and contemporary significance of Holy Scripture.
In its attempt to make a unique contribution to the Christian community, the NAC focuses on two concerns. First, the commentary emphasizes how each section of a book fits together so that the reader becomes aware of the theological unity of each book and of Scripture as a whole. The writers, however, remain aware of the Bible’s inherently rich variety. Second, the NAC is produced with the conviction that the Bible primarily belongs to the church. We believe that scholarship and the academy provide an indispensable foundation for biblical understanding and the service of Christ, but the editors and authors of this series have attempted to communicate the findings of their research in a manner that will build up the whole body of Christ. Thus, the commentary concentrates on theological exegesis, while providing practical, applicable exposition.
Examining the words of admonition, rebuke, hope and faith within Isaiah and relating those themes to today, Gary V. Smith offers this commentary on the first half of Isaiah. Using the text, he encourages believers today as individuals and as a community to humble themselves, and fully trust in God. Smith reflects a high regard for scriptural integrity, and takes into account current scholarship while emphasizing Isaiah's overall unity.
“The experience of having a glimpse of the majesty of God’s glory dramatically impacted his theology and caused him to understand God’s purpose for his life in a new way.” (Page 183)
“The geographic location of the tribes of Zebulun and Naphtali indicates that the author is referring to the northern part of Galilee, the area of Israel first humbled by foreign military invasions, and the region most influenced by foreign cultures and religions. Although unspecified in this verse, Isaiah may refer to gloom caused by recent invasions by the Assyrians under Tiglath-pileser III (he conquered this area in the Syro-Ephraimite War). This is the same general area as Galilee of the Gentiles, a negative title that shows how pervasive non-Hebrew people and cultures were in this area.” (Page 238)
“The enigmatic nature of this sign, the avoidance of naming this woman, and the absence of modifiers like ‘your wife, your young woman, this young woman’ argues against this being either Ahaz’s or Isaiah’s wife.” (Page 213)
“The name of the promised new son is Immanuel (ʿimmānû ʾēl) ‘God is with us.’ The name of this son suggests a general hope for an heir who will be a godly Davidic ruler to replace Ahaz at some point in the future, but the name Immanuel is not applied to any specific situation until a later message (8:8, 10; 9:1–7).” (Pages 212–213)
“The shocking, life changing aspect of this vision was that Isaiah himself experienced a vivid and powerful personal meeting with God that allowed him to have a firsthand glimpse of the supernatural realm. Cultural imagery and religious platitudes about God were suddenly overpowered by the reality of the overwhelming experience of his awesome presence.” (Page 192)
The New American Commentary is a user-friendly tool for advanced Bible study which fills an important need for pastors, students, and laity alike. It is an exciting combination of exegetical insight, scholarly depth and spiritual insight, and written to be read. An important new resource for serious students of the Bible. The New American Commentary belongs on every pastor's shelf and in every church library.
—David E. Aune, Loyola University
The New American Commentary sets the standard for evangelical biblical scholarship. It is perhaps the most helpful commentary series designed for the work of the pastor and preacher. An accessible approach to the biblical text is backed up with solid biblical scholarship. Not only Southern Baptists but all evangelicals should greet this commentary series with great enthusiasm. It has earned their trust.
—Dr. R. Albert Mohler, Jr., President, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
Gary V. Smith, Ph.D. was a member of the translation teams for both the NLT and HCSB Bible translation projects and has written numerous articles, reviews, and books on the Old Testament. These include Hosea, Amos, and Micah for the NIV Application Commentary series and Isaiah in the New American Commentary series. He has taught Old Testament at Bethel Theological Seminary in Minnesota and was Professor of Old Testament and Hebrew at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Missouri. In 2004 he began teaching at Union University, where he is currently Professor of Christian Studies.