This volume helps readers understand the historical and cultural background of the New Testament. Brimming with lavish, full color photos and graphics, each book walks you verse-by-verse through the New Testament.
Reading this volume is like slipping on a set of glasses that lets you read the Bible through the eyes of a first-century reader! Discoveries await you that will snap the world of the New Testament into gripping immediacy. Things that seem mystifying, puzzling, or obscure will take on tremendous meaning when you view them in their ancient context. You’ll deepen your understanding of the teachings of Jesus. You’ll discover the close, sometimes startling interplay between God’s kingdom and the practical affairs of the church. Best of all, you’ll gain a deepened awareness of the Bible’s relevance for your life.
“Divorce for adultery was not optional, but mandatory, among many groups in ancient Judaism, because adultery produced a state of impurity that, as a matter of legal fact, dissolved the marriage.” (Page 11)
“If the Magi came from the environs of Babylon, they would have traveled approximately nine hundred miles. Since they would have had to make arrangements for the journey and gather a traveling party, it could have taken several months from the time they first saw the star until they arrived in Jerusalem (cf. Ezra and the returning exiles in Ezra 7:9).” (Page 14)
“Contrary to the traditional Christmas story, the ‘inn’ (katalyma) was probably not an ancient hotel with rooms to rent and an innkeeper, but either a guest room in a private residence (see 22:11) or an informal public shelter (a ‘caravansary’) where travelers would gather for the night.39 In the parable of the Good Samaritan, Luke uses a different term for a public inn (pandocheion, 10:34). In any case, crowded conditions force Joseph and Mary from normal lodging to a place reserved for animals. This could have been (1) a lower-level room or stall for animals attached to the living quarters of a private residence, (2) a cave used as a shelter for animals (as some ancient traditions have claimed),40 or even (3) a feeding place under the open sky, perhaps in the town square.” (Pages 341–342)
“The term ‘Magi’ (magoi) was originally used in early records to refer to a priestly caste in ancient Persia, perhaps followers of Zoroaster, the Persian teacher and prophet. Babylonian elements were also introduced. These Magi were leading figures in the religious court life of their country of origin, employing a variety of scientific (astrology), diplomatic (wisdom), and religious (magical incantations) means to try to understand present and future life. This is in distinction from a more common type of ‘magician’ (e.g., Acts 13:6, 8).” (Page 14)
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.
Written in a clear, engaging style, this volume 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 this volume. With Logos, you can search 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.