The Believers Church Bible Commentary Series is published for all who seek more fully to understand the original message of Scripture and its meaning for today—Sunday school teachers, members of Bible study groups, students, pastors, and other seekers. The series is based on the conviction that God is still speaking to all who will listen, and that the Holy Spirit makes the Word a living and authoritative guide for all who want to know and do God’s will.
Each volume illuminates the Scriptures; provides historical and cultural background; shares necessary theological, sociological, and ethical meanings; and, in general, makes "the rough places plain." Critical issues are not avoided, but neither are they moved into the foreground as debates among scholars. The series aids in the interpretive process, but it does not attempt to supersede the authority of the Word and Spirit as discerned in the gathered church.
The Believers Church Bible Commentary is a cooperative project of Brethren in Christ Church, Brethren Church, Church of the Brethren, Mennonite Brethren Church, and Mennonite Church.
The commentaries are organized into sections according to the major divisions of the text. Each section comprises five parts:
Terry L. Brensinger explains the ups and downs of the Israelites during the period of the Judges. By tracing developments under each judge, he shows how Israel's condition deteriorates to near-total chaos. The book of Judges begins with depictions of Israel's obedience and faithfulness but ends with disunited and leaderless tribes. The people tend to take their focus away from serving the Lord. Instead, they follow other gods, seek false security, and do what is right in their own eyes.
By exploring the circumstances behind this decline, Brensinger provides practical applications for such contemporary issues as religious unfaithfulness, the nature of community, the roles and responsibilities of leaders, and war and violence.
“Enough is known, however, for the Israelite strategists to design a devilish plan that at least calls to mind the fate of the Levite’s concubine. According to the plan, particular attention focuses on a period during the festival when the local girls join in the celebratory dancing (21:21). Before this event, the two hundred unmarried Benjaminites are to find suitable hiding places in the surrounding vineyards. When the girls of Shiloh appear, each waiting Benjaminite can suddenly seize the woman of his choice.” (Page 214)
“The ultimate problem, as elsewhere in Judges, is not the oppressor, but the evil in which Israel is so thoroughly entangled. Gideon, therefore, must put his own house in order before carrying out the more extensive work awaiting him. As such, the assignment has the potential to alienate him from both his family as well as his clan.” (Page 83)
“Whether out of humility or simple lack of self-confidence, he refers to his own unimpressive credentials. Moses’ apparent inferiority complex (Exod. 3:11) has become Gideon’s insignificant family heritage. To both, God’s answer is the same: I will be with you. Neither, however, is so easily convinced.” (Page 82)
“Oppression here is not so much violent and turbulent as it is subtle and even acceptable. From all indications, the Israelites have no essential arguments against being in this weakened state! Apparently, falling far short of the Lord’s intentions causes no serious concern.” (Page 157)
“Barak’s reluctance to accept his assignment, in stark contrast to Deborah’s apparent confidence, is clearly envisioned here as some distrust in the prophetic word.” (Page 64)
Brensinger addresses an ecumenical audience from the perspective of a believers church in a reciprocal relationship with the Bible. He deals with problems of violence and war, while holding to the biblical mandate of peace. With pastoral and scholarly background, Brensinger provides all the basics one expects. He identifies with the faith of the biblical writer, who struggles with the vision of Moses and reaches toward the great prophets and Jesus.
—Millard C. Lind, Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary, Elkhart, Indiana