Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Speaking of ANE backgrounds...

The previous post spoke of the ancient Near Eastern backgrounds to the prosperity gospel—tongue firmly in cheek, of course. But, there is a serious resource that just became available today: The NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible. The notes in the Old Testament are based on the Zondervan monster 5-volume Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary on the Old Testament and the New Testament is from the IVP equivalent.

I was given a copy of the Bible to review, but don't have time to write up a full-blown one right now. I will say this, though: It is a well-done condensation of the bigger versions.

<Rabbit trail>
Generally, I'm not a fan of study Bibles for the simple reason that people equate the inspiration of the scriptural text with the notes.

Don't believe me? Actual experience...I was in a Bible study one time and they were debating what the text meant. One person (a pastor!) asked someone, "What does your Bible say?" and the person read the notes, not the text. The pastor responding by reading the notes in his study Bible! Ouch! No disclaimer that these were simply notes. The assumption was that they had authority because they were on the same page as the sacred text.
</Rabbit trail>

OK, with that note aside, I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this Bible to anyone as a reference. (I don't recommend it as your reading Bible—but as you probably guessed, I wouldn't recommend any study Bible as your reading Bible.) In fact, I've already added it to the bibliography of the seminar I teach for YWAM on the ANE backgrounds to the OT. So, two thumbs up to Zondervan for a good resource (and thanks to Emily Varner for the promo copy)!

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