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The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament

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Why was labeling the Pharisees "white-washed tombs" one of the strongest criticisms Jesus could have made? Why were the disciples, after Jesus' death and resurrection, determined to replace Judas and keep their number exactly at twelve? What is the background to Paul's denunciation of homosexual behavior? Why did Paul expect Corinthian women to cover their heads? These and Why was labeling the Pharisees "white-washed tombs" one of the strongest criticisms Jesus could have made? Why were the disciples, after Jesus' death and resurrection, determined to replace Judas and keep their number exactly at twelve? What is the background to Paul's denunciation of homosexual behavior? Why did Paul expect Corinthian women to cover their heads? These and hundreds of other similar questions arise for anyone who reads and tries to live by the Bible. Today's world is very different from the Greek, Roman and Jewish world of Jesus and the New Testament writers. Scholars devote their lives to the study of languages, archaeology and history in order to better understand the Bible and its cultures. But often the results of their studies are found only in academic libraries. For the first time, Craig Keener's Bible Background Commentary: New Testament provides the fruit of scholarly labors in a single volume arranged in convenient verse-by-verse format, covering the entire New Testament. Based on ten years of in-depth study, the Bible Background Commentary will be valuable for pastors in sermon preparation, for Sunday-school and other church teachers as they build lessons, for missionaries concerned not to import their own cultural biases into the Bible, for college and seminary students in classroom assignments, and for everyday Bible readers seeking to deepen and enhance their study of Scripture.


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Why was labeling the Pharisees "white-washed tombs" one of the strongest criticisms Jesus could have made? Why were the disciples, after Jesus' death and resurrection, determined to replace Judas and keep their number exactly at twelve? What is the background to Paul's denunciation of homosexual behavior? Why did Paul expect Corinthian women to cover their heads? These and Why was labeling the Pharisees "white-washed tombs" one of the strongest criticisms Jesus could have made? Why were the disciples, after Jesus' death and resurrection, determined to replace Judas and keep their number exactly at twelve? What is the background to Paul's denunciation of homosexual behavior? Why did Paul expect Corinthian women to cover their heads? These and hundreds of other similar questions arise for anyone who reads and tries to live by the Bible. Today's world is very different from the Greek, Roman and Jewish world of Jesus and the New Testament writers. Scholars devote their lives to the study of languages, archaeology and history in order to better understand the Bible and its cultures. But often the results of their studies are found only in academic libraries. For the first time, Craig Keener's Bible Background Commentary: New Testament provides the fruit of scholarly labors in a single volume arranged in convenient verse-by-verse format, covering the entire New Testament. Based on ten years of in-depth study, the Bible Background Commentary will be valuable for pastors in sermon preparation, for Sunday-school and other church teachers as they build lessons, for missionaries concerned not to import their own cultural biases into the Bible, for college and seminary students in classroom assignments, and for everyday Bible readers seeking to deepen and enhance their study of Scripture.

30 review for The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament

  1. 4 out of 5

    Lee Harmon

    I have huge respect for Craig Keener’s work ever since his 2003 two-volume commentary on the Gospel of John. It was largely instrumental in researching for my own book about John’s Gospel, and I believe has become the primary resource for Johannine studies. So when IVP sent me this brand new second-edition 800-page New Testament commentary, I was quite excited. As a reference book, it doesn’t disappoint. Scholarly and interesting, each book of the New Testament is given a short introduction detai I have huge respect for Craig Keener’s work ever since his 2003 two-volume commentary on the Gospel of John. It was largely instrumental in researching for my own book about John’s Gospel, and I believe has become the primary resource for Johannine studies. So when IVP sent me this brand new second-edition 800-page New Testament commentary, I was quite excited. As a reference book, it doesn’t disappoint. Scholarly and interesting, each book of the New Testament is given a short introduction detailing authorship and setting, and then a verse-by-verse commentary. The verses are clustered and topical, so it’s easy to page through the book looking for topics of interest. Be aware that Keener’s emphasis differs from other commentaries; he is less interested in providing simple exegesis than in painting a picture of the first-century setting whereby a saying or statement can be understood. Note the title: this is a “Bible Background Commentary.” It is about the cultural background and what was going on in Bible days that colored the writings we read two thousand years later. It’s this focus that gives this reference book its unique niche. A few examples of Keener’s focus will help explain what makes this a must-have resource for sermon development or (in my case) writing Bible commentary: Matthew 5:22, about the “fires of Gehenna” for someone who calls his brother a fool: Keener doesn’t delve into the history of Gehenna but speaks to its metaphorical meaning as the opposite of paradise, and how some Jewish teachers envisioned eternal torture while others believed the wicked would be burned up. Acts 2:1-4, about the arrival of the Holy Spirit: Keener explains the Jewish anticipation of the return of the Spirit and its outpouring as a sign of the Messianic age. 1 Corinthians 11:14-15, about a woman wearing long hair as a head covering, while long hair on a man is a disgrace: Keener points out how ancient writers, especially Stoic philosophers, loved to make arguments from nature. Nature taught them that men could grow beards, but women’s hair naturally seemed to grow longer. Paul is well aware of the exceptions to the rule (such as the Nazirites) but draws on this observation more to make a point than to instruct his readers in how to wear their hair.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Andy Hickman

    Keener, Craig S. The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament. Downers Grove, Ill: IVP, 1993. Hugely valuable resource!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Cory Briggs

    Mixed I could not understand why pseudographical writings were cited so much. A lot of times he does let the Bible interpret itself and he is to be commended for that.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Randy Mccracken

    The New Testament Bible background commentary by Craig Keener has been a standard reference work for many years. The new second edition only makes this commentary more valuable. Keener has done a thorough revision of the original and has expanded his treatment of many passages. The goal has remained the same: “The sole purpose of this commentary (unlike most commentaries) is to make available the most relevant cultural, social and historical background for reading the New Testament the way its f The New Testament Bible background commentary by Craig Keener has been a standard reference work for many years. The new second edition only makes this commentary more valuable. Keener has done a thorough revision of the original and has expanded his treatment of many passages. The goal has remained the same: “The sole purpose of this commentary (unlike most commentaries) is to make available the most relevant cultural, social and historical background for reading the New Testament the way its first readers would have read it” (p. 14). Thus, Keener is not seeking to offer theological commentary on the New Testament, but rather background material that will aid the reader in coming to theological conclusions. Although it is not his main focus, Keener also makes literary observations from time to time (for example, inclusios or chiastic structures–see his final chart at the end of the book entitled, “A Chiasmus: Acts 2:22-36″) For the rest of the review please click on the following link: http://www.biblestudywithrandy.com/20...

  5. 5 out of 5

    Sam

    This is an excellent popular, slightly scholarly, but not technical commentary, which makes it great for researching, preaching, studying for lessons, et cetera. It's full of background information (e.g. Examples of Herod's temper in Matthew 2, cultural information on the parable of the prodigal son, Jewish & Greco-Roman philosophy surrounding many settings) and is well structured according to NT passages. I've found it to be very beneficial for teaching, school, and personal study. Keener was m This is an excellent popular, slightly scholarly, but not technical commentary, which makes it great for researching, preaching, studying for lessons, et cetera. It's full of background information (e.g. Examples of Herod's temper in Matthew 2, cultural information on the parable of the prodigal son, Jewish & Greco-Roman philosophy surrounding many settings) and is well structured according to NT passages. I've found it to be very beneficial for teaching, school, and personal study. Keener was my NT prof as Asbury Seminary.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Eric Molicki

    Unique as commentaries go. The Bible must always be read recognizing that the Spirit wants to help us cross from the horizon of our own time/culture to the biblical horizon and then back again in order to gain His meaning. This commentary helps you understand the Biblical horizon's culture and setting in a very accessible fashion even for lay readers of Scripture. Great asset to have in your library. Unique as commentaries go. The Bible must always be read recognizing that the Spirit wants to help us cross from the horizon of our own time/culture to the biblical horizon and then back again in order to gain His meaning. This commentary helps you understand the Biblical horizon's culture and setting in a very accessible fashion even for lay readers of Scripture. Great asset to have in your library.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Sue

    Great reference for personal New Testament studies. Keener's voice speaks to me. Used in conjunction with other commentaries and NIV Study Bible notes. Keener's style seems personal to me, not abstract or distanced. Great reference for personal New Testament studies. Keener's voice speaks to me. Used in conjunction with other commentaries and NIV Study Bible notes. Keener's style seems personal to me, not abstract or distanced.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Brandon

    Excellent! A great study companion. Keener provides brief insights into the world of the NT alongside each verse. The only problem is that sometimes you wish the commentary elaborated on some of the background it provides.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Eva Winter

    Works well for the Kindle edition, too I valued the book in its first edition, but the Kindle edition is even better. It's very easy to navigate and find the passage you're looking for. Five stars! Works well for the Kindle edition, too I valued the book in its first edition, but the Kindle edition is even better. It's very easy to navigate and find the passage you're looking for. Five stars!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth Licitra

    Incredibly helpful book to have as you read through the NT. Provides background information for many passages in the NT. I haven't read through every page, but I find it very helpful when trying to figure out what a particular passage is "talking about". Incredibly helpful book to have as you read through the NT. Provides background information for many passages in the NT. I haven't read through every page, but I find it very helpful when trying to figure out what a particular passage is "talking about".

  11. 4 out of 5

    Mike

    A nice little resource. Very basic, good for those looking for a little more depth in their bible studies. I would recommend it for those who don't want to do heavy amounts of research but would like a resource that would take them five minutes or so to look up a passage. A nice little resource. Very basic, good for those looking for a little more depth in their bible studies. I would recommend it for those who don't want to do heavy amounts of research but would like a resource that would take them five minutes or so to look up a passage.

  12. 4 out of 5

    raysilverwoman

    Didn't get to read every page of this book, but used it pretty extensively in my NT Survey class. Great reference text for someone just starting to dip into the NT academically, as it provides a pretty no-nonsense, coherent overview of its historical, socio-cultural context. Didn't get to read every page of this book, but used it pretty extensively in my NT Survey class. Great reference text for someone just starting to dip into the NT academically, as it provides a pretty no-nonsense, coherent overview of its historical, socio-cultural context.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Pl

    For what it is, it really works well.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jon

    Usually the first commentary I turn to to understand the cultural background of a New Testament passage, and often the last! Nuff said.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jeff Noble

    The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament by Craig S. Keener (?)

  16. 5 out of 5

    Wayne

    This is an interesting commentary on the New Testament. It isn't the broadest or most in depth commentary, but is useful for additional background and color when researching a topic. This is an interesting commentary on the New Testament. It isn't the broadest or most in depth commentary, but is useful for additional background and color when researching a topic.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Cheryl

    A good resource for quick reference.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Michele

    Great single volume resource of verse by verse cultural background.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Glyn Williams

    Very insightful. A must have on any Biblical scholar's bookshelf. Very insightful. A must have on any Biblical scholar's bookshelf.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Alison Shiloh

    This is a very helpful reference for studying the New Testament. Keener provides cultural context, parallel references, and geo-political details.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jon R.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Vicki Jones

  23. 4 out of 5

    David Gross

  24. 4 out of 5

    Christopher Hutchinson

  25. 5 out of 5

    Eric

  26. 5 out of 5

    Nathan Vanhorn

  27. 4 out of 5

    Gary Manning

  28. 5 out of 5

    Michael Tangstad

  29. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

  30. 5 out of 5

    Dr Wesley Rose

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