Logos Free Book of the Month for October 2019 – Jonathan Edwards, Freedom of the Will

For the month of October Logos is giving away a copy of Jonathan Edwards, Freedom of the Will. This is the first volume of the forty-one volume Yale University Press edition of Edward’s works. individual volumes retail for $29 or more each in paperback (hardbacks are difficult to find and very expensive), so the three volumes Logos is offering for tree and almost free and a great deal. Logos would be happy to sell you the entire Works of Jonathan Edwards (41 vols.) for a big chunk of money.

In the first volume of the series Freedom of the Will, Paul Ramsey “provides a fresh analysis of Edwards’ theological position, includes a study of his life and the intellectual issues in the America of his time, and examines the problem of free will in the philosophical context of today and in connection with Leibniz, Locke, and Hume.” Although you can get this book free in a variety of formats on the internet, this is a new translation. For example, I have the Banner of Truth Works of Jonathan Edwards, but this is a reprint of a translation first published 1834.This Yale series was originally publish in 1957 but revised in 2009.

For an additional $1.99, you can add volume 8 in the series, Ethical Writings. From the Logos website: “This volume contains two major works of Jonathan Edwards: an unpublished text of a series of sermons he preached in 1738, known as Charity and Its Fruits, and his Two Dissertations: I. Concerning the End for Which God Created the World and II. On the Nature of True Virtue, published posthumously in 1765. Together these writings set out the principles of Edwards’ ethical reflections. The text of the sermon series is drawn from three sources. The primary text is an early nineteenth-century transcription of Edwards’ sermon booklets now in the Andover-Newton Theological School’s collection. Passages published in Tyron Edwards’ 1852 edition, and partial transcriptions by Joseph Bellamy found in three fragments among his papers, have been used where the Andover copy is incomplete. The Bellamy fragments are reproduced in their entirety in a critical appendix, along with examples showing the editor’s use of the three sources in construing this definitive text for the Yale edition.”

Add volume 18, Notes on Scripture for $4.99. “This is the first complete edition of the private biblical notebook that Jonathan Edwards compiled over a period of nearly thirty-five years. Edwards’ “Notes on Scripture” confirms the centrality of the Bible in his thought and provides more balance to earlier depictions of his writings that emphasized the scientific and philosophical while overlooking the biblical dimension. In this critical edition the entries appear in the order in which Edwards wrote them, beginning with a short commentary on Genesis 2:10–14 that he penned in 1724, and ending with his last entry, Number 507 on the Book of Solomon’s Song, written two years before his death. This volume provides direct access to one of America’s most influential religious thinkers. Edwards’ entries range across the entire scriptural canon and reveal his creativity in the interpretation of particular biblical texts and his fascination with typology.”

If you are unfamiliar with Edwards, you might check out the Faithlife Author Guides, Jonathan Edwards: A Guide to His Life and Writings, edited by Jessica Parks (Bellingham, WA: Faithlife, 2017). This little guide is only $4.99 and will give you a quick overview. Another good resource for the Edwards beginner is Christian History Magazine Issue 77: Jonathan Edwards: Puritan Pastor & Theologian (2002). This magazine is only $1.95 in the Logos Library.

These valuable resources are only free (or almost free) through October 31, 2019.

 

 

 

Recent Commentaries on Romans

Douglas Moo, RomansThere are several excellent commentaries on Romans in recent years. In my opinion, the Best All-Around commentary on Romans is the second edition of Douglas Moo’s 1996 commentary on Romans in the New International Commentary on the New Testament (Eerdmans, 2018). His original commentary quickly became a standard reference on Paul’s longest and most important letter. Pauline studies have blossomed in the last twenty years since the first edition was published. Many important monographs and commentaries on Romans have appeared as well as several important Pauline theologies. Many important responses to the New Perspective on Paul were published, such as the two volume Justification and Variegated Nomism (Baker, 2004). Some of these nuanced and expanded Sanders others sought a return to the traditional view of Paul and Judaism. N. T. Wright’s Justification generated various responses, culminating in Wrights massive Paul and the Faithfulness of God (Fortress, 2013) and a collection of essays in response to Wright, God and the Faithfulness of Paul (Fortress, 2017). Since these developments in Pauline Theology often center on key texts in the book of Romans, an update to Moo’s NICNT commentary is welcome.

The introduction to the letter in this second edition is more or less the same, several paragraphs from the first edition have been omitted or re-worked and there are a few references to recent work on audience and purpose. For example, Moo has added a reference to Michael Gorman and Richard Longenecker as he describes the participationist view of Romans 5-8 (22). He adds a line at the end of his discussion of salvation history as the theme of Romans making it clear that although it is an important conceptual scheme for Romans, “it cannot be called the theme of the letter,” citing Douglas Campbell 2005 work on Paul’s Gospel (25).

Moo updated the footnotes in the second edition to include works written in the last twenty years. A comparison of the Index of Authors quickly shows the inclusion of major commentaries by Jewett, Longenecker, Schreiner, Wright and others. These are not simply appended to existing footnotes; often Moo interacts with these recent works in the body of the commentary. In addition, footnotes are streamlined by only including a shortened citation. Occasionally only a commentator’s name is used without page number. Readers should refer to the greatly expanded bibliography in the new edition for details. The bibliography for the first edition of the commentary was twenty-five pages, the second has expanded to 156 pages of abbreviations and bibliography.

Some excurses have been expanded, others are added. For example, in the first edition after Romans 6:1-14 there was an excursus entitled “Paul’s ‘With Christ’ Conception.” In the second edition the title is “’With Christ’ and ‘In Christ’” and more than two pages have been added commenting on the 131 occurrences of “in Christ” in the Pauline letters, with references to recent literature. The excursus following Romans 1:16-17 on the righteousness of God has been re-worked and expanded; it now includes a section on righteousness language and Isaiah 40-66 and the section on the phrase “righteousness of God” now includes much more detail from Isaiah. Moo has also updated the essay with references to recent works on the righteousness of God by Mark Seifrid, N. T. Wright, and others.

After the commentary on Romans 9-11, Moo has added about five pages on “Recent Assessments of Paul and Judaism.” This short essay deals with the so-called Radical New Perspective or “Paul within Judaism,” Messianic Judaism, and bi-covenantalism. In every case, these approaches to Paul try to take seriously Romans 9-11 and to avoid supersecessionism. Also new is an excursus on Paul’s reading of the Hebrew text of Genesis 15:16 following the commentary on Romans 4.

Longenecker, RomansA Premier Greek Text Commentary

It is clichéd to call this new contribution to the New International Greek Text Commentary (Eerdmans 2016) “highly anticipated.” Richard N. Longenecker is one of the premier New Testament scholars of the last fifty years and his contributions to Pauline studies have been considerable (Paul, Apostle of Liberty, Second Edition, Eerdmans 2015; Galatians, Word Biblical Commentary, 1990). His brief Introducing Romans: Critical Concerns in Paul’s Most Famous Letter (Eerdmans, 2011). This magisterial commentary builds on a successful career spent studying Paul by digging deep into the details of this most important book of the New Testament. 

Longenecker states in his preface he desires to spell out a proper interpretation of Romans by building on the work of past commentators, being critical, exegetical, and constructive in his analysis of the text of Romans, and to set a course for future study of Romans (xv). He certainly achieves these goals in the commentary. First, with respect to “building on the work of past commentators,” The beginning of the commentary lists seven pages of previous commentaries divided into Patristic, Reformation, and Modern Critical commentaries. Second, Longenecker seeks to “be critical, exegetical, and constructive in his analysis of the text of Romans.” It is certainly the case that his comments are judiciously critical and sensitive to the wider range of theological interests current in Pauline studies today. Third, one goal of a commentary of this size is “to set a course for future study of Romans.” Only time will tell if Longenecker achieve this goal, but it will be difficult for the next generation of writers to ignore this commentary.

With respect to typical introductory material, Longenecker only briefly sketches the major critical issues in the book, referring readers to his recent Introducing Romans for greater detail.  Briefly, Paul wrote the book from Corinth in the winter of 57-58woth the involvement of both Tertius, Phoebe and perhaps input from members of the Corinthian congregation (5-6). These are not controversial conclusions. He deals with two “matters recently resolved,” including the presence of glosses or interpolations (a possibility, but unlikely if textual criticism is properly applied to the text) and the original form of the book. Longenecker agrees with Harry Gamble’s Textual History of the Letter to the Romans as well as Hurtado and Marshall on the authenticity of the final doxology (8).

He devotes more space to several extensively debated topics. First, with respect to the identity and character of the recipients of the letter, Longenecker argues the recipients are both Jews and Gentiles who think in “Jewish categories,” but are not Judaizers. Second, Paul’s purpose for writing the letter is both pastoral and missional. Paul desires to impart a “spiritual gift” to the Roman believers but also to seek their support for his Gentile mission to Spain (10). The book also serves to defend Paul against misrepresentations of his mission and theology as well as offering council regarding a dispute between the “weak” and the “strong.” Third, the epistolary genre of the letter is a “letter essay,” setting instructional material in an epistolary format (14). His fourth issue is related to the third, the rhetorical genres of the letter. Although scholars have identified Romans as forensic, deliberative, or epideictic models for Romans, Longenecker considered the letter to be protreptic, a “word of exhortation” (15) with some influence from Jewish remnant rhetoric (especially in chapters 9-11). Finally, the focus of the book is to be found in Romans 5:1-8:39. This unit of the letter is the message of the Christian Gospel contextualized for Gentiles who have no prior interest in Judaism of Jewish Christianity (17). Longenecker thinks Paul found the story of the Exodus and forensic justification to be unknown and insignificant to Gentiles. His presentation of the Gospel to the Gentiles therefore focused on peace with God, and the relationship of sin and death. All people are equally unable to overcome death by their own strength, therefore all people need to enter in to a new relationship, to be “in Christ.”

Paul quotes approximately 100 Old Testament texts in 83 places in the letter and alludes to many more. This is a much higher rate than any other of Paul’s letters and the quotes are not evenly distributed throughout the book. Romans 5:1-8:39 has only two quotes. Unlike Galatians or the Corinthians letters, Longenecker does not think Paul’s use of the Old Testament is a result of some Jewish opponent in the Roman churches. Paul’s exegetical strategies are sometimes difficult to follow, these will be discussed as the commentary proceeds. In addition to quotations, Romans may have use confessional material, religious aphorisms, Jewish and Jewish Christian devotional and catechetical material (23). These materials will be identified in the commentary in the Structure/Setting section.

The body of the commentary is divided into several major units with introductions (chapters 1-8, 9-11, 12-15). Longenecker begins each sub-unit with a new translation of the text followed by notes on textual variants. The inclusion of a translation is not found in all of the NIGTC series and is welcome here especially given the extensive textual notes Longenecker provides. The introduction has a twelve-page summary of the manuscript evidence for Romans. Longenecker uses the United Bible Society’s GNT4 and NA27 as his base text and he discusses every variant appearing in the GNT4 in Romans and many of the variants found in NA27. The introduction also includes a chart listing the manuscripts for Romans including date, contents, Aland category (32-34).

Following the translation, Longenecker offers a section entitled Form/Structure/Setting, reminiscent of the Word Biblical Commentary series, a feature not found in other NIGTC commentaries. This section any special problems in the unit. For example in this section for Romans 2:17-29, Longenecker has brief comments on who is addressed by the pericope, the two prominent rhetorical conventions in the passage, the possibility of chiasmus in the passage, the use of Scripture and traditional material, and the structure and setting of the passage and a short note on theological issues. The Form/Structure/Setting section is flexible so that Romans 4:1-24 has an excellent section on the Example of Abraham in Second Temple period; for Romans 9:6-29 Longenecker covers major proposals for interpreting the section.

Longenecker’s exegetical comments are divided by verse and the commentary proceeds phrase-by-phrase. Greek and Hebrew appear without transliteration, although the exegesis is not dense with syntactical observations. For the most part he is able to stick to his intention to provide a faithful explanations of the text without being bogged down by minute details. This makes for a very readable commentary. Faithful to his intentions stated in the preface, Longenecker interacts with ancient and Reformation commentaries as well as a full range of modern writers. For example, the index lists some 27 references to Origin, 20, to Tertullian, 22 to Calvin, and 18 to Luther. Pages are not overly cluttered with references to secondary literature; it is remarkable how few footnotes there are in this commentary. This indicates original commentary rather than reporting what other commentators have already said.

After the exegetical comments, Longenecker includes several pages under the heading of “Biblical Theology.” These sections Longenecker builds on his exegesis by integrating Romans into wider Pauline and systematic theology. This is refreshing since commentary writers often ignore the contribution of their exegesis to the larger world of theology. Commenting on Romans 8:31-39, Longenecker says interpreters of Romans have “atomized what Paul writes…bringing everything under only one particular theme” or are “at a loss to understand the coherence of what he has written” (761). Following the biblical theology, Longenecker concludes with a brief “contextualization for today.” These are not “pastoral comments” by way of application. In fact, there is sometimes only a slight difference between these sections and the biblical theology sections.

The commentary includes a number of short excurses. For example, after commenting on Romans 3:25a, Longenecker includes an excursus entitled “Three Exegetical and Thematic Matters in Romans 3:25a that Are of Particular Importance (Though Also Frequently Disputed) and Therefore Deserving of Special Consideration.” (Yes, that is the title!) What follows is seven pages of slightly smaller print discussing the meaning of “whom God presenting publically,” “Sacrifice of Atonement,” and the prepositional phrase “through his faithfulness, by his blood.” This excursus is more detailed than the rest of the commentary, but it should not be assumed an excursus is not critically important to the commentary. For example, Longenecker’s nine pages of comments on the righteousness of God (Romans 1:17) are an excellent summary of the state of the discussion of this important phrase. His eight pages on “‘Works of the Law’ and the ‘New Perspective’” is worth reading before working through the commentary on Romans 3:20. Another critically important note is his more than eight pages on the remnant in rabbinic writings and non-conformist Judaism in the first two centuries B.C.E. A list of all of the excurses ought to be included in the table of contents or indices.

Any commentary in the New International Greek Text Commentary is worth buying and often becomes the first resource I consult. Longenecker’s contribution to this series takes its place along a handful of recent major commentaries on the book of Romans which will set the agenda for the study of this important book for the next generation of biblical scholars.

Thielman, RomansAn Excellent Exegetical Pastor’s Commentary

Frank Thielman’s new contribution to the Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament series enters an already crowded field of recent major Romans commentaries. Thielman serves as Presbyterian Chair of Divinity at Beeson Divinity School. His previous work includes From Plight to Solution: A Jewish Framework for Understanding Paul’s View of the Law in Galatians and Romans (Brill, 1989), Paul and the Law: A Contextual Approach (Inter-Varsity, 1994) and Theology of the New Testament: A Canonical and Synthetic Approach (Zondervan, 2005).

The thirty-one page introduction is quite different than the average exegetical commentary on Romans. Thielman begins with a brief synopsis of state of the Roman Empire in A.D. 57 followed by an account of how Christian first reached Rome. The purpose of both sections is to place the reader into the world of Rome in the mid-first century. He draws attention to the social problems of slavery, infanticide, and the despair of people living in abject poverty. Thielman paints a picture of “Rome’s Christians as relatively poor, hardworking people with roots in the East and speaking Greek as well as or better than Latin” (p. 32).

With respect to traditional introductory questions, the Letter to the Romans was written from Corinth about A.D. 57 and delivered by Phoebe to ethnically diverse but mostly Gentile churches in Rome. Phoebe may have been a woman of wealth and high social status based the word προστάτις in Romans 16:2, and Thielman thinks she holds the position of deacon. The role of deacon, however, “involved a lot of running around” as was considered lowly service by Greco-Roman standards (p. 712).

As for the purpose of the letter, Thielman observes there are several reasons Paul wrote to a congregation he did not yet know. Paul says his desire is to visit them in order to preach the Gospel (1:13). The rest of Romans describes Paul’s gospel and its implications for Christian living. Since the Roman churches were predominately Gentile, Thielman suggests Paul may have considered the Roman Christians part of his apostolic responsibility (p. 37). But Paul also needed the support of the Roman congregations if he was to continue his mission by preaching the Gospel in Spain (Rom 15:28-29).

Each chapter in the body of the commentary begins with the literary context of the section of Romans under examination. This is more than a summary of the pericope since Thielman connects the smaller unit with the larger aims of the letter. Following this is a snippet of the detailed outline of Romans in a faux computer window graphic. Thielman then offers a concise main idea for the section to be studied in the chapter.

Following this graphical display of the text, Thielman makes a series of observations on the structure of the pericope followed by an exegetical outline. Since these are slightly more detailed than the outline provided under the literary context, it makes little sense to me to include both; the faux window under literary context could be deleted without any loss in clarity. In fact, the structure section could easily be combined with the literary context since it is a slightly more detailed version of the same material. This is a problem for the commentary series and not the fault of Thielman.

After setting the context in several different ways, Thielman moves on to the commentary proper under the heading “Explanation of the Text.” Here the style of the commentary breaks up into two columns. The commentary proceeds phrase-by-phrase, with the English text in bold followed by the Greek text in parenthesis. Since key Greek words are repeated in the commentary, printing the full Greek text may not be necessary. Thielman does not often comment on the syntax in the body of the commentary, but there are ample footnotes directing readers to Wallace, Zerwick, Moule and other advanced koine Greek grammars. The same is true for lexical issues. He often comments on the use of a word elsewhere in the LXX or Greek New Testament and uses the footnotes to point readers to lexicons and theological dictionaries. This makes the body of the commentary uncluttered and easy to read. Thielman interacts with secondary literature in the footnotes, pointing interested readers to a wide range of literature on Romans, both classic and modern.

The final unit in each chapter is labeled “Theology in Application.” Here Thielman offers two or three points of contact with Pauline theology or contemporary church issues which arise from his exegesis. For example, commenting on honor and shame in Romans 12:1-8, Thielman says “competition and seeking honor for one’s self are no less a part of modern human societies than they were of ancient Roman society. Paul’s call upon believers to be vigilant against allowing this spirit to infect the church is as relevant now as it was in his own time” (p. 581).

Thielman covers technical details excurses scattered throughout the commentary. These sidebars are labeled “In Depth” and are printed in a sans-serf font and a grey background. Like most excurses, the reader may skip over them thinking they are not very important. This is not the case, Thielman uses these sidebars to deal with a few important issues for the study of Romans. Several deal with textual criticism such as the doxology at the end of Roman 16 or the difficult problem of ἔχομεν or ἔχωμεν in Romans 5:1. Other sidebars focus on the background to special vocabulary, such as ἱλαστήριον in Romans 3:25 or “height” and “depth” in Romans 8:39 (are these astrological terms? Thielman says no). Sometimes the excursus covers a difficult problem in Romans studies such as the identity of “I” in 7:7-25 or the nature of the house church which met in the home of Prisca and Aquila in 16:3. I expected a sidebar on Junia (16:7), Thielman quickly covers the identity Junia in the commentary (she is an apostle, Thielman includes more than two pages on Paul’s understanding of Israel’s stumbling in Romans 9-11 and another two pages on his use of Deuteronomy 30:12-14 in Romans 10:6-8.

Conclusion: Which Should You Buy?

The obvious answer is “all of them.” You do not really need food and shelter, right? All three are a worthy investment for someone who wants to dig deeper into the most important (and difficult) of Paul’s letters.

Galatians: Freedom through God’s Grace

My new book, Galatians: Freedom through God’s Grace, is now available through Amazon in paperback or a (cheaper) Kindle.

I have been working on this book for a long time, and I am glad to have it in print.You can also order it through the Wipf & Stock website (it is a little less expensive there, they will charge shipping so it is about the same as Amazon Prime). If you are a blogger and want to review the book Wipf & Stock has a “Request Review Copy” on their page and they can send you a copy. If you happen to be around the Grace Christian University campus, drop into my office and I would be happy to sell you a copy (I have a few on hand).

This book had its origins in my teaching ministry at Rush Creek Bible Church, but taught the material in several other contexts over the years and used this blog as a sounding board for material which found its way into the book. I intended this book as a basic introduction to Paul’s Letter to the Galatians. It would make a good pastor’s commentary or a supplement for teaching Galatians in a Sunday School or small group Bible Study for a quarter.

Here are my goals in this book in contrast to other styles of commentaries already on the market. First, this is not an exegetical commentary. I rarely comment on Greek grammar except where it is critical to the meaning of a verse. While I do include some cultural and historical background in order to illuminate the text, I do not claim to be comprehensive in this area. There is far more to say about the background to Galatians than I cover in this book. There are several places in the book where I reflect some insights of the so-called “new perspective on Paul,” but this book is neither a critique nor a defense of this view of Paul’s letters.

Second, I do not intend for this book to be an expositional commentary, although that is the closest model. Expositional commentaries focus on an English translation and attempt to explain the details of the text. My goal is not necessarily the details but the overall point Paul makes in the letter. I move through Galatians in sections and comment on the most important aspects of the text in order to understand what Paul is trying to say both to the original readers and to Christians living in similar situations in the twenty-first century. I have attempted to ground this contemporary application in the text of the Bible.

Third, I intend this book for laymen, Bible teachers, and busy pastors who need an overview of the main issues in the book of Galatians. I envisioned this book being used in a small group Bible study or Sunday School class as a supplement to a personal study of Galatians. No book should ever be used to replace reading Scripture, but perhaps this book will help readers to better understand some nuances of Paul’s thought in his letter to the Galatians.

Here is how you can help me out. First, buy a copy of the book for yourself or your pastor. Second, recommend your church library purchase a copy; if you attend a Bible College or seminary, request the book for your library.

If you do buy the book please leave a review on Amazon. You can even review the book if you did not buy it from Amazon. Just a few kind words would really help others to purchase the book. I hate to be whiney about it like some YouTuber, but it is (unfortunately) important to have good reviews on Amazon these days. So leave your comments and rating at Amazon and I will be eternally grateful.

In old news, Jesus the Bridegroom is only $10 for Kindle, and I see a few cheaper copies both new and used if you want a print copy. Again, please consider leaving a review for that book as well.

So what’s next? I have two or three similar books in process, I hope to have Ephesians finished by the end of the year.

Another Logos Free Book of the Month – Origen: Treatise on the Passover

Recently Logos has added a second free book promotion. Usually at the middle of the month the offer up something for free and a few discounted books. This month they are offering four volumes of Origen published by Paulist Press. The Ancient Christian Writers series began in 1946, the most recent volume appeared in 2010. Each volume is a new translation of a text, edited and annotated by an expert in early church literature.

Many Logos users may have the Ante-Nicene Fathers set as part of a package, and volume 4 of that series includes some Origen, but it is far from complete. That volume does not include any of the works offered here, the Ancient Christian Writers series provides translations for texts not commonly available. Naturally Logos will sell you a 23 volume set of the Anti-Nicene Fathers in the Ancient Christian Writers series (currently $299, 32% off), or all 66 volumes for $599 (40% off), but here is a good chance to read several important works without spending so much money.

You might not know who Origen was or why you should read his work. Origen of Alexandria (184-253) was an early Christian scholar and theologian who was a prolific writer. He produced commentaries and theological texts as well as the Hexapla, a six column comparison of various translations of the Old Testament. Most agree he was one of the most influential figures in early Christian theology, although not everyone agrees that influence was good. Two of these almost-free books are commentaries, so this is a good opportunity to read early Christian exegesis.

For free, you can add Origen: Treatise on the Passover and Dialogue of Origen with Heraclides and His Fellow Bishops on the Father, the Son, and the Soul (Vol 54, translated and edited by Robert J. Daly).

The Treatise on the Passover dates from around 245. Its central insight is that the passover is not a figure or type of the passion of Christ, but a figure of Christ himself, of Christ’s passing over to the Father. The Dialogue with Heraclides probably comes from between the years 244 and 249. It seems to be the record of a synod-like meeting of bishops, in the presence of lay people, called to discuss matters of belief and worship. Both pieces seem to come from the last decade of Origen’s activity, when he was at the height of his powers.

For $4.99, add Origen: Prayer, Exhortation to Martyrdom (Vol 19, translated and annotated by John J. O’Meara). “Composed in AD 233, Origen’s Prayer combines both a theological treatise on prayer and a unique expression of prayer.”

For $6.99, add Origen: Homilies 1–14 on Ezekiel (Vo. 62, translated and edited by Thomas P. Scheck). “This is the first English translation of Jerome’s Latin edition of Origen’s Homilies on Ezekiel, This volume contains the homilies 1–14.”

For $8.99, add Origen: The Song of Songs, Commentary and Homilies (Vol 26, edited and translated by R. P. Lawson). “widely regarded as the first great work of Christian mysticism, is characterized by extraordinary intellectual depth and spiritual understanding.”

Logos Bible Software 8 is a significant upgrade to this powerful Bible study system. I did a “first look” review of Logos 8 here. The software runs much more efficiently than the previous version, that alone is worth the upgrade. Everything seems to run faster than Logos 7 and the upgrade is well worth considering. As always, there are less expensive paths to upgrading that will keep you from mortgaging your home. At the very least, download the free Logos Basic or the $79 Logos 8 Fundamentals (currently on sale for 20% and you get some free books by following the link).

With either minimal package you can download and use the free book every month and build your Logos library.  These free and almost free books of the month are only available through the end of September.

Logos Free Book of the Month for September 2019 – Craig Blomberg and Mariam Kamell, James (ZECNT)

Logos Bible Software is teaming up with Zondervan to give away a copy of Craig Blomberg and Mariam Kamell’s commentary on James in the Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (ZECNT) series. This “free book of the month” is an excellent addition to your library. In addition, you can add Doug Pao’s Colossians and Philemon commentary for $1.99 and Karen Jobes’s volume on 1, 2, and 3 John for $4.99. For for a mere $7 you can pick up commentaries on three different authors in the New Testament.

Craig Blomberg James CommentaryI reviewed Frank Thielman’s commentary on Romans in the ZECNT series when it was released last year. Although that commentary is not part of this promotion, I did comment on the general format of these series. Each chapter in the body of the commentary begins with the literary context of the section under examination. Following this is a snippet of the detailed outline in a faux computer window graphic and a concise main idea for the section to be studied in the chapter. The English translation of the pericope is presented in a graphical layout marked with interpretive labels for each clause. The series introduction indicates these labels are “informed by discourse analysis and narrative criticism, but the editors have also attempted to avoid technical jargon. In order to help the reader follow the flow of author’s argument, main clauses appear in bold print, subordinate clauses are indented.

Following this graphical display of the text, the commentator makes a series of observations on the structure of the pericope followed by an exegetical outline. After setting the context in several different ways, the writer moves to the commentary proper under the heading “Explanation of the Text.” Here the style of the commentary breaks up into two columns. The commentary proceeds phrase-by-phrase, with the English text in bold followed by the Greek text in parenthesis. Since key Greek words are repeated in the commentary, printing the full Greek text may not be necessary.

The final unit in each chapter is labeled “Theology in Application.” Here the commentator offers two or three points of contact with biblical theology or contemporary church issues which arise from his exegesis.

These free and almost free books are only available through the end of the month, so be sure to get them right away.

Logos Bible Software 8 is a significant upgrade to this powerful Bible study system. I did a “first look” review of Logos 8 here. The software runs much more efficiently than the previous version, that alone is worth the upgrade. Everything seems to run faster than Logos 7 and the upgrade is well worth considering. As always, there are less expensive paths to upgrading that will keep you from mortgaging your home. At the very least, download the free Logos Basic or the $79 Logos 8 Fundamentals (currently on sale for 20%). With either minimal package you can download and use the free book every month and build your Logos library.

Flash Sale: Word Bible Commentary for Logos

Logos is offering the Word Bible Commentary for 65% off from August 30 to September 3, 2019.  In print, this full set would retail at $1200, Logos has it for $399 for five days only. You could not get the series for this price if you pick up used copies in the used section of your local book store.

The Word Bible Commentary was originally published by Word and was acquired by Thomas Nelson. In 2014 Harper Collins bought Thomas Nelson so the Word series now published by Zondervan Academic. As I have often observed, some of the older commentaries in the series are not particularly useful (for example, the Micah–Malachi covers too many books in a relatively short book, often with not much in the way of commentary!)

Since Zondervan took over the series, several revised and second editions have appeared, including Ralph Martins 2 Corinthians (reviewed here) and Trent Bulter’s two-volume Joshua commentary (my JESOT review is here). Some revised volumes were finished before Zondervan took over, including the first volume of Deuteronomy, two Psalms volumes, two Isaiah volumes, and Philippians. G. R. Beasley-Murray’s Gospel of John commentary is considered a second edition.

There are several classic commentaries in the series I would consider “must haves.” For example: Donald Hagner’s two volume Matthew commentary, John Nolland’s three volumes on Luke, Craig Evans on Mark 8:27-16:20, Andrew Lincoln on Ephesians, James Dunn on Romans (two volumes), and David Aune on Revelation (three volumes!); in the Old Testament, David Clines has three volumes on Job, J. N. D. Watts on Isaiah (two volumes) and John Goldingay on Daniel.

The format of the Word series is unique. Each section begins with a bibliography for the section (including articles in German and French). Students can “copy and paste” these into their own bibliography as they research a passage. The author then provides their own translation with notes on the text (variants and translation issues). Then the commentary has a section entitled “Form/Structure/Setting.” Some of this is a throwback to form criticism, but usually the commentator discusses the poetic and  literary features of the section and sets the section into the overall context of the book. Following the section on structure is a phrase-phrase commentary touching on key lexical and syntactical issues in the Hebrew or Greek text as well as historical and cultural features necessary for understanding the text. Following the commentary proper is a short section entitled “explanation.” Here the author offers thoughts on the theology of the section, often drawing some brief application from the text.

If you do not have the Logos software, you should at least download the free Logos Basic or the $99 Logos 8 Fundamentals (currently on sale for 20%, so $79).

With either minimal package you can download and use the free book every month and build your Logos library. Logos Bible Software 8 is a significant upgrade to this powerful Bible study system. I did a “first look” review of Logos 8 here. The software runs much more efficiently than the previous version, that alone is worth the upgrade. Everything seems to run faster than Logos 7 and the upgrade is well worth considering.

Book Giveaway Winner – Peter Enns, Incarnation and Inspiration

Enns Inspiration and IncarnationLast week I offered up an a copy of Peter Enns, Inspiration and Incarnation (Baker 2005). There were fifteen entered, so I used Random.org to spin up a random number and the winner of this book is Derek DeMars. Everyone congratulate Derek and tell him how much you envy him reading this book.

I will announce the third book “back to school” book giveaway this afternoon so be sure to check that out!