Logos Free Book of the Month for March 2020 – Lexham Research Commentary: Genesis 1-11

For the month of March Logos is giving away the Lexham Research Commentary on Genesis 1-11 (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2012). What is a “research commentary”? This resource is edited by Miles Custis, Douglas Mangum, and Wendy Widder as a way of bringing all the resources of the Logos Library into a commentary-like format. The guides are a research tool presenting a wide range of interpretive issues raised by Bible scholars. The idea of these Research Commentaries is similar To Allan Ross’s Creation and Blessing, a commentary on Genesis which often pointed out what a pastor or teacher needs to sort out before actually teaching the text.

The editors of the series explain in the preface to the Genesis 1-11 volume:

Each volume in the series links to standard scholarly works on the Bible. The authors of the Lexham Research Commentaries have made no attempt to identify where particular interpretations fall along the theological or denominational spectrum. This is a mark of the diversity of biblical interpretation, not a mark of implicit endorsement by the guides’ authors. Interpreters from different theological perspectives often have conflicting views on the same texts. As you encounter these views, we urge you to keep the biblical text itself central to your study.

How does this differ from running the Logos Bible Study or Word Study tools? The topics and resources are curated and annotated by the editors of the volume. After an introduction to the section of Genesis, the editors select a series of issues every interpret must struggle with and come to some conclusion in their teaching. For Genesis 1, the issues include

  • The Genre of Genesis 1
  • Worldview of Genesis
  • Days of Creation
  • Culture Wars over Creation
  • Creation from Nothing
  • The Image of God
  • The Sabbath
  • Key Word Study: Bereshith, “In the Beginning”
  • Key Word Study: Tohu wabohu, “Formless and Void”
  • Background Studies: Ancient Near Eastern Creation Stories

Just one or two examples: For the Image of God, after a short paragraph describing what the problem is and offering several options, there are links to the article “Image of God” in the Dictionary of the Old Testament: Pentateuch, a link to Claus Westermann, Continental Commentary Series commentary Genesis 1–11, specifically his “Excursus: The History of the Exegesis of Genesis 1:26–27.” and Gordon Wenham’s discussion of “‘Image’ and ‘Likeness’ ” in his Word Biblical Commentary on Genesis 1–15. On the word Bereshith, there are links to Kenneth Mathews, Excursus on translating 1:1–2 in his New American Commentary on Genesis 1–11:26, Victor Hamilton;s New International Commentary on the Old Testament on Genesis 1–17, and Wenham’s Word commentary. These linked resources are often Bible Dictionaries or theological lexicons.

For more controversial topics, such as the Days of Creation, the editors offer more annotations. Here are the six resources suggested by the Lexham Research Commentary:

  • Robert Gurney offers a defense of the young earth creationist interpretation, taking the days of creation as six literal 24-hour days. “Does It Matter?” Six Day Creation: Does It Matter What You Believe?
  • Victor Hamilton’s commentary carefully explains the three major interpretive options: the literal 24-hour day, the day-age theory, and the literary framework theory. Hamilton’s preference is a literary reading of Gen 1 with an analogical understanding of the days of creation. “The ‘Days’ of Genesis 1” The New International Commentary on the Old Testament: The Book of Genesis, Chapters 1–17
  • R. Kent Hughes lists six different possible interpretations of the days of creation. He admits only one can be correct but cautions against letting the issue become a point of division among believers. He argues for the analogical view—that the days are God’s workdays, which are analogous with earth days but not necessarily the same as literal 24-hour days. “Genesis 1:3–13” Preaching the Word: Genesis—Beginning and Blessing
  • John Lennox has an old earth creationist perspective but discusses the options for understanding the days of creation as literal 24-hour days, as undefined lengths of time (day-age), or as a literary framework. His conclusion is a form of the punctuated activity view, in which long spans of time separate the literal 24-hour days of creation. “But Is It Old? The Days of Creation” Seven Days that Divide the World: The Beginning according to Genesis and Science
  • Hugh Ross believes in an old earth and that “days” represent ages or epochs of time. He explains how this view is not incompatible with Genesis. “Introduction: The Dawn of a New Day” A Matter of Days: Resolving a Creation Controversy
  • John Walton accepts that the days of creation could be 24-hour days, but he argues that God is creating functions not matter during the week of creation. By the end of the week, He takes up residence in His cosmic temple. “Gen 1:1–31” The NIV Application Commentary: Genesis

Each unit is introduced with a comment on the structure (an outline), the place of the section in the book of Genesis and the place in the canon, and a very helpful “starting point.” This last item is a way to introduce the key issues for understanding the section.

All of the links in this resource are marked with either an open book or a padlock. Open books mean you have purchased the linked resource, locks mean you have not. This is my main criticism of the Lexham Research Commentaries: they are essentially guides to helping you spend more money in the Logos store. If you only have a few resources in your library, then the links will all be locked. People with larger libraries will find these resources more useful. I also wonder if the editors were limited in their resource annotations to only resources licensed through the Logos library? Are there are other articles, books and commentaries which would have been very helpful for the issue at hand which were omitted simply because Logos does not sell it?

Nevertheless, the commentary is provided in the Genesis 1-15 volume is in fact a good introduction to controversial topics and interpretive conundrums and the resources provided are available in any Christian University or Seminary library.

You can add the Jonah commentary for $4,99 and the First Peter commentary for another $9.99. As is often the case, Logos is running a giveaway with several ways to enter to win all 20 volumes of the Lexham Research Commentaries.

These valuable resources are only free (or almost free) through March 31, 2020.

Logos Bible Software Deals for December 2019

Logos is running their annual Christmas sale on base packages. Until the end of the year you can save 20% on one of their Logos 8 base packages, from the affordable Fundementals package (only $79.95) the pricier packages like Silver, Gold, or Gold-pressed Latinum versions. Now is time to upgrade to Logos 8 (which is a year old now…check out my review of the new version). If you do not have Logos yet, you should at least get the free basic version so you can take advantage of the free book of the month and the other sale resources. Use the coupon code READINGACTS8 at checkout and save a bit of money.

Every month Logos Bible Software gives away a free book for your Logos library, along with a few deeply discounted books in the same series or from the same publisher. This month features the Brazos Theological commentary series published by Baker.  You can add Jaroslav Pelikan’s Acts commentary for free, Stanley Hauerwas on Matthew for $4.99 and Peter J. Leithart on 1-2 Kings for $9.99. The three books retail for just under $90, so $15 for the three is a great deal.

When the Brazos Commentary first appeared I was surprised by the authors. Stanley Hauerwas is excellent, but he is not my first thought for a commentary on Matthew. What kind of commentary would a theologian like Hauerwas write? The book blurb for this volume is an attempt to answer my  suspicions:

Stanley Hauerwas’ commentary on Matthew is not your typical commentary. Though most commentators approach a book for its theological aspects, Hauerwas’ Matthew focuses on the “how-to” of becoming a disciple of Jesus Christ. With the use of current Matthean scholarship and the wisdom of various scholars and theologians, including Augustine, Barth, and Bonhoeffer, Hauerwas is able to address relevant topics like homosexuality, politics, and abortion—not normally discussed in other commentaries on Matthew.

The same would be true for Jaroslav Pelikan. (Here is the a lengthy review via Best Commentaries)

Jaroslav Pelikan, one of the most well-respected scholars in the history of Christianity, brings you an insightful and well articulated commentary on Acts. This distinctly theological commentary focuses more on the themes and dogmas of Acts, rather than the text itself.

All three are excellent resources even if they are not the same kind of commentary as the New International Greek Text Commentary (last month’s giveaway).These valuable resources are only free (or almost free) through December 31, 2019.

Logos also does an Author’s Spotlight each month, for December they focus on the work of Craig Evans. You can save 25% or more on almost everything in the Logos Library with a contribution from Evans. Craig Evans is John Bisagno Distinguished Professor of Christian Origins at Houston Baptist University and formerly the Payzant Distinguished Professor of New Testament and director of the graduate program at Acadia Divinity College in Wolfville, Nova Scotia. He has written more than 70 books and hundreds of journal articles. Logos featured Evans in quite a few of their Mobile Course (most are 35% off).

Logos has some of his popular books on the list as well as his Word Biblical Commentary on Mark 8:27–16:20. He is a contributor to the new volume on the historical Jesus from Zondervan, Jesus, Skepticism, and the Problem of History: Criteria and Context in the Study of Christian Origins (25% off). Two other excellent academic books on the list are two edited volumes in the LNTS series from Blombury T&T Clark on intertextuality in the New Testament, ‘What Does the Scripture Say?’ Studies in the Function of Scripture in Early Judaism and Christianity, Volume 1: The Synoptic Gospels and Volume 2: The Letters and Liturgical Traditions ($17.99 each).

Looks like a great time to add some excellent resources to your Logos library!

 

More Free Historic Commentaries from Logos

In addition to the regular free book of the month (Jaroslav Pelikan’s Acts commentary in the Brazos Theological commentary series) Logos is offering three historic commentaries on Matthew. For free, you can add Thomas Aquinas, Catena Aurea: Commentary on the Four Gospels, Collected out of the Works of the Fathers, Volume 1: St. Matthew (J. H. Parker, 1841). This is only the first volume of the eight volume set, available here for $24.95 (although you might have additional discounts available). Hint: Get the free volume before buying the set.

Also on offer is Jerome’s commentary on Matthew in the Fathers of the Church Patristic Series by Catholic University Press. The paperback of this volume is $45 on Amazon; Logos has it for $7.99 through the end of December. Back in July Logos offered three other volumes of this massive series as their free/cheap book of the month.

For $8.99 you can add Hilary of Poitiers, Commentary on Matthew in the same series. This 2012 translation by D. H. Williams is the first time the commentary has appeared in English.

Both volumes are part of the Latin Fathers of the Nicene Era (25 vols.) collection. Be sure to take the free volume before buying the full set.

Don’t forget Logos has a nice collection of resources on sale through the end of the month on a “secret” sale.  If you do not have Logos yet,  get the free basic version so you can take advantage of these free (or cheap) books of the month or the other sale resources. Use the coupon code READINGACTS8 at checkout and save a bit of money.

The Secret Logos Christmas Sale

Logos has a nice collection of resources on sale through the end of the month on a “secret” sale. Since I am unveiling this musterion to you, let me highlight some of the better deals. There is plenty on this list for everyone, some theology, some pastoral resources, some church history, and even a few Mobile Ed course. Follow the link and poke around, maybe you can find something to stuff your own stocking with.

  • Craig Keener’s Mobile Ed course, Introductory Issues in Acts (35% off)
  • N. T. Wright’s Christian Origins and the Question of God Series (four volumes, 30% off) and his Pauline Perspectives: Essays on Paul (30% off).
  • James Dunn SCM collection, three volumes at 30% off. This includes his classic Baptism in the Holy Spirit: A Re-Examination of the New Testament Teaching on the Gift of the Spirit in Relation to Pentecostalism TodayUnity and Diversity in the New Testament: An Inquiry into the Character of Earliest Christianity, and The Parting of the Ways.
  • The LNTS volumes on The Old Testament in Revelation are 40% off ($22.18 for both volumes). This is a great deal on G.K. Beale’s John’s Use of the Old Testament in Revelation (2015) and and Steve Moyise’s The Old Testament in the Book of Revelation (2014).  The Library of New Testament Studies are usually pricey, so this is the real bargain in this sale.

Do not forget about the Free book of the month, Jaroslav Pelikan’s Acts commentary in the Brazos Theological commentary series. The Matthew and 1-2 Kings commentaries are also available on that page at a deep discount.

If you do not have Logos yet, you should at least get the free basic version so you can take advantage of the free book of the month and the other sale resources. Maybe it is time to get a base package or upgrade to Logos 8 (which is a year old now…check out my review of the new version). All based packages are on sale for 20% off for the month of December. This includes the affordable Fundementals package (only $79.95) the pricier packages like Silver, Gold, or Gold-pressed Latinum versions. Use the coupon code READINGACTS8 at checkout and save a bit of money.

Logos Black Friday Sale 2019

Here in American it is “Black Friday,” the semi-official start of the Christmas shopping season. The day is celebrated with deep discounts at major retailers, general public madness and riots among shoppers trying to save 10% on a new 64-inch TV. It is much like a zombie movie with enormous credit card debt. I ventured out into the world only once on Black Friday, and it was terrible. Despite a great deal on a dishwasher my wife wanted, I was left with an extreme loathing for the human race.

Logos Bible Software SaleIf you are like me, Black Friday is a good excuse to stay and home and read a good book. But the retailers are on to people like me, my inbox is stuffed with invitations to online sales and “cyber Monday” deals. It seems like any retailer I have made eye-contact with over the last twenty years has sent some sort of deal over the last few days. (For those who do not know, Cyber-Monday is a made up holiday from online retailers to compete with the made up holiday Black Friday.)

Like almost every other online retailer, Logos Bible Software has a great Black Friday sale.

You can spend very little and get some great resources for your Logos Library. There are some great discounts on individual volumes, such as The New Perspective on Paul: An Introduction by Kent L. Yinger (only $4.99) or Approaches to Paul by Magnus Zetterholm (only $5.14). Thomas R. Schreiner’s new 1 Corinthians commentary in the Tyndale New Testament series is only $7.99 (read my review of this commentary here).

There are several Mobile Ed Courses on sale as well. If you have not sampled any of these yet, now is your chance. Among the deeply discounted courses is Jonathan Pennington on The Gospels as Ancient Biography and Josh Jipp on Hospitality in the New Testament.

But you can also make a major investment over this weekend, the entire Interpretation Bible Commentary series is 70% off. There is a 46-volume Old Testament Bundle and a 57-volume New Testament Bundle from Baker books. I picked up the Studies in Jesus and the Gospels bundle from T&T Clark, Sheffield Academic Press (23 vols., 82% off). I already had a few of these volumes so the price for the full package only included the books I did not already own (Logos calls this “dynamic pricing”). Logos is also happy to work out a monthly payment plan so you do not have to skip feeding your family to buy all the books you want.

This “black Friday” sale runs through December 2 (12:00 a.m. PST). So head on over tot he Logos Black Friday Deals Page and load up on discounted books.

If you have not already picked up the Logos Free Book of the Month for November, be sure to get a free copy of the excellent commentary on Mark’s Gospel by R. T. France in the New International Greek Text Commentary (Eerdmans, 2002). I have been tracking these “free book of the month” promotions for several years and this is by far the best one yet.  Logos users who do not already own these resources should get them immediately! When I did a top five commentaries on Mark post a few years ago, France’s NIGTC was first on my list.

For $4.99 you can add James Dunn’s Colossians and Philemon in the NIGTC (see my Top Five Commentaries on Colossians). And for $9.99 add Anthony Thiselton’s excellent commentary on 1 Corinthians in the same series. This volume was my first choice for my Top Five Commentaries on 1 Corinthians. These great deals on the New International Greek Text Commentary expire on November 30, 2019.

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 $89 Logos 8 Fundamentals (currently on sale for 10% with some free book choices). With either minimal package you can download and use the free book every month and build your Logos library.

Logos Free Book of the Month for November 2019 – R. T. France, The Gospel of Mark (The New International Greek Testament Commentary)

During the month of November, Logos Bible Software is giving away a volume in of the best commentaries series available, R. T. France’s excellent commentary on Mark in the New International Greek Text Commentary (Eerdmans,2002).I have been tracking these “free book of the month” promotions for several years and this is by far the best one yet.  Logos users who do not already own these resources should get them immediately!

When I did a top five commentaries on Mark post a few years ago, France’s NIGTC was first on my list.

As with all the writers in the NIGTC series, France is an expert on the Greek text of Mark. The commentary has less background material that Evans, but is rich in exegetical detail. That is not to say that France is ignorant of the Hebrew Bible or other Second Temple Period literature, but only that his main interest is the Greek words in the context of Mark.

For $4.99 you can add James Dunn’s Colossians and Philemon in the NIGTC. In my Top Five Commentaries on Colossians I said:

Based on the theology of the book, Dunn thinks that the book was not written by Paul, even if it is “Pauline.” The issue of authorship is not as critical an issue as for other books, Dunn refers to the writer as Paul despite expressing doubts that he was the actual author. He is warm to the possibility that the book was written from a hypothetical Ephesian imprisonment, but cannot state this (or any alternative view) with certainty. The opponents addressed by the letter are from the local Jewish synagogue. As Dunn says, to call this a “heresy” is “quite inappropriate” since the “competing philosophy” does not come from within the church. The body of the commentary is based wholly on the Greek text, with detailed lexical and syntactical comments. Dunn is well-versed in Second Temple Period Jewish literature as well as Greco-Roman works and integrates this material into his commentary well. In particular, material from the Dead Sea Scrolls is used to illustrate the “Jewishness” of Paul’s opponents.

For $9.99 add Anthony Thiselton’s excellent commentary on 1 Corinthians in the same series. This volume was my first choice for my Top Five Commentaries on 1 Corinthians:

Like most of the NIGTC series, Thiselton’s commentary is magisterial. At over 1400 pages, the commentary contains highly detailed exegesis and theological interest. Thiselton also includes what he calls a “posthistory reception” of the text. He draws on the apostolic fathers, patristic, medieval, Reformation, and modern eras and briefly summarizes how each age has read the text of 1 Corinthians. These are interesting, although they go beyond what is typically included in a commentary.  Eerdmans also published A Shorter Exegetical and Pastoral Commentary version of this commentary which should be sufficient for most pastors.

These three commentaries would cost over $200 in hardback and are rarely available used. But Logos is offering them for a mere $15. Although I prefer a real book, reading the commentaries in Logos is extremely convenient since all of the tools of the Logos Bible Software are available. This includes searching within the book, clicking Greek and Hebrew words to open your preferred lexicons, hovering over abbreviations for a definition, clicking on cited resources to open in Logos, and advanced highlighting and note-taking tools Logos books come with real page numbers, any text you copy/paste into Word will appear with a proper citation in your style preference (Chicago, MLA, APA, etc.)

As usual, Logos has a giveaway at the bottom of the free book page. This month hey are giving away a set of ten volumes in the Socio-Rhetorical Commentary Series. This includes Ben Witherington’s Acts commentary, one of my favorite commentaries ever. There are several ways to enter the contest, so enter early and enter often.

These valuable resources are only free (or almost free) through November 30, 2019.

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.

 

 

 

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.