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The Word Bible Commentary (WBC), is an extreamly scholarly and many time critical Biblical commentary. I was introduced to them in my second year of Seminary and found them extremely useful in writing academic papers, in sermon preparation, and in Sunday school preparation. As this commetnary series grows in my collection so does my respect for the series as a whole. A few years ago the word bible commentary switch Publishers again, and came under the ownership of Zondervan Publications. Under their leadership this series has seen a rejuvenation of sorts. While the format remains unchanged (providing a phenomenal bibliography, translation, notes on translation and setting, followed by comments and explanation), the binding of the book has changed as well as the addition of revised versions of previously released commentaries. While the WBC is world renowned for its high academic pursuit of God’s Word, I was pleasantly surprised at its accessibility to the pastor and not just the academically-minded Bible scholar. In the book that I have the privilege of viewing is a revision of the 31st volume of this series containing the minor prophets Hosea-Jonah, by Douglas Stuart. While reading an assortment of passages in the various minor prophets, I was saddened to see a lack of commentary about each verse with regard to application and contextualisation. Yet on the other hand comments about the Biblical Hebrew language as well as syntax of each verse are indispensable information that is sorely lacking in almost every modern commentary.
While knowledge of the Biblical Hebrew language is handy when utilizing this commentary, it is not a necessary requirement for some utilization. With that said having a deep knowledge of the Biblical Hebrew will greatly enhance a readers ability to use this commentary. I highly recommend this commentary to pastors and scholars due to its thorough academic approach combined with its accessibility to academia and the pastorate.
This book was provided to me free of charge from Zondervan Academic Publishers in exchange for an unbiased, honest review.
One of the most difficult tasks a biblical scholar faces is trying to write a one-volume commentary on several books of the Bible, especially when the only obvious linkage is that they are found consecutively in our English Bible. Somehow Douglas Stuart has pulled this off and the result is a scholarly but readable and lively commentary on the books of Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, and Jonah. While more space is given to the longer books (Hosea covers approximately 220 pages of text versus just 21 for Obadiah), none receives short shrift.
While the introductory material to each of these prophets is not extremely detailed, it is enlightening and provides the reader with a decent amount of background material. The commentary provides not just interpretation of the text but, where important, crucial background information regarding geography, culture, societal practices, and the like. (For example, the commentary on Amos contains a significant amount of material that enables us to better understand the practices that Amos is condemning.)
Anyone seeking to gain a better understanding of one or more of these five books will benefit from reading this commentary.
This is a careful comprehensive scholarly study. For example, in regard to Jonah, the author wrote that the composition of Jonah is not datable except within the broadest boundaries, somewhere between 750-250 BCE, because there are no certain indication in the book of its date.