The Dangerous Business of Bible Publishing in the Sixteenth Century

by Carl Nellis, Associate Editor

‘It was impossible to establish the lay people in any truth, except the Scripture were laid before their eyes in their mother tongue.’
—William Tyndale [1]

The story of printing from the invention of Gutenberg’s press in 1450 to the work of the Reformers has been told and retold in every subsequent generation. This year, celebrations commemorating Luther’s bold act in Wittenberg in 1517 lead us to consider the whole period of the Reformation and the long legacy of that work we inherit today.

In particular, we at Hendrickson Publishers look back to the Reformation as the early period where our own trade began to take shape, as publishers of thoughtful Christian books and, especially, as Bible publishers.

Sixteenth-century printers and publishers played a key role in the cultural shifts that made Luther’s choices possible and powerful. As Patricia Anders, Hendrickson’s editorial director, noted in her recent post on the continuing significance of the Reformation, “thanks to the invention of the printing press,” one of the forces that drove the Reformers’ work was the circulation of ideas through publishing. On the printed page, new ideas and new doctrines traveled from town to town in the native language of readers. As printing became more widespread, books could be produced at lower cost, at greater speed, and in higher volume. This large-scale production of knowledge created a new way of seeing and understanding the world, sparking an international movement, with provocative writers like Martin Luther lighting the way.

It wasn’t just Luther’s theological tracts and pamphlets, however, which set the German reading world ablaze. The Reformers’ embrace of the doctrine of sola scriptura, the belief that Scripture alone should guide Christians in their faith, put a new importance on believers reading the Bible in their own tongue without a human intermediary. The Reformers wanted truth established not in a magisterium, but in the heart and mind of every Christian. This desire found its full expression in the printing of German, Swiss, and English Bibles.

As these vernacular Bibles spread, the authority of church in Rome was undermined. New leaders such as John Wycliffe, Martin Luther, Jan Hus, and Huldrich Zwingli began to teach that no earthly arbiter need come between the believer and the sacred text. That made Bible publishing a dangerous business.

Martin Luther’s Biblia Germanica, 1545 

biblia-germanicaIn the years after nailing his Ninety-Five Theses to the doors in Wittenberg, while in hiding following the backlash against his work, Luther translated the New Testament into German. Published in 1522, Luther’s New Testament was not the first Bible to appear in German, as previous Bibles had been translated from the Latin Vulgate into High German. But it was Luther who dedicated himself to translate the Hebrew and Greek text “into the idiom of sixteenth century Saxony,”[2] thereby being the first to translate Scripture into the common language of his particular readers.

In 1534, Luther’s whole Bible was printed in German for the first time by Hans Lufft, the “rising star in the Wittenberg printing scene” who Biblia Germanicabetween “1534 and 1574 . . . produced thousands of Luther Bibles,” by some counts printing over one hundred thousand during that period.[3] Luther continued to revise his translation and correct errors, publishing various editions until the final, one-volume edition was published in 1545, one year before his death.

Working together with the German Bible Society in commemoration of Luther’s work, Hendrickson is now carrying a complete facsimile of this final, one-volume Bible. A recent episode of the Mortification of Spin podcast detailed the history of the Biblia Germanica. You can listen to the hosts “gawk over its beautiful calligraphy and . . . discuss God’s providential work through Martin Luther” at the Mortification of Spin website.

William Tyndale’s New Testament, 1526 

9781598562903In The Reformation: What You Need to Know and Why (forthcoming from Hendrickson in May 2017), Michael Reeves writes that before William Tyndale’s 1526 New Testament, “the followers of John Wycliffe had produced and read translations of the New Testament in English, but they were only handwritten,” and “impossible to mass-produce.” Like the German predecessors of Luther’s translation, they were “rather wooden renditions of the Latin Vulgate . . . and still contained all the theological problems of the Latin (‘do penance’ instead of ‘repent,’ for example).” Rather than copying his work by hand, Tyndale sent his work to Germany where it was

printed off by the thousands, then smuggled into England in bales of cloth, and soon accompanied by his Parable of the Wicked Mammon, an argument for justification through faith alone. Even more importantly, Tyndale’s New Testament was a gem of a translation. Accurate and beautifully written, it was a page-turner. (16–17)

tyndale-nt_finalHendrickson’s facsimile edition of Tyndale’s New Testament, produced in cooperation with the British Library, demonstrates the compact size and the beautifully decorated type of the original that delivered this translation to its first readers. At only six and a half inches high and four and a half wide, it was the perfect Bible for smuggling in a bale of cloth, and the brilliant color of its pages was well-suited to impressing the dissident clergy on the other side as they made the case for teaching the congregation in their mother tongue.

In 1535, Tyndale was caught by church authorities in Brussels and burned at the stake for his work on this “page-turner.” He was one of many who would die a martyr’s death during the Reformation, caught between the heat of his convictions and the flames of the so-called heretic’s pyre.

Matthew’s Bible, 1537

9781598563498Tyndale’s death, however, did not suppress demand for the Bible in English, nor did it slow the advance of Reformation thought. In fact, in 1534, the same year that Luther first published his complete Bible, King Henry VIII made his separation from the church in Rome and claimed a new church for England with himself at the head. In 1537, as a part of this new day for English religion, King Henry ordered that an English Bible be placed in every church in England.

The Bible first used to fulfill that decree was the 1537 Matthew’s Bible, published by John Rogers under the pseudonym “Thomas Matthew.” Based on William Tyndale’s translation of the New Testament and his partial matthews1537_finaltranslation of the Old Testament, Matthew’s Bible filled in the gaps with the work of Miles Coverdale, who had completed an English Bible in 1535, translated from several sources including a Swiss-German Bible of 1529, the Vulgate, and Luther’s Biblia Germanica.

Basing his translation on Tyndale’s work, John Rogers suffered Tyndale’s fate. Like his predecessor, Rogers burned at the stake, becoming the first Protestant martyr until Catholic Queen Mary I when she ascended the throne of Britain in 1553.

The Geneva Bible, 1560

9781598562125The story of the Geneva Bible bears witness to the ongoing revolutionary potential of the English Bible as the first wave of Reformers passed the torch to the next generation. Translated and compiled by English Puritans who had fled England to shelter in John Calvin’s Geneva, the Bible was continuously printed from 1560 to 1640—eighty years of continued social upheaval and disruption that sowed the seeds of the English Civil War.

It was in Geneva that Calvin continued Luther’s practice of developing strong relationships with skilled printers, who worked together with the Bible’s compilers to make significant advances in Bible publishing. Unlike its many predecessors, the Geneva Bible divided the scriptural text into numbered verses, used italic text to mark geneva-bibleEnglish phrases not included in the original languages, placed marks over biblical names to aid in pronunciation, and included extensive textual and explanatory commentary in the margins.

The choices made in the layout and formatting of the Geneva Bible were the next steps of a dance between the need for believers to encounter the Bible on their own, and the need for scholars and church leaders to assist Bible readers in understanding the significance of the book for their own lives.

So familiar today, these choices in how a Bible could be presented to a reader reintroduced human interpreters into Protestant Bible reading, and raised significant questions about the role of the Bible in the life of a Christian. Readers who were puzzled about how to understand a passage could look to the commentary in the margin for help, but who wrote these notes, and could they be believed? They were printed next to the text of Scripture, but did they carry the same authority as the words of a priest, or even the head of the church? King James I, himself the head of the Church of England during his reign, loathed the assumed authority of the Geneva Bible’s marginal commentary so much that he “ordered his 1611 translators to confine themselves to cross-references and alternative renderings” when they used the Geneva Bible as a source text to create his “Authorized Version.”[4]

~ ~ ~

Wycliffe, Luther, Lufft, Tyndale, Coverdale, Rogers, Calvin, and King James I—from throne, pulpit, and printing press, these leaders of the Protestant Reformation all made their contributions to the ongoing discussion about where authority to interpret Scripture resides: in the text, the tradition, or the believer.

As spiritually, culturally, and economically significant today as it was during the Reformation, the printed Bible continues to be the most widely sold and widely read book. For that we have the courage of the Reformers, and their publishers, to thank.

[1] Quoted by Michael Reeves in “The Story and Significance of the Reformation,” The Reformation: What You Need to Know and Why (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, May 2017), 16.

[2] Introduction to “Martin Luther: Preface to the German translation of the New Testament (1522),” The Protestant Reformation, ed. Hans J. Hillenbrand (New York: Harper, 1968), 38. [3] Richard G. Cole, “Reformation Printers: Unsung Heroes,” The Sixteenth Century Journal (1984): 15:3, 334.

[4] Gerald Hammond, review of “The English Bible and the Seventeenth-Century Revolution” by Christopher Hill, Translation and Literature (1994), 3, 155.

Carl Nellis is Associate Editor with Hendrickson Publishers. He lives in historic Gloucester, Massachusetts, where he reviews new books in critical cultural studies and researches contemporary American community formation around appropriations of medieval European culture. You can learn more about Carl’s work at

A Theological Treatise on Agape Love

donald-bloesch-on-love1Need some Valentine’s Day wisdom? Donald Bloesch—the beloved American theologian—catalogs his thoughts on biblical love in the following excerpt from The Paradox of Holiness. These paragraphs are taken from the beginning of the chapter dedicated to the subject of agape love. Let this whet your appetite for more of Bloesch’s thoughtful musings on God and our relationship to Christ.

Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.—1 Corinthians 13:7 (NLT)

Love makes labor light. Love alone gives value to all things.—Teresa of Avila

Love in practice is a harsh and terrible thing compared to love in dreams.—Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Above all nature and throughout all history love proves itself to be the Almighty’s final power, the final greatness of His heart, the last revelation of His Spirit.—Eberhard Arnold

I have found the paradox that if I love until it hurts then there is no hurt, but only more love.—Mother Teresa of Calcutta

Love is not only the crowning gift of the Spirit but also the gift most likely to be misunderstood. In this chapter we shall examine love in the sense of agape, especially as Paul interprets it. Agape does not contradict the Old Testament hesed—which includes friendship, integrity, and loyalty—but goes beyond it. Nor can agape be reduced to law (nomos), for love in its deepest biblical sense is not a legal obligation but an amazing wonder of God’s unfathomable mercy. Love as agape certainly stands in tension with eros, the quest for self-realization. Love enlivens the self but also takes one out of self into the sufferings and needs of others. Love does not retreat before evil but challenges evil and ultimately overturns evil. The Song of Songs, which is best understood as a deepening and transforming of natural love, grasps the almightiness of love: “Many waters cannot quench love, no flood can sweep it away” (8:7 NEB). Love bursts through all barriers and dismantles the powers that hold humankind in bondage. Love in the sense of agape comes close to friendship (philia), but it is something much deeper than mutual love: it is a unilateral love that goes out to a loveless world and expects nothing in return.

donald-bloesch-on-loveLove (agape) is often defined as compassion, and certainly real love includes compassion. Yet it cannot be reduced to compassion because it entails reproof and correction as well as empathy and pity. To identify agape and compassion is to confound love with feeling, which is always fleeting. Christian love is never transitory but enduring; it is not wavering but unbending. In compassion, we take pity upon someone who is in trouble. In agape, we act to alleviate the sufferings of others and bring them into conformity with God’s will. Christian love is more a matter of the will than of feeling. It is bearing the cross in vicarious identification with others in their pain and ignominy. Compassion is a uniquely Christian virtue when it is united with dedication to God’s glory.

Love in Christian understanding is palpably different from love in the great philosophies and religions of the world. It definitely conflicts with the Buddhist mettā, the Pali word for love, and karunā (compassion), because it involves active combat with the forces of unrighteousness. Neither can it be united with the Hindu ahimsa, for agape is not noninjury, abstention from hostility, but generosity in giving. As one commentator observes: “Courage, stoic endurance, the search for wisdom, intellectual integrity, strength, detachment—these are the virtues normally worshipped by mankind and preached by his many religions. And Love is a contradiction of many of them.”

The Paradox of Holiness by Donald BloeschThe Paradox of Holiness presents the theology of spiritual life as it is shaped and defined by the Word of God. Through this theological exposition, Bloesch presents and explores the paradox that exists in the pursuit of holiness for those who believe.

For more about The Paradox of Holiness, check out our website.

Donald G. Bloesch (1928-2010) was a noted American evangelical theologian. From 1957 until his retirement in 1992, he was a professor of theology at the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary in Dubuque, Iowa, where he continued as a professor emeritus. For more than forty years, he published scholarly yet accessible works that generally defend traditional Protestant beliefs and practices while seeking to remain in the mainstream of modern Protestant theological thought. He characterized himself a “progressive evangelical” or “Ecumenical orthodox,” criticizing the excesses of both the theological left and right. Bloesch’s pietistic background and personal spiritual life lay at the heart of understanding his theology.

A Conversation about Biblical Aramaic: A Reader & Handbook

biblical-aramaicIf you study Biblical Aramaic and haven’t yet gotten a chance to explore this new handbook, you’re in luck. We sat down with Amy Paulsen-Reed, one of the editors, so she can tell us more about the book and how it was put together.

But first, a bit about the book. Biblical Aramaic: A Reader & Handbook is designed to enable students, pastors, and scholars to read the Aramaic portions of the Bible with understanding and confidence. Created by Donald R. Vance, George Athas, Yael Avrahami, and our very own Jonathan G. Kline (who also developed the questions below), it contains the full text of the Aramaic portions of the Bible, extensive vocabulary and word lists, and an apparatus that contextually glosses and parses 94% of all vocabulary.

How is Biblical Aramaic: A Reader & Handbook different from other books on Biblical Aramaic? What are its unique features?

What makes Biblical Aramaic: A Reader & Handbook (BARH) different is that it contains vocabulary and morphology lists that use attested forms (the ones that occur in the text) and gives you their frequency so you can focus on the most common ones as opposed to memorizing paradigms full of forms you’ll never see in the biblical text. Also, the Reader section, which contains all the Aramaic texts from the Bible, contains a streamlined and more accessible apparatus than the BHS Reader, especially with regard to the parsings.

biblical aramaic features

Is this a grammar of Biblical Aramaic? Is it a reference book?

Unlike most of the resources out there, BARH focuses on helping the student learn and understand the forms that occur in the biblical text, as opposed to only lexical forms. It is not a grammar, although by studying the lists, which organize words according to parts of speech, stem, and strong/weak root types, the student will be inductively learning various aspects of the grammar.

BARH is thus complementary to Biblical Aramaic grammars, since the lists display the grammatical forms in a fresh and logical way, which will reinforce one’s study of a traditional grammar or textbook. It is also complementary to a grammar in that it provides the full Aramaic text from the BHS Reader, which makes it easier to access the Aramaic portions of the Hebrew Bible. This book greatly enriches and reinforces study of any Biblical Aramaic grammar.

Who is BARH for?

BARH is for anyone learning Biblical Aramaic at any level. If you’re just starting out and want to focus on basic vocabulary, you can easily identify the most common words and forms since everything is organized by frequency; and if you’ve already taken a course and want to refresh your memory, the lists allow you to identify and focus on the areas you most need to review. And again, the fact that you’re only seeing the forms that actually occur in the text means that all of your study and review directly improves your ability to read the biblical text, whether you’re a beginner or a veteran.

BARH contains a lot of lists. How are these organized, and why are they useful?

biblical-aramaic-close-up-insideJonathan Kline, our academic editor and the architect of these lists, put a lot of thought into creating these. He starts off by giving you two frequency lists: one containing all the words in Biblical Aramaic that occur two times or more, and one containing all the hapax legomena (words that only occur once). The first of these two lists allows you to easily see the most common words. The first 50 words in the list take you down to a frequency of 18, while the first 100 words take you down to a frequency of 10; and the next 100 words take you down to a frequency of 5. This is both encouraging and motivating, because you don’t have to memorize too many words in order to really get a handle on the vocabulary of Biblical Aramaic.

List #3 is a master verb list by frequency, which is also super encouraging to look at. If you study the 20 most common verbs, you’re already down to a frequency of 10! The same goes for the Common Noun List – the first 40 words get you down to a frequency of 10. The genius of these lists is that they provide a clear, focused path of study that leads towards mastery, with mastery defined as the ability to read and understand the biblical texts in Aramaic.

There are verb lists by stem (G, D, etc.), and again, they only show the forms attested in the text, so if a verb only shows up as 3ms, 3mp, and 3fs, those are the only forms given in the paradigm. The same goes for the lists of weak verbs (I-Aleph, II-Ayin, etc.).

There are also lists of forms (of all parts of speech) that have pronominal suffixes: ms nouns with 3ms suffixes, fs nouns with 3ms suffixes, and so on. This provides an inductive experience with Biblical Aramaic in a more focused, organized way than just reading the text.

There are also lists of easily confused words, such as homonyms and consonantal homographs (the consonants are the same, but the vowels are different). And at the end, Jonathan gives you lists of Persian, Sumerian, Akkadian, Greek, and Hebrew loanwords that occur in the Aramaic text, which is both fascinating and helpful.

What exactly is in the Reader section of BARH?

First of all, the Reader contains every bit of Aramaic in the Hebrew Bible, including the isolated Aramaic verses from Genesis and Jeremiah. And since it’s a Reader, it provides glosses (definitions) for all except the 25 most common words. This means that once you learn those 25 words, you don’t have to consult a dictionary for less common vocabulary – it’s all right there on the bottom half of the page.

The notes to the Reader also contain parsings for all verbs. One difference between the parsings provided in the BHS Reader and this Reader is that BARH has the space to spell out the parsings, as opposed to using a code that you have to memorize. For example, where BARH gives you “G SC 3ms” (Grundstamm, suffix conjugation, 3rd-person masculine singular), the BHS Reader gives you “G12,” which requires you to have already memorized the specific numbered grammatical code that it uses. The fact that BAHR actually gives you the parsing makes it more accessible.

Do the vocabulary lists in BARH just contain basic definitions for the words, or do they provide contextual glosses?

biblical-aramaic-insideGreat question. When you look a word up in the dictionary, you have a list of possible meanings. A contextual gloss means that the definition given is the one that best fits the context of a particular verse. BAHR gives you the contextual gloss. This saves you the step of trying to decide which of several definitions applies to the specific verse you’re reading and helps you avoid the mistake of thinking that all of the definitions apply at once (the “totality transfer” fallacy).

I already have a copy of Biblia Hebraica: A Reader’s Edition (a.k.a., the BHS Reader). Is this book just an excerpted version of the Bible’s Aramaic texts from the BHS Reader?

Nope! As I mentioned above, the parsing information is spelled out more fully, as opposed to using a numbered code. The annotations for the Reader section of BARH are more accessible and easier to understand. In addition, two-thirds of BARH consists of its extensive vocabulary and morphology lists, none of which are found in the BHS Reader.

Can BARH be used in a Biblical Aramaic course?

BARH cannot replace a traditional grammar or textbook, but it is an invaluable tool for any student of Biblical Aramaic. On a syllabus, it would be an excellent “recommended text.”

Amy Paulsen-Reed is an Assistant Editor and Sales Rep at Hendrickson Publishers. She has a doctorate in Hebrew Bible from Harvard University, where she focused on Jewish biblical interpretation in antiquity. She lives in Burlington, MA with her husband Michael and her daughter Lillian. She is a self-confessed language and grammar nerd, and enjoys cooking, baking, and napping in her spare time.

barhFor more information about Biblical Aramaic: A Reader & Handbook, visit our website.

Five Hundred Years Later, Does the Reformation Still Matter?

By Patricia Anders, Editorial Director, Hendrickson Publishers

As we kick off the yearlong commemoration of the five hundredth anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, it’s good to pause and revisit those church- and world-shaking events that continued long after Luther nailed his Ninety-Five Theses to that famous door (so the story goes) on October 31, 1517. What caused Luther, Calvin, and many others to set in motion the Reformation—and what are the consequences, both then and now? Does the Reformation even matter anymore?

The Reformation Then and NowThese are important questions we need to grapple with in our current reality—questions raised and answers attempted in the latest book from Hendrickson Publishers, The Reformation Then and Now: 25 Years of Modern Reformation Articles Celebrating 500 Years of the Reformation. This book is a compendium of twenty-five years of articles published by Modern Reformation, a magazine that Michael Horton (currently the J. Gresham Machen Professor of Systematic Theology and Apologetics at Westminster Seminary California in Escondido) and others began in 1992 as a newsletter designed to introduce the Reformation to disaffected American evangelicals.

Having served as the managing editor of the magazine for almost ten years now, I can honestly say that there are many important concerns the church still needs to consider. One of the key slogans of the Reformation, semper reformanda (always reforming), holds just as true today as it did five hundred years ago. We may not have to battle against such glaring abuses like those of the Roman Catholic Church in the 1500s, but we certainly have our own real problems today (starting with an alarming disconnect in many of our churches between ethnic groups). The church should always be examining itself, ensuring it has not drifted away from the truth as God revealed it through Jesus Christ.

The Continuing Protestant Story

One of my favorite Modern Reformation issues over the past ten years (and perhaps in the entire history of the magazine) was the special issue published in 2009 to commemorate the five hundredth birthday of John Calvin (all of the articles in that special issue have been reprinted in this new book collection). In her article “Calvin and the Continuing Protestant Story,” Serene Jones (Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York president and the Johnston Family Professor for Religion and Democracy) explains how the Reformation remains relevant:

One doesn’t have to look very far or very hard to realize that we are living in uncertain times—not just uncertain, downright cataclysmic. As the world waits anxiously for news of the market’s every fluctuation, new poverty for some means an exponential increase in suffering for those who have always been on the underside of global prosperity. As patterns of immigration and migration shift and people find themselves living, by choice and necessity, in closer proximity than ever, a new generation of North America begins to navigate waters swelling with the waves of greater human diversity. The web of these events, and the sense of crisis it engenders, covers all aspects of our common life, including the stories we tell about who we are. For North American Protestants formed in the Calvinist heritage, our theological story about humanity and the meaning of life hold special treasures for us as we grapple with these pressures and possibilities….

Despite historical distance, Calvin might recognize the world we live in today, because he too lived in a time of cataclysmic changes. Calvin’s Geneva was comprised of an immigrant population significantly larger than the size of its citizenship. And Calvin himself was one—an immigrant who, like the others, wasn’t able to vote on civic issues because he was not a native citizen, until near the end of his life. Refugees and immigrants, displaced businesspeople and peasants, royalty and clergy, all of them came to Calvin’s Geneva in search of new life and new possibility. Like us, what they discovered was that new life had to be newly “made-up” in a great experiment: there was no template, no easy answer. And out of this experiment came the foundations for democracy, the rule of law, and more variations of Christianity and politics than can be easily counted in any history class.

As the volatile issue of immigration still surges around us, we can take some comfort in how it played out so successfully in Geneva five centuries ago. This also reminds us that the debate over immigration is a concern for the church as much as the government—especially in a country as richly diverse as the United States.

Theology of Work Bible CommentaryAs Dr. Jones said above, much of what happened in Geneva laid the foundation—politically, economically, and socially—for the United States and other Western democracies. Luther was also pivotal in building up the common people with the idea that any legitimate work is done to the glory of God—whether the worker was a street sweeper or a shop clerk (for more on that, see the Theology of Work Bible  Commentary and accompanying Bible studies published by Hendrickson). One doesn’t have to be a clergy member to serve God. We all do.

Ten Ways Modern Culture Is Different Because of the Reformation

Another favorite section of mine in that special Calvin issue was David Hall’s “Ten Ways Modern Culture Is Different Because of John Calvin.” In that article, the then director of Calvin 500 describes the background and impact of ten important turning points for the church and civil society in Calvin’s Geneva:

  1. Educating all people, not just the elite
  2. Caring for the poor and sheltering refugees
  3. Living out Judeo-Christian ethics and upholding God’s moral law
  4. Separating the church from the government
  5. Institutes of the Christian Religion by John CalvinBalancing individual liberty and proper government
  6. Establishing mutual correction and accountability within branches of the government, separating power and protecting against oligarchy
  7. Dignifying all labor and professions
  8. Creating a free-market economy with the accompanying mandate: “not to grow rich by injustice, nor to plunder our neighbor of his goods” (from Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion)
  9. Creating music for public worship in today’s language
  10. Circulating ideas through publishing and distribution throughout the world, thanks to the invention of the printing press and increased travel

In the epilogue of his article, Hall writes: “The Calvinist view of liberty, wherever it spread, gave citizens confidence and protections. Within a century, the American colonies would exhibit these Calvinistic distinctives….Calvin should certainly be acknowledged for his overall contribution to the legacy of freedom and openness in democratic societies.”

I find it interesting that Hall also quotes Antonin Scalia, the recently deceased Supreme Court Justice:

We Americans…have become so used to democracy that it seems to us the natural order of things. Of course it is not. During almost all of recorded human history, the overwhelming majority of mankind has been governed by rulers determined by heredity, or selected by a powerful aristocracy, or imposed through sheer force of arms. Kings and emperors have been always with us; presidents (or their equivalent) have been very rare.

(“The Millennium That Was: How Democracy Swept the Word,” The Wall Street Journal, 7 September 1999)

Semper Reformanda

The ten points listed above and all that they represent still remain vital to who we are as a church and as a civil society. Many people currently feel disheartened and disenfranchised due to the recent political polarization and subsequent feelings of fear and instability. Again, let’s return to Serene Jones’s article:

As a pastor and writer in these tumultuous times, Calvin’s theology offers me hope. He knew that in times of rapid change, people are likely to grasp for things that promise to anchor them. It is hard to live in such flux. But wisely, Calvin knew that our very human need for stability could lead us to make idols of objects that are not holy. A person, a religious or political system, a clear line drawn between “us” and “them,” or even a set of cherished beliefs—all can become idols we promote to the place of God. To counter this most pernicious—and most natural!—impulse, Calvin’s theology insists on only one steadfast principle: we must be reformed and always reforming. We move forward practically, forging pragmatic solutions to real social problems, anchoring ourselves in communities and laws and practices. And then we open our eyes again, under the ever-loving gaze of an all-present God, unclasp our clutching hands, and face the possibility that our good work—even our deepest religious beliefs—might have turned into idols in our eagerness to do the work of God.

And having humbled us by lifting up our capacity for idol-worship, Calvin would have eagerly reminded us that even in a world-undone, grace abounds and stabilizes us, through the simple wonder of unstoppable hope and the insistent presence of the Divine with you. To the Glory of God.

So, it is readily apparent (at least to this writer) that not only was the Reformation needed five centuries ago, but it is still very much needed today. Lest we forget the power and abuses seen in the church and monarchies of long ago, let us take a careful look at where we are today. Where have we gone astray in our world—in the church, in society, in our individual lives? Perhaps if we start with serious and prayerful self-examination, we will see where we have gone wrong (and it’s painfully obvious that we have!). If we look to Jesus as the model and perfect human, as God incarnate who lived among us and taught us how to live, then we can begin to truly love God and one another as we love ourselves.

Indeed, semper reformanda.

Patricia Anders is editorial director at Hendrickson Publishers. She also serves as the managing editor of Modern Reformation magazine, teaches Aesthetic Aspects in Literature at Gordon College in Massachusetts, and is the author of A Winter’s Blooming (HNN Press, 2012).

How to Expand Your Small Groups Ministry: An Interview with the Author of Exponential Groups

Allen White, author of Exponential Groups, generously agreed to answer a few of our questions about his book in the below video! Watch and be inspired to take your small group ministry to the next level.

Interested in listening to a particular question? Here’s an overview of the interview:

  • About Allen White: 0:00-0:55
  1. Who is Exponential Groups’ audience and what is the book about? This question is addressed at 0:56.
  2. What has made you so passionate about expanding churches’ small groups? 1:30
  3. What do you think is the biggest factor hindering churches from successful group-making? 2:30
  4. What advice would you give to someone who would like to start a small group but doesn’t want to be considered its “leader”? 3:08
  5. What are ways that a church can be creative in its approach to creating groups? 3:41
  6. What’s the best piece advice you’ve received about small groups? 4:42
  7. What projects are you working on now or have planned for the future? 5:44

exponential-groupsAllen White coaches churches in launching exponential groups. In over 25 years of ministry, he has served on staff at two churches: New Life Christian Center, Turlock, CA (nondenominational) and Brookwood Church, Simpsonville, SC (Southern Baptist) as well as coaching over 1,500 churches across North America. Allen teaches workshops for various churches and organizations as well as workshops for Saddleback Church’s conferences and Willow Creek Canada, and is part of the Small Group Network out of Saddleback Church, which has chapters in all 50 states and many other countries. He holds a B.A. in Biblical Studies and Missions and a M.Div, in Christian Education from Evangel University, Springfield, MO.

For more information about Exponential Groups, visit our website.

Excerpt from Exponential Groups by Allen White

exponential-groupsTo celebrate the release of Exponential Groups on February 1st, we’re happy to provide you with the introduction to this eye-opening book about expanding small group ministries. Readers of Exponential Groups will learn how to connect their “unconnected” members into community, recruit the group leaders needed to connect and grow their congregation, coach group leaders for a sustainable group structure that will serve their church for years to come, understand how to maintain current discipleship strategies, and implement new strategies without alienating their members or derailing their current systems.

Enjoy this little snippet, and don’t forget to check out the book on our website.

Everyone is already in a group.

When I say “group,” something from years of church Bible studies comes to mind. You might protest that there are plenty of people who aren’t in groups like this. But it’s true. Everyone is already in a group, it’s just not the group you have in mind. People are in groups called families, friends, coworkers, neighbors, soccer moms, and many others. If your question is how are these church groups? I want to suggest you change your question to what can these groups do intentionally about their spiritual growth?

When Pastor Troy Jones from New Life Church in Renton, Washington, stood up and invited his 2,500 adults to gather their friends for a six-week study, three hundred adults volunteered to lead a group. At first glance, hundreds and hundreds of people immediately “joined groups.” But the truth is, they were already in these groups. The additions were a sermon-aligned curriculum, on-the-job training, and a support structure to help them, but, overall, these groups weren’t strangers who became friends. They were friends becoming closer to each other and closer to God. I’ve seen this happen in churches of fifty members and churches of over twenty thousand, but I didn’t start out thinking about groups this way.

Over twenty years ago, when we first launched groups at New Life Christian Center in Turlock, California, I believed all of our “sheep” were lost without a “shepherd,” and there is definitely some truth to that. I looked out at our congregation of 250 or so adults and felt we needed to do something to get our people connected, since our church had rapidly grown from eighty-five to 250. As Rick Warren says, “Our church must always be growing larger and smaller at the same time. . . . there must be a balance between the large group celebrations and the small group cells.”

My senior pastor and I handpicked nine mature couples to join me and start groups. We invited our congregation to sign up for one of these groups for twelve months. Every group chose their own curriculum. I led a monthly huddle and, for the most part, was the sole coach. The groups went strong for twelve months, then all ten of them quit, including mine.

Not only was my method not multiplying groups, it wasn’t even adding. It was time to get serious about groups if they were ever going to work at our church.

I spent the summer of 1997 on sabbatical and studied churches and their groups. I attended fifteen different church services and interviewed a dozen pastors. I read about a dozen books. At the end of that research effort, our church set out to start groups in a different way from our previous attempt. We decided to start groups using the findings Carl George presents in Prepare Your Church for the Future, which were popularized by the small group model at Willow Creek Community Church. I recruited two mature leaders to coach and ten more leaders to lead, and we started a turbo group—a temporary group designed to give leaders a crash course in group life, then help them launch groups of their own. In the six weeks of the turbo group, we covered all of the basics of group life. (Well, at least as many basics as you can cover in six weeks.) Then we launched groups.

People filled out sign-up cards to join groups, and all of the groups started on the same study about building community. This time all of the groups were starting from the same DNA. All of our leaders were expected to identify apprentice leaders who would be trained, then eventually released to start their own groups. This time we were going to move from a group method that produced no new groups to a system that would give us new groups hand over fist. Our total number of groups would grow by double or better every year. We dreamed that in just five years all of our adults would be connected into groups.

But none of my leaders could find an apprentice.

I plugged along with a new turbo group every year. I would handpick the new recruits. Some years we launched ten new groups. Other years, we launched only two. A couple of years we launched none. After seven years of pounding this nail, we had 30 percent of our eight hundred adults in groups, but we were stuck.

The thought of connecting everybody in a group was my dream, but we weren’t growing past 30 percent. We were slugging it out the old-fashioned way—raise up an apprentice, birth a group, and deal with the aftermath—but we were headed nowhere. I thought my senior pastor was in favor of small groups, but not enough. My small group leaders were stifled by the whole apprenticing-multiplication process. None of them could find an apprentice in their group. Some of them had started greeting me on Sunday morning with “I’m working on my apprentice.” I thought, “Whatever happened to ‘Hello’?” (I didn’t consider how often, when I handpicked my new recruits, I was plucking potential apprentices from under the noses of my group leaders.) Only one guy, named Carlos, ever trained an apprentice and launched a new group in our church. It seemed that connecting everyone was only a pipe dream.

Then, a few months later, at a gathering of church leaders, I listened as Brett Eastman, from Lifetogether, and Kent Odor, from Canyon Ridge Christian Church in Las Vegas, shared how they had connected large numbers in their congregations in a relatively short period of time. I heard how groups could multiply without dividing. I learned how people overlooked in recruiting would actually start some of the best new groups.
I was intrigued, but unconvinced.

There were some decisions to make. On the 350-mile drive home, I began to think about what my senior pastor, David Larson, was the most passionate about. At the time, it was the approaching release of The Passion of the Christ, the Mel Gibson movie everyone was buzzing about. Dave had planned a message series and ordered a banner for our church sign on the highway. He was passionate about The Passion.

The light suddenly came on: Why not launch small groups based on The Passion?

And that’s exactly what we did. I asked Dave to invite anyone willing to open their hearts and their homes to a group of people for a six-week study to host a group. In one day, our church of eight hundred adults doubled the number of groups! After Easter, we added 50 percent more new groups in another campaign. Things were getting out of control in a very good way!

When fall hit, we started recruiting for the biggest launch of the year. Pastor Dave aligned his weekly messages with a video-based curriculum we had produced ourselves. We took fifty verses from the Bible and asked fifty members of the church to write a one-page devotional, which we then compiled into a book. When it was all said and done, we had enough groups for 125 percent of our average adult attendance and had given out 1,088 study guides. Well over 100 percent of our average adult attendance was plugged into a group!

We were all in awe. The pipe dream was suddenly a reality.

I realized the only reason the church had been stuck on that plateau was because of a mental block. It was like back in the 1950s when everyone said no man could ever run a four-minute mile. It was just a dream. Then, on May 6, 1954, Roger Bannister ran the mile in 3:59.4 minutes. After that, many runners broke that barrier. Four minutes wasn’t a physical barrier. It was a mental block.

Our church had just broken the four-minute mile. Churches could actually start groups that would involve the majority of the congregation and then reach their communities through community!

This wasn’t about numbers, though. One man named Ken invited his coworkers to join him for a study on The Passion. Two of them accepted Christ.

When one guy named David was asked, “What motivates you to continue your group?” he replied, “My dad showed up.” Because of a painful experience years before, David’s dad had turned his back on church. But though he refused to walk through the church doors, he was willing to attend a small group meeting at his son’s house. That was his first step back toward God.

Our small groups began to reach out beyond the congregation. Groups served hot meals to the homeless every Friday night. One lady took the study to a local women’s shelter.

Groups met in coffee shops, restaurants, bookstores, community rooms at apartment complexes, homes, and even on a commuter train. Once we gave our people the freedom to form groups in more flexible ways, they became very creative about the groups they would lead.

Connecting 100 percent of a congregation in groups is far more than a sales pitch. Connecting 100 percent is the first step in reaching beyond the walls of your church and connecting your community. In the pages that follow, you will read about principles that have unlocked amazing growth and community outreach for church after church. It can happen in your church too, if you are willing!

9 Things You Need to Know about The Complete Jewish Study Bible

Rabbi Barry Rubin, the general editor of The Complete Jewish Study Bible, has so generously agreed to answer a few of our questions about this revolutionary Bible. However, before we get to those, here is small excerpt in Rabbi Rubin’s own words from the introduction of the CJSB:

jewish_bible_3You hold in your hands a book that will open your eyes to the Bible as never before. You may have heard something like this previously, so you might be wondering how I can make such a bold claim. The answer is that this study Bible contains information from Jewish sources to explain a thoroughly Jewish book—the Bible—written by Jews, about Jews, initially for Jews in the Jewish Land of Israel.

This study Bible contains the newly updated Complete Jewish Bible (CJB), the standard for all Bible texts that restore the original and essential “Jewishness” to God’s word. Why is that so important? After centuries of translations from Hebrew and Green into English and other languages, nuances and even accurate meanings are lost. In one critical example, the original Jewish form of the Messiah’s name—Yeshua—is used in this Bible instead of the Greek translation, Jesus. Of course, there’s nothing inherently wrong is saying “Jesus,” but it’s not how he was known to his family, friends, and first-century followers. To them, he was Yeshua, a Hebrew name meaning “salvation.” Since Hebrew names were often given to reflect something about the person, what better name could be given? Reading the Bible in this way increases understanding.

As you can see, Rabbi Rubin’s thoughtful approach to the CJSB warrants more prodding so that we can share with you even more exclusive details about The Complete Jewish Study Bible. Enjoy!

1. What do you hope the publication of The Complete Jewish Study Bible will accomplish?

Ever since I became a believer in 1973, I’ve wanted my people to know that the Messiah had come. Because of several reasons (that I describe in my book, You Bring the Bagels; I’ll Bring the Gospel: Sharing the Messiah with your Jewish Neighbor) the vast majority of Jewish people have been fairly turned off. But by reading The Complete Jewish Study Bible (CJSB), they will see Yeshua (Jesus) in his original Jewish world, not the Gentile world in which he is often seen.

Moreover, as Christians read the CJSB, they too will begin to understand that the movement called Christianity was actually a sect of first-century Judaism that morphed into a Gentile religion that disconnected itself from its roots. The CJSB helps re-attach them to the Jewish roots of their Christian faith.

My prayer is that this will cause something to happen that hasn’t happened since the first century: Jews and Gentiles following the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob together through the Messiah of Israel and Savior of the world—Yeshua haMashiach.

2. How do you think the CJB version has been enriched by the additional study notes provided by so many highly esteemed contributors?

The contributions from these esteemed people add depth and richness to the reader’s understanding of Scripture. It’s not just that they are great scholars in their own right, but they have dug into the Jewish roots, background, and context of the word of God more than others. That, alone, enables the reader to understand Scripture the way God meant it to be understood.

3. What’s your favorite of the 12 themes highlighted in the CJSB?

This is difficult to answer since I chose all 12 themes. However, since for 2000 years there have been a lot of misapplications of Bible texts, specifically in the New Testament, which have led to anti-Semitism, our examples of “Anti-Jewish Scriptural Interpretations” serve to set the record straight. That will help Christians grow to love and appreciate the chosen people more and prayerfully reduce the growing anti-Semitism in today’s world.

4. For a reader new to the CJB and the CJSB, what topical article or theme would you recommend they start off reading?

Since the Bible is filled with references and examples of Jewish/biblical holidays and customs, that would be the place to start. Seeing how the Last Supper was really Yeshua’s Last Seder (Passover) enables a reader to get the full message of the gospel, since it connects so much to the book of Exodus.

5. How did you come up with the specific theme articles?

I thought about the themes that I deal with all the time in my congregation here in Maryland, in my speaking to churches around the country, and in the writing that I do to help Christians understand what Messianic Judaism is all about.

6. What do you think is added to a Christian’s experience of the Bible by including the Jewish names of people?

The names of people in the Bible had meaning in their original languages. Names weren’t given because they were “in” or “cute” as is often the case today. They were given to tell us something about God or the people themselves.

Although we didn’t use Hebrew letters to spell the names, we did use more accurate transliterations than most Bibles. All English Bibles use transliterations; ours are more accurate to the underlying Hebrew than any other English Bibles we know of. If a reader wants to dig a little, learning the meaning of these names is eye-opening. Our glossary offers many of these translations so it’s fairly easy to derive this blessing (and even learn some Hebrew).

7. How do you envision Christians using the Shabbat Scripture readings?

In my over forty years of ministry, I’ve noticed that more and more Christians are adopting Jewish practices for their own edification. It’s not just having an annual Passover seder dinner using our Messianic Passover Haggadah, or joining a Messianic Jewish congregation, many are actually using the traditional Jewish weekly readings in their own Bible reading programs. Thus, they are in sync with Jews all around the world who read prescribed portions of Scripture each week. Of course, we’ve added related readings from the New Testament not in traditional Jewish reading cycles. Doing that “completes” the readings by showing the fulfilled word of God in the Messiah and his followers.

8. How do you recommend that someone who is interested in participating in the Jewish holidays and customs after reading the CJSBshould begin to do so in a respectful manner?

The best way to start is by learning. We’ve published many books on these subjects, like God’s Appointed Times [Holy Days] and God’s Appointed Customs, plus individual books on the Sabbath, Passover, Hanukkah, etc., so that Christians can learn, not only about them, but can discover their importance in the New Testament, prophecy and personal blessing. My congregation is probably 75% non-Jewish and regularly I hear testimonials about how learning these things has been a great blessing to these Gentile believers.

9. Do you think there’s a risk of Christians misappropriating the Jewish customs/holidays if they celebrate them because they’re not Jewish?

The answer to this is “yes” and “no.” There are some Jews, both Messianic and non-Messianic, who don’t think non-Jews should enjoy these customs and holidays, because they were initially given to the Jews. Moreover, some Christians may misuse Jewish things because they misunderstand them. For example, I saw one fellow attach fringes on his jeans that fell to the floor. I’m sure he meant well but didn’t know how we Jews do it. There’s also a concern that this might water-down our people. Also, sometimes a Christian who gets into Messianic Judaism starts zealously telling us Jews how to do things “right,” which can be bothersome.

All that said, though, a humble believer who comes to his “older brother” and asks to learn is to be embraced, not turned away. We Jews were called to be a light to the Gentiles and to teach them the ways of God as revealed in the entire Bible. I think Messianic Jews can be in a great position to do this since our unique perspective may be the best one from which to share with Gentiles.

So, to answer your question, I will answer in a Jewish way: Yes and No!

The Complete Jewish Study BibleBarry A. Rubin, MA in Communications from Ohio University, is rabbi of Emmanuel Messianic Jewish Congregation in Clarksville, Maryland. Founded in 1915, it is the oldest extant Messianic congregation in the world. In 1988, he became director of The Lederer Foundation (now Messianic Jewish Publishers and Resources), a sixty-year-old organization formerly in the Orthodox Jewish section of Baltimore, now in Clarksville/Columbia of Howard County, Maryland. He serves on several boards and has been in the forefront of Messianic Judaism since the 1970s.

For more information about The Complete Jewish Study Bible, we have numerous blog posts to offer you. Feel free to visit this link to view a full list.

If you’re interested in purchasing, or would like to read the official description of the Bible, visit our website.

Exploring Psalm 19: A Q & A with T.A. Perry

Psalm 19: Hymn of Unification by T.A. PerryWith his characteristically engaging writing style that couples detailed exegesis with philosophical meditation, professor and author T.A. Perry interacts with the Psalms from a Jewish perspective in his newest book, Psalm 19: Hymn of Unification. Perry’s intensive and guided reading of Psalm 19 advances his thesis that Psalm 19 presents a vision of “universal unification” for the entire creation, one that is not restricted to Jews but that embraces all people and, indeed, all of nature. The dual method of analysis (literary and philosophical) Perry employs in Psalm 19: Hymn of Unification will challenge readers to understand, appreciate, and approach Psalm 19 in a larger philosophical setting rather than the traditional exegetical one.

Now, we’re excited to share with you this exclusive interview with Perry about Psalm 19.

1. Why Psalm 19? 150 Psalms in the Bible why this particular one?

I conceptualize my life the way the Bible does: the world is created as heaven and earth, a day is composed of night and day, I am a mixture of body and soul. These oppositional binaries occur at the highest level, since the Creator God at the very start is called Elohim and only later Yahweh. In daily living we reduce these pairs to unities: one world, day, person, God, but in living our lives and in our theologies they are typically treated as oppositional. Think, for example, of the chasm between matter or extended substance and consciousness, or body and soul, or God’s justice and his mercy. Monotheism argues for their unity, or, better, their unification as operated by humans and within God too. Psalm 19 gives a careful analysis of this process.

2. What place should Psalms play in the life of the believer?

For me Psalms is a practical manual on how to feel and express praise and thanksgiving. The first helps to see that even “bad” things are kindly intended. Gratitude in its practice enables us to appreciate that it too is a divine gift, one we should be thankful for. How’s that for rebound: being thankful for being thankful!

3. What was your favorite part of the book to work on?

As I exclaimed in one of my Hendrickson books, “I just love this Bible!” Whatever part I am working on today is my favorite one. How so? Because of its perpetual newness and direct relevance to living a meaningful life.

P.s. I am aware of responding to a slightly different question, namely “what was your favorite part of The Book to work on.” My excuse is that exegesis or commentary is an integral part of the Bible itself. Indeed, this is how the Bible comes alive, by making it mine. If it is not in my heart and mind and actions as on this book, where (on earth) is it?

4. You’ve spent significant time living and teaching in Israel, how has that impacted this particular book?

Martin Buber claimed that the particular contribution of Israel to the culture of humankind is unification. I subscribe to this view and still pin my hopes to its realization. Living in the Holy Land continues, in a very concrete and daily way, to activate and deepen this commitment.

5. The book opens suggesting Psalm 19 presents an existential dilemma between the world of nature and humans and closes proposing a particular epistemology for knowing God.  How does Psalm 19 solve this dilemma? How do you feel this is a corrective for the church today?

Unresolved dualisms are leading to our destruction. At the level of our careless and domineering destruction of the environment, for example, Bruno Latour proposes a reversal of even deeply embedded theological assumptions such as Mark 8, Matthew 16. Latour asks “What does it matter to save my soul if it should cost the loss of the world?” Is it all only about me? I add that such pursuits as epistemology and ontology have overextended their importance and that we should turn instead to ethics and a concern for the Other.

6. Next to this book what is your favorite book you’ve written?

One of my greatest teachers (Harold Fisch) liked to evoke the paradox of a “remembered future.”  Looking back over my 14 books, my memory projects that my most favorite book is my next one. In all likelihood, it will (again!) focus on a single psalm, this one #119, the longest and according to many the most boring of the psalms, the one that Dietrich Bonhoeffer nevertheless regarded as his “favorite Psalm and the climax of my theological life.”

7. What’s the best piece of wisdom you’ve learned over the years from reading or writing?

In backcountry Maine where I come from, some folks define a fool in two related ways: as one who makes the same mistake twice, and as one who never makes a mistake. With all the problems of the experiential path to wisdom (one’s first mistake can be costly!), I find it usually works for me; I learn best from experience. For me the path to wisdom is reading and writing. When complaining about his lack of many things that enhance human life, an ancient sage exclaimed: “If you have wisdom and understanding, what more can you want or need.”

A central focus of Psalm 19 is its analysis of human pursuits into three broad categories: pleasure, power, and wisdom. While all three are seen as having a legitimate place in a human life, the third is privileged. In fact, my second most favorite book written by me focuses on the central plot of Qohelet (Ecclesiastes), how King Solomon converted his life from the pursuit of power and pleasure to the humble task of understanding the secret of words.

Psalm 19: Hymn of Unification by T.A. Perry

T. A. Perry (PhD, Romance Philology and Comparative Literature, Yale University) has taught at the University of Connecticut, Ben Gurion University, and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. In recent years, he served as a faculty associate at Hartford Seminary and as the Corcoran Visiting Chair in Christian-Jewish Learning at Boston College. Perry is the author of numerous books, including Wisdom in the Hebrew Bible: Exploring God’s Twilight Zone and Jonah’s Arguments with God: The Honeymoon Is Over.

For more information about Psalm 19 or to purchase, visit our website. To read more interviews with our authors, check out our Author Interview Series page.

Video: What is Designed for Good about?

Kevin J. Brown’s Designed for Good is a study of classical virtue
ethics from a Christian perspective. This book shows Christians
that their faith contains resources to help them recover the
idea of virtue in the face of our modern moral bewilderment.

Although we may not realize it, we live in a world that is full of
competing ethical systems. Appeals to rights, personal freedom,
or even equality often come with their own “meta-values.” Each
of these values has something in common with the Christian
message, but none of them tells the whole story.

In this Christian take on classical virtue ethics, Brown weaves in
modern-day examples from economics, politics, and pop culture
to create a relevant framework that relates faith to contemporary
ethical questions. Brown argues that true virtue—the kind we can
actually strive for in our day-to-day lives—requires a holistic vision
of the good life, not a list of rules determined by our preferences
or the latest market trends. Instead, it is precisely what we were
designed for by our Creator: life in the community of Christ’s body,
the church. Virtue then becomes the pursuit of wholeness in
harmony with God’s design.

Brown introduces the problem of modern ethics and analyzes
common “meta-values” that readers will likely have encountered in
their workplaces, schools, and possibly even churches. Readers will
especially resonate with the second half of the book, where Brown
outlines the foundations of the holistic, Christian concept of virtue:
“to act justly, and love mercy, and walk humbly with your God.”

For more information about this fascinating book, check out our website.

Dictionary of Daily Life—A Great 4-Volume Set

Read Jimmy Reagan’s review of the entire boxed set of the Dictionary of Daily Life in Biblical and Post-Biblical Antiquity!

The Reagan Review


Finally, this wonderful set is complete in four volumes. It took years to put together and the volumes have been released over the course of a couple years or so, but now this fun resource edited by the outstanding scholars Edwin Yamauchi and Marvin Wilson is available to us.

Why secure this set compared to so many others on the market? It’s really two things: 1) the unique approach, and 2) the valuable, scholarly, and well-written entries.

This dictionary did not limit itself to Bible words only, but to subjects as they occur to us. The value there is making accessible Bible times in a way that overcomes our cultural biases. Think of something that you would really like to know and I suspect you will find an entry on it.

You may read a line that you disagree with, but there’s enough depth to really wrestle with the subject…

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