Arguably the largest obstacle in understanding the OT today, is the separation of time between ancient cultures and our own. This problem undermines our attempts to understand the message of Scripture in its original intention as well as our efforts in applying it to today's increasingly troubled and complex world.
The Apollos Old Testament Commentary takes this gap seriously and bridges it by providing both detailed exegetical examination, and also a theological commentary that sets the text in the context of the modern world, applying it with wisdom and clarity.
Yet, the challenge to interpret the text theologically and in conjunction with the both the ancient and modern context, made even more acute by growing recognition of the hermeneutical gap between God's revelation, and human understanding of it. This is another bridge that The Apollos Old Testament Commentary addresses, and which further grounds its theological articulation of the text in sound exegesis and theological articulation.
Within all of these complexities, the question is begged: how could anyone, other than scholars access such a commentary when it deals with such complex issues?
The answer quite simply is that the series does not engage the issues in abstract terms, but rather only as it applies, and relates directly to, the questions and issues raised by the text itself, not speculative theology or abstract philosophy.
Each em>Apollos begins with an overview of the issues of date, authorship, sources and other historical details, but which also outlines the theology--more than in most commentaries--the theological emphasis of the particular biblical book under examination. Thus, the The Apollos Commentary Series, does not merely commentate on critical questions such as grammar and history, it interprets those elements in support of a broader theological project that supports the application of the biblical text to our culture and our time.
The theological emphasis is located distinctly within the theology of the biblical narrative, and with a full commitment to the Bible's authority, inspiration, and universal application to humanity. Thus, what we have here is a commentary that provides a detailed exegetical examination that leads---as all study of Scripture must, into a theological and life-giving understanding of the Bible for the Christian.
The Bible is both a divine and a human book. It is the inspired word of God for his people, whether in biblical times or for the church today. It is also a fully human book, written by different people in a variety of cultural settings. Knowledge of biblical language and society is essential if the meaning of the human writer is to be grasped fully. The Apollos Old Testament Commentary aims to take with equal seriousness the divine and human aspects of Scripture. It expounds the books of the Old Testament in a scholarly manner accessible to nonexperts, and shows the relevance of the Old Testament to modern readers. This commentary begins with an Introduction, which gives an overview of the issues of date, authorship, sources and so on, but which also outlines more fully than usual the theology of 1 & 2 Samuel, and provides pointers toward its interpretation and contemporary application. The annotated Translation of the Hebrew text by the author forms the basis for the subsequent commentary. The Form and Structure section examines the context of a passage, its use of rhetorical devices, and source and form-critical issues. The Comment section is a thorough, detailed exegesis of the historical and theological meaning of the passage. The Explanation--the goal of the commentary--offers a full exposition of the theological message within the framework of biblical theology, and a commitment to the inspiration and authority of the Old Testament. Written by an international team of scholars, the commentaries are intended primarily to serve the needs of those who preach from the Old Testament. They are equally suitable for use by scholars and all serious students of the Bible.
David G. Firth is Old Testament tutor and head of research at St. John's College, Nottingham, England. He is the author of (Apollos Old Testament Commentary), and , and he is the coeditor of , , and .
"This commentary on two of the more exciting books of the Bible is a real asset to pastors and Bible students. Firth is becoming quite the prolific commentator of late and tackles here another historical book of the Bible. . . . This is a fine volume. As a point of comparison, this volume is far superior to the well known Word Biblical Commentary volumes covering the same material. I highly recommend it."