Wednesday, May 28, 2008

New Commentary Series on the New Testament

The contributors for a new commentary series have been finalized. It is called, The New Covenant Commentary Series (NCCS).

Craig Keener (Palmer Seminary)
Michael Bird (Highland Theological College).

Publisher: Wipf & Stock, USA
Publication Dates: 2009-2014.


The New Covenant Commentary Series (NCCS) is designed for ministers and students who require a commentary that interacts with the text and context of each New Testament book and pays specific attention to the impact of the text upon the faith and praxis of contemporary faith communities.

The NCCS has a number of distinguishing features. First, the contributors come from a diverse range of backgrounds in regards to their Christian denominations and ethnic background. Unlike many commentary series that tout themselves as being international, the NCCS can truly boast of a genuinely international cast of contributors with authors drawn from every continent of the world (except Antarctica) including North America, Puerto Rico, Australia, the United Kingdom, Kenya, India, Singapore, and Korea. We intend the NCCS to engage in the task of biblical interpretation and theological reflection from the perspective of the global church. Second, the volumes in this series are not verse-by-verse commentaries, but they focus on larger units of text in order to explicate and interpret the story in the text as opposed to rigorous analytical approaches. Third, a further aim of these volumes is to provide an occasion for authors to reflect on how the New Testament impacts the life, faith, ministry, and witness of the New Covenant Community today. This occurs periodically under the heading of ‘Fusing the Horizons and Forming the Community’. Here authors provide windows into theological interpretation, application, and special emphasis given to spiritual, ministerial, and community formation. It is our hope that these volumes will represent serious engagements with the New Testament writings, done in the context of faith, in service of the church, and for the glorification of God.


Joel Willitts (North Park University, Chicago)

Kim Huat Tan (Trinity Theological College, Singapore)

Jeannine Brown (Bethel Seminary, St. Paul)

Jey Kanagaraj (Hindustan Bible Institute & College, India)

Youngmo Cho (Asia Life University, South Korea)

Craig Keener (Palmer Seminary, Philadelphia)

1 Corinthians
Bruce Winter (Queensland Theological College, Australia)

2 Corinthians
David deSilva (Ashland Theological Seminary, Ohio)

Brian Vickers (Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville)

Lynn Cohick (Wheaton College, Wheaton).

Linda Belleville (Bethel College, Indiana)

Colossians, Philemon
Michael Bird (Highland Theological College, Scotland)

1-2 Thessalonians
David Garland (George W. Truett Theological Seminary, Texas)

Pastoral Epistles
Aida Besancon-Spencer (Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, Masschussets)

Tom Thatcher (Cincinnati Christian University, Ohio)

Pablo Jimenez (Pastor, Puerto Rico)

1 Peter
Eric Greaux (Winston-Salem State University, North Carolina)

2 Peter, Jude
Andrew Mbuvi (Shaw University Divinity School, North Carolina)

1-3 John
Sam Ngewa (Nairobi Evangelical Graduate School of Theology, Kenya)

Gordon Fee (Regent College, Canada)


Peter M. Head said...

Thanks Mike, looks interesting. But I do wonder whether your four points justify adding yet another commentary series to the thirty or more series already in existence/process.
It seems to me that multiplying commentary series to cover every possible niche or author/reader/style is to succumb to post-modernity and ultimately it casts doubt on the universal authority of Scripture.
Let alone the opportunity costs, duplication of effort, environmental costs, and the problems it gives to library purchasing committees all around the world. Did you also consider the downsides? Are you up for a discussion on this?

Michael F. Bird said...

Yeah mate, I'm up for a discussion on the matter. I'm acutely aware of the "not another commentary series" objection which I've mused over during private soliloquys and discussed the same point with others with similar concerns. Keep in mind that my four points were designed to justify THIS commentary series and not the continued perpetuation of the commentary genre itself.

In defence of commentaries, let me say: (1) Commentaries are still the "infantry soldiers" of our profession (C.K. Barrett) and they represent the best means to disseminate what an author thinks of an entire book. Further to that, if we think that the NT book (Gospel or Epistle) is the basic unit that we should be dealing with in our studies, teaching, and writing - as opposed to general studies on Paul, Gospels, or Early Christianity - then commentary writing is still the best means to engage them at the book level. (2) The same argument "not another" could be added to almost any sub-genre in NT studies - NT Theologies, textual studies of Ephesians, books on Paul's theology of justification - don't we already have enough of these? Baring some new ms find, is modern TC studies doing anything other than tinkering with footnotes and making cosmetic changes to the NA28 apparatus? If an author has something interesting to say, can make a contribution to biblical or theological studies, or is providing a useful tool for someone, is it not worthwhile in its own right? (3)Commentaries can date easily too. We only have to look at pre-Sanders Romans commentaries to figure this one out. Because of the fluid nature of NT scholarship, further commentary writing seems a necessity. (4) Commentaries are probably the only genre where the subject of application and significance for faith communities gets a fair hearing.(5) A diversity of commentaries means we have more clubs in the golf bag to use. For the kind of work I do the Hermeneia, ICC, AB, and WBC commentaries are important, but for a pastor, something like the NIVAC, BST, or NICNT are more useable. (6) If the RAE changes to a bibliographic measuring system as I've heard intimated (i.e. number of citations count!) then commentaries may potentially have greater RAE value than highly specialized studies published by expensive European publishers! (7) Probably the biggest down side is the opportunity cost. If I'm doing this, then I'm not doing something else. The issue what is gonna have the biggest impact in terms of kingdom and career? But a few commentaries in a career are probably not gonna paralyze my progress elsewhere.

sujomo said...

Hi Mike,

Look forward to your commentary on Colossians. A great epistle that focuses on 'en Christo' and, therefore, a logical starting point for thinking about incorporated into Christ. I think it is not coincidental that 'body' is on view when we refer to 'incorporated' into Christ - perhaps there are shades here of Bullinger's understanding of Scriptural categories!?


Peter M. Head said...

Thanks Mike,

At the risk of engaging in ‘the automatic gainsaying of anything the other person says’ rather than a real argument (; I wonder if your points really work:
1) "Commentaries … represent the best means to disseminate what an author thinks of an entire book."
I don’t see that this is self-evident. Take C.K. Barrett. I personally love his commentary on Acts, but I think there could be better ways to present what he really thinks Acts is all about. Bauckham on the theology of Revelation is better on this front than any commentary. The process of writing a commentary I think IS pretty important for NT scholars, but we need more scholars who have written commentaries more than we need the commentaries themselves.
2) Well, we certainly don’t have enough “textual studies of Ephesians”. There are topics that are pretty basic and haven’t ever been done (monographs on Vaticanus or Alexandrinus for example). I agree with your point: “If an author has something interesting to say, can make a contribution to biblical or theological studies, or is providing a useful tool for someone, is it not worthwhile in its own right?” The answer is “Yes, if she has something interesting to say”. But is a commentary the best way to say something interesting?
3) Some commentaries date a lot more quickly than others. It would be interesting to think a bit more about the values which give commentaries staying power, rather than simply turning this into a support for more. Take Romans: will Dunn or Cranfield actually last better?
4) There may be some truth in this point.
5) The rules are clear: 14 clubs maximum per bag. This is not grounds for infinite expansion.
6&7) Really good commentaries have always been valued in academic contexts, I don’t have a problem with that. Your series disclaims ‘rigourous analysis’ though, so that may count against it.

Joel Willitts said...


Aren't you writing a commentary? Hey, speaking of which, are we going to do that bike trip through the Land some day?!

Just asking!

David McKay said...

Michael, are you the same person who writes interesting articles for Reformed Theological Review?

Michael F. Bird said...

That is indeed the case!