Welcome

“The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever” (Is 40:8, NASB)

Sitting on the shelves of the world's major libraries are invaluable commentaries on the Bible that shed much light on the interpretation of God's Word.

Yet this legacy of interpretation is largely hidden away from today's readers of the Bible and also from many pastor, preachers, and teachers. Relatively few individuals have access to major theological libraries. Even those who have access to such libraries may find it daunting to obtain all the necessary books and to undertake the challenging task of comparing and contrasting the various interpretations.

The Global Bible Commentary (GBC) seeks to rectify this deficiency by creating a concise yet wide-ranging summary of the labors of the great biblical commentators of the past and present, and then offering this summary online and free of charge for all who may be interested.

The GBC is an effort by the global church on behalf of the global church. It relies on volunteers who are willing to read and to summarize their reading for the benefit of Christian preachers, educators, and teachers throughout the world.

Participation in the GBC project will give you the opportunity to gain a greater knowledge of one portion of the biblical text, and, just as importantly, to benefit manyothers online, who will be able to read and learn from the results of your reading and analysis.

Here's how you can help:

  • Add brief comments on particular verses of the Bible
  • Take responsibility for doing the initial draft of a commentary on one chapter of the Bible, weaving together insights from various commentaries on that chapter.
  • Contribute something to the historical background, typology, theology, or application sections of the GBC for one of the chapters of the Bible.
  • Write a free-standing “Thematic Essay”(up to 700 words for an initial contribution) on a key topic for a given book of the Bible (e.g. “Faith in Hebrews,” “Blessings in Genesis”)

I urge you to consider becoming a contributor to this ongoing, shared, global project in biblical interpretation.

Michael J. McClymond, Ph.D.
Founder, Institute for World Christianity
St. Louis, Missouri, USA

About Us

About Us

The Global Bible Commentary is a resource for the global Christian church. It is primarily intended as an aid to Christian pastors, priests, preachers, teachers, and educators. It will be of help to those who receive the Bible as God’s Word and so seek to learn from it and to communicate its message to others.

No other book ever has ever drawn the level of scrutiny, analysis, and exegesis that has been devoted to the Bible over the last two thousand years. Millions of pages and billions of words have been used to interpret and explain the text of the Bible.

The Global Bible Commentary is not intended as a substitute for the invaluable technical research of professional scholars. Yet its aim is practical—viz., to make available, in summary form, the results of biblical scholarship for preachers and Bible teachers. The Global Bible Commentary includes documentation for all textual comments that are based on earlier scholarship. In this way it serves as a bridge between the preacher and the vast body of existing literature and scholarship on the Bible.

The Global Bible Commentary is, and will remain, free of charge for anyone who wishes to consult it online. Likewise, anyone who so wishes may submit a text for inclusion into the commentary—subject to a basic review process for accuracy, cogency, and pertinence (see below on "Suggestions for Contributors").

The Global Bible Commentary relies on many individuals who are willing to devote time and effort (a) to sharing the distilled result of the research they may have already done, or (b) to doing new research (generally into existing literature) and then sharing the results of this research online. In this undertaking all individual efforts will serve the common good. Those with access to theological libraries and to rare books, and those who exert themselves in reading and summarizing these works, will be serving the entire global church through their efforts.

The texts included in this commentary are the canonical Old Testament and New Testament books (39 OT books; 27 NT books) accepted by all Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant, Anglican, Pentecostal, and Nondenominational Christians. The Global Bible Commentary is organized by book and chapter of the Bible, which makes it useful for those who are preaching or teaching particular sections of the Bible. The English text on which commentary is based is the English Standard Version—a recently produced translation that offers a literal rendering of the Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek originals.

Some of the distinctive features of the Global Bible Commentary are as follows:

  • An orientation toward verse-by-verse analysis. Contributors are encouraged to submit short comments on particular verses of the Bible, thus gradually building up a body of interpretation from the bottom-up rather than, so to speak, from the top-down. The basic idea is that one’s interpretation of larger sections, such as chapters and entire books, ought to be controlled by one’s interpretation of individual verses.
  • An encouragement (for those qualified) to base their interpretations on the Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek original texts. While the Global Bible Commentary is based on the English Standard Version, contributors who know Hebrew and Greek are encouraged to many reference to words and phrases—transliterated from the original languages—in their comments on the texts. The Greek and Hebrew texts cited should be . . (Note: Those who lack an effective reading knowledge of the original languages are discouraged from making references to the Hebrew and Greek texts, since their linguistic information is derivative and therefore is likely to introduce transcriptional or interpretive errors into the commentary.)
  • A respect for the importance of the history of interpretation. While biblical scholarship and interpretation has grown enormously since the 1970s, there are wonderful insights to be gleaned from older and even from some of the ancient commentaries on scripture. The bibliography of commentaries to be read and summarized (see "Commentary Listing") includes many classic works from the early, medieval, and earlier modern period as well as from more recent times.
  • A design to make it useful for different people and for different purposes. Busy pastors and preachers might only wish to read some brief quotations from notable authors and look at the "Application" section. Others will wish to delve into the history of interpretation, or biblical typology, historical background to the Bible, or theological discussions, etc. Some scholars might at least find some initial clues in the Global Bible Commentary to give direction to their specialized research.

Guidelines for Contributors

A. GENERAL ORIENTATION

The Global Bible Commentary (GBC) exists to serve multiple constituencies. Lay Christians may want to "dig deeper" into a particular passage of scripture and gain insight into what some of the great Christian thinkers had to say regarding a given text. Pastors, preachers, and Bible teachers may be interested in examining the commentary as a step in preparing their sermons and/or lessons. Scholars interested in such topics as the history of biblical exegesis, biblical typology, or theological interpretations of the Bible may want to look into the GBC as a possible source for new ideas and insights to guide their specialized research.

Because the GBC functions on multiple levels, anyone who is a serious student of scripture may wish to contribute. The GBC chapter divisions allow for comments related to application, typology, historical background, theology, etc. Anyone with a strong interest in any one of these areas may contribute to the commentary. Those who are interested in the particulars of the text on a verse-by-verse basis should include their comments under "Exegesis."

1. Digital Access to Classic Works. Because of the recent GoogleBooks project to make out-of-print works available to the public, quite a few of the classic biblical commentaries are available at no cost online to anyone who is interested in reading them. The easy, on-line accessibility of these works presents a marvelous opportunity for the Global Bible Commentary, since it means that would-be contributors do not need to have access to a major library to obtain copies of classic works, but may simply download them in PDF (or other) format for use at their own discretion. For example, Edward Pusey’s Minor Prophets, Jonathan Edwards’s Notes on Scripture (contained with his Works), Thomas Aquinas’s Catena Aurea (reprinted in the 1800s), Keil’s and Delitzsch’s fine commentaries on the whole of the Old Testament, and the equally fine works by Frederic Godet, Moses Stuart, and Benjamin Jowett, are all available online. Some works not at GoogleBooks are available at no charge at the Christian Classics Ethereal Library (www.ccel.org), which ought also to be consulted. Alexander’s MacLaren’s commentaries on the Bible are available at the CCEL website. The works available at GoogleBooks and at CCEL is constantly increasing. Some works in the "Commentary Bibliography – With Hypertext Links" are known to be currently in GoogleBooks or CCEL and this is indicated in the bibliography.

2. Regarding Quotations and Excerpts from Works in the Public Domain. The books available in full text format at GoogleBooks at CCEL are works currently "in the public domain." What this means is that no permission is needed from anyone to reproduce portions of these books. Those who take on a public domain book are free, if they so choose, to include generous quotations and extracts as contributions to the GBC. This, of course, is not an invitation to verbosity—many different points of view on a given text need to be reflected in the GBC, and this requires a measure of conciseness. Yet it may be appropriate, when citing works of classic value—e.g., Keil and Delitzsch, Godet, MacLaren, etc.—to allow for somewhat longer excerpts and quotations to go into the GBC. Though copyright law is a complicated field, it is generally understood that works published prior to 1925 will be "in the public domain."

3. Regarding Quotations and Excerpts from Copyrighted Works. Speaking generally, copyrighted works should be paraphrased and not quoted in the Global Bible Commentary. The direct quotation of sections of copyrighted works in the Global Bible Commentary is a violation of international copyright and intellectual property laws, and so cannot be allowed. While there are some differences of opinion regarding the "fair use" of copyrighted works, the GBC will err on the side of caution by allowing only very brief quotations and citations (e.g., a mere phrase, or perhaps a sentence at most) from works that are copyrighted. In order to allow for many points of view in the GBC, it is necessary, in any case, to summarize a great deal in just a few words. This sort of paraphrase and summary needs to be indicated with an appropriate citations (see #5 below), and yet it does not constitute an idea regarding copyrighted works. What we are looking for in the GBC is not a reproduction of what is already available in copyrighted works, but rather a condensed summary of major points, phrased in the language and terminology of the summarizer rather than in the language and terminology of the author.

4. Regarding Works Available Through Digital Databases. Contrary to popular belief, not all older books (i.e, pre-1925) are currently available online at GoogleBooks. Many older Bible commentaries not in the GoogleBooks collection are available through various electronic databases purchased and made available at major universities and in some colleges and seminaries. These include Early English Books Online (EEBO) and Eighteenth Century Collections Online (ECCO). The first database includes a very complete set of works in English published prior to 1700, and some works published thereafter. The second database—as indicated by the name—includes works published in the 1700s. Because EEBO and ECCO are both paid databases, it is a violation of the licensing contract with a university for someone to distribute these works—in their electronic PDF format—to someone who is not connected with the university or seminary that has paid for the database. Those who have access to a university, college, or seminary library should find out if the institution in question offers access to EEBO or ECCO, and if they are allowed to download the work in question from the university library or website.

5. Regarding Appropriate Citation of All Works. Full, effective, and accurate documentation is essential to this project. This is one of the most vital points for all contributors to bear in mind. Faulty grammar or style in a contribution may be corrected later on yet a faulty bibliographic citation (i.e., with the wrong author name, title, volume number, page number, etc.) could passed unnoticed and thus detract from the accuracy of the commentary! The GBC will not attain its potential if it contains such easily avoidable errors. Citations must be accurate as well as full and complete. Contributions containing incomplete citations will be returned to the contributors, so that the citations can be filled out. Please be sure that published authors receive full credit when your work is based on the earlier labor of another. Many of the great commentators devoted years—if not decades—to producing their written works on the Bible. A brief endnote is a small way of saying "thank you" for their efforts. All endnotes must be in standard Chicago Manual of Style format. Thank you.

6. Regarding Original Comments and Non-Written Sources. God’s people today continue to receive new insight, by the power of the Holy Spirit, into God’s Word. The existing published works on the Bible do not exhaust all that might need to be said regarding a given text of scripture. Original contributions to the GBC—i.e., those that are not dependent on existing scholarship or printed resources—will be allowed. They should be noted as "original contributions" at the time that they are submitted. Those who submit "original contributions" are attesting that their comment is truly their own and not derived from some other source.

If someone’s ideas regarding the biblical text have been inspired by a preacher, teacher, radio message, etc.—that is a non-written source—then the contributor might add a note to this effect, giving as much information as possible (e.g., comment based on Pastor Sayo Ajiboye’s sermon in Lagos, Nigeria, August 2003). It is only fair to give credit where credit is due. Note: In principle, almost anyone could offer a valuable new interpretation of a given verse in the Bible. Yet information (textual, historical, etc.) in the commentary should be distinguished from interpretation. Purported information, derived exclusively from oral sources, is often unreliable. Someone might write: "Pastor So-and-So says that the real meaning of this Greek word is XYZ." The GBC is not likely to accept comments along these lines unless they can be verified by a competent scholar or else documented from a printed work of reliable value.

Sometimes the act of re-reading the scripture--or the work of delving into a good biblical commentary—will trigger a new idea or insight. If the idea or insight is not contained in the commentary in question, and the idea adds something genuinely new to the discussion of the biblical text, then the reader is free to submit this comment, without any endnote attached, as an "original contribution" to the GBC. On the other hand, if the idea is a re-working or paraphrase of what is contained in the commentary, then it is only reasonable to give credit to the original source for the idea—the commentary in question.

7. Regarding Credit for Your Work. The Global Bible Commentary wishes to acknowledge by name those who have labored to produce this commentary. At the time that you submit your contribution, you will be asked to supply your name and location to be included in a list associated with a particular chapter of the Bible. Those who contribute to multiple chapters will be included on the list of names for multiple chapters. Those who wish to remain anonymous may do so. Those who reside in regions of the world where Christians are persecuted may elect to use a pseudonym, or to conceal their location. Note: If the list of names becomes too long for individual chapters, then a single list may be compiled for the given book of the Bible.

B. TEN CRITERIA FOR CONTRIBUTIONS

Contributors to the GBC should bear in mind the following ten criteria for their written contributions:

  1. Conciseness of the Contribution.
  2. Classification on the Contribution (into one of the eight relevant categories).
  3. Clarity of the Contribution.
  4. Pertinence or Relevance (to the biblical text).
  5. Fit or Coherence (within the existing commentary).
  6. Supplementation (of the existing commentary).
  7. Proper Quotation (preferably of the New American Standard Version).
  8. Documentation (of one’s dependence on existing literature).
  9. Respect for the Biblical Text.
  10. Respect for a Diversity of Viewpoints.

1) Conciseness of the Contribution. Conciseness is one of the most important criteria for contributions to the GBC. This means that there should be no unnecessary words. Contributors should recall that the GBC seeks, in time, to offer a summary of literally hundreds—if not thousands—of original works. To allow space in the commentary for such a wealth of different insights and divergent points of view, it is essential that the key points be expressed in a very concise way.

2) Classification on the Contribution (into one of the nine sections). The usefulness of the GBC depends in part on the proper classification of the material that has been contributed. New content may contain valuable insights, and yet if this ends up into the wrong place in the FBC, then it is not likely to be seen by those who are looking for it, and might benefit from it. Proper classification is thus another criterion for new material. In general, contributors should begin with the "Verse-By-Verse Exegesis" as a default location for content, and use the other eight sections of the commentary for the rest of their comments.

3) Clarity of the Contribution. Clarity is a criterion. Clear, readable English prose is essential. Those who add content that is not clear and understandable may have the content returned to them to be re-written. Those who are reading older commentaries (from the 1600s, 1700s, or 1800s) should think about how to rephrase and paraphrase their content in a way that will be easily understandable on the part of today’s readers.

4) Pertinence or Relevance (to the biblical text). New content will be judged according to the criterion of pertinence. What this means is that all content in the GBC needs to be tied closely to the biblical text. The GBC is a project of exegesis (i.e., drawing out the implications of the text) rather than so-called eisegesis (i.e., reading ideas into the text that are not contained there). Those who wish to engage in an extended discussion of a particular topic should consult the "Thematic Essays" for the various books of the Bible. These essays still need to have some connection with the biblical text, and yet the relationship between the "Thematic Essays" and the biblical text is a bit looser than within the commentary proper.

5) Fit or Coherence (within the existing commentary). The criterion of "fit" or "coherence" implies that new material must "flow" with the existing text of the GBC. The aim must be to insert new material into the commentary in such a way that the reader does not immediately detect that multiple hands have been at work. It is important for the contributor carefully to read the existing text of the commentary, and then to discern where the new material would best fit into the existing text of the commentary.

6) Supplementation (of the existing commentary). The criterion of supplementation refers to the newness, not of the words themselves, but of the ideas contained in the words to be included. The new content for the GBC needs to supplement, expand, or augment the ideas already presented in the commentary at that particular point.

7) Proper Quotation (of the New American Standard Version). The criterion of proper quotation refers to the English words of the Bible that are quoted. For the sake of standardization within the GBC, quotations should generally be to the New American Standard Version.

8) Documentation (of one’s dependence on existing literature). The criterion of documentation is essential to the GBC project, so that all authors receive full credit for their intellectual contribution. Many of these authors spent years—or even decades—of their lives in writing their studies of the Bible, and a brief and accurate citation of their work is a very small way of saying "thank you" for their labors. All source citations require endnotes that appear in Chicago Manual of Style format and appear at the end of each chapter. The standard format for endnote/footnote citations should be as follows: "R. T. France, Matthew, Tyndale New Testament Commentaries (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2008 [1985]), 306-7. Note that the format for authors’ names, in endnote/footnote citations, is first name, middle name, and then last name. Titles should be italicized. Any series title should also be listed, in non-italicized letters. The publication information is put in parentheses, with the place of publication, a colon, and then the publisher name and year of publication. After the parenthesis ends, the page numbers appear, without any "p" or "pp" required. Note that in the above case there is both a year of publication and, in brackets, a listing of the original year of publication.

9) Respect for the Biblical Text. The criterion of respect for the biblical text means that contributions must be an exposition and elaboration of the text and its meaning, and not fundamentally an attack upon the text itself. Contribute content to the GBC that plainly attacks and contradicts the scripture will not be accepted into the commentary. There is a place for a diversity of viewpoints with regard to biblical interpretation. Yet the GBC is not designed to be a forum for those who wish to argue against the text of the Bible.

10) Respect for a Diversity of Viewpoints. A final criterion is a respect for different points of view. Comments that imply that there is only one possible way of interpreting a contested biblical verse or passage are likely to be either rejected or modified so as to sound less definitive. Because the Bible is God’s Word, there is always the possibility of new insight and interpretation beyond what has previously been proposed.

Detailed Information

Contact Us

Global Bible Commentary
P.O. Box 22015
Saint Louis, MO 63122

info@globalbiblecommentary.org