The Fortress Commentary on the Bible – A New Approach

The Fortress Commentary on the Bible doesn’t tell you what to think. Instead, it offers a wealth of information that will help you draw well-informed conclusions on all passages of Scripture.

The Fortress Commentary on the Bible – A New Approach

The Fortress Commentary on the Bible takes a historical look at each passage of Scripture. It includes the contributions from 70 respected authorities in the historical interpretation of the Old and New Testaments. These scholars research and discuss the intention of the Bible authors, how scholars have interpreted these passages over the centuries, and how current scholars interpret them today. What is unique about the Fortress Commentary is this: No conclusions are offered. Instead, it highlights the unique challenges and interpretive questions raised by the text.

3 Levels of Context on Each Passage

The Fortress Commentary offers 3 levels of context on each and every passage of Scripture. These 3 levels help answer 3 crucial questions:

  1. The Text in Its Ancient Context – What did the text most likely mean in its original historical and cultural context?
  2. The Text in the Interpretive Tradition – How have centuries of reading and interpreting shaped our understanding of the text?
  3. The Text in Contemporary Discussion – What are the unique challenges and interpretive questions the text addresses for readers and hearers today?

Here’s a Small Sample That Demonstrates This Unique Format

Faith Without Works is Dead – James 2:14-26 is an interesting passage we all know. It’s where James talks about faith and works. Here is what is found in this 3 levels of commentary approach:

The Text in Its Ancient Context

This section offers understanding of the many imperatives used by James in this passage. Words and phrases such as “good, faith, saving, benefit, spirit, works,” and others are examined. Everything is explained. No language training is required. James uses harsh contrasts, such as suggesting both Abraham and Rahab as heroes of the faith.

The Text in the Interpretive Tradition

This section offers arguments and debates that have gone on for centuries, such as which people are “justified.” In the view of many interpreters, Paul and James had contradictory views. Luther agreed they did, but Calvin did not.

The Text in Contemporary Discussion

Here you learn that the common tendency among interpreters to construe Abraham and Rahab as examples for us to follow can create problems. Too easily, Abraham and Rahab come to exemplify two extremes: God justifies not only the venerated Abraham but also the lowest of sinners, the prostitute Rahab. The authors remind you that as distinguished from the so-called hospitality of a harlot, Rahab can exemplify those whom James describes as “bringing back” others who “wander from the truth” and so “will save” them “from death.”

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