08/11: ESV Literary Study Bible
Editorsí Preface to the Literary Study Bible:
This book is a literary guide to the entire Bible. We have defined the concept of literature very broadly as anything having to do with how biblical writers have expressed their content. The foundational premise of all verbal communication is that meaning is conveyed through form, starting with language itself but moving beyond that to a whole range of literary forms and genres. There is no meaning without the form in which a piece of writing is expressed.To purchase, click here.
This means that when we read the Bible, literary considerations are not optional features to which we might attend only if we have an interest in literary matters. We need to pay attention to the how of a Bible passage as preliminary to understanding what is said.
This literary Bible explains how biblical authors have embodied their messages in their chosen literary forms. The most important features of this book (the only one of its type in existence) are as follows:
* It is a study Bible in the sense of containing the text of the entire Bible, accompanied by commentary.
* It is unlike other study Bibles in that the commentary focuses on the literary features of the Bible, as distinct from historical, cultural, or linguistic features.
* It is also unlike conventional study Bibles in being a reader's guide to the Bibleóa book that guides readers through the actual text of the Bibleórather than primarily a reference book about the Bible.
* It is a reader's Bible by virtue of dividing the Bible into units of a size that lends itself to daily reading or weekly group Bible study.
* The commentary and tips for reading appear at the head of passages instead of in footnotes.
* These lead-ins, moreover, move readers into the text that follows, instead of being a distraction from the text.
* The introductions to the books of the Bible provide a roadmap that points out what a reader most benefits from knowing about the book that follows.
* Literary commentary of the type provided in this book is particularly adept at showing the unity of Bible passages and the way in which they fit into the flow of a biblical book and the Bible as a whole.
* The commentary in this book is designed to draw readers into interaction with the biblical text instead of merely providing information about the Bible.
* A glossary at the back of the book provides definitions of literary terms and pointers about how to understand and interpret various literary genres.
As the foregoing list suggests, a literary Bible is distinctly different from other study Bibles. It is ideal as a first approach to the Bible because the content of the Bible can be mastered only if we pay attention to the forms in which that content is embodied. Further, the commentary that we provide is a guide into the Bible, not a reference source of information about the Bible. This literary commentary is thus a means to the end of equipping readers to renew their commitment to the Bible and to the living God who has revealed himself in the literary forms of the Bible.