Written By Dr. Rick Cherok, Lead Editor of College Press
For several years, College Press has called upon many of the best Biblical scholars of the Restoration Movement to produce highly readable and doctrinally sound expositions of Scripture. Our objective has been to provide greater insights into God’s Word for serious students and growing Christians. The outcome of these efforts is a set of commentaries that examine every book and verse of the entire Bible.
The College Press NIV Commentary Series offers students, ministers, teachers, and those who simply wish to study the Bible a clear and practical overview of Scripture without much of the scholarly terminology that is confusing to those outside of academic circles. College Press has endeavored to make these commentaries both reader-friendly and affordable so that every Christian can use them and expand their knowledge of Scripture.
In an effort to help you get the most out of these commentaries, here are five tips for using your commentary from the College Press NIV Commentary Series.
1. Read the Introduction
Each commentary in the College Press NIV Commentary Series provides an insightful introduction that will help you understand the Biblical book you’re studying. The introduction to each commentary generally explores the authorship of the book (and occasionally the conflicts about authorship), the probable date of the writing, the major themes and controversies surrounding the text, and information about the recipients and purpose of the book. By reading the introductory section in our commentaries, you can gain a great amount of insight on each Biblical book.
2. Review the Book’s Outline
Every commentary in the NIV Commentary Series includes a detailed outline of the Biblical book you’re studying. These outlines include topical titles with verses and subtopics to provide you with a helpful, thematic overview of the book. By reviewing the outline provided in each commentary, you’ll be equipped with a big-picture examination of the book that enables you to see both the flow and development of the book’s content. As you examine a particular section of a Biblical book, the commentary outline will provide great detail and context for gaining a proper understanding of the verses being studied.
3. Keep Your Bible Nearby
While the College Press NIV Commentary Series provides a verse-by-verse exposition of Scripture and includes the verses under examination within the text of the book, it very helpful to keep your Bible at hand as you make your way through the commentary. Not only does an open Bible assist you as you review the entire context of a passage, but the authors of the College Press NIV Commentary Series often refer you to other passages of Scripture that provide both support and insight into the text you’re studying. Also, in some cases, you may wish to make a note or comment in your Bible as a reminder of an insight you have gleaned from reading the commentary.
4. Don’t Ignore the Footnotes
The College Press NIV Commentary Series has been designed to include footnotes that provide sources for information and additional insights into the text. And though it is often easy to read straight through the paragraphs in the commentary while giving little attention to the footnotes at the bottom of the page, we suggest that you take a few moments to examine the footnotes as well. Because the College Press NIV Commentary Series has tried to refrain from being excessive with footnotes, those that are included in each commentary are quite helpful and can often provide additional nuggets of gold that will give you a richer and fuller insight into text.
5. Explore the Bibliography
The authors of each commentary in the College Press NIV Commentary Series include a bibliography of helpful resources that can provide further insight into subjects and topics that you may wish to explore more thoroughly. So, while the commentary’s author may provide a few paragraphs examining a particular topic within the text, many of the authors also include in their bibliography the titles of books that will give you a more detailed and thorough study of the topic in question. The bibliography also provides information about the sources that contributed to the author’s overall commentary production.
The College Press NIV Commentary Series will give you detailed insights into each verse you’re studying. However, it will also give you a big picture view of how each verse fits within the overall context of the Biblical book and the Bible as a whole.
Equipped with a high-level context and a detailed understanding of the Scriptures, you’ll deepen your understanding of God and His plan and you’ll prepare yourself to share the good news of His love with others.