The New American Commentary sits near the top of my list of favorite commentaries ever since I bought the physical books as they first came out in the early nineties. I bought them on subscription from Broadman & Holman as the publisher released each new volume. So when Accordance asked me to review the New American Commentary Studies in Bible & Theology, I jumped at the chance.
The New American Commentary creators chose to expand on 11 important subjects in Biblical studies and theology. Readers should see them as addendum to the NAC series.
What’s Included in the NAC Studies in Bible & Theology
Accordance published the set of 11 books for Accordance Bible Software and their Mobile apps this past week. In the set you’ll find 11 topics of advanced study written in a way that will stretch average Christian readers, but not so much that they can’t benefit from the scholarship included.
The Lukan Authorship of Hebrews by David Allen first found its way into the public as Allen’s Ph.D. dissertation. He adapted it for this series and I found it extremely interesting.
Allen considers the authorship of Hebrews, an often hotly debated subject. He argues for Lukan authorship based on the similarity between the language of Hebrews in Greek and the language of Luke-Acts, among other things. He supports this view by citing the early church fathers, many of whom also attributed the book to Luke.
The book doesn’t just jump into proving Luke’s authorship. He first considers other authors, like Barnabas, Apollos and Paul. I remember listening to my New Testament professor in college tell us that he was certain Apollos wrote the book. The arguments against Apollos, Paul and Barnabas are brief, but they do show up.
Chapter three to the end of the book discuss various reasons for trusting Lukan authorship in a convincing way that I look forward to finishing.
The complete list of books included in the NAC Studies in Bible & Theology include:
- David L. Allen, Lukan Authorship of Hebrews
- Christopher D. Bass, That You May Know: Assurance in 1 John
- James M. Hamilton Jr., God’s Indwelling Presence: The Holy Spirit in the Old & New Testaments
- Barry E. Horner, Future Israel: Why Christian Anti-Judaism Must Be Challenged
- Jason C. Meyer, The End of the Law: Mosaic Covenant in Pauline Theology
- Timothy M. Pierce, Enthroned on Our Praise: An Old Testament Theology of Worship
- Charles Quarles, Sermon on the Mount: Restoring Christ’s Message to the Modern Church
- Mark F. Rooker, The Ten Commandments: Ethics for the Twenty-First Century
- Michael Rydelnik, The Messianic Hope: Is the Hebrew Bible Really Messianic?
- Thomas R. Schreiner & Matthew R. Crawford, The Lord’s Supper: Remembering and Proclaiming Christ Until He Comes
- Thomas R. Schreiner & Shawn D. Wright, Believer’s Baptism: Sign of the New Covenant in Christ
Seeing Mark Rooker’s volume, The Ten Commandments: Ethics for the Twenty-First Century excited me since I sat under his teaching at Southeastern Theological Seminary learning Hebrew, or at least attempting to do so. He graciously gave me a pair of Bs for the two courses.
There’s one extremely minor complaint with Accordance’s versions of these books. The titles seem a bit cryptic when you look for them in the library on the mobile app. Notice the titles of the volumes circled in red above. The real titles are That You May Know: Assurance in 1 John and Enthroned on Our Praise: An Old Testament Theology of Worship. That’s nit-picky criticism, but I did have to open the books to figure out what I was looking at.
Accordance Treatment of the Series
People can read books like the NACS series another digital reader like a Kindle. There’s a number of important benefits to reading Christian books in a Bible study app like Accordance. With the Kindle versions you’ll miss tags that link to other books or the Bible. When the author refers to a Bible verse, you don’t want to put down the Kindle and pick up a Bible or close the book and manually type in the Bible reference to find out what it says. In the Accordance Bible mobile app, you can tap on the reference to read it in a popup. Open the books in Accordance Bible Software on your Mac or Windows PC and you can put your Bible to the right and click on a reference and instantly read it. Also, just hovering over the reference shows the Bible passage in the Instant Details window.
Footnotes will show up as pop ups too on the mobile app or in the Instant Details window on the desktop app.
When you move to a new place in the book or to another book in the mobile app, just tap the screen to show the toolbar and hit the back arrow at the top left to go back to where you were reading in the NACS book.
Aside from the pop ups and links, you can take “margin notes” in Accordance and later save those for use in a research paper or a Bible study on the topic discussed in the book. Plus, when you’re studying one of the topics like Baptism, these volumes will show up as pertinent results in a search of your library for “baptism” (Believer’s Baptism: Sign of the New Covenant in Christ by Thomas Schreiner and Shawn D. Wright).
Using Stacks in Accordance lets you keep track of important information that you find as you read these books. Highlight text in the book and hit Add to Stack from the toolbar in the desktop app.
The whole set of NAC Studies in Bible & Theology currently costs $159. Each volume individually costs either $13.90 or $16.90 when you buy them by themselves. That introductory price lasts until February 12, so act quickly if you want to buy them. You can always use one of their payment plans to buy the set of books. For example, paying for them over 6 months will cost $41.50/month. That includes a small fee for handling the payments.
Should you get them? If you are a lay scholar (pastor, serious student of scripture) then grab the volumes of interest to you. They are informative, written well, and will benefit your study. Pastors may want to get the volumes that they can use as inspiration for a study at church. You may not do a 6 week Bible study on the Lukan authorship of Hebrews, but if you’re preaching or teaching through the Sermon on the Mount, then that volume by Charles Quarles would be invaluable. I just finished teaching through 1 John and wish I had That You May Know: Assurance of Salvation in 1 John by Christopher David Bass.
Seminary students or professors will find them useful in their educational endeavors. In interest of full-disclosure I was given a copy of the books for this review, I would definitely choose to buy them. I’ll be consulting the volumes the next time I’m studying the Ten Commandments, the Sermon on the Mount or one of the other topics addressed.
You’ll pay more for the Accordance versions of these books than you would on Kindle, but I still wouldn’t go that route for the following reasons:
- Accordance tags gives quick links to verses, etc in Instant Details or to open in a Bible window next to the book on the desktop app.
- The mobile app will show pop ups of verses and footnotes.
- Record your thoughts using the great Accordance notes feature.
- Save to stacks important content that will help you in useful research.
- Quick back and forth navigation helps keep you reading without losing your space.