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Review of A Private Commentary on Scripture

Review of A Private Commentary on Scripture

There are many good commentaries out there, though not as many are written from a Dispensational Standpoint as I would like. One answer to that problem comes from our favorite guest teacher, James D. Quiggle, Th.M. It is a very helpful commentary series written from a Dispensational Standpoint. Why is such a thing important? In Dispensationalism we focus on a consistent interpretation and understanding across all segments of theology. You might be tempted to say does not everyone do that, but some do not. That, though, is for another day.

 Why is this commentary set important? This commentary is very practical- that is to say that it is not full of lofty words and  ideas, which my grandfather used to call four dollar words. It is clear and concise, easily accessible to any Christian, from the gentleman who came to Christ this morning all the way to the grandmother who has prayed for countless hosts of missionaries.  This is what I enjoy most about when James provides lessons for my readers- he writes not only as a teacher but as an Elder who has walked the Scripture for decades and calls the reader to be his student and to understand the Bible in a way that might have not been before. The Bible is meant to be understood and James excels in opening the Scripture to the reader.

Which translation does James use here? Like many commentators, James does his own translation. His translation reads very close to the English Standard Bible, which if memory serves correctly, is the translation he uses for teaching, His translation is what is called essentially literal, meaning that it is as close to a word for word translation as possible without it being unintelligible.

The translation is the most important choice when studying the Bible; the first question to address in study is, simply, what does it say? I would like to point out that James uses a number of excellent translations in addition to his own so that the reader might get the broadest possible meaning of the text.

What is included and is anything missing? Besides the verse-by-verse commentary, there is a fairly in-depth introduction. James treats several of the things unique to John and his Gospel Account.  He also gives considerable background information regarding the audience etc.

I do have two items that I wish were included but the fact that they are missing is neither bad nor good. It is just a fact. I would like to see a much more detailed outline and specifically with regard to teaching through the Bible. The simple fact is that most commentary users are pastors, Sunday school teachers etc. Most commentaries are lacking in giving a teaching outline.  Further, I would like to see a section on Interpretive Challenges.  Any teacher attempting to prepare helpful lessons will doubtlessly encounter points of view that attack the Scripture and it would he very helpful to have even a small treatment of these issues.

This commentary series is very well footnoted. There is so much to learn about each book and James has given us a tremendous number of footnotes not just for the purposes of citing references but primarily to provoke further study.

Overall Impression/thoughts

In personal study, I have found the material provided to be quite helpful. The most common question which I receive is “Who should use it?” I will tell you very simply and pointedly, this should be used by any person who is going to teach the Bible. If you have a wife, you should be teaching her the Bible and you should have this commentary set. Same goes if you have children. Do you teach Sunday School? This commentary series is for you. Are you a missionary? You guessed it; you should have this commentary set. Bible college students, seminarians, teaching elders, Sunday School teachers it’s a good fit for you. In fact, I will go this far…there are only two reasons this would not be a helpful commentary set- if you are unsaved or if you are dead but I repeat myself.

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