Accordance Blog
Apr 23, 2014 David Lang

A Literary Approach to Genesis

Waltke-Genesis For some time now, I've been teaching through the book of Genesis in my Sunday School class. About the time I got to the Abraham cycle, one of our developers finished a new commentary on Genesis by Bruce Waltke, and it was submitted to me for final checks. This fortuitous timing led me to begin using the pre-release module in my Sunday School preparation.

Like many of you, my main method of using commentaries in Accordance is to view them in a parallel pane together with the Biblical text. When I first opened Waltke on Genesis in a parallel pane, I was rather surprised at the brevity of the verse-by-verse commentary.


Looking at the screenshot above, you can see that the comments, while helpful, are more what you would expect from a good study Bible than a commentary that devotes more than 600 pages to a single book of the Bible. That's because Waltke's verse-by-verse exposition of Genesis was originally written for the New Geneva Study Bible. In spite of this (ahem!) genesis, Waltke on Genesis is far more than just a set of repackaged study Bible notes.

Rather than opening this commentary as a parallel pane, I'd recommend opening this commentary in its own zone so you can access its Table of Contents. The simplest way to do this is to select a verse of Genesis and then amplify to Waltke-Genesis by selecting it from the Reference Tools submenu of the Amplify menu. That will open the commentary right to the verse and automatically tie the commentary to the Bible text so that the two will scroll in parallel (just like a parallel pane). When we look at the Contents pane of the commentary, we'll begin to see its strength:


As you can see, the verse-by-verse exposition is just a small part of this commentary. The bulk of the commentary developed from Dr. Waltke's classroom lectures on Genesis, in which he divided the text of Genesis into 12 "books" (based on its well-known toledoth structure) which are further subdivided into "acts" and "scenes." This attempt to "model a literary approach to Genesis" is designed to help readers "discover its rich literary treasures".

If you look again at the screenshot above, you'll see that Genesis 18:18 is part of "Book 6, Act 2, Scene 3". The "Exegetical Notes" on this scene are preceded by a "Literary Analysis" of the scene as a whole. They are also followed by a series of "Theological Reflections" on the scene. Thus, the brief exegetical notes are only a small part of the commentary on this verse. The Literary Analysis of the scene explains the literary structure and narrative techniques used by the author to communicate meaning. The Theological Reflections then develop various applications of that meaning, which is very helpful for busy pastors and Sunday School teachers who need to distill these narrative episodes into communicable lessons.


Of course, this one "scene" is interwoven with other scenes in the "act" and other acts in the "book". Waltke does a masterful job of demonstrating the literary and theological connections among all these narrative episodes. Of course, this approach can admittedly make it hard to feel like you've done your due diligence simply by reading the commentary on the current "scene". Because I began using this commentary when I was already a good third of the way through Genesis, I find myself feeling like I may be missing things by not exploring Waltke's literary analysis of those passages I've already covered. Still, I look at that discomfort as a good thing. After all, shouldn't every commentary encourage you to explore the wider context of your passage?

Even before I picked up Waltke's commentary on Genesis, I marveled at the literary artistry of the first book of the Bible, and I found myself wishing I had a deeper understanding of the literary techniques utilized by the author. Waltke's "literary approach" to Genesis offered the very help I was looking for. If you're reading or teaching through Genesis, I think you'll find it helpful too. Just be sure to explore all the sections of commentary rather than stopping with the admittedly brief exegetical notes.


Feb 18, 2014 Jeremy Brannon

Anchor Yale Bible Commentary in Accordance

Anchor LogoAs a member of our Content Development team, I occasionally look over our Module Request forum to see what resources people are requesting to come to Accordance. I have been encouraged over the past few years to see an increasing number of those wishes granted. One of the commentary sets that has garnered a lot of attention is the Anchor Yale Bible Commentary. We released the 27-volume Anchor Yale New Testament in November 2013, and some of you have already put it to good use, but we’ve also been hard at work on the Old Testament volumes. While we finish our labors on the complete set, we’re releasing the extant nine volumes on the Pentateuch for purchase at the price of $999.99, with free upgrades as we add the remaining 51 volumes of the Old Testament.

Anchor-Gen CoverLike the best-selling Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary, the Anchor Yale Bible Commentary is notable for the broad range of its contributors. Top Protestant, Catholic and Jewish scholars have all brought their skills to bear on the Old and New Testaments, as well as the Apocrypha. The founders of this project, William F. Albright and Professor David Noel Freedman, aimed to assemble scholars from different theological perspectives, and the massive resulting commentary is “accessible not only to scholars but also to the educated nonspecialist.”

In addition to theological breadth, the AYBC is notable for offering each author’s personal translation of the book each volume focuses on. Most commentary sets include the text of a single established English translation (as the NAC and the NIVAC do with the NIV text), but the AYBC offers what is essentially a “new” translation from its diverse scholarship. In Accordance, this means the ability to search the words of the Bible translation with the Translation field, without interference from the rest of the content.

As well as the Translation and a thorough Introduction, many of the volumes of the AYBC have not one but two sets of verse-level comments. One is Textual Notes, which focuses more on text-critical and linguistic details of the text. The other is Notes, which is more general commentary on the verse at hand. Most volumes also feature a broader Comments section that examines the passage as a whole instead of at the verse-level. The Accordance module allows for the user to scroll the AYBC in parallel with a favorite Bible Text, or to read it in a separate pane.

Genesis p88 in AYBD

The Pentateuch volumes we’re releasing include:

Vol. 1 - Genesis by E.A. Speiser (1964)
Vol. 2 - Exodus 1-18 by William H.C. Propp (1998)
Vol. 2A - Exodus 19-40 by William H.C. Propp (2006)
Vol. 3 - Leviticus 1-16 by Jacob Milgrom (1991)
Vol. 3A - Leviticus 17-22 by Jacob Milgrom (2000)
Vol. 3B - Leviticus 23-27 by Jacob Milgrom (2000)
Vol. 4 - Numbers 1-20 by Baruch A. Levine (1993)
Vol. 4A - Numbers 21-36 by Baruch A. Levine (2000)
Vol. 5 - Deuteronomy 1-11 by Moshe Weinfeld (1991)

Several Bible books are covered over the course of multiple volumes. This speaks to the depth of the scholarship represented in the AYBC. Milgrom’s three-volume commentary on Leviticus is an enormous work of scholarship, and is much easier to carry around in Accordance, as I can attest. And interestingly, commentators Baruch Levine and Jacob Milgrom are also featured in the JPS Torah Commentary, with Levine on Leviticus and Milgrom on Numbers.

As the Anchor Yale Bible Commentary is a particularly large set of commentaries, we’ll be adding the Old Testament volumes in installments as we complete them.

This long-awaited set of commentaries features the work of such noted scholars as Joseph Fitzmyer, Markus Barth, Raymond Brown, Craig Koester, and Luke Timothy Johnson. I work with many of our top-level commentaries and the works in this 27-volume set are frequently referenced by many of the authors of the commentaries we have already released. Replete with the authors’ personal translations, Textual Notes and Comments, this commentary set will be one you’ll want to refer to as well.

If you’re gathering background information on a passage you’re teaching from, you can use Accordance to scroll along in parallel with a favorite Bible Text. You can cite a passage from the author’s comments using Copy as Citation, while writing an academic paper. Accordance takes all of the valuable information in the AYBC and makes it even more accessible and useful in your Bible study.

Don't delay, buy and enjoy Anchor Yale Bible Commentaries today!

Anchor Bible 60 Volume OT and Apocrypha
(currently only Pentateuch is released––to be completed in the next few months)
Print value: $3048.00; Regular price: $999.99

Anchor Bible 27 Volume NT
Print value: $1279.00; Regular price: $599.99

Anchor Bible 87 Volume OT with Apocrypha and NT
Print value: $4327.00; Regular price: $1499.99


Jul 31, 2012 David Lang

Barclay’s New Daily Study Bible Now Available

NDSB Cover-sm William Barclay's New Daily Study Bible is not actually a study Bible; it's a seventeen-volume New Testament commentary. Neither am I sure in what sense it is "daily," except perhaps that you could easily read each passage segment along with the associated commentary in a single day. It is indisputably new in that it is a thorough revision of Barclay's Daily Study Bible, yet there is also a sense in which it is old: Barclay himself having written the original in the latter half of the twentieth-century. Yet in spite of its odd title, this commentary series has been immensely popular. In fact, it has been one of the commentaries most requested by Accordance users.

Barclay's popularity stems from his ability "to convey the results of scholarship to the ordinary reader." His commentary manages to convey insights into the text, explained from the perspective of its historical background, illustrated with literary quotes and interesting anecdotes, and concisely summarized into a ready application. It's really quite remarkable how seamlessly he moves between exegesis, illustration, and application. Preachers will find Barclay's insights will help them distill the text into a message that connects, and all readers will appreciate Barclay's clarity and readability. There aren't many commentaries you can just sit down and read for enjoyment, but The New Daily Study Bible is one of them.

The New Daily Study Bible won't replace more technical commentaries which dig into the details of any given passage, but it's a great companion to those commentaries in that it focuses your attention on that passage's big ideas.

Barclay's New Daily Study Bible is on sale for just $149.99 now through August 14. To see it in action, be sure to check out the following video tour.