NEW! Bible Speaks Today: Old Testament (33 volumes)
We are pleased to announce the immediate release of The Bible Speaks Today series for the Old Testament, complete in 33 volumes, for the Accordance Bible Software Library.
Click/tap images below for larger views of the series in Accordance on various platforms.
2O to feel the deepness
of the kisses of your mouth!
Your gentle touch intoxicates,
your fondling strokes inflame,
a heady wine more potent
than any ancient vintage.
3The aroma of your presence,
the fresh fragrance of your name,
a wafted scent, a perfume sweet,
to shed abroad your fame.
With such a reputation
you are bathed in admiration,
by the virgin city maidens
who are eager for your love.
4My darling, take me with you.
Quick, make haste, let’s run.
My royal king has drawn me
to his inner private sanctum,
the haven for our love.
How we exult in you!
The memory of your fragrant love
shall never fade away.
The mellowness of smooth mulled wine,
lingering long, and there to stay.
Back in the late nineties, I was asked to teach a six-week study for married couples on Song of Solomon. I called the series something like “Celebration of Love: A Study of the Song of Songs,” but word around church quickly spread that I was teaching “Song of Solomon: The Racy Version.” My goal had not been to teach an immodest version of Song of Songs, but I did want to teach a study of the book that avoided allegorical interpretations such as “God’s love for Israel” or “Christ’s love for his bride, the church.” I also wanted to teach a study that took the timeless principles of Scripture and had immediate impact on the couples attending the study and their marriages.
This is where Tom Gledhill’s book, The Message of Song of Songs: The Lyrics of Love, became my secret weapon for teaching the class. Gledhill’s commentary (I’ll come back to this term below) was not the only one I consulted, but I found his to be the most valuable for this context. Gledhill included both a literal translation of the Song and also a free paraphrase. I often transcribed both versions (there was no digital edition for copy and paste back then) and included them on the handout I used with the class. And in what became a highly anticipated introduction each week, I began each study by recruiting a married couple (often with great protestation after our first session) to come to the front and read aloud the male and female parts from Gledhill’s free paraphrase. There was never any need for any other ice breaker after our dramatic reading by the participants.
I use this extended recollection as a primary example of the kind of value brought by the entire Bible Speaks Today series. The editors refer to the series not as a commentary, per se, but as an exposition of the Bible with three goals: (1) to expound the biblical text with accuracy (2) to relate it to contemporary life, and (3) to be readable. As stated in the General Preface:
These books are, therefore, not "commentaries," for the commentary seeks rather to elucidate the text than to apply it, and tends to be a work rather of reference than of literature. Nor, on the other hand, do they contain the kinds of "sermons" that attempt to be contemporary and readable without taking Scripture seriously enough. The contributors to The Bible Speaks Today series are all united in their convictions that God still speaks through what he has spoken, and that nothing is more necessary for the life, health and growth of Christians than that they should hear what the Spirit is saying to them through his ancient—yet ever modern—Word.
Now, to be clear, I would personally say that at the very least, the volumes of the BST series are Bible commentaries. And in Accordance, they will appear in the Commentaries folder of your Library and you can place them in parallel with any biblical text as you can with any of our commentaries (note that you can also create a parallel Combined Tool consisting of both the Old and New Testament Bible Speaks Today series). Nevertheless, the series does seem to be something more. If you only place them in parallel with the Bible, you will miss out on some of the remarkably exceptional content found in these volumes that is not constrained by verse-by-verse references.
I’ve already mentioned the literal and paraphrased translations in Gledhill’s work on Song of Solomon. But Gledhill also includes a set of discussion questions which he suggests could be used in marriage preparation classes. In David Firth’s volume on the Book of Joshua, he begins his introduction not with the usual date, authorship, and theme discussions, but with the words, “We should begin by noting the elephant in the room.” Here he jumps right into what is often seen as some of the most troubling aspects to modern readers about the violence in Joshua. And Firth is not afraid to interact with specific concerns by noted atheist Richard Dawkins about the biblical text of Joshua.
The Bible Speaks Today series very much lives up to its name in that the writers allow ancient Scripture to “speak” to the modern reader and the concerns of the world in which we live. Certainly not a technical commentary, the BST OT does not bog the reader down in minutia, but the writers also do not shy away from controversial subjects. And while this series can be treated as a commentary, there is also a distinct literary flavor which allows the volumes to be read from cover to cover, becoming much more than merely reference books for occasional consultation. In fact, I would challenge any Accordance user to download the BST OT series to your tablet or smartphone and just begin reading the content by itself like you would with any other book you intend to read from beginning to end. Don’t be surprised to find the series both inspiring and challenging at the same time.
A knowledge of original languages is not needed to make use of the Bible Speaks Today series for the Old Testament. Although the writers do at times deal with the Hebrew and Aramaic languages, they use transliteration, thus opening up the series to a wide audience of students, teachers, pastors and other serious Bible readers. See the BST OT product page for a full listing of authors for individual volumes.
Bible Speaks Today: Old Testament (33 Volumes)
List Price $550
Regular Price $249
Bible Speaks Today: New Testament
Bible Speaks Today: OT/NT Set