Is there a line between biblical scholarship and biblical faith? When I was younger and began pursuing seminary studies, studying biblical languages opened up the world of technical commentaries. For years I tended to gravitate toward these kinds of volumes and pay less attention to volumes that didn’t require a working knowledge of Greek and Hebrew.
However, as I’ve grown older, and perhaps as my own faith has grown, I have had a growing hunger for treatments of Scripture that go beyond the technical. Nevertheless, I’ve found myself in a bit of limbo at times because many commentaries written at the popular level do now always treat the Bible—in my opinion, mind you—seriously enough. There are some exceptions. I would point to commentary series by both Barclay and Wright that attempt to reach both mind and heart.
And now, I believe I’ve found another series to add to this “in-between” category. The Biblical Imagination Series by Michael Card is unlike anything ever before released for the Accordance Library. This series attempts to “engage the text at the level of the informed imagination” (Biblical Imagination: Matthew, p. 9). What does this mean? Well, Card is attempting to create a commentary that appeals to the mind—it takes the text seriously—but it also appeals to the heart through experience and imagination.
Many are more familiar with Michael Card from the realm of Christian music. However, some may not realize that Card also has Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Biblical Studies from Western Kentucky University. This means that his treatment of the Scriptures is an informed one.
The Biblical Imagination Series consists of commentaries on the four Gospels. In addition to the commentaries, Card has used his musical talent to produce four accompanying albums of ten or more songs each. Normally, the books and CDs have to be purchased separately, but in the Accordance version of these titles, text and music have been combined into one coherent collection.
The text can be referenced as a commentary in the normal way. Or, because most sections are of a consistent length, The Biblical Imagination Series can also be used as a daily reading (note: that is not to imply that it is incorporated into the Accordance Daily reading feature because it is not dated). As the user reads through the commentary, he or she will come across musical content.
In the example above (red circle added), the first icon, when clicked upon, will display the cover of the CD from which this particular musical selection originates—in this example, from the album, Mark: The Beginning of the Gospel. The second item, hyperlinked text that reads “The Beginning of the Gospel,” takes the user to the lyrics for the musical selection. The third icon, a sound icon, will launch the Accordance audio player, and the user can hear the musical selection. There is also a section near the end of each volume that contains all musical selections together or listening to all at once.
I can only imagine (pun may be intended) that Accordance users will find a variety of ways to explore Michael Card’s Biblical Imagination Series—whether as a standard commentary, devotional, or personal or group Bible study. Users will be pleased to know that the Accordance developers have carefully analyzed the content of this series and have identified the following search fields: References, Titles, English Content, Scripture, Transliteration, HCSB Excerpts, Bibliography, Lyrics, and Page Numbers. These fields will allow Accordance users to search for very specific content in their use of this series.
To find out more about Michael Card’s Biblical Imagination Series, be certain to check out the following resources:
Dr. J’s Lighting the Lamp Podcast #125: Biblical Imagination
Two reviews recommended in the podcast:
- Review: Mark: The Gospel of Passion (Biblical Imagination Series) (5 stars) @ivpress [Joel Watts, Unsettled Christianity]
Review: Michael Card’s Biblical Imagination [Carl Gregg, Patheos Blog]
Playing Audio in Accordance Mobile
All four volumes of The Biblical Imagination Series by Michael Card come with their musical complements. This series will normally sell for $99.90, but through June 29, it can be obtained for the introductory price of $79.90.
Regular Price $99.90