The United Bible Societies' New Testament Handbook series is a twenty-volume set of "detailed commentaries providing valuable exegetical, historical, cultural, and linguistic information on the books of the Bible." Designed to help practicing translators convey the meaning of the original text in other languages, the series has also found an eager readership among church leaders and other students of the Bible. As the series preface explains:
"Over the years church leaders and Bible readers have found the UBS Handbooks to be useful for their own study of the Scriptures. Many of the issues Bible translators must address when trying to communicate the Bible’s message to modern readers are the ones Bible students must address when approaching the Bible text as part of their own private study and devotions."
As opposed to most commentaries, which may address the major issues in a passage at length, while sometimes glossing over the wording of less pivotal phrases and expressions, the UBS Handbooks are focused on the proper translation of each and every word in the text. Consequently, if you want to preach on a minor point in the text, or understand the subtle nuances of a particular expression, the UBS Handbooks are sure to offer helpful commentary.
Although written as an aid for translators, the UBS Handbooks are largely non-technical and easily understood by anyone. Commentary begins not with the Greek text, but with a standard English translation of the text. The structure of the underlying Greek is usually dealt with indirectly, and when it is discussed explicitly, the Greek text is transliterated.
Because the focus of the handbooks is on finding the right way to express an idea in the target language, they will typically suggest specific wordings, caution against renderings which might lead to misunderstandings, show how a literal rendering might actually be misleading, etc. Since preachers and teachers are looking for clear ways to explain the meaning of the text, these discussions are immediately applicable to the teaching task.
Difficult to obtain in print, the UBS New Testament Handbooks are now more accessible than ever through this Accordance edition. References to other Accordance resources have been hyperlinked, the text has been divided into search fields to offer more precise searching, and the entire series can be made to scroll in parallel with the text of the Bible.
The entire set is over $600 in print, but on sale now in Accordance for only $199.99.
See Blog post.