Now that we’re deep into the middle of Clergy Appreciation Month, we’re excited to introduce two new resources that are beloved by preachers and laity alike.
James Montgomery Boice stands as a giant in the history of expository preaching. One could even say he wrote the book on the subject if we want to count his collected Expositional Commentary. These 27 volumes collect Boice’s sermons in biblical order to cover most of the Old and New Testaments.
In his chapter, “Expository Preaching,” in the book Feed My Sheep: A Passionate Plea for Preaching, Derek Thomas says this about Boice and the individual books that make up his commentary series (pp. 39-40):
Boice believed in expository preaching and said so often. His four-volume set of sermons on Romans is rightly called An Expositional Commentary, as is his five-volume set of sermons on John’s Gospel and similar works on Genesis, the Psalms, the Minor Prophets, Acts, Ephesians, and Philippians. These books were sermons before they ever saw the printed format. They are classic in style: simple, structured, highlighting main themes, alluding to other passages only to illustrate what is already drawn out of the text in question, and always applicatory.
Thomas goes on to write, “Few congregations in the twentieth century enjoyed such rich fare as did Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia during Boice’s tenure as senior minister” (p. 40). And while we can’t go back in time to sit in the pews at Tenth Presbyterian and hear Boice preach his master sermons in person, we are fortunate to have this collection of his messages organized in commentary form.
Pastors will appreciate Boice’s style and method of exposition in this collection, but truly this is still a commentary series that can be appreciated by anyone. Individual chapters might cover a portion of a verse, a single verse, or an entire passage. However, each of these chapters averages five or six pages each, which allows Boice’s Commentary to serve even as a source of daily study and reflection.
There are approximately 1250 separate chapters in the entire series, but if the reader wants to go really deep, consider that Genesis has 180 chapters, John has 270, and there are 239 chapters on Romans! And although Boice’s preaching at Tenth Presbyterian spanned from 1968 to 2000, readers will discover that even 15 years later, his exposition of the ancient Scripture texts are amazingly current, even seemingly prophetic at times.
Accordance developers have analyzed Boice’s Expositional Commentary in great detail, tagging every bit of text according to the following fields: Reference, Titles, English Content, Translation, Scripture, Transliteration, and Page Numbers. Such detailed tagging allows the Accordance user to maneuver through this commentary series quickly and find the exact content needed.
In some preaching classes, seminary students are taught that they should spend one hour in sermon preparation for every minute spent in the pulpit (in spite of this admonition, I have not noticed an expected decrease in sermon length in the churches of which I’m familiar!). But let’s be honest: very few pastors actually have time to fulfill this kind of instruction. Good pastors who take their calling to ministry seriously are usually the busiest people I know. And heaven forbid if pastors have to prepare multiple sermons in a week—there’s simply no way they could devote the above prescribed amount of time to sermon prep.
Although the proclamation of God’s Word is a very serious part of ministry, often sermon planning time is set aside because of other demands such as visiting the sick and homebound, counseling troubled church members, administering wedding and funeral services, and attending a seemingly infinite number of church committee meetings.
Here’s another pearl of wisdom some preaching professors like to throw out: “Sermon outlines are a crutch!” However, in light of all the responsibilities mentioned above, sometimes an extremely busy pastor needs a bit of help—whether it’s referred to as a crutch or something else.
This is where Baker’s Sermon Outline Series comes to the rescue. It’s no accident that the Sermon Outline Series is abbreviated “S.O.S.” because that’s exactly what this resource is--a lifesaver in tumultuous seas of church life. Let’s be clear: these are not books of sermons that can be preached as is. The busy pastor is still going to have to spend a certain amount of time fleshing these outlines out. Exposition is still required, including the pastor’s own illustrations and points of emphasis. These sermon outlines merely give the busy pastor a head start and a helping hand when it’s most needed.
Who will benefit from the Sermon Outline Series?
- Busy pastors
- Bi-vocational pastors
- Supply preachers who often get calls at the last minute
- Lay leaders who often have to teach or preach
- Anyone who experiences writer’s block occasionally
- Anyone who simply wants a collection of outlines on Scripture for study purposes
In adding the Sermon Outline Series to Accordance, we decided that rather than sell these various titles piecemeal, we would offer them together all at once at an economical price. The Sermon Outline Series bundle for the Accordance Library contains hundreds of sermons from nearly 40 volumes of sermon outline titles sold individually in print.
The Sermon Outline Series contains a significant amount of variety. Included are both expositional sermon outlines as well as topical. There are sermons for holidays and special occasions, as well as funerals. In fact, there are nearly 40 funeral sermons alone in this bundle. Any experienced pastor knows that sometimes it seems as if death comes in seasons, when there is one funeral after another. During these times, it can be difficult to continually come up with new ways of offering the same kinds of encouraging words to those who grieve. Having a diverse collection of funeral sermon outlines on hand can be a very welcome prospect.
This week, we are pleased to announce two new additions for the Accordance Library from Baker books.
Although the field has been growing, there have only been a handful of truly useful theological dictionaries in recent years, and even fewer have seen second editions. Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, edited by Walter Elwell, has proven itself to be not only useful, but also one of the most respected of these kinds of works.
In a way, the previous edition was already a second attempt because it was adapted, and greatly honed down, from the much larger Baker’s Dictionary of Theology, a standard reference tool for many pastors and academics from over a generation ago. Now, in an official second edition, The Evangelical Dictionary of Theology has proved itself as a mature and fine-tuned theological reference of the highest quality.
The first edition contained 1200 articles; and in the second edition, 215 articles were added, and 100 less-relevant articles were deleted. One of the newest features of the second edition is the decision to add living theologians—such as James Cone, George Lindbeck, J. I. Packer, Wolfhart Pannenberg, and Rosemary Reuther—to the volume. In addition to these, Elwell notes in the preface to the second edition that
We also wanted to include some of the newer theological trends that have risen in prominence since the first edition, such as Canonical Criticism, Empirical Theology, and Postliberal Theology, as well as some of the more controversial topics of interest, such as the Jesus Seminar, Deconstructionism, and Spiritual Warfare. Significant articles were updated or sometimes rewritten where it was deemed necessary, such as Church Growth Movement, Evangelicalism, and Dispensationalism. Bibliographies were updated, cross-references were upgraded, and articles were added where needed to balance out some of the older categories, such as Cloud of Unknowing, History of Religion School, and Religious Language. We also added some articles that should have been in the original edition, but for one reason or another weren’t, such as Sociology of Religion.
Of course, theological dictionaries are rarely the end of research, but rather a means to quickly get acquainted with a particular subject. No doubt, for many, The Evangelical Dictionary of Theology will become a first-stop reference when researching a topic. Accordance users will be glad to know that our developers have carefully examined the entire text of The Evangelical Dictionary of Theology and have tagged all content according to the following fields: English Content, Scripture, Greek Content, Hebrew Content, Transliteration, Manuscripts, Bibliography, Authors and Page Numbers. This allows readers to quickly find the exact information sought after during study and research.
The Evangelical Dictionary of Theology will normally sell for $59.90, but through June 22, Accordance users can obtain this work at the introductory price of $44.90.
“Furthermore, of these, my son, be warned. There is no end to the making of many books!”
While there is almost always some value in almost every series, many of them suffer from being uneven. And with 66 books in the Protestant Bible alone, this is hardly to be unexpected; inevitably, some volumes will be better or worse than others.
Perhaps this issue is where the Baker Commentary on the Old Testament Wisdom and Psalms can offer a bit of distinction. I find this series to be consistently good throughout in what I’ve read of it so far, and I believe that comes from the fact that the writers did not try to concentrate on the entire Bible, but rather they focused only on one part of it, Psalms and wisdom literature.
Moreover, the narrowed focus of this series utilizes some of the best Evangelical writers already known for their familiarity with these specific texts of the Old Testament:
Job – Tremper Longman III
Psalms – John Goldingay
Proverbs – Tremper Longman III
Ecclesiastes – Craig G. Bartholomew
Song of Songs – Richard S. Hess
What is the target audience for the Baker Commentary of the Old Testament Wisdom and Psalms? Longman also explains this in the series preface:
We believe the primary users of commentaries are scholars, ministers, seminary students, and Bible study leaders. Of these groups, we have most in mind clergy and future clergy, namely, seminary students. We have tried to make the commentary accessible to nonscholars by putting most of the technical discussion and interaction with secondary literature in the footnotes.
The commentary alone in this series is excellent, but each volume also includes an index to ancient literature referenced, divided into these categories: Babylonian Prayers (in the Psalms volumes), Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, Qumran/Dead Sea Scrolls, Rabbinic Writings, Apostolic/Church Fathers, Mesopotamian Writings, Classical Writers, Egyptian Instructions (in the Proverbs volume), Josephus, and other Ancient Near Eastern Sources.
Click on the image above or a larger view of
the Baker Commentary on the Old Testament: Wisdom & Psalms
The value of The Baker Commentary on the Old Testament Wisdom and Psalms comes from its detailed content tagging. Accordance developers have examined the content of all seven volumes and applied the following fields to this series: Reference, Titles, English Content, Scripture, Greek Content, Hebrew Content, Transliteration, Translation, Manuscripts, Bibliography, Authors and Page Numbers. This allows the reader to perform very specific searches of the content which saves time when researching topics.
The Baker Commentary on the Old Testament: Wisdom and Psalms will normally sell for $299 for the Accordance Library, but through June 22, Accordance users can obtain all seven volumes for the introductory price of $249.
I'm pleased to announce that the Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (BECNT) is now available as an Accordance module. BECNT has long been one of our most requested commentary series, and it's no wonder. Bestcommentaries.com ranks more than half the volumes in this series among the top three commentaries on their respective books of the Bible, and most of the other volumes rank in the top ten. For more about the series and its individual volumes, see this detailed article.
The BECNT is available now for $699.99.