Authors' Bias | Interpretation: conservative

Nelson's New Illustrated Bible Commentary: Preface

Everyone who reads the Bible at all wants to know more about it and understand it better. A variety of helps have been developed to that end, although most of them are focused on specific categories of information-atlases for map study, dictionaries or lexicons for words studies, or individual books dealing with specific books of the Bible.

For a general yet thorough study of the whole Bible, the best resource is a commentary. Commentaries come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, from one volume to sixty! Unfortunately they also come with some negative baggage, at least for ordinary Bible students. Do a word association on "commentary" with most people and you will hear words like "long," "dry," "boring"-perhaps even "confusing." Many commentaries are written and designed for sholars and specialists, and by and large they do a good job of meeting the needs of those people. If you are not in that elite group, however, commentaries may leave you feeling intimidated.

Nelson's New Illustrated Bible Commentary breaks the commentary mold. From conception to final production, it has been planned and developed for people who are not typical commentary users-ordinary Bible readers and students, Sunday school teachers, and Bible study leaders. This book does have scholarship too-more than forty evangelical scholars have contributed to its contents. But it offers much more. It is brief yet complete, with verse-by-verse annotations on the whole Bible in less than 2,000 pages. It is a the same time clear and relevant, speaking to issues people face in their daily lives today. Perhaps most conspicuously it is attractive and appealing, with one or more interesting features on almost every two-page spread.

Watch for these in-text features as you move through this commentary.


word studies to help you grasp what the original writers of the Greek and Hebrew words actually meant


brief pieces of background information that you might otherwise have missed


longer pieces of background or historical information, helping you discover the how and why of biblical incidents


articles that emphasize life-application principles, so you can more readily put the Word to work in your life


articles describing cultural factors that have some bearing on a biblical incident and thus shedding new light on the world of the Bible


charts and tables, so you can recognize the relationship between people and events more quickly and easily


personality profiles to help you see Bible characters as fully rounded individuals


timelines to go with every Bible book, allowing you to place the books within their historical setting

All of these are listed by page number in the pages following the article.

In addition, each Bible book commentary opens with a helpful introduction and an outline. Maps and photographs are scattered appropriately throughout the volume. Major feature articles offer an overview of the Old and New Testaments as well as a look at key biblical themes and doctrines. An article between the testaments helps you bridge that 400-year period. Other features in the Appendix help you gain a better grasp of how biblical archaeology illuminates the Bible and how church history shows the Bible's message in action. Closing the book is a General Bibliography, offering you carefully selected resources to extend and deepen your studies more.

Not only do we believe that Nelson's New Illustrated Bible Commentary is unique in the marketplace-we believe that you will find it uniquely helpful in your life as a Christian who wants God's Word to shine into your world.

Taken from "Nelson's New Illustrated Bible Commentary" edited by Earl D. Radmacher, Ronald B. Allen, H. Wayne House. ©1999 by Thomas Nelson Publisher. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson Publisher, 501 Nelson Place, P.O. Box 141000, Nashville, TN 37214-1000 (

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