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The IVP Bible Background Commentary: Old Testament [Hardcover]

V Matthew & M Chavalas J Walton
1.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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The IVP Bible Background Commentary: Old Testament + The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament + New Bible Commentary: 21st Century Edition
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 800 pages
  • Publisher: IVP USA (8 Nov 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0830814191
  • ISBN-13: 978-0830814190
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 16 x 5.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 1.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 392,547 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

This Book is New and very good for understanding the Social, Historical and Cultural background of Biblical Times. An excellent book to have.

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0 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Poor 30 May 2013
By Bookman
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Lots and lots of information but very dry. Makes your head big but doesn't draw your heart to God. There are much better commentaries (even some gospel-centred) on the market.
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Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  35 reviews
69 of 74 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent resource 14 Oct 2002
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
The IVP Bible Background Commentary is an excellent resource for understanding the Bible in its historical context. Sure, that means it sometimes reads counter to tradition, but if tradition is being refuted by physical evidence, I'd rather know that than be left in my blind tradition.
The book does lean toward a more Earth-bound discussion of the Bible. It shows how political, economic, and societal influences helped shape the way the books of the Bible were written (or spoken) and passed down through history. It shows how the writers, even though they were inspired by God, were still influenced by the times in which they lived.
This is not a book for the strict Fundamentalist Christian unless you want your beliefs challenged. But it's a wonderful book for the literary Christian who likes to engage in some healthy Biblical discussion.
The only thing that really disappointed me (and kept it out of the 5-star category) was that a few of the historical discussions are sometimes cut short. But I'm sure that was a balance between depth of research and final page count. Overall, this is definitely worth the money, and it will keep many people thinking critically about the Bible for quite some time.
46 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exceptional Resource! 28 May 2004
By book lover - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I have been using this resource for more than four years in a variety of contexts--academic classes, Bible studies with high school and college students, and so on. This book is an invaluable resource.
Two main reasons to buy this book: 1) We are all very removed from the cultural perspective of the authors who wrote the Old Testament. This book helps bridge that gap by pointing out details we would consider irrelevant and giving context to other details we would otherwise misunderstand. 2) The text is highly readable and accessible for a wide selection of readers. The scholarship is very strong, fair, and thought-provoking, and furthermore, the editorial team did an excellent job ensuring that the information was presented in a clear and interesting manner. I've often found myself provoked to curiousity and ended up reading more than I originally intended to (and, no, that is not a habit for me with most reference books!).
A brief word, too, about the fact that an evangelical publisher is responsible for this book being published. First, every publishing house has biases, so to judge an evangelical publisher for publishing work sympathetic to evangelical tendencies is a bit harsh. Secondly, as one who reads a fair amount from a variety of sources, I have often found that IV Press books exhibit an uncommon level of integrity and fairness in the way their books are written. Thirdly, it is a logical fallacy to argue that a book does not contain truth or is inaccurate due to its origin. Have an open mind and judge the accuracy of the material on its own merits.
Really, this is a great text. I know several dozen men and women who regularly use this book in their work and who consider it very helpful for the purpose of presenting Scripture accurately. I strongly encourage you to buy and use this book.
32 of 33 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good, but not as detailed as the New Testament companion volume 7 July 2006
By Dr. Marc Axelrod - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I was mildly disappointed with this book. It is supposed to be a verse by verse tour of the Old Testament, giving cultural, historical, and social information that lies behind the text. But even though the Old Testament is three times bigger than the New Testament, this book is a tad shorter than the NT companion volume written by Keener.

Moreover, the book is very uneven. Some parts of the Old Testament are loaded with information, and other parts of the Old Testament are skipped entirely. And then you have paragraphs of scripture that have only one or two lines of comment that are not always helpful to the preacher who is looking for a bit more to give to the people.

Yet in some sections, Walton, Mathews and Chavalas deliver the goods. For example, the information in Genesis 12 about how difficult and unprecedented it would be for a man like Abram to leave everything behind to follow God was very helpful to me as I was preparing a sermon on this portion of scripture.

And I really appreciated the background information in Exodus 5-8 about how there was an Egyptian god that was overpowered in every area where Moses raised his staff.

Therefore, I am giving this book 4 stars, but really, you will need another book to give you the rest of what you will need when teaching through the Old Testament. Perhaps the IVP Dictionary of the OT Pentateuch and the IVP Dictionary of the OT Historical Books will do just fine. Or you may want to add the New Nelson's Manners and Customs of Bible Times.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You Need This Tool For Sermon & Teaching Prep 8 Jun 2008
By David A. Bielby - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This is one of those tools that many people overlook, but everyone who teaches or preaches from the OT needs. It is packed with useful information. For example, this past week I was working on a sermon from Micah 3 (where leaders in Israel are condemned for cannibalism). Some of my resources focused on the symbolic nature of this comment. BBCOT (this book) focused my attention on the 8th Century BC problem of siege warfare that purposely caused starvation as a common technique with cannibalism as a commonly prescribed curse in some cultures. This was tied to 2 Kings 6 where cannibalism is reported from that very time period.

Unfortunately my other resources led me down a wrong path on Micah 3. But this tool provided a couple of key insights that not only enhanced my own understanding, but helped me to reject a wrong assumption that some of my resources were propagating.

I know the author, Dr. Walton, from a class i audited by him at WCGS. He's an excellent man with a great grasp of the issues related to this book. I'm very glad we have this tool. It's too bad there are not more supporting photos, but I understand the publishers limitations on the size and number of volumes put a damper on that very issue. Still, it's a great tool and I use it regularly. Five stars!
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Most Helpful Quick Reference 17 April 2007
By Jonathan A. Kanner - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is most often the first commentary I reach for in studying a passage of Scripture. When I am away from my library this book (along with the NT companion volume which in some ways is even better) this is the only commentary that I even think of taking with me in printed and bound form. Some may find this set disappointing because they do not explore the meaning of a passage nor all of the scholarship related to it. What they do give, they give very well indeed, and that is a reasonably thorough top-level survey of the historical, cultural, and archaeological factors that are relevant to the passage in a compact, yet useable from.

Included are citations and summaries of literature and historical facts that shed light on a passage. For the deepest levels of research and study, this book is no substitute for a complete library and good old fashioned grunt work, but to begin to get the meaning of a passage or a set of passages it is hard to imagine a better place to start. It can be useful in helping me to decide where to devote my time doing more exhaustive research, or as a quick "sanity check" to ensure that as I begin to survey a longer section of Scripture I am not reading meanings into any one verse that might be foreign to the original writer and his peers or otherwise going off in an incorrect direction.

A good complement to a more conventional set of commentaries - highly reccomended tool for filling the holes in many day to day Bible studies.
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