Reading Revelation in Context: Quick Look (Gupta)

My friends Ben Blackwell, John Goodrich, and Jason Maston have been editing a great series in the last few years: Reading Romans in Context, Reading Mark in Context, and now—Reading Revelation in Context. I was honored to contribute to the first two volumes (Romans, Mark), and so I have first hand knowledge of how helpful these books are.

But I will say—now that I have been able to peruse the Revelation volume—that this seems to me to be the most important of the three. Why? Because Mark and Romans make a lot of sense on their own, by just reading the text and following the story or argument. Yes, of course “reading in context” is helpful, highly insightful, and makes for an overall more accurate and satisfying reading. When it comes to Revelation—to be honest, most of us (including myself) just flip through the pages looking for something that makes sense.

As I have been reading through Reading Revelation in Context, I am struck by how vital it is to have some reading help from “contextualizing” resources from the OT and early Judaism in order to decode some of the unusual language and imagery. Here are some features of this book that make it even better as a resource:

  • Many Revelation experts as contributors: Jonathan Moo, Ian Boxall, David deSilva, etc.
  • Diverse voices and perspectives included
  • Short and accessible chapters w/study helps
  • Clear, consistent, and attractive formatting and design
  • affordable pricing

For more information, click here.

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Baylor Annotated Study Bible – Quick Review (Gupta)

Confession: I really don’t like study Bibles all that much. They are bulky and awkward. The notes can feel random and incomplete sometimes. So, I don’t tend to follow which new ones are coming out.

But when Baylor announced their Baylor Annotated Study Bible with Bill Bellinger and Todd Still in the editorial roles, I took interest. Yesterday, I got the BASB in the mail, so I thought I would share some of my thoughts.

First, it is nicely designed, big (2000 pages) but not awkwardly bulky. It is NRSV with Apocrypha which is great for students. Perhaps the question on everyone’s mind is: who wrote the study notes? There are two main features of the BASB: the book introductions and the study notes. The book introductions are written by a number of senior scholars in the field including John Barclay, Alan Culpepper, Joel Green, Richard Hays, Scot McKnight, Todd Still, and NT Wright (the contributors list is long, but remarkably few women, which surprised me). As for the study notes, they are written mostly by early and mid-career scholars, with a few exceptions (e.g., McKnight did notes for Romans as well as the introduction).

Another handy features of the BASB is the end-of-book glossary of ~100 pp, which is a kind of Bible dictionary.

The Apocryphal books are at the very end of the book, but unfortunately they did not supply study notes for these texts.

How handy are the notes for the (traditional) Biblical books? From poking around here and there, I found the notes to be more literary-theological, rather than historical-critical. Although, historical insights are included sometimes as well. I like notes to express consensus views in scholarship rather than the author’s personal take, and the BASB does well on this also.

Verdict? if you are looking to invest in a more theologically-interested academic study Bible, this one is pretty good. Don’t expect it to offer commentary-level information, but for personal use it would provide some “value added” to Bible study.