Today’s guest post is from John D. Barry, the Editor-in-Chief of Bible Study Magazine, the author of The Resurrected Servant in Isaiah, and the Book Publisher on titles like the High Definition Commentary: Philippians and the Evangelical Exegetical Commentary.
Editing a commentary is usually a chore. There are footnotes, end notes, and in-between notes—all information you want, but usually don’t want to edit. Editing Steve Runge’s High Definition Commentary: Philippians was different: it was life changing. Here’s why.
There Aren’t Notes—and That’s Good
Comprehensive commentaries, like volumes of the Evangelical Exegetical Commentary, need notes. You want as much information as possible to ensure that you’ll find what you’re looking for. But Runge’s Philippians commentary has a different purpose: it’s practical and teachable.
This quote from the commentary, which is about Philippians 1:28, will show you what I mean.
Opposition can cause us to second-guess our decisions. Should we have done this? Was it all a mistake? If I had done it differently would things have gone more smoothly? To address these issues, Paul reframes the idea of “striving for something” in the face of opposition. How do you deal with the doubts and second-guessing? By going back to what you know to be true. If God has really called … [the Philippians] to this ministry, and opposition is to be expected as a natural consequence of its message, then why doubt? They doubt because they’re relying on their own perspective. Paul addresses this once again by recasting things from God’s perspective.
Like a Story, You Will Want to Read This Commentary Cover to Cover
I read this commentary cover to cover. Yes, that’s my job. But once you download it, you will want to do the same. Until now, I’ve never read a commentary with a narrative arc. This commentary has a beginning, middle and end. Like the book of Philippians, this commentary has plot twists, shocking moments, and a climax.
After I read this commentary, I wanted to change parts of my life. I wanted to follow Jesus more closely, pray more intently, and love more fully. Steve has an incredible way of blending a linguist’s understanding of the Bible with passion and application. As I told Steve, “The church needs this commentary series.”
Graphics Make This Commentary High Def
Prose can only get you so far. Some words are just better as images. This is the first commentary I’ve ever seen with graphics. Shiloh Hubbard, the Visual Designer on this project, did an amazing job creating the accompanying slides that illustrate Steve’s commentary. If you buy the commentary, you’ll get 2 -3 slides for each section of Scripture. We’re making the Bible memorable while also making your job easy: you can use these slides for teaching.
This particular slide from the commentary stuck in my mind. It called me back to rejoicing in my prayers—a reminder that we all need. It also prompted me to request the same from the church plant I’m part of.
Here’s Steve’s description of the slide—his descriptions come with the commentary too.
Rejoicing as a Safeguard: Paul begins the chapter by “again” commanding the Philippians to rejoice. It is one of the most critical things they can do to guard their hearts against discouragement. It’s not just a good idea, it is a safeguard specifically designed by God for this purpose. How does it work? If I am choosing to rejoice in the Lord over my circumstances or situation, it will be nearly impossible to grumble and complain about the same thing. It is an either/or proposition. A natural consequence of truly rejoicing in the Lord about something is the inability to complain about it. You cannot grumble and rejoice about the same thing at the same time. If you’re grumbling, you’re not rejoicing.