I love Bible commentaries and must own a couple hundred of them by now. This may be a bit of an irrational love since I am not a preacher and am only rarely asked to preach. Still, while growing a collection has involved some effort and some expense, there have been many occasions when I’ve been grateful to have them available to me whether that’s in preparing a conference talk or in writing a book or even in preparing the occasional sermon. It’s also been great to be able to loan them to people who have needed them. OK, and I won’t deny that I also get a strange satisfaction from watching a series grow across a bookcase. As I said, it may be a bit irrational.
The fact is, though, that many commentaries are a little bit too advanced (and others are far too advanced) for someone like me–someone without formal theological education and especially without training in the original biblical languages. Also, many commentaries are suited for sermon preparation but not for personal study or Bible study.
And yet there are a few good series that are intended for the rest of us. The Opening Up series of commentaries from DayOne is just such a set, one targeted at the lay person. They are described as “simple but not simplistic tools to help individuals and groups to understand the Bible.” Thus they are ideal for personal study or for preparing small group Bible studies.
The series offers a few compelling features:
- They are priced right, with most of them being in the $10-$12 range.
- Each chapter offers two levels of questions: questions for study and questions for personal application.
- They include resources for further, deeper study.
- They are easy on the eye–easy to read and easy to engage with. And trust me, if you’ve read a lot of serious commentaries, you know that this is a noteworthy feature.
- They are written by competent preachers including men like Roger Ellsworth and Iain Campbell.
The commentaries are also a reasonable size. Matthew comes in at around 180 pages–more than reasonable when you realize that most other commentaries on Matthew are several hundred pages longer (and $50 more expensive).
In terms of the format, perhaps the best I can do is direct you to a sample. Here is an extract from the commentary on Galatians.
And there you have it–the Opening Up series. There are currently just over 30 of them available covering both Old Testament and New Testament books. If you are interested in learning more about the series and the volumes available at the DayOne web site.
And since you’ve read this far, you’ve now got a chance to win a few of them. I’ve got 3 sets of 5 of the books available. Which means that 3 of you can win a copy of the commentaries for Genesis, Jonah, Matthew, James and 2 & 3 John. All you need to do is leave a comment here at the blog. I’ll randomly choose the winners.