Get the Big (and Microscopic) Picture
Gary H. Everett's 2013 edition of Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures is a culmination of thirty-two years of personal Bible study, resulting in thousands of pages of text and 30 megabytes of data. This commentary is theologically conservative and charismatic.
How This Commentary Works
Study Notes first identifies the major themes in passages, progressively tightening the scope until individual verses are examined. This is critical for context.
Helpful for Christians
The themes of each book of the Holy Bible can be established, and they are generally found within the first few verses of each book. (For example, the ancient Jews entitled many of their Old Testament books upon this principle as they took either the first Hebrew word or the most important word in the opening passage of each book for its title.) Each title reflected the theme of that book. In addition, the books of the Bible often close with a summary statement that again reflects the theme of the book.
This way, the reader can follow the redemptive structure of the Holy Bible, so that a person knows what a passage of Scripture is saying in respect to the overall theme, or message, of that particular book.
Amazingly, as one identifies the themes of each book of the Bible and compares these themes to one another, it becomes clear that they are intricately woven into a harmonious unity that defies man’s ability to have intentionally designed it that way. We are left to conclude that the themes and arrangements of these books were orchestrated by God Himself guiding man over the sixteen hundred years of its writing and composition using approximately forty authors of different nationalities
Helpful for Preachers
Without some type of systematic approach that identifies the literary structure, the expository preacher easily becomes lost while developing sermon series and preaching through a book of the Bible, causing the sermons to be disjointed because individual messages fail to support and develop the primary theological movement of the book. Without a clear, homiletical focus from the preacher, the congregation struggles to understand the importance of the sermon series; and thus, it fails to embrace the book’s overarching message. The goal of the expository preacher is to take his congregation on a spiritual journey through a book of the Bible, a journey with a clear destination that is continually echoed throughout a series of connected messages, a necessary journey if the preacher intends to transform the congregation into the image of the Lord Jesus Christ week by week, sermon by sermon.
An individual sermon text must hinge upon the bigger picture surrounding its context, a picture that encompasses the literary structure and thematic scheme of the entire book of the Holy Scripture, including the theme of the major division of the Bible in which the book has been divinely placed, with everything centered upon the primary, Christocentric framework of the Holy Scriptures themselves. In order to accomplish this task, the preacher must have a systematic method specifically designed for one of the most difficult tasks of the pulpit ministry. Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures is designed to offer a systematic method of biblical exegesis.
While various forms of higher criticism have embedded themselves in the last two centuries of commentaries, recent trends in biblical scholarship favor the approach of the books of the Holy Bible as individual literary works. Each book deserves to be recognized in the form in which it has been handed to the Church. Therefore, Everett places a lot of weight upon the witnesses of the early Church fathers while largely ignoring the negative arguments of modern liberal higher criticism. Such discussions are not profitable for helping to determine the themes and interpretations of each book. This criticism confuses rather than clarifies the theme, and it wearies rather than edifies the reader. In addition, such critics rely upon speculation rather than material witnesses, harshly attacking the valid testimony that does exist and has stood for seventeen centuries before the era of modern liberal criticism.
© Gary Everett 1981-2013
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