Andrews Bible Commentary: Light. Depth. Truth.

vol. 1, edited by Ángel Manuel Rodriguez. Berrien Springs, MI: Andrews University Press, 2020.

Frank M. Hasel, PhD, is an associate director of the Biblical Research Institute, Silver Spring, Maryland, United States.

The first volume of the Andrews Bible Commentary, covering the books of the Old Testament, was published in 2020. The second volume with the New Testament books is to follow soon. Under the capable and competent leadership of the general editor Ángel Manuel Rodriguez, some 60 Seventh-day Adventist scholars have written commentaries on the biblical books and authored informative introductions and helpful general articles as well as valuable essays on various subjects. The Andrews Bible Commentary accompanies the Andrews Study Bible, which first appeared in 2008 and has received wide support. In contrast to the Andrews Study Bible, which already contained thousands of study notes, the Andrews Bible Commentary provides a more in-depth commentary and additional information that goes significantly beyond the study notes of the Andrews Study Bible.

In the growing landscape of biblical commentaries covering various approaches and offering different emphases, the Andrews Bible Commentary unfolds and explores the potential impact that hope has on the thinking and life of human beings. In doing so, it provides a unique theological and genuinely Adventist contribution. Indeed, in several essays, one can find this emphasis on hope in enlightening discussions that help the reader gain a better understanding of God’s character and His dealings with human beings.

One of the greatest strengths of the Andrews Bible Commentary is its readability. It is written in a style that makes the theological content easily accessible and understandable. It can be profitably used not only by biblical scholars and pastors but also by people who may have little formal theological training. The discussions in the articles and commentaries are generally up to date, reflect a good knowledge of the issues involved, and provide a fair and helpful overview of different positions. Pastors and church members will benefit from this commentary.

Throughout the entire commentary, there are additional instructive essays that offer helpful information. Some essays provide quite extensive explorations of significant issues, such as the laying on of hands (243–245), the theology of the Day of Atonement (264–267), the Sabbath in Deuteronomy (323–328), the extermination of the Canaanites (330–332), the imprecatory passages in the Psalms (733–735), the Servant of the Lord in Isaiah (885–889), the union of church and state (1033, 1034), and the cleansing of the sanctuary and judgment in Daniel (1043–1046). These additional essays often provide excellent answers to some difficult questions.

Rather than using a verse-by-verse approach, the Andrews Bible Commentary focuses on larger segments of the biblical narrative and features instructive introductions to the Pentateuch, the historical books, poetry and wisdom literature, and the prophetic books. It also provides several important general articles: “Hope and the Advent of God,” “Revelation and Inspiration of the Bible,” “Formation of the Biblical Canon,” “Biblical Interpretation,” “Interpreting Biblical Apocalyptic Prophecies,” “Faith and Science,” “Archeology and the Bible,” “Old Testament Timeline,” and “A Chronology Following the Internal Timeline of the Bible.” These general articles provide a balanced and informative overview of particular issues and respond to typical inquiries concerning various theological topics. These additional essays often bring forth the beauty and hope of the biblical message, especially as it pertains to the Sabbath and the sanctuary.

The greatest strength of the Andrews Bible Commentary is, at the same time, its greatest weakness. The readability is achieved at the expense of a lack of references to sources and other literature. There are no footnotes or bibliography. Often, the reader is left with only a general but fair and balanced description of issues and questions. References to significant primary sources would have enhanced the usefulness of the commentary.

One difficulty that may appear minor is the specificity in the date of Creation that is provided (116). While the Seventh-day Adventist Church believes in a short-term Creation, its official publications have refrained from offering a specific date because of the complexities involved. This detail aside, the Andrews Bible Commentary is faithful to the meaning of the biblical text, affirms the historical reliability of the biblical account, endorses the unity of Scripture, is faith-affirming, and gives a balanced and fair interpretation of issues. It is a resource that pastors and informed church members of all faith backgrounds will find invaluable.

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Frank M. Hasel, PhD, is an associate director of the Biblical Research Institute, Silver Spring, Maryland, United States.

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