The Eerdmans Companion to the Bible
A Denver Journal Review by Denver Seminary Senior Professor Bruce Demarest
Gordon D. Fee and Robert L. Hubbard, Jr., General Editors. The Eerdmans Companion to the Bible. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2011, 851 pp. $40.00. ISBN: 978-0-8028-3823-0.
The stated purpose of this monumental work by two leading biblical scholars (Hubbard having previously served as a professor at Denver Seminary) is to provide a comprehensive guide to reading and understanding the Bible. The Companion to the Bible opens with signed articles that provide a background to comprehending the Bible, such as “What is the Bible,” “Lands of the Bible,” “Why Are These Books in the Bible?” “How Was the Bible Passed Down to Us?” “How to Interpret the Bible,” and “Archaeology of the Bible.”
In addition, the Companion contains informative introductory articles to the major sections of the Bible: the Pentateuch, Historical Books, Poetry and Wisdom Literature, the Prophets, the Gospels and Acts, the Letters, and Revelation. The heart of the volume is a substantial, section by section commentary on each of the sixty-six books of the Bible, excellently expounded by Connie Gundry Tappy. The commentary features interpretation of ‘difficult’ biblical passages, relevant cultural practices, historical perspectives, and life applications.
Interspersed in the commentary are some sixty background articles by leading scholars which are guaranteed to bring biblical matters to life. These include essays on “Creation and Modern Science,” “Women in the Old Testament,” “Interpreting the Song of Songs,” “Judaism in the Time of Jesus,” “The Parables,” “Miracles,” “The Course of Paul’s Ministry,” “Christianity in the Eyes of Non-Christians,” and “Heresies.” The volume contains numerous, valuable graphics of biblical and cultural material as well as helpful maps of Bible lands.
The concluding section of the Companion presents two helpful application essays, “Guide for Christian Faith” and “Guide for Christian Living.” There follows a glossary of biblical terms, eight pages of biblical and extra-biblical personalities, a lexicon of surrounding nations and peoples, and a substantial gazetteer of places in the biblical world. The Eerdmans Companion to the Bible thus represents a treasure trove of resources for becoming better informed regarding the background, message, and application of sacred Scripture. This prodigious volume will abundantly inform pastors, teachers, and lay Christians. It richly deserves a prominent place in one’s library alongside the Bible itself.
Bruce Demarest, Ph.D.
Senior Professor of Christian Formation