Feb 20, 2018 Richard Mansfield

NEW! Exegetical Summary Series from SIL International

New for the Accordance Library:

EXEGETICAL SUMMARY SERIES
30 volumes from SIL International


I’ve always enjoyed referencing the kind of linguistic tools that don’t aim to be complete commentaries but rather provide grammatical and syntactical information not immediately apparent when looking at a verse in the Bible. Older works such as Wuest’s Word Studies from the Greek New Testament and Robertson’s Word Pictures in the New Testament fall into this category, though they both can be a bit dated in places these days. With greater brevity, a more recent work like The New Linguistic and Exegetical Key to the Greek New Testament is something I have found so useful that I put it at the top of my Commentaries folder in my Accordance Library. That way it’s always included in my Info Pane when I am studying a passage in the New Testament.

Released today for Accordance, the Exegetical Summary Series from SIL International is somewhat similar to the tools mentioned above; but at the same time, it delivers so much more. In fact, I’ve honestly never seen a reference work quite like the Exegetical Summary Series. And although it is designed primarily for translators, it is easily a reference work I could commend to students, pastors, and anyone translating, interpreting, and communicating the Bible’s message.

Let me come at this from a different angle—setting aside the linguistic aspects of the Exegetical Summary Series for a moment. Let me shift instead from language to interpretation. The Teacher said, “…be warned: there is no end to the making of many books” (Eccl 12:12, CSB). This admonition is certainly true of commentaries on the Bible. There always seems to be a new series in production bringing extremely valuable insights; but after a while, how can you keep them all straight? This is the other valuable service provided by the Exegetical Summary Series—a running distillation of the positions taken by modern commentators.

For example, let me offer the Exegetical Summary Series’ treatment of part of Matthew 18.

Discourse Units

SIL ESS Discourse Units Matt 18

At the beginning of each biblical chapter, you’ll find a section summarizing pericope divisions, or “Discourse Units.” So, for instance, the Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, and the New International Commentary on the New Testament treat Matthew 18:1 – 19:2 as one unit. But the New American Commentary, the Word Biblical Commentary, and the Revised English Bible separate out Mathew 18:1-35. And so on. What you’ll notice in the screenshot example above is a very detailed summary of Discourse Units from both commentaries and translations of the Bible.

Translation

SIL ESS Matt 18.10 translation and lexicon

The Exegetical Summary Series includes its own semi-literal translation from the UBS Greek New Testament or BHS Hebrew Bible rather than starting with either original language text. The use of a translation opens this reference work up to those who have studied original languages as well as those who have not—or perhaps those who have become a bit rusty in their language work. This semi-literal translation is not one that will be useful for public reading, but it’s excellent for study. Words added for clarification are in parentheses, much like the use of italics in the KJV or NKJV. Translation of the second person pronoun you is distinguished between singular and plural use. Single words in the original text that require more than one word to accurately translate in English are represented by words joined together with hyphens. Original language words that have to be inserted into an English phrase joined by hyphens will have spaces around them.

Lexicon

Footnotes in the translation tie to the Lexicon section directly underneath. Most emphasized Greek or Hebrew words include references to their coverage in major lexicons. In the case of Matthew 18:10, the reader finds references to Louw & Nida’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament Based on Semantic Domains and the 1979 edition of A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (BAGD) by Bauer, Arndt, Gringrich, and Danker. In addition to the lexicons, the Exegetical Summary Series also provides a survey of how these words are treated in translations and commentaries.

When we began considering how to best incorporate the Exegetical Summary Series into Accordance, it seemed obvious that we would want to hyperlink as much as we could to resources available for the Accordance Library. So, if I hover over--or press and hold--on a linked reference, I see that content in Instant Details. If we do not have a reference work available for Accordance, the abbreviation is defined by its source information in Instant Details. And, of course, clicking on any of those hyperlinks will open that Bible translation or reference work to the appropriate entry or reference.

BAGD to BDAG

However, there was one major reference work used in the Lexicon section throughout the New Testament volumes that was never available in Accordance—the older BAGD lexicon. Although the most recently published volumes of the Exegetical Summary Series were released in 2015, and a number of volumes have already been revised, the first volume was released in 1989. More recent volumes have remained with this older lexicon for sake of consistency, rather than transitioning to the newer Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature—more commonly referred to by the rearranged initials of the editors as BDAG. So, what did we do to remedy this situation? We’ve hyperlinked the older BAGD references to the newer BDAG! Obviously, page and section numbers are ignored because these changed between the editions. However, the BAGD links will direct the reader to the equivalent entry word in the BDAG lexicon.

Questions

As far back as history records such things, reading the Bible has always led to both questions and disagreements about the answers to those questions. A good commentary will tackle various interpretations and disagreeing viewpoints, but with so many commentaries available today, how do you keep track of all the commentaries themselves?

SIL ESS Questions

Here is another place where the Exegetical Summary Series stands unique among biblical reference works. Following the Lexicon section, the reader will find a series of questions that can be asked of the Bible verse with a survey of answers from modern commentaries. Regarding Matt 18:10, the Exegetical Summary Series offers three questions with answers from commentaries. To me, the inclusion of these subjects as questions have almost a catechetical feel to them. At the same time, there’s also a rabbinic flavor to this section, especially as demonstrated in this third question which surveys different answers to the question of the identity of the little ones’ angels.

I might also mention that I looked at a number of “difficult” passages that often spur disagreement among Bible readers. I wanted to know if I could pick up on any bias one way or another on the part of the series editors. I could not. Different positions seem to be presented equally without suggestion of which one might be “correct.”

Is this series for me?

Although the Exegetical Summary Series has a specific target audience of Bible translators, this series will be useful to a much larger group than these. Students, especially those beginning language studies, will find the Lexicon sections invaluable. Pastors and anyone who regularly consults biblical commentaries will appreciate the summaries of interpretive positions found in the Question sections. And as already mentioned, this resource is purposefully designed to be accessed by those who have studied biblical languages and those who haven’t.

SIL ESS Library With well over half a million links, Accordance users will find that the Exegetical Summary Series is probably the most integrated reference work we have ever released. I recommend moving it to a top position in the Commentaries folder in your Accordance Library so as to get quick access to it from the Info Pane. One of the initial goals of our Info Pane, when it was released with Accordance 11, was to offer easy access to commentaries in an Accordance user's Library. However, the Exegetical Summary Series can practically serve as an “Info Pane within the Info Pane.”

When used by itself, the Exegetical Summary Series can be searched specifically by Reference, Titles, English Content, Scripture, Greek or Hebrew Content, Transliteration, Translation, Manuscripts, Bibliography, Authors or page numbers, thanks to the meticulous content tagging of our developers—something unparalleled on any other Bible software platform.

The Exegetical Summary Series contains 30 volumes, including all New Testament books except Acts and John 10-21, plus the Old Testament books of Joel and Malachi. Although I didn’t take the time to go into further details above, the series also includes introductions to biblical books that survey commentary positions as well as treatment of textual issues.

SIL Exegetical Summary Series (30 Volumes)
List Price $1,154
Regular Price $299

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