There is a fascinating account in Nehemiah 8. The seventy years of captivity in Babylon are over. Cyrus has decreed the return of the Jews to the Holy Land, and many have answered that call. Now, we read, the returnees assemble before the Water Gate in Jerusalem to receive instruction from Ezra the Scribe and his associates. They begin to teach, and the teaching session is described in this way: “Ezra opened the book [of the Law] in the sight of all the people, for he was standing above all the people. . . . So they [Ezra and his associates] read distinctly from the book, in the Law of God; and they gave the sense, and helped them [the people] to understand the reading” (Ezra 8:5, 8).
It’s a pretty good description of the preaching and teaching ministry: reading the Word of God and then giving the sense of it so that people can understand what it means. This teaching and preaching ministry has always been important to God’s people—both for Israel (Deuteronomy 11:18–21) and the church (2 Timothy 4:1–5).
Over the years, various tools and resources have been developed to assist the church in its preaching and teaching ministry. One of the most helpful of these resources is the Bible commentary. These volumes provide in-depth expositions of the Biblical text to help readers accurately grasp the meaning and significance of God’s Word. They are invaluable Bible study tools for pastors, professors, students, and even laypeople who desire to study the Scriptures deeply.
Many commentaries are on the market today, and more are published every year. But unfortunately, there are precious few commentaries available from the Regular Baptist perspective. Such a commentary set would need to be written from the viewpoint of
- a consistently literal-grammatical-historical hermeneutic,
- distinctively Baptist theology and polity, and
- dispensational premillennialism.
In the past, only a few commentaries have been written from this perspective, and most of them have not been full verse-by-verse commentaries. This means that our unique theological perspective—which I believe has much to offer by way of Scriptural understanding—does not have much of a voice in the marketplace of ideas. When pastors or divinity students need help understanding a passage of Scripture and reach for a commentary volume for assistance, chances are very high that they will not hear from the Regular Baptist viewpoint on that particular passage.
That’s tragic. And it’s why we’re endeavoring to produce a series of New Testament commentaries called the New Testament Exposition Commentary. The series will be written for Christians in the local church—whether pastor, teacher, small group leader, or individual member. Each volume will provide a readable verse-by-verse guide through each New Testament book from a conservative dispensational framework. The authors are skilled Baptist pastors and professors who have dedicated their lives to the study of Scripture and are fully committed to local church ministry. They will clearly and carefully guide the reader through the meaning of the sacred text and draw relevant pastoral reflections for this age.
The NTEC will be the most expansive Regular Baptist Books project the press has ever attempted, so we are seeking to raise front-end funding to help underwrite the cost of production. The projected cost for the first four volumes is $96,800.
If you are interested in helping to bring this project to fruition, here are a few ways you can offer your assistance:
- Sponsor a volume. Each commentary volume carries an estimated cost of $24,200.
- Sponsor one or more stages of production. There are four stages:
1. Editorial labor—$9,000 (includes copyediting, proofreading, and research)
2. Graphics design labor—$1,200
3. Initial printing—$4,000 for 1,500 copies
4. Marketing and promotions—$10,000
- Sponsor 10 pastors or parachurch ministers to receive a complimentary volume—$161.30.
You can make a tax-deductible donation by
- mailing a check to 3715 N. Ventura Dr., Arlington Heights, IL 60004, with “NTEC support” in the memo field,
- calling RBP at 1-800-727-4440, or
- visiting www.RegularBaptistPress.org/donate.
By God’s grace and with your help, I’d love to see this project become a reality. Regular Baptist theology represents a deep and rich tradition of Biblical understanding, and it would be wonderful if our viewpoint were able to have a seat at the table in the world of Bible commentaries so that God might be glorified in the reading and accurate understanding of His holy Word.
David Gunn is director of Regular Baptist Press.