The joy of rediscovering the Tyndale Bible Commentaries

In the long-ago days when dinosaurs roamed the earth and I was in college, there was a popular set of Bible commentaries that seemed to be carried in every Christian book shop around. I bought 2 of the commentaries— Romans and Revelation I think— and wanted to collect them all like they were Pokemon or something.

But at the end of my college years I had what I now think of as a spiritual breakdown— I lost my faith that Christianity is true, in spite of the fact that I had found no logical refutation of the reasons I believed in the first place. As a result, my commentaries along with other Christian books were sold at a garage sale.

In 2005 my faith came back, and I wished I still had the commentaries, even though my faith came back Catholic. I didn’t even remember the name of the commentary series.

Recently I asked my assorted FB friends if they knew the commentary series. One of them shared a list of Bible commentaries with me and as soon as I read Tyndale Bible Commentaries I knew that was the right one.

I Googled, hoping to see a picture of the commentaries with the covers that I remembered (as pictured above.) While doing that, I found a picture of the commentaries with a different cover— and this picture was from an eBay auction of 14 of the commentaries in the Old Testament series for a very reasonable price. I snapped those commentaries up like they were bound in imported dark chocolate.

When they arrived I learned a few things I hadn’t known about the commentaries before. They were a series based in England and most of the Bible scholars who wrote the volumes seemed to be English or Australian. The dates of the commentaries ranged from 1964 to 1984. And one of the authors of the commentaries, Derek Kidner, is popular enough today that his commentaries are available in a reprint series called the Derek Kidner Commentaries.

I’ve currently been reading Kidner’s commentary on Psalms as a part of my Bible and Catholic Catechism reading program, based on a leaflet provided by the Coming Home Network. I read the Psalm I’m supposed to read for the day’s reading, and read the related pages of Kidner’s commentary with it. It’s far more enriching than to just read the Bible text which I’ve read a number of times before. Of course, it will probably slow down my progress a bit. It will probably take more than one year if I read all the Bible passages with a commentary. And I’ve already gotten far behind the goal. But at least now, with the commentaries, I have an excuse.

As a Catholic, I’m also interested in getting some good Catholic commentaries. I’ll share some about that search on another Sunday.

These are the commentary volumes I currently own:

Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries, IVP

D. J. Wiseman, General Editor

2. Exodus – R. Alan Cole (1973)

4. Numbers – Gordon J. Wenham (1981)

5. Deuteronomy – J. A. Thompson (1974)

7. Judges & Ruth – Arthur E. Cundall & Leon Morris (1968)

12. Esther – Joyce G. Baldwin (1984)

13. Job – Francis I. Anderson (1976)

14a. Psalms 1-72 – Derek Kidner (1973)

14b. Psalms 73-150 – Derek Kidner (1975)

15. Proverbs – Derek Kidner (1964)

16. Ecclesiastes – Michael A. Eaton (1983)

17. The Song of Solomon – G. Lloyd Carr (1984)

19. Jeremiah & Lamentations – R. K. Harrison (1973)

20. Ezekiel – John B. Taylor – (1969)

21. Daniel – Joyce G. Baldwin (1978)

24. Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi – Joyce G. Baldwin (1972)


Martin Luther and the Lutheran Hail Mary

Can you imagine Martin Luther, founder of Protestantism in general and Lutheranism in particular, kneeling down in prayer and saying the ‘Hail Mary?’ Impossible, right? Well, Martin Luther himself didn’t think so. He included the Hail Mary prayer in a prayer book that he published. It had the first part of the modern Hail Mary: “Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.”

This shortened Hail Mary was the original form which is used in the rosary, and which early was used as a substitute for praying the Psalms in the Liturgy of the Hours, for those who could not read the Psalms or who didn’t have access to a book of the Psalms or the Liturgy.

Since Martin Luther by that time was in the Catholicism-rejecting business, he certainly did not need to include this prayer. He did not retain all of his former Catholic beliefs about the Virgin, but he— and other reformers such as Zwingli, Calvin, and even the later John Wesley, retained some Catholic teachings that their modern-day followers universally reject.

One thing I lament about  the world today is that so many of us don’t know what other churches teach, and many also don’t know what the founder of their church taught, or even what the creed or catechism of their church teaches. Perhaps Christians would be better able to understand one another if they would learn some of these things?

The Lutheran Rosary –     The top post on this blog


In my research for this blog— I read that including links in my posts makes my own post ‘Google’ better— I came across a very new blog by a LCMS (conservative Lutheran) seminarian. He wrote a good post on Luther and the Hail Mary, which is here: I think it would be a wonderful idea if all my readers would stop by his blog, read his article, and drop some encouraging words in a comment.

I also ran across an article called Martin Luther’s Devotion to Mary. The author turned out to be a friend of mine, Dave Armstrong, a former Protestant who is now a Catholic apologist. His blog is here:

Here are two other articles for further reading:

Mother Mary and Martin Luther

Martin Luther believed in devotion to Mary? (James White)

Let your light so shine/Via lumo lumu antaŭ homoj

Every Sunday Catholics and many Protestants hear the same set of Bible readings, all over the world.  This is from the readings for today, in two languages. (Don’t worry, the second one is in English.)


13  Vi estas la salo de la tero; sed se la salo sengustiĝis, per kio ĝi estos salita? ĝi jam taŭgas por nenio, krom por esti elĵetita kaj piedpremita de homoj.

14  Vi estas la lumo de la mondo. Urbo starigita sur monto ne povas esti kaŝita.

15  Kiam oni bruligas lampon, oni metas ĝin ne sub grenmezurilon, sed sur la lampingon; kaj ĝi lumas sur ĉiujn, kiuj estas en la domo.

16  Tiel same via lumo lumu antaŭ homoj, por ke ili vidu viajn bonajn farojn, kaj gloru vian Patron, kiu estas en la ĉielo.

English, King James Version

13  Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.

14  Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.

15  Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.

16  Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

The King James translation is one of the greatest works in the English language. It contains the full text of the Bible, not just an abbreviated version of the Old Testament like many modern Protestant translations have. I have read that if all the copies of the King James Bible vanished, it could be reconstructed almost completely from the Bible quotations in other English works.

Many proverbial expressions that are well used in the English language originated in the King James Bible.  There are three of them in this passage alone: Salt of the earth, light of the world, let your light so shine before men. As writers, it is well to know the origin of these common phrases.

In the phrase “Let your light so shine before men,” the word ‘men’ is used in its meaning of “men and women.” In 1611 when the KJV Bible was published, modern feminist jargon had yet to be invented, and so the translators were free to use “men” instead of the ugly and less effective feminist jargon alternatives like “personkind” or “humankind.” (In English, words of one or two syllables pack more of a punch than words of three or more syllables.)

The best writers in the world ‘let their light so shine before men.’  That is, they don’t hide their ‘light’— their knowledge, both spiritual and secular, and their very selves— in order to seek popularity by being just like all the other writers. Hiding your ‘light’ makes your writing seem bland and boring and just like every other second-rate writer. The writer who shares his ‘light’ and his self with readers is going to be a one-of-a-kind writer and can stand out from the crowd.