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IVP Bible Background Commentary New Testament



This commentary can also be purchased as part of a two-volume set.

To understand and apply the Bible well, you need two crucial sources of information. One is the Bible itself. The other is an understanding of the cultural background of the passage you're reading. Only with the background can you grasp the author's original concerns and purposes.

This unique commentary provides, in verse-by-verse format, the crucial cultural background you need for responsible and richer Bible study. It includes a glossary of cultural terms and important historical figures, up-to-date bibliographies, and introductory essays about cultural background information for each book of the New Testament.

Based on ten years of in-depth study, this accessible and bestselling commentary is valuable for pastors in sermon preparation, for Sunday-school and other church teachers as they build lessons, for missionaries concerned not to import their own cultural biases into the Bible, for college and seminary students in classroom assignments, and for every reader of the New Testament seeking to deepen and enhance their study of Scripture.


  • Cultural background for the entire New Testament arranged in a verse-by-verse format
  • A glossary of cultural terms and important historical figures
  • An up-to-date bibliography of commentaries and other resources for each book of the New Testament
  • Introductory essays on the importance of cultural background and the uses of this unique commentary

From the Introduction

"Cultural context makes a difference in how we read the New Testament. For instance, since there were plenty of exorcists in the ancient world, ancient readers would not have been surprised that Jesus cast out demons, but since most exorcists employed magic spells or pain compliance techniques to seek to expel demons, Jesus' driving them out "by his word" was impressive. Viewing the conflict concerning head coverings in 1 Corinthians 11 in the broader context of tensions over head coverings between well-to-do and less well-to-do women in first-century Corinth clarifies Paul's teaching in that passage. Understanding ancient views on slavery demonstrates that Paul's teaching, far from supporting that institution, undermines it. Recognizing what Jewish people meant by "resurrection" answers the objections of many skeptics today concerning the character of Jesus' resurrection. And so forth.

The sole purpose of this commentary (unlike most commentaries) is to make available the most relevant cultural, social and historical background for reading the New Testament the way its first readers would have read it..."

About the Author(s)

Craig S. Keener is professor of New Testament at Eastern Seminary, Philadelphia, and an ordained minister in the National Baptist Convention, USA. He is the author of numerous books, including ...and Marries Another: Divorce and Remarriage in the Teaching of the New Testament, two commentaries on Matthew, and with Glenn Usry, Black Man's Religion and Defending Black Faith. Over a decade of full-time research in the original Greek, Roman and Jewish documents of the New Testament era has gone into this commentary.

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