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The NIV Application Commentary Genesis Hardcover – October 15, 2001

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

The Bible begins and ends with a revelation of God that gives redemption its basis. From the first verse of Genesis, the book of origins, we encounter a God of personality, character, purpose, and activity. Only in the light of what he shows us of himself as the Creator of our world and the Interactor with human history does the salvation story assume its proper context. Genesis sets things in order: God first, then us.

In the words of the general editor’s preface, "Especially after the Tower of Babel it became evident that people had forgotten who God was. They needed reminding. The moves God made were essentially concerned with putting himself in front of the world’s peoples." Today, perhaps more than ever, we need God to put himself in front of us—to remind us who he is, and that he is.

With characteristic creativity and uncommon depth, John H. Walton demonstrates the timeless relevance of Genesis. Revealing the links between Genesis and our own times, Dr. Walton shows how this mysterious, often baffling book filled with obscure peoples and practices reveals truth to guide our twenty-first-century lives.

Most Bible commentaries take us on a one-way trip from our world to the world of the Bible. But they leave us there, assuming that we can somehow make the return journey on our own. They focus on the original meaning of the passage but don’t discuss its contemporary application. The information they offer is valuable—but the job is only half done!

The NIV Application Commentary Series helps bring both halves of the interpretive task together. This unique, award-winning series shows readers how to bring an ancient message into our postmodern context. It explains not only what the Bible meant but also how it speaks powerfully today. This series promises to become an indispensable tool for every pastor and teacher who seeks to make the Bible's timeless message speak to this generation.

Billy Graham The NIV Application Commentary is an outstanding resource for pastors and anyone else who is serious about developing "doers of the Word." Rick Warren, Saddleback Valley Community Church

About the Author

John H. Walton (PhD, Hebrew Union College) is professor of Old Testament at Wheaton College Graduate School. He is the author or coauthor of several books, including Chronological and Background Charts of the Old Testament; Ancient Israelite Literature in Its Cultural Context; Covenant: God’s Purpose, God’s Plan; The IVP Bible Background Commentary: Old Testament; and A Survey of the Old Testament.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 768 pages
  • Publisher: Zondervan (October 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0310206170
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310206170
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.5 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #64,817 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

John H. Walton (Ph.D., Hebrew Union College) is professor of Old Testament at Wheaton College. Previously he was professor of Old Testament at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, Illinois. Some of his books include Ancient Near Eastern Thought Essential Bible Companion), Old Testament Today (with Andrew Hill), Genesis NIV Application Commentary and IVP Bible Background Commentary (with Victor Matthews and Mark Chavalas).

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

69 of 71 people found the following review helpful By John J. Turner on April 15, 2007
Format: Hardcover
There are other commentaries I would choose first for verse-by-verse help, but Walton's is the best introduction to the methods of responsible interpretation of Genesis. Walton is an expert in cultural backgrounds and literary genres of the Ancient Near East and also offers some informative word studies. A strength and a weakness of this book is that Walton strongly resists reading later theology or our own culture's questions and answers into the original message of the text; he challenges us to interpret Genesis in the context of the cultural setting for which it was first written. That is a virtue that can occasionally be overplayed. If I would pick one point on which to disagree with Walton, I would hold onto the possibility that God might inspire the words of scripture in such a way that they can have one meaning to their original audience and a deeper or additional meaning to later audiences. But, by and large, Walton's thrust in this area is helpful.

While Walton's writing is understandable, and his faith is thoroughly conservative evangelical, he forces readers to think deeply about the appropriateness or inappropriateness of many traditional interpretations, and that can be upsetting to many readers, especially when he is challenging a cherished, traditional interpretation. Let me assure you that he does not depart from faith in God's word and in God's total sovereignty. I think that those who say otherwise have not read him closely and carefully enough. I do not agree with every step in his reasoning, but I am challenged to clarify my own thinking as by no other commentary.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By J. Owens on November 29, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I was hesitant to buy this book because it is labeled as an application commentary and I was looking for a technical, scholarly commentary. I ended up buying the book due to the solid reviews it received.

This is not a verse-by-verse commentary. Walton works through the book passage by passage and comments on the main points of each passage. Despite this fact, he occasionally makes points that larger commentaries on Genesis manage to miss. The writing should be readable even for beginners in biblical studies. It should be noted that the commentary is weighted towards the Primeval History and the Abrahamic stories, but I think this is justified since the Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph stories are easier to understand for lay readers.

The review by Ed Campbell, that states Walton allegorizes the text and says Genesis is mythology, is factually wrong. Walton makes use of our knowledge of the ancient Near East to explain how the first readers of Genesis would have understood the text. After all, Genesis is a text from the ancient Near East.
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28 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Paul M. Peterson on May 5, 2006
Format: Hardcover
While not everyone will agree with the author's opinion on the first chapters of Genesis I found a great deal of useful information and some very sound theological discussion. The author challenges us, the reader, to think theological and for this very reason the book is well worth the price. Just the authors knowledge of ancient culture makes this book worth buying and reading. We do not need to agree with every page of every book we read yet we can still learn a great deal from those whom we disagree with. I used this book in putting together a bible study and really loved its bridging context and modern day application, the author is to be commended for his insight and ability to bring this ancient text into our modern world.
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43 of 50 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 27, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I didn't know exactly what to expect when I began reading this commentary, but it quickly became clear to me that this book was different than any commentary I had read before. Not only was it solid in research and background information, but its ability to apply the truths of the Old Testament to my life today was amazing. This book is written in such a way that can benefit the beginner and the scholar. It is easy to understand, as well as deep and moving in its insights. Not only did it increase my knowledge, but more importantly, it was a powerful tool for increasing my intimacy with Christ. I highly recommend this book.
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20 of 24 people found the following review helpful By disciple on November 6, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Great scholar, but surprisingly uneven in some areas. Walton brings wonderful insight and perspective as an acknowledged ANE expert. Yet, his argument is overstated in many areas. For example, he seems to commit the classic error of many past liberal scholars in focusing only on the similarities between Genesis and other ANE literature, rather than both the similarities and the differences. Additionally, his technical analysis of the Hebrew is wonderful, yet he seems to give other ANE documents that hold great sway with him a pass when it come to their grammatical analysis. Is there a unified view on the interpretation of these documents? What are the debates? Do they have lone words? What percentage? What in general do we truly know about them? Where were they found? Who found them? Why should we believe them? Why not? Do they really represent the world views of the people? All the people? The majority? The minority? How can we tell?
In some instances Walton builds strong evidence for specific views. At other points he makes a claim without any support whatsoever. For example, he states many of the ANE stories function as modern science in the sense modern science is an attempt to explain how the world functions. Is this true? Does science truly claim this about itself? Would not philosophy, theology, or psychology better fit that category? Regardless of one's opinion, Walton states it as fact and move on without any justification. Unfortunately, this occurs regularly throughout the book.
One of my largest concerns is he largely fails to interact with other scholars who differ in opinion. The reader may wish to consider his position, but there's always doubt nagging in the back of one's mind. It's like listening to a great trial lawyer presenting a case.
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