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Jonah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah (The NIV Application Commentary) Hardcover – May 31, 2004
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From the Back Cover
The prophetic books Jonah, Nahum, Habakkuk, and Zephaniah are brief but powerful. They comfort us with the assurance that, when nothing in this life makes sense, God is still in control. They toughen our faith in the face of the world's ugly realities. And they reveal the complexities of humans in relation to God. Jonah ran from his divine commission. Habakkuk questioned God concerning his ways. Repenting under Jonah's message, the city of Ninevah ultimately backslid and reaped the doom prophesied by Nahum. And Zephaniah's 'remnant' depicts a faith that remains faithful. We needn't look too hard to find our own world and concerns mirrored in these books. Exploring the links between the Bible and our own times, James Bruckner shares perspectives on four of the Minor Prophets that reveal their enduring relevance for 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 present-day context. It explains not only what the Bibles meant but also how it speaks powerfully today.
About the Author
James Bruckner (PhD, Luther Seminary) is professor of Old Testament at North Park Theological Seminary and the author of several books including a commentary on Exodus (2008) and Healthy Human Life: a biblical witness (2012).
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The NIVAC on Jonah, Nahum, Habakkuk and Zephaniah begins each books section with an introduction chapter that discusses different areas of that book. Like most introductions this one covers the message of the book, the historical background, its authorship, how to interpret and an outline of the book.
The Text and Commentary section of this book will divide each passage of Scripture into three sections:
Original Meaning - This is the section where the author will explain the meaning of the text in its original context. This section is fairly easy to read and is excellent for both Pastors and Laymen.
Bridging Context - In this section the author gets us from the original context to the contemporary context by a "bridge". This is usually the shorter section, as its intent is a very simple one: bring the reader from first century times to 21st century times. The comments in this section are very helpful and this is usually is where the author discusses the main points of the chapter as a whole, and how the original context may be "fleshed out" over different time periods.
Contemporary Significance - This is the section that sets this commentary apart from many others, in my opinion. It answers the question that every reader of the Bible asks: "How does this apply to my life?" This section is such a treat for the reader and often times in other volumes of this series I find myself checking to see what is said in this section, even in clear passages that I may not be studying with a need for a commentary. This section is outstanding. As with any commentary that gives a practical application, the reader may not agree with everything that the author puts forth, but there is a lot of quality application for everyone. This section is especially helpful in Old Testament books that sometimes make practical application difficult. I have found that this is the section that I read the most in every NIVAC commentary on the Old Testament that I own.
I would highly recommend this commentary to anyone looking for a solid intermediate commentary.
It is not highly technical but Bruckner writes with great clarity and is very readable. This commentary would be a great addition for anyone looking to explore the Minor Prophets. Bruckner's comments in the Contemporary Significance section on Jonah show how valuable and challenging this commentary is. In comparing us to Jonah, Bruckner states: "In Christ, God offers an enduring call to repentance and forgiveness to the unlikeliest of people. This call begins with our own salvation. The tendency of all persons in our lost world is to run from this call, attempting to lead self-authenticating lives. God must seek after each one of us. We also run from the call to proclaim repentance and reconciliation with God to our families and friends, let alone those we do not like, or our mortal enemies.... God's call to be a witness of grace to our enemies is also something we share with Jonah. Jonah's running is not ordinary running from God. It is a protest against a call to be a witness to his enemies....We also believe the Great Commission and Jesus' parting words that include our enemies, near and far: 'You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth' (Acts 1:8b). Still, believers often avoid bearing witness." These words are challenging, but they meet most Christians where they are: having a desire to witness for Christ, but failing to do so as we ought to. These are good thoughts to come away with as we read through Jonah, and Bruckner does a good job of bringing them to our attention. I highly recommend this commentary.
I received a free copy of this commentary from Zondervan in exchange for a review. I was not coerced in any way to write a positive review.