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1 & 2 Samuel (NIV Application Commentary) Hardcover – February 3, 2003

4.6 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

""This series doesn't fool around. It gets right down to business, bringing this ancient and powerful Word of God into the present so that it can he heard and believed with all the freshness of a new day, with all the immediacy of a friend's embrace."

From the Back Cover

Why do the books of Samuel pack such broad appeal? Taken together as a single narrative, they certainly offer something for everyone: kings and prophets, great battles and greater heroes, action and romance, loyalty and betrayal, the mundane and the miraculous. In Samuel, we meet Saul, David, Goliath, Jonathan, Bathsheba, the witch of Endor, and other unforgettable characters. And we encounter ourselves. For while the culture and conditions of Israel under its first kings is vastly different from our own, the basic issues of humans in relation to God, the Great King, have not changed. Sin, repentance, forgiveness, adversity, prayer, faith, and the promises of God---these continue to play out in our lives today. Exploring the links between the Bible and our own times, Bill T. Arnold shares perspectives on 1 and 2 Samuel that reveal ageless truths 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 postmodern context. It explains not only what the Bible meant but also how it speaks powerfully today.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 688 pages
  • Publisher: Zondervan; First Edition edition (February 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0310210860
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310210863
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 2 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #102,623 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Tyce E. Jensen on April 6, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I'm a Pastor who is consulting this work to help me teach a Bible study. Like all commentaries, this one has its strengths and weaknesses. Interestingly, the commentary is stronger on the original meaning than on application. (whereas many in the series give you application while the exegesis is left somewhat wanting.) Arnold even admits in the introduction that he is so engulfed in Ancient Near East studies that he doesn't have the best idea what's happening in contemporary culture. His applications aren't bad or wrong, they're just unexpected.

For instance, his application for I Samuel 4 deals largely with the idea of "holy war" or a Christian's stance on war. (Pacificism, etc...) While that is an interesting discussion, and somewhat pertinent to I Sam. 4, it's not an immediate application I would have drawn.

Fortunately if you understand the Original meaning the Samuels are usually very easy to draw applications from. This is a good commentary, and probably worth the price for the original meaning/ bridging context material, but for the most part you will do a better job working at application on your own.

I will say that the work is very readable, and would be useful to most laypeople.
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Same consistent results from this soon to be "classic" commentary series. When teaching English Bible courses at a Christian college, I frequently went to the NIVAC to expose my students to a "good exegetical voice". The students were never disappointed.

1-2 Samuel is a lot of material to cover, but Arnold does a great job of "getting to the point" without excluding important details to help you get to his conclusions. This point alone makes it a great resource not only for the busy pastor, but also a Sunday School teacher or small group leader.

Due to the fact of their consistent providing of satisfaction with past purchases, I'll continue to pick up additional copies of the NIVAC to complete my library as the need arises and the budget allows!
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Disclaimer: I want this to be a fair review but I've only read the sections from about II Samuel 10 to the end, which is probably about 40% of the book. However, I was so disappointed by what I read that I doubt I'll ever go back and read the stuff that came before. So perhaps you won't find my thoughts on it to be fair, and I understand that, but I wanted to explain why I didn't find this to be a helpful commentary.

As a pastor, I like to preach short sections at a time. In the case of a book like II Samuel, I like to do one story at a time (and any one chapter of I or II Samuel can contain 1-3 stories. This commentary is not helpful for a pastor who preaches this way, which is I think how most pastors like to do it.

NIV Application Commentaries have three sections in each chapter: a textual analysis, a section bridging the ancient to the modern, and then modern applications. Since it's called an Application Commentary, one would think that the Application should be the most important. However, in the sections I read, the author would often tackle several chapters at a time, write a textual analysis of each section, but then do a bulk bridging contexts, then a bulk modern application. This means that instead of getting a few pages of modern applications for each little episode in Absalom's rebellion, I'm getting just a few pages of application on the entire rebellion in chapters 14-20. And like I said, that's not helpful for the typical pastor who is just going to focus on what his congregation can learn from one "episode" at a time.

That said, the textual analysis is top notch and very impressive; but I bought the book for help with application (why I went with a supposed "Application Commentary").
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I have found Arnold's work to be great in the Contemporary section as well as the Bridging the Gap section. To me, there is a tremendous amount of material one can use to illustrate a point; if what he has offered does not quite fit my (our) circumstance, I have found that some of the ideas he presents spring new thoughts in me. I find this to be tremendous!

With respect to the exegetical consideration, I like what he has offered, but I think this work is best used in conjunction with two other book: The Expositor's bible Commentary and by Robert Gordon. In my office, these are my primary sources (all three). One other point; I would include the New English Translation (NET) with the multitude of notes.

Very Good!
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In the NIV one finds a good overview and relative perspective concerning 1&2 Samuel. It provides good connection with application to current living. It does not provide an enriching depth concerning word choice and relationship to what may be meant concerning word choice in the original Hebrew. It is very good but wasn't quite what I was looking for concerning a more depth in treatment of the language.
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Format: Hardcover
The NIV Application Commentary series is aimed at providing the best scholarly insights into the text, while also providing contemporary application. To accomplish its purpose, The NIV Application Commentary series divides comment on the text into three parts: 1) Original Meaning (“All the elements of traditional exegesis–in concise form–are discussed here,” p. 9); 2) Bridging Contexts (distinguishing the timeless message(s) of the Bible from the time-bound text); and 3) Contemporary Significance (do I need to explain this one?) Arnold’s 1&2 Commentary begins, like others, with a brief 20-page introduction. The introduction includes topics such as how to read the historical books, authorship, an overview of the contents of 1&2 Samuel, theological themes, etc.
Central Themes of 1&2 Samuel
Arnold understands the overall theme of 1&2 Samuel to center around two questions:
1) “What is the acceptable nature of the Israelite monarchy?”
2)”Who can serve suitably as king?”
The first question is primarily addressed in 1 Samuel 1-15, while the second question occupies the material in 1 Samuel 16 — 2 Samuel 24 (p. 32). I found the second question concerning who is suitable as king to be a very insightful way of understanding the contrast between the kingships of Saul and David.
Arnold notes three main theological themes in 1&2 Samuel. The first concerns the  above question of who is suitable to be Israel’s king, or the messianic theme. Arnold states, “The concept of an ideal anointed one arises gradually and is sustained in the narrative” (p. 36). Another theme which grows out of the two main questions concerns the use and abuse of power. Arnold sees the messianic and power themes bound together by a third theme dealing with the nature of repentance.
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