Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous
STR 8:1 (Spring 2017) p. 77
Brian Wintle, ed. South Asia Bible Commentary: A One-Volume Commentary on the Whole Bible. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2015. 1807 pp. Hardback. ISBN 978–0310286868. $44.99.
Home to greater ethno-linguistic and religious diversity than any other region of the world, South Asia has no single worldview. In contrast, the Bible had numerous divinely inspired human authors spanning nearly two thousand years, yet it has proven to be both timeless and truly transculturally relevant. These two great realities met in 2015 with the release of the South Asia Bible Commentary (SABC). The brainchild of the Langham Partnership, founded by John Stott and now stewarded by Christopher J. H. Wright, this single-volume commentary has the distinction of being the first written by and for a diverse South Asian population that makes up nearly one-fifth of the world’s population. In his foreword Ajith Fernando notes, “The needs here are so great that we cannot afford the luxury of pure (scholarly) specialization. But this source of frustration has given us an opportunity to sharpen a skill that could well be our distinctive contribution to the world of biblical scholarship: the skill of integration” (p. v). So, while intended for South Asian “pastors, lay preachers and teachers who are being trained,” this volume has the potential to shed light on many a western theological blind spot.
Its ninety-two contributors (none expatriate) are all currently living and ministering in one of the eight SAARC countries: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, or Sri Lanka. However, whenever contributors are gathered from various denominations and worldviews, the theological drift often associated with ecumenism is suspect. Yet one of the ways this volume avoids that potential is by recruiting contributors that affirm and adhere to the Lausanne Covenant. In its own words, “This commentary upholds the divine inspiration and authority of Holy Scripture. Its general aim is to interpret the word of God to speak relevantly to South Asian realities today. It seeks to equip Christian leaders at the grassroots level—pastors, students and lay leaders—who under the guidance of the Holy Spirit can be instrumental in the establishment and nurture of a vibrant church in this region” (p. vi). The commentary is based upon the NIV 2011 and seeks to “explain the meaning of the text, relate the meaning to the context and apply it to wider life and ministry” (p. vi).
One of this reviewer’s primary concerns at this valiant attempt of an
STR 8:1 (Spring 2017) p. 78
applied ethno-hermeneutic is that, though South Asian, no small number of its contributors were trained in a...
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