Believer’s Bible Commentary is available in eSword and OliveTree.
The Believer’s Bible Commentary is packed with helpful comments, but the student needs to be aware of its problems.
Commentaries don’t judge Scripture; Scripture judges commentaries. A commentator is simply a Bible teacher, and no commentator is infallible. The wise Bible student will carefully test everything the commentator says by comparing it to Scripture itself.
It is important for believers to be grounded in the teaching of God’s Word before they spend much time in commentaries other than those that are the most theologically sound.
In fact, we consider the equivalent of a Bible Institute education to be a bare starting point to have the foundation necessary to weigh commentaries effectively.
Beware of the presumption of commentators who try to change or add to the Word of God or who ignore the plain meaning of Scripture.
For example, 1 Corinthians 4:5, the Believer’s Bible Commentary says, “That each one’s praise will come from God is not to be taken as a flat promise that every believer’s service will show up in a favorable way in that day. The meaning is that everyone who deserves praise will receive praise from God and not from men.” Many other commentaries have a similar perspective of this verse, but it isn’t what the Bible says. It says, “and then shall every man have praise of God.” It doesn’t say that every man will have complete praise of God, but some praise of God. Every person who appears at the judgment seat of Christ is saved, born again, converted, and there will be plenty of things in his life to show that, things that God will praise, even if there are other things that are not praiseworthy. It is a reminder that God is not a severe taskmaster to His redeemed people. He is eager to praise them.
The problem of textual criticism
The Believer’s Bible Commentary (BBC) capitulates to modern textual criticism and unsound modern versions. For example, the BBC often quotes J.B. Philips and his heretical version. Commenting on “from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named” in Eph. 3:15, the BBC says, “All fatherhood in the universe derives its name from Him. The Fatherhood of God is the original and the ideal; it is the prototype of every other paternal relationship. Phillips translates the verse, ‘from whom all fatherhood, earthly or heavenly, derives its name.’” This is not a translation; it is a presumption. It is probably true that all fatherhood ultimately derives its name from God the Father, but that is not what Ephesians 3:15 says. There is no excuse to quote from a heretic like J.B. Phillips. He was theological modernist who taught a form of universalism and the fatherhood of God, denied the verbal inspiration of Scripture, denied hell fire and the existence of Satan and demons, claimed that Jesus conformed His teaching to the ignorance of His day, was a skeptic in regard to supernatural miracles, and believed that Christ’s ascension was a parable. In commenting on Psalm 116:10-11, the Believer’s Bible Commentary quotes the TEV (Today’s English Version). Again, this is one of the very worst versions and is unsound at every level. The translator, Robert Bratcher, rejected the deity of Jesus Christ and Christ’s vicarious blood atonement and corrupted many theological passages to reflect his own wicked heresies. (The Modern Version Hall of Shame contains extensive documentation of the corruption of these versions. It is available as a free eBook from www.wayoflife.org.)
The problem of quoting from unsound men
The Believer’s Bible Commentary quotes from other unsound men. An example is C.S. Lewis, who is cited in multiple places. (“Concerning the 119th Psalm, C.S. Lewis said...”) Lewis was a terrible heretic. He denied the inerrant inspiration of Scripture, called Jonah “a tale” that is not historical, held to baptismal regeneration and sacramentalism, denied the vicarious substitutionary atonement of Christ, believed in prayers for the dead and purgatory, called hell “a state of mind,” called the six-day creation a “Hebrew folk tale,” and believed that pagans can be saved without faith in Christ.
The problem of theistic evolution
In at least one place, the Believer’s Bible Commentary capitulates to the error of “theistic evolution” by giving credence of the long ages. “It takes light from the most remote stars which can be seen with telescopes ten billion years to reach the earth. So when we look out into space, we are really looking backward in time. For example, we do not see the Andromeda galaxy where it is now but where it was two million years ago!” (BBC commentary on Ps. 19:1-4).
The problem of sovereign election
The Believer’s Bible Commentary teaches sovereign election in Romans 9. “The potter, of course, is God. The clay is sinful, lost humanity. If the potter left it alone, it would all be sent to hell. He would be absolutely just and fair if He left it alone. But instead He sovereignly selects a handful of sinners, saves them by His grace, and conforms them to the image of His Son. Does He have the right to do that? Remember, He is not arbitrarily dooming others to hell. They are already doomed by their own willfulness and unbelief.” The problem with this comment is that it goes beyond the teaching of Scripture and contradicts Scripture. Romans 9:22-23 says that there are vessels of wrath and vessels of mercy, but it doesn’t say that they are so by God’s sovereign design. Verse 22 says some are “fitted to destruction,” but it doesn’t say why they are so fitted. The Calvinist says they are fitted to be vessels of wrath because they are elected to that by God’s sovereign choice, but Paul doesn’t say that. A few verses previously, in Ro. 8:29, Paul says God’s or election is based His foreknowledge. What did He foreknow? In this same passage, we are plainly told that God offered salvation to all of Israel (Ro. 10:21). Jeremiah describes this in most poignantly. Eleven times God says that He had risen up early and sent the prophets to beseech Israel to turn from her sin. “Because they have not hearkened to my words, saith the LORD, which I sent unto them by my servants the prophets, rising up early and sending them; but ye would not hear, saith the LORD” (Jer. 29:19; see also Jer. 7:13, 25; 11:7; 25:3, 4; 26:5; 32:33; 35:14, 15; 44:4). God had done this from the time that Israel came out of Egypt (Jer. 7:25). Therefore, lost Israel was fitted to destruction because they did not respond to God’s compassionate call. Words could not plainer. The Romans 9-10 passage says, further, that God offers salvation today to “whosoever believeth” and “whosoever shall call” today (Ro. 10:11-13). Those who do not believe and do not call are fitted to destruction.
The problem of New Evangelicalism
When we read today of “top evangelical scholars,” we understand that this refers to New Evangelicalism. Beginning in the late 1940s, evangelicalism renounced “separatism” and has since been corrupted to various degrees by unscriptural associations with error. Many evangelical commentaries entertain some liberal positions that can confuse and weaken the readers. For example, some evangelical commentaries and dictionaries give some credence to the view that there was a “natural” element in the destruction of Sodom, such as saying that the miracle pertained to the timing of a natural earthquake, or that the crossing of the Red Sea was through a lake or marsh, or that the backing up of the Jordan River when Israel crossed into the Promised Land was a natural event that has happened at other times, or that the judgments upon Egypt were party natural, or that Noah’s Flood was not global, or that Genesis 1 allows for evolutionary ages, or that the prophets were referring to pagan myths in passages such as Ezekiel 28:11-14.
The Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds of the Old Testament is packed with liberal influences. For example, there is frequent attempt to find parallels to Biblical events in pagan sources. Consider this unbelieving comment on the pillar of the cloud of Exodus 14:20: “Records of the military exploits of the Hittite king Murshili report a similar phenomenon. ... It was not uncommon in military reports to speak of advantageous circumstances in terms of divine intervention and aid. If one group found itself on the successful end of a skirmish, it credited its own god or gods and often spoke of the deity as if he had arranged all aspects of the natural order to ensure a triumphant outcome. to what degree, then, the reference to a cloud is to be taken literally is difficult to determine, since the biblical text may be implementing this kind of stylized description of events. That the text intends to affirm the active participation of Yahweh on behalf of the Israelites, though, is certain.”
Evangelical commentaries also tend to quote heretics with no warning. For example, they frequently quote Origen, Augustine, and C.S. Lewis. The Believer’s Bible Commentary often quotes J.B. Philips and his unsound Bible version. For example, commenting on “from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named” in Eph. 3:15, the Believer’s Bible Commentary says, “All fatherhood in the universe derives its name from Him. The Fatherhood of God is the original and the ideal; it is the prototype of every other paternal relationship. Phillips translates the verse, ‘from whom all fatherhood, earthly or heavenly, derives its name.’” This is not a translation; it is a presumption. It is probably true that all fatherhood ultimately derives its name from God the Father, but that is not what Ephesians 3:15 says. There is no excuse to quote from a heretic like J.B. Phillips. He taught a form of universalism and the fatherhood of God, denied the verbal inspiration of Scripture, denied hell fire and the existence of Satan and demons, claimed that Jesus conformed His teaching to the ignorance of His day, was a skeptic in regard to supernatural miracles, and believed that Christ’s ascension was a parable. (We have documented this in the free eBook The Modern Version Hall of Shame, www.wayoflife.org.)
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