Logos Bible Software and Zondervan have teamed up again to produce a second bundle of resources that Zondervan has already published in print. (Cf. my review of the first bundle in Themelios 35 : 365–67.) This 47-volume bundle contains six collections of evangelical resources—each also available for purchase individually:
1. Commentaries (8 vols.; 2001–2010). The only OT commentary is Bruce Waltke on Genesis, which is not part of a commentary series; it is definitely worth consulting for its robust exegetical and biblical-theological approach (some will not be convinced by his literary view of Gen 1–11). The two most valuable commentaries for preachers are in the new Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the NT: Matthew by Grant Osborne and James by Craig Blomberg and Mariam Kamell. ZECNT combines the strengths of BECNT and NIVAC; its format is ideal for sermon preparation because commentators address each biblical passage’s (1) literary context, (2) main idea, (3) translation and graphical layout, (4) structure, (5) exegetical outline, (6) meaning, and (7) application. The collection also includes the first two volumes of the Africa Bible Commentary Series (Samuel Ngewa, 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus and Galatians) and the first three volumes of Chuck Swindoll’s “Insights” on the entire NT (John, Romans, and James, 1 and 2 Peter).
2. OT and NT Introductions (9 vols.; 2003–2010). The second editions of the introductions to the OT (Tremper Longman and Raymond Dillard) and NT (D. A. Carson and Douglas Moo) are standard textbooks in evangelical seminaries. I recently edited an abridgment of the latter entitled Introducing the New Testament, also included in this collection (reviewed in Themelios 35 : 451–52). Andrew Hill and John Walton’s accessible OT survey is now in its third edition, and Robert Gundry’s NT survey is in its fourth. Gary Burge, Lynn Cohick, and Gene Green’s The New Testament in Antiquity is impressively illustrated, and three other books are more specific than whole-Testament introductions or surveys: (1) Gary Schnittjer’s The Torah Story surveys the Pentateuch; (2) Daniel Hays’s The Message of the Prophets surveys the nature of prophecy and the major and minor prophets; and (3) Mark Strauss’s Four Portraits, One Jesus surveys the Gospels and the historical Jesus.
3. Hermeneutics (4 vols.; 1996–2009). Scott Duvall and Daniel Hays’s Grasping God’s Word and Walter Kaiser and Moisés Silva’s Introduction to Biblical Hermeneutics are both good textbooks now in their second editions; the former works well for undergraduates and the latter for first-year graduate students. Foundations of Contemporary Interpretation combines into a single volume six advanced books on hermeneutics that Moisés Silva edited from 1987 to 1994 (e.g., Philips Long’s The Art of Biblical History). Kevin Vanhoozer’s Is There a Meaning in This Text? is a seminal, sophisticated defense of author-oriented interpretation.
4. Biblical Theology (4 vols.; 2005–2009). Walter Kaiser’s The Promise-Plan of God and Recovering the Unity of the Bible update his past publications toward a whole-Bible biblical theology. Bruce Waltke’s 1,040-page Old Testament Theology and Frank Thielman’s Theology of the New Testament are user-friendly for students.
5. Counterpoints (14 vols.; 1996–2009). The Counterpoints series, currently containing about thirty volumes, debates controversial topics by having well-known advocates of particular views present their perspectives, followed by responses from advocates of opposing views. The fourteen volumes in this collection debate moving beyond the Bible to theology (four views), the book of Revelation (four views), law and gospel (five views), sanctification (five views), eternal security (four views), God and Canaanite genocide (four views), apologetics (five views), the Messianic movement (two views), the church growth movement (four views), church government (four views), baptism (four views), the Lord’s Supper (four views), remarriage after divorce (three views), and the worship spectrum (six views). The debate-format of the Counterpoints series can be either valuable or dangerous depending on how particular debates are framed. Its value is minimized if positions are not sufficiently distinct or if it gives the impression that the debated issue is relatively unimportant since the various views are a smorgasbord of equally legitimate options. Its value is maximized when competent proponents of distinct positions clearly and winsomely compare and contrast their views, and that value characterizes this series.
6. World Religions and Cults (8 vols.; 2001–2009). This collection includes two general volumes and three specific volumes each on Mormonism and Islam; all eight volumes are accessible for lay people. The general reference works are Larry A. Nichols, George Mather, and Alvin Schmidt, Encyclopedic Dictionary of Cults, Sects, and World Religions and Ron Rhodes, The Challenge of the Cults and New Religions. The three on Mormonism are Francis Beckwith, Carl Mosser, and Paul Owen, eds., The New Mormon Challenge; Ross Anderson, Understanding the Book of Mormon; and Latayne Scott, The Mormon Mirage. The three on Islam are Timothy George, Is the Father of Jesus the God of Muhammad?; Mateen Elass, Understanding the Koran; and John Azumah, My Neighbour’s Faith.
The price for this bundle is steep, and users will value some books more than others. But all six collections are valuable, and every book is worth owning and using.
Electronic books are becoming increasingly popular, and publishers and consumers are confident that they will become more common with the proliferation of digital reading devices like the iPad, Nook, and Kindle. This is definitely the case with theological reference works such as lexicons, commentaries, and dictionaries, and it is increasingly the case with non-reference works.
I have enthusiastically used Logos for thirteen years, and my enthusiasm continues to grow. I would much rather own a book on the Logos platform than in print because it is significantly more efficient than using print resources: books in Logos are more versatile and searchable than print books, especially now that they are available on the iPhone (and other smart phones) and iPad. The 47 volumes in Zondervan’s second bundle are a valuable addition to one’s electronic library.