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First New Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary Released in Nearly 70 Years

A photo of volume 6 of the new Seventh-day Adventist International Bible Commentary.

Volume 6 of the new Seventh-day Adventist International Bible Commentary is now available at the Adventist Book Center.

If you’re a longtime member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, you’re probably familiar with the 12-volume hard cover Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary. First published in 1953, it’s still a staple in many church, school, or home libraries. But nearly 70 years later, the world has changed significantly, and a team of leading global Adventist scholars decided it was time for an update.

Recently, the first full volume (volume 6) of the new Seventh-day Adventist International Bible Commentary(SDAIBC) was released; it covers Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and the Song of Songs. Three more volumes will be published in 2023, and the completed commentary will consist of 15 volumes.

We interviewed two of the scholars behind the SDAIBC: Martin Klingbeil, SDAIBC contributor and professor of Old Testament and Ancient Near Eastern Studies, Southern Adventist University, and Jacques Doukhan, SDAIBC editor and professor emeritus of Hebrew and Old Testament Exegesis, Andrews University.

Christelle Agboka: Describe the commentary in a nutshell.
Klingbeil: The SDAIBC is a scholarly commentary on both the Old and New Testament written with a high view of Scripture by a group of international Seventh-day Adventist scholars from different cultural backgrounds.

Agboka: Who will benefit most from this commentary?
Klingbeil: Anybody who wants to dig deeper into the biblical text will see how the original languages, ancient history, and recent archaeology can illuminate our understanding of God’s message for His church during these end times.

Agboka: What differentiates this commentary from the former?
Doukhan: The former commentary, SDABC, was only written by North American writers. This new one is also the only Seventh-day Adventist Bible commentary that is international. Since the publication of the original SDABC, the church has changed: it has become international and has more trained biblical scholars. Accordingly, this series involves more than 60 authors from all over the world.

Agboka: What are the most attractive features of this commentary?
Doukhan: The SDAIBC features the latest grammatical, historical-cultural, literary, theological, and archaeological information, and fresh insights that help interpret the text from an Adventist perspective. It contains pertinent pictures, maps, charts, and highlights; assumes the divine inspiration of Scripture and its unity; and draws out practical lessons for personal growth, witness, and evangelism.

Agboka: What do you personally appreciate most about the SDAIBC?
Klingbeil: I appreciate the extended glossaries, the biblical text side-by-side with its corresponding commentaries, structural, and literary comments for each passage under study, the excursuses[*] on important topics, as well as an annotated bibliography for further reading.

Agboka: Why now? What is the significance of this volume in 2022?
Klingbeil: The new commentary series has been in the making for years. The first meeting of potential authors, editors, members of the Biblical Research Institute, and General Conference (GC) administrators took place in June 2012 in a kibbutz on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, Israel. The need for a new commentary grew out of the datedness of the SDABC (1950s) and the progress in linguistic, historical, and archaeological data since then. And the first post-COVID-19 GC session during the summer provided a good platform to present the first completed volume to the world church.

Agboka: What was the selection process for choosing the Adventist scholars who helped author the SDAIBC?
Doukhan: Two criteria determined the choice of writers: 1) Seventh-day Adventist Church members in good standing and 2) proven expertise on the biblical book they were commenting on (generally a Ph.D. or valuable works on the book). [Author names] were submitted to the executive members of the SDAIBC, comprised of members of the Biblical Research Institute, Andrews University professors, and scholars from other Seventh-day Adventist universities.

Agboka: What’s next in the series?
Doukhan: Volume 4 (1-2 Kings; 1-2 Chronicles) has been printed and is slated to be released early next year. And we plan to release around three volumes per year from now on, which will include Volume 1 (Genesis-Exodus) in 2023.

Click here to read more about the structure of the Seventh-day Adventist International Bible Commentary and here to order any available volumes.

[*] Merriam-Webster: an appendix or digression that contains further exposition of some point or topic.