Subscribe now


Open Your Bible – New Testament Commentary

January 2014 | Review by John Tredgett
  • Publisher: Creative 4 International (Martin Manser)
  • ISBN: 978-1-9096-8003-6
  • Pages: 1008
  • Price: 9.21

Book Review

Open your Bible: New Testament commentary

Martin Manser (Ed.)
Creative 4 International, 1008 pages, £9.21 (Kindle)
ISBN: 978-1-9096-8003-6

Coupled with its Old Testament counterpart, this hefty volume aims to provide a light but comprehensive sweep of the Bible. From Matthew to Revelation, the New Testament is broken down into several hundred passages, each with its own single-page commentary.

‘Conservative, evangelical scholarship’ (p.9) is said to underpin the exposition and this is largely the case. The New Testament is divided among eight different contributors, each providing their commentaries on a selection of books.

Two prefatory essays are included, overviewing teaching in the Gospels and Acts and then, secondly, in the epistles and Revelation. Historical and cultural considerations are explored, providing background colour to the subsequent commentaries.

At five or six paragraphs in length, each commentary occupies a single page and is fairly brief and accessible. The stated aim is to provide ‘devotional warmth, sound exegesis and relevance to daily life’ (p.9).

The second of these considerations struck me as most prevalent. Indeed, the primary focus of each commentary seemed to be on circumstantial background or summarising content.

Many of the commentaries are concluded with short sections entitled ‘to ponder’ or ‘a challenge’, encouraging the reader to engage more fully with the text.

The theology is fairly sound and should not prove unpalatable to evangelical readers. Nonetheless, avoidance of clarity on more controversial issues is not completely absent and should be borne in mind by potential buyers.

The doctrine of election, for one, struck me as fudged in the name of ‘inscrutability’, in the commentary on Romans 8:29-30. The ten plagues of Egypt are also referred to as ‘natural phenomena’ in the commentary on Romans 9:17-20, which I also found disagreeable.

As with the first volume of this whole-Bible commentary, the target audience seems to be younger Christians. The unfortunate irony is that a degree of maturity in discernment is already required, if readers are to sift out some of the more liberal undertones occasionally appearing in this book.

John Tredgett







Book Reviews

Read our latest book reviews

Star RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar Rating
The Christian and Technology
John V. Fesko

Even the most hardened Luddite will find himself using a satnav, mobile phone, or email on occasion. But John Fesko urges us not to reach for the latest gadget without thinking carefully about how it might shape our minds, relationships,…

See all book reviews
Star RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar Rating
Christ Victorious: Selected Writings of Hugh Martin
Hugh Martin

Hugh Martin (1822–1885) was one of those 19th century Scottish theologians whose published works have stood the test of time. With good reason, for his works are consistently sound, reverent, edifying, and challenging to mind and heart. This is a…

Star RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar Rating
God’s design for women in an age of gender confusion
Sharon James

Is our belief in male headship culturally outdated, and should we see alternative ideas of marriage as ‘progress’? Is it possible to be born into the wrong body, and is sexual freedom good for women? Does Scripture show us a…

Sexuality and Identity (trilogy)
Star RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar Rating
Sexuality and Identity (trilogy)
Owen Strachan

These three punchy books address pressing issues: what the Bible teaches about lust (on desire), about homosexuality (on Biblical sexuality) and about transgenderism (on identity). The trilogy approach keeps each book short and focused while dovetailing effectively. Each book has…