If you live under a rock, you don’t know who Scot McKnight is. But for the rest of us, we have appreciated works like Jesus Creed, The King Jesus Gospel, A Church Called Tov, and his many academic commentaries and monographs. Scot is known for bridging the academic and church worlds and helping pastors and everyday Christians to read the Bible with competence and depth (e.g. Blue Parakeet). Now he is writing a series called Everyday Bible Study. The first volume is now released (James and Galatians) and more volumes are coming soon. Scot kindly answered some of my questions to help introduce this series to the world. I encourage you to check out this excellent new series.
What inspired you to create a Bible study series going through the whole NT?
If one reads Psalm 119 one encounters the “Bible’s view of the Bible,” as I like to call it. What one experiences is the joy of the psalmist over the wonder that God has spoken to humans. I’m persuaded more Christians need to do more Bible reading because the intent of Scripture is not simply to “know” but to be “known” and, by that being known, to be transformed into Christoformity. The inspiration is that God has spoken and we can read what God has said to us.
So many Bible studies tend to major on our perceptions and experiences and not enough on listening to what the Word says, and our studies seek to explain the text clearly and compellingly. So, when Zondervan approached me to write the Everyday Bible Studies for the New Testament, I jumped at the opportunity. Along with my own expositions of each passage, in historical and biblical context, through the central theme/themes of the book, Zondervan asked Becky Castle Miller to write questions (for individuals, for groups) for each passage, and this adds to the experience for those reading the studies.
Who is the audience for this series? What do you hope they get out of it?
Our audience is the individual wanting to do more Bible study, the youth leader preparing for a talk, the group Bible study wanting to spend time in Scripture (rather than the most recent fad of books), and the pastor pondering sermon ideas. By sticking to a theme we believe the series will stimulate ideas and conversations for all such persons studying the Bible. The goal is both to “know and to be known” by the God who speaks to us.
I want to provide insights from the historical context as well, but in short explanations of each text I try to keep the focus on what the text says — and bring in contextual materials as I can. I have a “commonplace” book
(a digital one) and it gives me the chance at times to add in some of my favorite quotes from my favorite writers.
What is the most enjoyable part of writing these books? What is the most challenging?
A series like this, that is of 16 separate volumes of approximately 40K words, means daily Bible study, daily pondering what God is saying to me and I hope to others, daily reading of some of the finest work on the books of the New Testament, and the daily brushing up against the mysteries of God’s redemption in Christ. Over and over in writing about a passage I recall the work I have been doing for four decades. For example, I dug out some lectures on the Gospel of John I wrote more than thirty years ago. I look forward to each day’s work, five days a week — on days and during weeks I can spend my time doing this work. It was so fun to knock James against Galatians as I wrote volume one, and it was delightful to work all the way through the Book of Acts. Just last week I submitted Philippians and 1-2 Thessalonians. I began today to work on the Gospel of John.