Commented Bible

Since the first moment when I held in my hand the Zondervan's NIV STUDENT BIBLE, I can't resist desiring to have something like this in Czech. Later I got to know other editions of English commented Bibles, too, and my heart is bleeding over the fact that we have nothing like this in Czech, and that laymen's understanding of the Bible is mostly dependent almost exclusively on the filter of the preacher's knowledge, which in too many cases (why lie) is of little benefit for the listeners. (Can you imagine that I have heard form the Czech preachers delivered straight from their pulpits stuff like: "For the Jews, the day begins at the sunrise," or "The commandment to hate your enemy comes from the Old Testament."?)

Therefore, I decided to do it myself. Like Philip Yancey wrote the comments for the NIV STUDENT BIBLE, I started in similar manner working on the notes commenting the Biblical text in Czech. It will not be, then, a simple translation from American originals; rather, it will be a new work out of my keyboard, leaning, of course, on my fifteen years of formal studies of theology, plus relevant scholarly literature. I also benefit to a large extent from the lectures of American professors whom Marshall Brown (the director of the distance education of the Evangelical Theological Seminary in Prague) invites to teach his students, and then offers the lectures on CD's also to the outsiders. Also, and this is probably the best resource I can imagine, I draw heavily from Richard Pratt's Third Millenium Ministries. It is like going back to the seminary, with the difference to be able to repeat the class as many times you need, and also participate in the discussion over the lessons.

My attempt is to cover a greater group than just high school youth (as Yancey did in his NIV STUDENT'S BIBLE). Therefore, the notes would be of two kinds: First, placed in the text (visually different using different font) for those who are reading the Bible for the first time. Second kind would be sub-notes, under the line, supposing already some knowledge of the Bible, containing information of deeper connections, beneficial for both laymen and the pastors. The emphasis of some notes would be on apologetics.

I managed to make a plan with RNDr. Petr Olšák, one of the best TeXperts (the expert on the typesetting program TeX) that he would program macros for typesetting this Bible. TeX is an ideal program for task like this. It is sufficient for me to just write my notes in form of my own definitions, and at the end the program will read the Biblical text, sub-notes, notes inside the text, graphs, charts, pictures, etc., from mutually independent files and will place them on the pages in a way that the notes will be close to their respective verses. So which particular translation (we have just four complete ones in Czech) will be used has not been decided at this point; there is plenty of time to do so later on. It can be any of the four. The only thing that is clear now is that the first typesetting results are not going to be available before the second half of the year 2012 (when Dr. Olšák would have time to start working on it). In the meantime, I have much to do.

Here are the current results of the work that has begun during Summer Holidays 2009. I am trying to update these files daily but not always successfully. As stated earlier, the typesetting will be done by RNDr. Petr Olšák, therefore by now you cannot see the final form of the notes placed on the same page with the Biblical texts. I have only the notes themselves, in the approximate shape they might possibly look like.

I have an idea of several kinds of commenting texts. (Unfortunately, you will not understand a single word unless you are able to read Czech.) Click on the hypertext reference to view/download the PDF file in its current state of development. Each PDF file contains the time stamp which shows the time it was last modified.

GLOSSES are to be placed directly inside the Biblical text, in a way similar to Philip Yancey's glosses in the NIV STUDENT BIBLE. Goal: Help with the first reading.

SUBNOTES are the notes below the line under the Biblical text. Inspired by the NIV STUDY BIBLE, or THE SPIRIT OF THE REFORMATION BIBLE (you name the hundreds of similar editions). Goal: Help to the "thirsty for knowledge" who are already oriented in the Bible to some degree (not the first readers).

QUOTES are the quotations from the pen of some great writers. This may or may not be included in the final version. They should appear at most one on a page (at least one per book), always the same distance from the top of the page, from inside of the text to the margin of a page. Inspired by Donald Knuth's "3:16 --- BIBLE TEXTS ILLUMINATED." The idea to do it with the Bible is my own craziness; the Bible may end up without it. The quotations are being selected with two goals in mind:
(1) general--to bring the Biblical message closer to life, make it relevant in the context of current reality,
(2) apologetical--to show that the personalities whom we know from school, but about whom no teacher ever told us to have had something to do with the Christianity (e.g. Blaise Pascal), were in fact devoted Christians; often it was their faith which became the drive for their scientific endeavour; that those who tell us that there is a great antagonism between the science and faith simply are not correct.

READING PLAN is inspired by the Three Track Reading Plan of the NIV STUDENT BIBLE but will not be identical with it. The idea of switching between the passages from the OT and the NT (Track 3) will be maintained. But the reader will not have to jump every time to the beginning of the whole Bible in order to find out which chapter to continue with, rather the note where to jump will be included right after each appropriate chapter.
Also, and this is my own new idea, instead of marking the reading progress by checking out an empty square, there will be hollow numbers next to the number of each chapter, to indicate how many times the whole Bible has been already read.

INTRODUCTIONS TO THE BOOKS will be mostly dependent on the English originals of various sources. I am not going to pretend to be a scholar with the first-hand knowledge.

THEOLOGICAL (apologetical) ARTICLES Also steming from the originals, some perhaps my own, maybe also by the authors like C.S.Lewis, G.K.Chesterton, Ravi Zacharias, Francis Schaeffer and other thinkers.

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