Slavic Bible Commentary launched

18 November 2016
  • Landmark commentary launched in Ukraine – the first edition has already sold out
  • Christian leaders from Russia and the Ukraine worked together during a time of national tensions.

Last month, the Slavic Bible Commentary (SBC) was launched in Kiev, Ukraine. It is the third in a series of five ground-breaking one-volume commentaries, funded by Langham Partnership.

It is the first ever Russian-language commentary, written by contemporary evangelical writers from Eastern Europe, which is designed for a wide range of readers, not just those in the field of academia.

Sold out

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Langham Literature Director Pieter Kwant speaking through a translator at the SBC’s launch in Kiev.

The commentary was launched at a university in Kiev in October, and its first edition has already sold out. Many gathered to hear from members of the SBC’s editorial board, Director of Langham Literature Pieter Kwant, and Langham Partnership US President Benjamin K. Homan.

The volume is 1840 pages covering all the books of the Old and New Testaments, including contributions from 94 authors. The commentary, which took five years to complete, is intended for use by pastors, preachers, Sunday School teachers, small group leaders and ordinary church members.

It is also very practical: it contains a hundred articles addressing ethical and moral issues, worship practices and other aspects of Christian discipleship.

“Great joy”

pieter-kwant-quote-sbcAn English version of the commentary is expected to be published in due course.

Pieter Kwant, Langham Literature Director, said it was a “great joy” to be at the SBC’s launch.

Speaking at the event, he explained that his vision for contextual commentaries came from hearing from African preachers and scholars – they saw Christianity as a useful ‘export’ from the West, rather than relevant in their own context.

“Our worldview filters how we hear the Scriptures. And our context shapes our view of the world and how we apply the Scriptures.”

“Amazing fruit”

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Peter Penner, Co-Editor of the New Testament sections, signing a copy for a member of the public.

Pieter said he has been “taught and inspired over the last five years” as he shared in a small way the journey of the editors of the SBC.

“The many discussions, the many revisions, the many prayers, the sheer hard work of listening to the Bible and to the world and to each other has born amazing fruit in this very handsome one-volume commentary.”

The book brought together Christian leaders from Russia and the Ukraine at a time of national instability and tensions.

“Unity in Christ”

Taras Dyatlik, who managed the project, has said that the commentary is “a witness of unity in Christ between Ukrainian and Russian Christians around the Lord and His Word.

“So the investment of Langham was not just into a book or a commentary, but also into strengthening the relationships between evangelicals from the countries which are in a state of a hybrid war. And it coincided that your support came during the most crucial challenges for Ukraine.

“The Lord is the Architect of History, and we are thankful to Him for partnering with you during all these years for the Slavic Bible Commentary.”

Inspired to dig deeper

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The editorial board take questions at the SBC’s launch in Kiev last month.

Peter Penner, Co-Editor of the New Testament sections, said: “The main thing that I hope the commentary will do, is to bring even more love for the word of God as people in different parts of the Slavic community will read the commentary, be inspired to read, to study, to dig deeper and to preach from this word. Hopefully this commentary will be a big help in their ministry.”

Sergey Sannikov, the Chief Editor, said their hope is for the SBC to help many people to understand the Bible better in their context.

He has said: “It was very important to bring to the modern reader a text that can answer many social challenges, as well as respond to events around us.”

The SBC is part of a family of landmark commentaries supported by Langham Partnership. The Africa Bible Commentary and South Asia Bible Commentary have already been published, with the Latin American Bible Commentary and Arabic Bible Commentary expected in the next couple of years.

By Victoria Marsay, Digital Content Producer, Langham Partnership UK & Ireland

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