I was recently shown an excerpt of commentary from the NIV edition of the Life Application Study Bible from Tyndale/Zondervan. Frankly I was rather surprised by how blatant the eisegesis was in that specific case. Since I don't have a full copy of it to review key passages I can't tell whether this is a persistent issue or just one poorly thought out bit that slipped through.
It's remarkably hard to find reviews of Study Bibles online that delve into what kind of theological background the commentary is from. Some of them are obvious¹ but most of them seem to specialize in being as "middle of the road" as possible. It's easy to find descriptions of how many maps and illustrations and reader aids a given work includes and most tout "a broad range of scholarship", but a lot harder to find anything specific about the backgrounds of the actual commentators.
With that in mind I'm looking for a general break down of what went into the writing and editing of this particular work:
- Who were the major contributors and from what theological traditions do they hail?
- Were there any explicit boundaries set by the project as for as what hermeneutical approaches and/or theological traditions would be represented in what light?
- Are there strong theological biases² evident at any point in the commentary? Specifically is are there consistent trends towards explanations that endorse specific views on key issues such as:
- Arminian vs. Calvinist views on soteriology.
- Complementarian vs. Egalitarian views of gender roles.
- Premillennial, Postmillennial, or Amillennial views on eschatology.
- Dispensational vs. Covenantal views on the nature of the church through history.
- Credobaptist vs. Pedobaptist views on baptism.
- Cessationist vs. Continuationist views of apostolic gifts?
- Are there any notable trends in which denominations or traditions have embraced the use of or disapproved of the content of this work?
Note this same commentary content seems to have been published alongside a number of different English translations. As far as I can tell it isn't important to this question that the NIV edition is used for review.
¹ For example it's no mystery what theological framework the notes in the MacArthur Study Bible will represent. One can easily lookup the general editor's views on a variety of subjects and understand how he'll be evaluating passages.
² I don't use "bias" in a negative sense here, in fact I think bias is both impossible to avoid and even necessary, but I like to understand specifically what presuppositions are involved all the time.