Daniel Patte, General Editor
Contextual Format of GBC | Scriptural Criticism | Outline of Each Commentary | Style-Sheet

Outline of the Commentary on Each Biblical Book

5% a) Introduction: Identifying the Life-Context in Which the Biblical Book Is Interpreted. The commentator's concrete presentation of the context from which he or she writes.  This sketch underscores those features of the commentator's situation which are related to the "contextual questions" that will be raised.  These features will be geographical (so as to locate the context in space), and also religious, cultural, political, economic, and/or social.   This is either a "I" discourse, but more likely a "we, in this context" discourse.

25% b) Analyzing the Life Context, its Problems and the Hermeneutical/Theological Issues it Raises Regarding the Relationship Between Church/People of God and World.     The Contextual and Hermeneutical Questions that will focus the reading of the biblical book. A two-way preliminary analysis of this present-day context  in terms of the text and of the text in terms of the present-day context.   This involves 1) pointing out those specific problems and issues regarding the relationship between church/people of God and the world in that context which are highlighted by the text; and 2) identifying the specific passages of the text which are most
significant in view of the context and the issues it raises.

1) Considering this life-context from the perspective of the given biblical book as corrective lenses, one can ask:   What are the problems or needs concerning the relationship between church/people of God and the world that the Church/People of God should address in this situation for the sake of the world?   For the sake of the church/people of God and its members?  For instance:   Are these needs related to the religious make up of the society, and concerns the relationship of the church/people of God to other religions or to a non-religious, secular majority?  Are these cultural needs concerning the world view and the life-style of people in that context?  Educational needs? Social needs concerning justice in this society and its structures of power and authority?  Economic needs (regarding poverty, economic oppression, lack of healthcare)?  Political needs calling for the confrontation of a corrupt political power?

2) Conversely, considering the given biblical book from the perspective of this life-context one can ask:  What does this biblical book say regarding the relationship of the Church or People of God to the world in this specific context in which the commentator is?  Does it concern a mission of the People of God or Church toward the world  (toward individuals and communities beyond its borders)?    If so, what kind of mission?  Or, alternately, does it concern the active place and role  of the People of God or Church in society and culture (from  which it may not really be regarded as separated)?  Does  the biblical book address the relationship of the Church or  people of God with political, economic, and social  institutions and authorities? What does it say or imply about interactions with other religions?  What are the other concrete or theological issues concerning the Church or People of God in its  relationship to the world?  [NOTE: This section might be very brief here, and put in the concluding section, below.  Yet, it is important to have here at least some general comments considering the biblical book from the perspective of the life-context.]

Most biblical books will contain material addressing many of these issues. The commentator will, therefore, be  required to choose one or a very few of these issues,  because it or they are particularly important in his or  her present context.

5 %  c) Analysis of  the Text I:   an Overall Presentation of the Biblical Book, so as to  locate in it the passages and textual features that will be discussed in detail, because they are related to specific contextual questions.

 55%  d) Analysis of  the Text II:   Commentary upon these passages (the bulk of the commentary).  It includes 1) an analysis of each passage (highlighting the most significant features of the passage, with the help of one or another critical approach   historical, political, sociological, anthropological [including, in each case, the socio-historical reconstruction of the original life-context],
narrative, structural, literary ;  and; 2) comments on the way it addresses or fail to address the issues concerning the relationship
between church/people of God and the world which were outlined above.

10% e) Overall Conclusions:  the Teaching of the Text for Believers Today in the Given Life-Context.  Implications for the Church in the given context.  The answers to the questions of part b.  Is this teaching helpful in the present situation?  Does it  ignore major problems the church has to face in this given  context?  Does is it exacerbate a problematic relationship  between church
and world?

f) Short bibliography for the biblical book and the  contextual issues discussed.