Bible Commentary Series Jointly published by Brethren and Mennonites,
this series not only helps one understand the Bible, but the "Text in the Life
of the Church" sections give valuable insights into the faith and practice of
these two Historic Peace Churches. "The Believers Church Bible Commentary Series
is published for all who seek more fully to understand the original message
of Scripture and its meaning for today. The series is based on the conviction
that God is still speaking to all who will listen, and that the Holy Spirit
makes the Word a living and authoritative guide for all who want to know and
do God's will." Probably my favorite in the series is Millard Lind's Ezekiel.
NOTE: July 5, 2003. For the past day or two the Mennonite Publishing House site seems to be having problems. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. I'll check back later and try to determine what's up.
Binding the Strong Man: A Political Reading of Mark's Story of Jesus. By Ched Myers. Orbis Books, 1998. Scholarly, very thorough, takes Mark line by line and phrase by phrase. Strong peace and social justice orientation. Not a starter book, but an excellent reference for an adult study of Mark, if at least one person is willing to read it in detail and report to the group.
The Creative Word: Canon as a Model for Biblical Education. By Walter Brueggemann. Fortress Press, 1982. Discusses three types of literature and three corresponding modes of knowledge and religious education. Excellent choice for adult study groups willing to look up the Bible references.
Eerdmans Dictionary of the Bible Edited by David Noel Freedman, Allen C. Myers and Astrid B. Beck, 2000. This is a great Bible and Biblical Studies resource. The review is in the Review of Biblical Literature.
Hearing the New Testament: Strategies for Interpretation. Edited by Joel B. Green. Eerdmans, 1995. Seminary-level book of readings on the various types of New Testament interpretation important to present-day scholars. Sometimes tough going, and it's important to look up the biblical references as you go along, but helpful for those who hope to access the scholarly literature.
The Jewish Study Bible, published by Oxford University Press. Available in paperback (ISBN 0195297547) or hardcover (ISBN 0195297512). Great resource for Old Testament / Hebrew Bible study.
The Language of Canaan and the Grammar of Feminism. By Vernard Eller. From the review on House Church Central's "Vernard Eller Collection" page: "the astute believer needs to be aware of the important concept of gender in the Scriptures because inclusive language can obscure some aspects of God's revelation. This is a book about language--both the Bible's (the language of Canaan) and our own." I would love to discuss this book with folks who have read it - email me!
Praying with the Anabaptists: The Secret of Bearing Fruit. By Marlene Kropf and Eddy Hall. Newton, KS: Faith & Life Press, 1994. Guide to prayer using selected passages from John 13-17, quotations from Anabaptists (Mennonites, Brethren, Amish, Hutterites and their forerunners); available with an accompanying cassette tape. Suitable for individual or small group devotional engagement with scripture. Could be used by adults or teens, or parts adapted for younger children.
Say to This Mountain: Mark's Story of Discipleship. By Ched Myers, Marie Dennis, Joseph Nangle OFM, Cynthia Moe-Lobeda, Stuart Taylor. (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1996). Shorter, less scholarly version of Binding the Strong Man. Organized into 6 sections with queries at the end. Good guide for adult or teen study. Myers has ties to Quakerism and his interpretation of "discipleship" is oriented toward peace and social justice work.
Slavery, Sabbath, War & Women: Case Issues in Biblical Interpretation. By Willard M. Swartley, foreword by Albert J. Meyer. Scottdale, PA: Herald Press, 1983. Good adult study group material for participants with some Bible background already. Helps clarify different ways of reading the Bible, and the ways the Bible can be used and misused to support positions on social issues. Another good strong peace church classic, by a Mennonite scholar.
Streams of Living Water: Celebrating the Great Traditions of Christian Faith. By Richard J. Foster, foreword by Martin Marty. Harper San Francisco, 1998. Heavily Bible-based, spirituality and practice oriented, by an evangelical Friend. Good for adult study groups interested in exploring Christian experience and willing to engage the scripture Foster discusses. See the Renovare website for other resources.
Who Will Roll Away the Stone? Discipleship Queries for First World Christians. By Ched Myers (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1994) A good book for adult discussion, but not until after the Gospel of Mark has been thoroughly studied, preferably with one of Myers' other two books on Mark.