The Evangelical Universalist Forum

Are there any EU bible commentaries?

Do people know of any EU (or at least EU friendly) bible commentaries, especially for those biblical books (or parts of books) commonly used to attack universalism?

Hi pog

Great question, to which I strongly suspect the answer is no, sadly, although I live in hope. All the Bible commentaries I’ve come across are remarkably consistent in peddling the traditional ECT line. In fact, many seem to go out of their way to deny the EU position.

A good example is the Asbury Bible Commentary, available online @ Bible and described as “The first one-volume evangelical Wesleyan commentary on the entire Bible. Nearly 50 Wesleyan scholars collaborated on this landmark aid to pastors, students, and Bible readers”. Its take on 1 Timothy 4:10 “That is why we labor and strive, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Saviour of all people, and especially of those who believe” - is highly revealing:

“In the phrase Savior of all men, Paul clearly is not endorsing universal salvation. God can save everyone; however, God’s salvation is actualized only by personal belief/faith.”

Yeah right. So Paul is “clearly not endorsing universal salvation” is he? A classic case of eisegesis if ever I saw one!

All the best


I fear you may be right, Johnny - which is quite sad, and often seems to damage the credibility of the EU case when people want to know more or compare EU interpretations to their commentaries.

I heard something about a Baukham commentary on Revelation, but I don’t know enough.

I own the Baukham commentary on RevJohn. It’s… interesting. Not my favorite commentary on that book, but interesting.

(To be fair, I’m not sure if I have ever yet read a commentary on that book that I would regard as “my favorite”. :wink: Several interesting and helpful ones, but not any I would plonk down for other people. It’s possible that the closest I have to a favorite commentary so far is an obscure Roman Catholic one from the early 20th century!)

RB is explicitly well aware that several of his analyses and conclusions point toward Christian universalism, but I’ve forgotten why he doesn’t affirm that the text actually does add up to that. My vague impression (having slept several times since then) is that he doesn’t because he isn’t a universalist himself and doesn’t want to come up with a conclusion that would go against what he thinks the Bible elsewhere testifies to.

I wrote a short post around here somewhere a couple of years ago, after I finished reading it… {searching} There it is, in a thread discussing his 1979 “historical survey of universalism” article: “Baukham’s own exegesis of RevJohn (in his book on that topic) ended up being expressly universalistic in parts; a fact he repeatedly acknowledged and then kind of went back on for no clear reason in the text. (It helped, if one wants to call it ‘helping’ :wink:, that he either didn’t notice or avoided calling attention to several key portions of the text which would have strengthened the exegetical case in RevJohn even more.)”

Apparently I thought he did the same thing in Jesus and the God of Israel!–after adding up to Christian universalism in his text, he turns around at the end and explicitly disavows it.

Anyway, I’ve been working for several years (off and on in spurts, when not distracted by other things :wink: ), on an extensive EU scriptural commentary. Once I finish posting up the first half of CoJ, I may start posting up various things I’ve found (and am continuing to find as I find them) with links in a Contents page for people looking for discussion on particular verses.

So there’d be a constantly updated contents page, with each link going to a new thread, where I’d post my notes at the start and then other members could discuss or add to it afterward. :slight_smile:

Looking forward to JP’s commentary :slight_smile:
Amongst commentary series already published, at academic level you could take a look at the ‘Hermeneia’ series, if you are feeling rich! The commentary on Romans by Roberrt Jewett gives universalist interpretations of key passages alongside other interpretations. He takes the universalist viewpoint seriously and although not fully convinced by it, he doesn’t reject it out of hand.
At popular level, the ‘Daily Study Bible’ commentaries by William Barclay. are certainly friendly to the universalist point of view. In a famous (infamous?!?) essay, Barclay ‘came out’ as a convinced universalist and he had the academic clout to back it up.
Also at popular level, Tom Wright’s ‘For everyone’ series of NT commentaries are useful. As with a lot of his work, there is an obvious lean in a universalist direction, but he’s careful not to go all the way, unfortunately.
Not strictly commentaries but very useful for study of individual NT books are the ‘New Testament Theology’ series published by Cambridge University Press. I’m not sure any of the authors are convinced universalists, but there is a lot in these books which supports a universalist perspective, for example in Bauckham’s volume on Revelation and VP Furnish on 1 Corinthians.

Arland Hultgren’s new Romans commentary also appears to exegete key passages like chapter 5 in a universalist way. He is professor of New Testament at Luther Seminary.

Many good suggestions, keep em coming folks :slight_smile:. ( not that I can afford them all straight away, but bit by bit I like to build up my collection of useful books) . Oh for a library and lots and lots of time :slight_smile:

How did I forget Barclay?!? Which reminds me, I wonder if Schaff ever wrote or compiled a commentary series…

Thanks hugely for suggestions, Rev! (Hultgren’s volume sounds interesting, too, per Dr. Bob.)

I’m… not entirely sure I can recommend Beth Moore… but let us say I have some suspicions and she has definitely built up a large and wildly popular commentary series.

Yeah, I was thinking of checking out Barclay’s stuff.
I’ve got a couple of his books, including Introducing The Bible and The Mind Of Jesus, and after reading those I may take another crack at reading the Bible (I admit that for the most part I’ve set it aside for awhile now), maybe starting out with the Gospels, reading his commentaries for those alongside. :slight_smile:

I have nearly the whole set of NT Daily Bible Series commentaries from Barclay – 1st edition too, I might add. If you’re ever interested in what he said about a particular thing I can look up some verses and post on here.

A.E. Knoch has written a commentary no?

Bullinger (I think he is universalist)?

I thought – just off the top of my head – that Bullinger was an annihilationist.

Are any of these commentaries available for e-sword? (Or maybe I should stop being lazy and look for myself!) Nice smiley, Jason. :wink: Now that I’ve fixed it for you. :laughing:

SQUEEEE!! :open_mouth:

Uh… I have no idea what to ask about. I just needed to squee geekily there for a moment. Carry on. :slight_smile:

Yeah Jason apparently somebody came along behind him after he died and edited what he wrote substantially. One can hardly find the 1st editions anywhere.

I wonder if the CCEL database has them? Practically all of Schaff’s work is available for free download. (I picked up his patristic literature collections there.)

Hey [tag]JasonPratt[/tag], did you ever finish that EU commentary you were working on? If it’s online somewhere (whether finished or in progress), I’d be very interesting to read it!

Still working on it. Sodom is the next topic and it’s a giant sand pit of topics – up to and including Herod’s Bethlehem slaughter! (Not even kidding!)

What about

The All Mankind Bible Commentary