Complete Biblical Library (was Re: Interlinear)

From: Perry L. Stepp (
Date: Fri Mar 19 1999 - 08:26:38 EST

From: Bill Ross <>

>I have something called "The Complete Biblical Library" which I highly
>recommend (it runs about $300 I think) and it has:

>* an interlinear with the mood, tense, voice for each word
>* a textual apparatus with alternate reading and which manuscripts
>* a complete analytical dictionary, showing how the Greek word was used in
>Classical, Septuagint, Intertestament and in the NT
>* running commentary
>* book overviews on every book
>* a harmony of the Gospels

I looked at this set about ten years ago, and haven't seen a volume since.
My opinion was not as favorable as Bill's. Here's what I remember--I may
miss a detail or two, but the following should be pretty accurate. If I
miss a point or two, Bill (or anyone else) is welcome to correct me.

As I recall, the Complete Biblical Library is a strange mix of valuable and
frustrating features.

1. It's based on the Textus Receptus (or the Farstad/Hodges Majority
Text?): one's assessment of the value of the text *and* apparatus should
take this into account.

2. The editors and contributors are mostly M.Div.'s, not Th.D.'s/Ph.D.'s or
classicists or philologists. All are affiliated with very conservative
Evangelical institutions or churches. I'm not insulting conservative
Evangelicals (I am one), I'm just noting that the scholarship in these
volumes comes from a very narrow spectrum.

3. The concordances in the analytical dictionary are the set's greatest
strength. They provide one of the few places (outside of Kittel, and they
provide more data in this particular regard) where one can in a single
glance see Septuagintal, Classical, and NT uses of a particular word. As I
recall, it parsed the uses: you could see how a particular word was always
used as a participle by a particular author, or how a particular verb was
never used in the aorist subjunctive, or whatever. *This* was an
interesting (and very valuable) feature.

4. Philosophically, the dictionary's approach was a mix of etymologizing
and theological overloading--James Barr's worst nightmare <grin>.

4. It does indeed provide parsing for most (every?) word(s), something akin
to the AGNT. The parsing extends to the apparatus.

5. I found the running commentary and summaries to be less than
inspiring--about what one would expect from a standard (and extremely
fundamentalistic) Evangelical study Bible. Again, I'm not insulting
Evangelicals (I am one), what I mean is this: the commentary was more
concerned with fundamentalist polemics than with hermeneutical, historical,
or theological dimensions of the text itself. (But that's not really a
point for this forum, is it?)

Since I already had Kittel (and since I now have more and better resources
on cd-rom), I didn't spring for the set, and wouldn't now. Bible Windows
(which I use) or Bible Works or Gramcord cost less, don't weigh nearly as
much, contain much more data (and from a more mainstream perspective
textually.) Buy the software, and the Colin Brown *New International
Dictionary of New Testament Theology* or Kittel, before you buy these books.


Pastor, DeSoto Christian Church, DeSoto TX
DCC's webpage:
Ph.D. Candidate in Religion, Baylor University
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A great deal of intelligence can be invested in
ignorance when the need for illusion is great.
        --Saul Bellow


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