NIV Application Commentary (NIVAC) | Reviews, Theology

The NIV Application Commentary series has been a go-to biblical resource for pastors for since Zondervan began publishing it two decades ago. NIVAC volumes are known for being accessible and affordable, but most of all, these commentaries have a reputation for helping the reader apply the biblical text to twenty-first century life. Pastors from various denomination, and professors from diverse theological seminaries, have praised this series for being biblical, relevant, and budget-friendly.

NIV application commentary
Old Testament volumes have a yellow border

Since the 1990’s, the NIVAC series has been producing commentaries that discuss the first century, in relation to understanding the biblical text, and the twenty-first century, in relation to applying it. It is not the intention of the publisher or the editors to produce technical volumes that dive deeply into the original languages, non-biblical literature, or latest scholarship. Authors may reference these topics, but they are not the focus of the commentaries. The NIVAC series is incomplete and volumes are still being released.

The purpose of the NIVAC series can be clearly seen in the three ways each biblical passages is discussed. First, the author writes about the “Original Meaning” of the passage, which is where exegesis occurs. Next, comes “Bridging Contexts,” in which parallels are drawn between first-century and twenty-first century living. “Contemporary Significance” is third, which is where the author suggests applications, which may include illustrations, quotations, statistics, and other aids that can assist preachers.

Robert Yarbrough’s review in the Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society of Gary M. Burge’s Letters of John volume in the NIVAC series can be used as a representative example of how authors use the three series-prescribed categories. Yarbrough notes that of the pages in Burge’s commentary “48% are devoted to exegesis, 14% to erecting bridges and 38% to application.” He adds, “This truly is an ‘application’ commentary compared to most, as its title promises.” [1]

Please see how the NIVAC series compares to dozens of other commentary series on the Bible Commentaries Comparison Chart.

Video Overview

NIV Application Commentary (NIVAC): Reviews, Theology

NIV application commentary series
New Testament volumes have a white border

Among the best-reviewed Old Testament volumes include John Walton’s Genesis commentary, Roy Gane’s Leviticus and Numbers commentary, Karen Jobes’ Esther commentary, and John Oswalt’s Isaiah commentary. Among the best-reviewed New Testament volumes include Darrell Bock’s Luke commentary, Gary Burge’s John commentary, Douglas Moo’s Romans commentary, George Guthrie’s Hebrews commentary, and Craig Keener’s Revelation commentary.

Theologically, the NIVAC series is broadly evangelical. The authors, who come from various denominational traditions, generally arrive at conservative theological conclusions. However, one particular volume came under criticism after its author was suspended by the seminary where he taught.

Peter Enns, who wrote the Exodus commentary in the series, was suspended by Westminster Seminary in 2005, after the publication of a book, Inspiration and Incarnation: Evangelicals and the Problem of the Old Testament, which some argue challenges the doctrine of inerrancy. [2] The book was well-reviewed by notable commentators such as Tremper Longman III and Joel B. Green. It was criticized by notable commentators such as D.A. Carson and G.K. Beale.

The controversy did not directly concern the Exodus volume in the NIVAC series, which is one of the best reviewed commentaries in print today. Nevertheless, some reviewers have suggested not purchasing the volume because of the positions Enn’s takes in his other writings. [3]

Interviews from the NIVAC Series on Best Bible Commentaries

I am pleased to have interviewed authors from the NIVAC series on Best Bible Commentaries. Please follow the links provided below to read the Q & A’s in their entirety.

Roy Gane Q & A on Leviticus and Numbers

Preview: “The whole writing project personally edified me and drew me closer to Christ, first as I saw the loving character of God reflected in the sacrifices foreshadowing the sacrifice of Christ and in the way he reached out to his people and interacted with them as close as he could get from his sanctuary residence among them.”

Andrew E. Hill Q & A on 1-2 Chronicles

Preview: “I enjoyed writing about King David as a worshiper, and a worship leader. In part, because of the interest one of our sons has in the character of King David. I was also prompted to develop the topics by the work of former students who wrote thoughtful papers on the subject of King David and worship (appropriately credited in the commentary).”

George Guthrie Q & A on Hebrews

Preview: “As I came to the climax of the christology in Hebrews, particularly 9:11-10:18, the decisiveness of Christ’s sacrifice for our sins really impressed me and has continued to be a cornerstone of my own faith.”

Also see: Gary Burge on the Gospel of John

NIV Application Commentary Volumes

Learn more about NIVAC commentaries below.

New Testament

Learn more about the Matthew volume

Get this book on Amazon via its exact ISBN: Matthew – Michael Wilkins

Learn more about the Mark volume

Get this book on Amazon via its exact ISBN: Mark – David E. Garland

Learn more about the Luke volume

Get this book on Amazon via its exact ISBN: Luke – Darrell L. Bock 

Learn more about the John volume

Get this book on Amazon via its exact ISBN: John – Gary Burge

Learn more about the Acts volume

Get this book on Amazon via its exact ISBN: Acts – Ajith Fernando

Learn more about the Romans volume

Get this book on Amazon via its exact ISBN: Romans – Douglas J. Moo

Learn more about the 1 Corinthians volume

Get this book on Amazon via its exact ISBN: 1 Corinthians – Craig L. Blomberg

Learn more about the 2 Corinthians volume

Get this book on Amazon via its exact ISBN: 2 Corinthians – Scott J. Hafemann

Learn more about the Galatians volume

Get this book on Amazon via its exact ISBN: Galatians – Scot McKnight

Learn more about the Ephesians volume

Get this book on Amazon via its exact ISBN: Ephesians – Klyne Snodgrass

Learn more about the Philippians volume

Get this book on Amazon via its exact ISBN: Philippians – Frank S. Thielman

Learn more about the Colossians-Philemon volume

Get this book on Amazon via its exact ISBN: Colossians-Philemon – David E. Garland

Learn more about the 1-2 Thessalonians volume

Get this book on Amazon via its exact ISBN: 1-2 Thessalonians – Michael W. Holmes

Learn more about the 1-2 Timothy, Titus volume

Get this book on Amazon via its exact ISBN: 1-2 Timothy, Titus – Walter L. Liefeld

Learn more about the Hebrews volume

Get this book on Amazon via its exact ISBN: Hebrews – George H. Guthrie

Learn more about the James volume

Get this book on Amazon via its exact ISBN: James – David P. Nystrom

Learn more about the 1 Peter volume

Get this book on Amazon via its exact ISBN: 1 Peter – Scot McKnight

Learn more about the 2 Peter-Jude volume

Get this book on Amazon via its exact ISBN: 2 Peter, Jude – Douglas J. Moo

Learn more about the Letters of John volume

Get this book on Amazon via its exact ISBN: The Letters of John – Gary M. Burge

Learn more about the Revelation volume

Get this book on Amazon via its exact ISBN: Revelation – Craig S. Keener 

Old Testament

Learn more about the Genesis volume

Get this book on Amazon via its exact ISBN: Genesis – John H. Walton 

Learn more about the Exodus volume

Get this book on Amazon via its exact ISBN: Exodus – Peter E. Enns

Learn more about the Leviticus-Numbers volume

Get this book on Amazon via its exact ISBN: Leviticus, Numbers – Roy Gane

Learn more about the Deuteronomy volume

Get this book on Amazon via its exact ISBN: Deuteronomy – Daniel I. Block

Learn more about the Joshua volume

Get this book on Amazon via its exact ISBN: Joshua – Robert L. Hubbard, Jr.

Learn more about the Judges-Ruth volume

Get this book on Amazon via its exact ISBN: Judges, Ruth – K. Lawson Younger

Learn more about the 1-2 Samuel volume

Get this book on Amazon via its exact ISBN: 1 and 2 Samuel – Bill T. Arnold

Learn more about the 1-2 Kings volume

Get this book on Amazon via its exact ISBN: 1 and 2 Kings – August H. Konkel

Learn more about the 1-2 Chronicles volume

Get this book on Amazon via its exact ISBN: 1 and 2 Chronicles – Andrew E. Hill

— Ezra (no volume yet) —

— Nehemiah (no volume yet) —

Learn more about the Esther volume

Get this book on Amazon via its exact ISBN: Esther – Karen H. Jobes

Learn more about the Job volume

Get this book on Amazon via its exact ISBN: Job – John H. Walton

Learn more about the Psalms Vol. 1 volume

Get this book on Amazon via its exact ISBN: Psalms, Vol. I – Gerald H. Wilson

Learn more about the Psalms Vol. 2 volume

Get this book on Amazon via its exact ISBN: Psalms, Vol. II – W. Dennis Tucker, Jr. and Jamie A. Grant

Learn more about the Proverbs volume

Get this book on Amazon via its exact ISBN: Proverbs – Paul Koptak

Learn more about the Ecclesiastes-Song of Solomon volume

Get this book on Amazon via its exact ISBN: Ecclesiastes and Song of Solomon – Iain Provan

Learn more about the Isaiah volume

Get this book on Amazon via its exact ISBN: Isaiah – John N. Oswalt

Learn more about the Jeremiah-Lamentations volume

Get this book on Amazon via its exact ISBN: Jeremiah, Lamentations – J. Andrew Dearman

Learn more about the Ezekiel volume

Get this book on Amazon via its exact ISBN: Ezekiel – Iain M. Duguid

Learn more about the Daniel volume

Get this book on Amazon via its exact ISBN: Daniel – Tremper Longman III

Learn more about the Hosea-Amos-Micah volume

Get this book on Amazon via its exact ISBN: Hosea, Amos, and Micah – Gary V. Smith

Learn more about the Joel-Obadiah-Malachi volume

Get this book on Amazon via its exact ISBN: Joel, Obadiah, Malachi – David W. Baker

Learn more about the Jonah-Nahum-Habakkuk-Zephaniah volume

Get this book on Amazon via its exact ISBN: Jonah-Nahum-Habakkuk-Zephaniah – James Bruckner

Learn more about the Haggai-Zechariah volume

Get this book on Amazon via its exact ISBN: Haggai-Zechariah – Mark J. Boda


Footnotes:

  1. Yarbrough, Robert W. Source: Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, 42 no 2 Jun 1999, p 370-372 (subscription required)
  2. https://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2008/april/114-24.0.html
  3. https://credomag.com/2015/12/what-about-peter-enns-exodus-commentary-timothy-raymond/