Avondale scholar writes for new Seventh-day Adventist Bible commentary

Dr David Tasker, senior lecturer in Old Testament theology at Avondale College of Higher Education, NSW.

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Editorial work on the new Seventh-day Adventist International Bible Commentary began in 2010 and is scheduled to be completed in 2020. Since publication of the Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary about 65 years ago, public attitudes and the resulting spiritual challenges have changed. Our understanding of Scripture and its languages has changed as new discoveries and technical skills shed new light on issues that have baffled scholars for centuries. And the Seventh-day Adventist Church has changed. It is no longer predominantly American but has become truly international. So, it is time for a new Bible commentary that speaks to the Adventist world and provides to the rest of the world an Adventist wholistic view of Scripture.

Dr David Tasker, Senior Lecturer in Old Testament, is writing the commentary for the book of Proverbs. Avondale Seminary Head Dr Kayle de Waal asked him about the process.

Dr Kayle de Waal: With any research project come challenges and opportunities. Describe some of these.

Dr David Tasker: The challenges have been mostly personal; finding blocks of time to seek the best understanding of the book’s content. Changing jobs and location twice during the project slowed me down, too. I took three months of long service leave to get some traction. But it has been a fascinating journey and I’ve come to appreciate the book’s practical, common sense approach. It speaks to our times in remarkable ways and is as relevant now as any modern treatise.

KdW: And what about the writing process?

DT: First, I translated the book from the original Hebrew to identify the linguistic connections that aren’t so obvious when reading the English translations. Then I drafted the first 20 pages and sent them to the editor for comment. Having received the OK, I completed the draft and sent it back to the editor, who suggested a few changes. I sent the next draft to a peer reviewer, who also suggested changes, and a third draft to a reading committee, which made further suggestions. The final draft went to the production team for publication.

KdW: What two things about Proverbs did you learn from writing the commentary?

DT: Proverbs is written with the young person in mind, so its purpose is to prepare the young to live long and successfully. In distilling all the comments about the wise and the foolish person, the fool is portrayed as knowing everything and showing no interest in listening to what anyone else has to say, but the wise person is willing to take prudent instruction and to act on it.

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