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Thomas R. Schreiner is the James Harrison Professor of New Testament Interpretation at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. He has also taught New Testament at Azusa Pacific University and Bethel Theological Seminary. He received a B.S. from Western Oregon University, a M.Div. and Th.M. from Western Conservative Baptist Seminary, and a Ph.D. in New Testament from Fuller Theological Seminary. He has published a number of articles and book reviews in scholarly journals. His published books include: Interpreting the Pauline Epistles, The Law and Its Fulfillment: A Pauline Theology of Law; Romans; Women in the Church: A Fresh Analysis of 1 Timothy 2:9-15, co-edited with H. S. Baldwin and A. Kostenberger; Still Sovereign: Contemporary Perspectives on Election, Foreknowledge, and Grace, co-edited with B. A. Ware; The Race Set Before Us: A Biblical Theology of Perseverance and Assurance, co-authored with Ardel Caneday, Paul, Apostle of God's Glory in Christ: A Pauline Theology; New Testament Theology: Magnifying God in Christ. He is also the preaching pastor of Clifton Baptist Church in Louisville, Kentucky. He is married to Diane Elaine and they have four children: Daniel, Patrick, John, and Anna.
The publisher, editors, and authors of the New American Commentary are delighted that people are eager for us to complete this excellent set of commentaries. At the same time, however, we are sorry that we do not yet have all the volumes available for our readers. The first volume was published in 1991. Twenty-one years later (as of 2012) we have published 41 outstanding volumes. That's about two volumes per year, and a year has never gone by without at least one new volume. There are only 4 volumes still to be completed (2 vols. on Psalms, 1 Corinthians, and Ephesians). Each of the completed volumes has received outstanding reviews and has proven invaluable to thousands of students and church leaders. (Eight NAC volumes are listed on Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary's "Basic Library Booklist" of the best Bible commentaries on individual books.)
Unlike the parts of a watch, of course, the usefulness of a commentary does not depend on the set being complete. In every case, the authors of the remaining volumes were not involved in the project at the beginning. They have joined us later because, for various reasons, the original authors were unable to complete their assignments. In the case of some volumes, we have had to enlist a new author more than once. In some cases, our authors have such heavy administrative positions that they have very little time left for writing. The people best qualified to write a volume of the New American Commentary are heavily involved in teaching and writing for the academic community, in preaching, and other ministries of the local church, as well as leadership in their own families and communities. Most books can be written in a few months at the most. Even some commentaries, which do not contain word-for-word exegesis or any footnotes, can often be written in a year or two, depending on the author's outside commitments. But producing a commentary of the depth called for in the New American Commentary requires thousands of hours of intensive labor in research, reading, reflecting, writing, and rewriting. Writers must carefully analyze their biblical book in Hebrew, Aramaic, or Greek, doing hundreds of word studies, charting and diagraming sentences and paragraphs, reading thousands of pages of books and articles, and reflecting on the theological and life implications of the text. A typical volume will have between one and two thousand footnotes, each note representing many hours of research. David Garland's volume on 2 Corinthians, for example, has 1,880 footnotes. In addition, the volume must be read, reread, and proofread by at least a half dozen editors, doing our best to make sure every word counts.
Actually, the New American Commentary is coming out at a relatively rapid pace compared to other commentary series of similar depth: Hendrickson's New International Biblical Commentary series began in 1983 and is not yet complete. The same is true of Doubleday's Anchor Bible that began in 1964, and Eerdmans' New International Commentary that began in 1951. InterVarsity's Tyndale Commentary series was begun in 1958 and was not completed until 1999. In fact, as I glance around my office, I count 27 commentary sets, many of them quite old. Only eight of those sets have been completed. Our goal is not to produce a commentary set as fast as we can, but to produce for all the books of the Bible commentaries that provide the serious Bible student and the church with a treasury of information and guidance into the deep riches of the Word of God. A few people who began acquiring the New American Commentary in the 1990s had the false understanding that we expected to produce the entire set in a few short years. As much as we would like to have done this, however, the size and depth of the NAC made that impossible. We greatly appreciate those who have continued to purchase and use the NAC, and we hope that with God's help the final volumes will be available soon. We are expecting to publish 1 Corinthians in 2013, Psalms 1-72 in 2015, Ephesians in 2016, and Psalms 73-150 in 2017.