by Zachary Krauss
In the summer of 2018, Associate Professor of Biblical Studies Michael Shepherd published his latest book, A Commentary on the Book of the Twelve. This book takes a look at the last 12 books of the Old Testament, the Minor Prophets, and presents them as one composition rather than 12 unconnected books.
Shepherd said that the first thought of writing a manuscript like this began about 15 years ago when he was at graduate school and he became interested in reading through the Minor Prophets as a collective composition. Five years after that, he was teaching as an assistant professor at Louisiana College and he published a journal article that clearly articulated this concept of reading all the books together in what is known as the Book of the Twelve
“Just being in the midst of [writing the manuscript] and the whole process of translating from the original text and getting my hands dirty in all of those texts and going through all of the research for me has been an absolutely wonderful experience,” Shepherd said. “You’re just living in the text of the Bible, and I can’t think of anything better to do.”
Shepherd wanted this book to be able to function in a way that took the historical view of the Book of the Twelve as one unit and give contextual proofs according to internal composition. Through this, he wanted to create a commentary that would allow the books to function as relevant Christian Scripture beyond the lifetime of the authors.
Shepherd wants readers to be able to use these books in the same way the New Testament authors did. He believes that if these books could inform the early church with a better understanding of Jesus, the same can be true for us.
“I think it would be helpful for the student body to be able to look at these texts that document and ancient period and aren’t really relevant for the church, but rather that they can be read as Christian Scripture very legitimately,” Shepherd said.
Shepherd was able to connect with Kregel Publications during one of their visits to Cedarville in 2015. They were still in the early stages of the production and publication of their exegetical commentary series and asked if Dr. Shepherd would be willing to write about the minor prophets
Dr. Jason Lee, dean of the School of Biblical and Theological studies and professor of theological studies, originally connected Shepherd and Kregel Publishers and has been involved with the process ever since the writing began.
Lee believes that Dr. Shepherd’s writing is invaluable to a pastor or even a student who is interested in studying the Bible in depth.
“I’m a big fan of Dr. Shepherd in many ways, but specifically about his writing, I appreciate the fact that, if I have my Bible open and I’m reading what he’s writing, I can follow and see what he’s writing and discussing in the text,” Lee said.
Shepherd is looking into the possibility of writing another book in the Kregel Exegetical Library on the book of Jeremiah.
Zach Krauss is a senior pharmacy/music double major from central Texas and campus reporter for Cedars. He loves music, theatre, biology, community, and meeting new people.