OMLB has completed the last of the 49 volumes of Robert Nicoll’s “Expositor’s Bible”
series, originally published c. 1900. I’d like to extend my congratulations to the
entire OMLB group on finishing this project, and to “The Holy Pig” for helping with
the base manuscripts. This was a group project; and the group I get to be part of
is a tremendous one.
When the first EB module was completed (in the late Spring of 2010), it was not my/our
intention to work on this series. I was looking for a good supplemental commentary
on the Book of Joshua, and discovered a book by William Blaikie from the Expositor’s
Bible series. It was an excellent commentary, so I turned it into an eSword module.
I thought that would be the end of it. In fact, the module was originally posted
at DDT as “Blaikie, William - Expositor’s Bible Joshua” (or something like that),
and not as a volume of the Expositor’s Bible. It was only sometime later that the
name on that file was changed so that all of the Expositor’s Bible modules would
be easy to find together.
A few weeks after I published Blaikie’s Joshua, another OMLB team member independently
built the Hebrews ExpoBib module by Thomas Edwards. At the time, several of us were
working on “Hebrews” and “Tabernacle” modules. The EB Hebrews module was selected
for it’s content, and not because it was part of a series. Along the same time frame,
another of us built the ExpoBib “Exodus” commentary because the text was easily available
via one of our text resource sites.
So by early summer 2010, we had “accidently” published 3 of the 49 volumes of Nicoll’s
Expositor’s Bible series. Great. At that point, I thought “Maybe we’ll finish this
series by 2025!” And then something unique happened.
A Series Completed
A “theWord” user (“The Holy Pig”) made a forum post at another eSword site that basically
said he was going to post all of the Expositor’s Bible titles at his site in .rtf
format. Anyone who wanted to convert his texts into modules would be welcome to the
material. OMLB batted that idea around, and we decided to tackle the NT modules.
With God’s help, the entire NT section was finalized prior to the end of 2010. OMLB
really did an outstanding job of working together to put out the 21 NT volumes (vols.
29-49). At the time, we were under the impression that the the text of the OT volumes
would be “some time off” before they would be ready for module work.
One of our team members, though, was quite interested in seeing this project through
to fruition. In his spare time, he worked diligently on the OT sections of the text.
I’m not exactly sure all of the different places he took his original source texts
from; but I know he went through a tremendous amount of work making many of the texts.
When he got down to the last seven volumes (Psalms, Jeremiah, & Isaiah), he told
us in particular that these texts were in poor shape. Yet he worked hard to get them
The final volume (the second Isaiah volume) was emailed for our proof queue in early
October; and it was posted on October 20.
Is There A Commentary Module Coming?
I’ve received more feedback on the volumes of Expositor’s Bible than I have from
the rest of the DDT library combined. That’s a stunning statement, but it’s true
nonetheless. And there is a common thread: “Is a .cmtx module going to be made when
all of the modules are finished?” I originally thought that I would do it eventually;
later I would think that someone else would probably do it after some time had passed;
now I think it will not ever be done - and if it is, it will not be done well. Why?
The individual volumes of Nicoll’s Expositor’s Bible are only partially “verse by
verse commentaries.” Besides those traditional commentary sections, many/most/all
of the volumes have a tremendous amount of topical material. Topical material does
not work well in the eS/TW commentary format. In order to maintain the integrity
of the text, all of that topical material would have to be dumped into the “Book”
material or the “Chapter” material - or right into “1:1” of every commentary. From
a functional standpoint, those are poor solutions.
A second problem is that the authors did not handle verses consecutively. Many of
the individual authors held a lower view of inspiration than I hold. One of the ramifications
of that is their attempt to piece together original source material. And when some
of those authors built their commentary sections, they combined passages together
and moved verses around to fit their views of what they considered to be original
source material. It makes for building a .cmtx module difficult. Add to that the
topical nature of many of the volumes, and a .cmtx just doesn’t work. (If you’d like
to see an example of what I mean, check out the Table of Contents of the module for
1&2 Chronicles. Ugh.)
Let me say a word about ExpoBib’s theology. Robert Nicoll seemed like he was a pretty
good guy. His “Expositor’s Greek New Testament” is one of my favorite resources (I’ve
used it since my college days). I must say, though, that his editorial choices for
some of his authors were puzzling. Some of these guys are great: William Blaikie
(Joshua & two Samuel volumes - his “Joshua” is one of the best commentaries on that
book that I’ve ever used) & Alexander Maclaren are two examples of some of the finest
conservative expositor’s on the planet in any age. But the whole set is not of equal
The Old Testament volumes seem to be particularly suspect. Many of the Old Testament
commentators follow the Documentary Hypothesis of the formation of the Old Testament.
As a result, many of the OT volumes are more liberal in their theology than what
would typically be posted at DDT. They can still be used with profit; but they will
need to be utilized with a greater degree of caution than most of our other DDT titles
necessitate. (NOTE: everything should be read with theological filters! The only
“thus saith the Lord” is the beloved Word of God Itself!)
For those just arriving at the site, we have made the entire ExpoBib Series available
in one large download; and of course, you can continue to pick and choose individual
volumes if you wish.
We hope that these volumes will be used to the Glory of God and the spread of the
gospel all the way around the world.