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Bible Commentary Series Editors Recognized


Dec 8, 2004


Mary and Willard Swartley of Elkhart, Indiana, and Elmer and Phyllis Martens of Fresno, California, were honored at the annual meetings of the Believers Church Bible Commentaries Series in San Antonio, Texas. Swartley edited nine New Testament volumes in the series and Martens eight Old Testament volumes, as well as writing one himself.

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SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS. - Elmer A. Martens and Willard M. Swartley, editors of the Believers Church Bible Commentary Series, were honored for service spanning three decades. The recognition took place at a dinner of the annual meeting of the Editorial Council on November 19 in San Antonio, Texas.

Paul M. Zehr of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and chair of the Editorial Council, noted Willard Swartley’s association with the commentary project went back to the late 1970’s when he served on the Mennonite Publication Board. He helped shape the direction of the project which now has 19 volumes in print.

Swartley of the Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary in Elkhart, Indiana, served as New Testament Editor from 1989 to 2001during which time he edited nine volumes in the series. “You have brought a combination of first rate New Testament scholarship and Christian spirituality to your work,” said Zehr.

Elmer Martens’ work with the commentary project spans approximately 25 years, noted Zehr. Martens helped to shape the Believers Church Bible Commentary’s direction in the early years by being chosen as Old Testament editor and working on the project during a study leave in 1981-1982,

Martens of the Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary in Fresno, California, also wrote on Jeremiah as the first volume in the series. Paul M. Zehr called Martens “a faithful Christian, a fine gentleman, a good brother to work with, and a first rate Old Testament scholar.”

The replacements for the editors were also at the meeting: Gordon Zerbe of Canadian Mennonite University has been appointed editor of New Testament and Douglas Miller of Tabor College is editor of Old Testament.

The meetings were held in conjunction with the annual meetings of the American Academy of Religion and Society of Biblical Literature where the latest volume in the series was released, Proverbs by John W. Miller of Waterloo, Ontario.

The series is published by Herald Press, a division of the Mennonite Publishing Network, in cooperation with six Believers Church denominations. This was also a transition for the Council as Robert Ives of Brethren in Christ Church attended his last meeting, and Derek Suderman attended his first meeting as representative of Mennonite Church Canada.

The editors were each presented a scrapbook, which included notes of appreciation from members of the Editorial Council, staff and writers and a leather-bound copy of the Martyrs Mirror.