Word Biblical Themes is a companion series to the well-loved Word Biblical Commentary. Its name gives away its contents — a discussion of biblical themes. But, you can also trust this series to have the same level of scholarship and usefulness as the WBC.

In this post, you will find all you need to know about Word Biblical Themes. Then, at the end, you can also read an excerpt!

Why Study Biblical Themes?

First, let’s answer this question. Why should we take a deeper look at themes in the Bible?

Finding the major themes in each book of the Bible is incredibly helpful to your overall study of God’s Word. But, if you’re preaching or teaching, it’s essential! Themes help reveal the meaning the behind the text, and ultimately, application points.

But themes aren’t easy to find. They are often like buried treasure, hidden beneath the surface, and difficult to find without a guide. Sadly, many commentaries give insights verse-by-verse or chapter-by-chapter. These tools won’t direct you to trace important concepts throughout your reading.

So, adding a book to your collection that focuses solely on themes can be a game-changer.

Studying with Word Biblical Themes

Now that we know why studying biblical themes is helpful, let’s look at what makes Word Biblical Themes unique.


First, the series’ authors didn’t want to just give you information. Instead, this series is written with the intent to enrich your preaching, teaching, worship, and discipleship of God’s people. As we said before, biblical themes can lead us toward healthy application. So, it makes sense that action would be the end goal for those working on this project.


Second, take a look at the features:

  • Written by top biblical scholars (listed below!)
  • Features authors from the Word Biblical Commentary series, continuing your study with ease
  • Gives readers an ability to see the “big picture” of a book of the Bible by understanding what topics and concerns were most important to the biblical writers
  • Distills deep and focused study into the most important themes and practical applications of them
  • Helps address pressing issues in the church today by showing readers see how the biblical writers approached similar issues in their day
  • Ideal for sermon preparation and for other teaching in the church


Table of Contents for the entire Word Biblical Themes series

Lastly, take a look at the fifteen volumes in this set. We’ve listed the titles and authors below.

  • Exodus by John I. Durham
  • Joshua by Trent C. Butler
  • 1 and 2 Kings by T. R. Hobbs
  • 1 and 2 Chronicles by Roddy L. Braun
  • Psalms by Leslie C. Allen
  • Isaiah by John D. W. Watts
  • Daniel by John Goldingay
  • Hosea-Jonah by Douglas Stuart
  • Micah-Malachi by Ralph L. Smith
  • John by George R. Beasley-Murray
  • 1 and 2 Corinthians by Ralph P. Martin
  • Philippians by Gerald F. Hawthorne
  • 1 and 2 Thessalonians by Leon Morris
  • 1 Peter by J. Ramsey Michaels
  • 2 Peter and Jude by Richard J. Bauckham

Word Biblical Themes are an ideal resource for anyone who enjoys the Word Biblical Commentary series. It can help pastors, bible teachers, and students as they seek to understand and apply God’s word to their ministry.

Take a Look Inside

Up next, we’re sharing a few screenshots with you! Selecting the images will allow you to expand them for easier reading.

First, take a look at how the table of contents is laid out. You select a book of the Bible, then drill into a theme of your choice.

Table of Contents, Word Biblical Themes

In this next screenshot, we chose “The Sequence of Story” which revealed a list of themes of God taking certain actions. We opened to “God keeping his promise” but the other options were “God revealing his presence,” “God proving his presence,” “God providing and guiding by his presence” and more.

Also, verse references are linked in this series. Tapping on one will open a small window with the Bible text for quick reading.

Exodus excerpt from Word Biblical Themes

Below is an example of the content you will find in this series.

Excerpt from Word Biblical Themes

Lastly, here is a screenshot of the table of contents for the Psalms.

Psalms Word Biblical Themes

Word Biblical Themes Excerpt: Praise in the Lament

The following is an excerpt from the Word Biblical Themes series.

Comfort and challenge. Not even laments are devoid of praise. Those whose sufferings are expressed in such psalms experienced mental torment. How could they reconcile the God they had known as a friend with a God who was now distant and seemingly alien? The torment comes to a head in the agonized question, why? This question is characteristic of the lament, notably in 22:1, “why have you forsaken me?” However, their previous experience of a positive relationship with God brings a measure of comfort. It brands their present experience as atypical and so, hopefully, temporary. Normal relations would be resumed, it is hoped, because of who God is and because of his ties with the believer as “my God” (22:1).

Reminiscence of God’s positive revelation of himself also functions as a challenge to God. Let him intervene and prove himself real and powerful in the present situation, in a manner consistent with previous experience! Psychologically the function of provocative challenge precedes that of comfort, as the negative context of the questions in 77:7–9 suggest:

Will the Lord spurn for ever,
and never again be favorable?
Has his steadfast love for ever ceased? . . .
Has God forgotten to be gracious? (RSV)

In this latter case the overall context is significant. The challenge follows an expression of nostalgia, seemingly for the historical past celebrated in standard hymns when God revealed himself as savior of the covenant people. Challenge turns to comfort in the second and positive half of the psalm. The Exodus period becomes a theological window through which to glimpse the perennial activity and being of God:

What god is great like our God?
Thou art the God who workest wonders. . . .

(vv 13, 14 RSV)

Start Studying Biblical Themes

If studying biblical themes seems interesting to you, make sure to add this collection to your library. It is sure to help you make connections across Scripture and apply God’s Word to your life.

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