The Bible for the Hoi Polloi

Readers who have been frustrated by the lack of accessible biblical commentaries for laypersons will welcome the addition of Tom Wright's For Everyone series. Wright—the British New Testament scholar who also publishes as "N.T." Wright—writes well and with an easy style. The short commentaries tackle New Testament books without being weighed down by internecine debates, heavy-handed arguments about translations or a jumble of Greek vocabulary. In March, Westminster John Knox will release the first eight books (some of which are in two volumes), on each of the four gospels and some of Paul's letters. Future volumes will take up Acts, other letters and that ever-controversial bugbear, Revelation. (WJKP, $14.95 each; Matthew for Everyone, Part 1 Chapters 1—15 240p ISBN 0-664-22786-4; Mar.)

The Middle-Class Christian

Some Christians advocate a total asceticism that requires giving all money and goods to the poor; others embrace a health-and-wealth gospel and claim that God wants believers to be rich. Which view is correct? According to David McCarthy in The Good Life: Genuine Christianity for the Middle Class, people don't need to go to either extreme; it is possible to be a responsible Christian and live comfortably though not excessively. The admonition to "seek ye first the kingdom of God," he says, is "not idealistic advice, but a very practical way of love," and forms the key to Christian values. (Brazos, $13.99 paper 176p ISBN 1-58743-068-1; Feb.)