This wonderful commentary on the Scriptures is a great tool for those reading and studying the Bible. This commentary was started in 1998 with more volumes being published; eventually there will be 28 volumes divided into the Old Testament and the New Testament. A collection of commentaries, homilies, catechetical instructions, and other works by the early Church Fathers, this commentary was put together for the laity rather than the biblical scholar, although the scholar can still get much from this commentary. This commentary does not follow the modern historical-critical approach to biblical scholarship. It is a patristic commentary meant to be an aid for preaching, for study, and for meditation. Cardinal Avery Dulles, S.J., and others highly recommend this combined work of many international and interdenominational scholars meant to serve the needs of the Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant Christians in their reading of the Bible.
The commentary is pretty easy to use. There is a “how to use” section in the front of each volume, and the Revised Standard Version of the Bible is used for the Scripture. A Scripture passage - either one verse or multiple verses – is followed by a short overview or summary. Then short commentaries from early Church Fathers are given, ending with the source of the quotes. The commentaries are from English translations of the Fathers’ works, some of which have never before been translated into English; some older English translations have been updated to modern English.
The Church Fathers were not being academics when they presented these but fulfilling their roles as pastors. Their commentaries were, most of the time, originally homilies given during Mass or some other liturgy and typically not written down beforehand; someone in the congregation would write down what he heard. These homilies could be long or given as a series over time. Some of the works in this commentary are from letters or other sources like catechetical instructions. This commentary provides what the Church Fathers taught about the Scriptures and about the Faith.
The commentaries have footnotes with a list of abbreviations in the front of each volume. In the back of each volume are biographical sketches of the commentators or of anonymous works. There is a timeline of the commentators and their geographical locations, a bibliography of works in the original languages, a bibliography of works in English translation, an author/writings index, a subject index, and a scripture index.
If you are looking for what the early Church Fathers had to say on the Scriptures, here is a wonderful resource. Around half of the 28 volumes have been published - there are many more to look forward to.