Monday, March 31, 2014

Pick Three Commentaries on Revelation

In the very near future Redeemer Church in Hudson, Ohio (my church) will begin a new sermon series on the Book of Revelation. For the record, choosing a commentary on Revelation is a difficult task for many reasons. Nevertheless, here's  a few commentaries worth digging into in preparation for our series or just for your own studies.

Revelation by Leon Morris

Product Description
"The book of Revelation is, I fear, a very neglected book. Its symbolism belongs to the first century, not to our own age," says Leon Morris in the preface to his commentary on Revelation. Here he explains the significance of the symbolism and shows the bearing of the message of Revelation on the problems of the day in which it was written. The original, unrevised text of this volume has been completely retypeset and printed in a larger, more attractive format with the new cover design for the series. The Tyndale New Testament Commentaries have long been a trusted resource for Bible study.

The Book of Revelation by G. K. Beale

Product Description
Many Reformed and evangelical scholars argue that Beale has written the best available contemporary commentary on Revelation. In many respects, it is outstanding. Beale’s commentary is the place to turn for insight on the many Old Testament allusions and echoes in the book of Revelation. - Keith Mathison

Revelation by Simon Kistemaker

Product Description
Revelation completes Baker's award-winning New Testament Commentary series composed for the benefit of pastors and serious Bible students who desire high-quality evangelical scholarship communicated with clarity.
In this volume, Kistemaker provides a comprehensive look into one of the most intriguing books of the Bible. He shows that the Book of Revelation is indeed "a divinely constructed volume in which God shows his handiwork."
Simon J. Kistemaker (Ph.D., Free University, Amsterdam) is emeritus professor of New Testament at Reformed Theological Seminary, Orlando. He received Gold Medallion Awards for four of the volumes in this series: Hebrews, James and 1-3 John, Acts, and 1 Corinthians.

Monday, March 24, 2014

The Envy of Eve: Finding Contentment in a Covetous World by Melissa Kruger

This looks to be a well written and insightful work.  

The Envy of Eve: Finding Contentment in a Covetous World by Melissa Kruger
What's truly at the heart of our desires? The Envy of Eve guides readers to understand how desires grow into covetousness and what happens when this sin takes power in our hearts. Covetousness chokes out the fruit of the Spirit in our lives, allowing discontentment to bloom. The key to overcoming is to get to the root of our problem: unbelief-a mistrust of God's sovereignty and goodness. An ideal resource for deeper study or group discussion.


“Through biblical examples and sympathetic counsel we are pointed again and again to the delivering power of the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Faith Cook, Author of Troubled Journey, Derbyshire, England.
“With I've-been-there understanding and been-in-the-Word insight, Melissa Kruger helps us to look beneath the surface of our discontent, exposing our covetous hearts to the healing light of God's Word.”
Nancy Guthrie, author of the Seeing Jesus in the Old Testament Bible Study series author of the Seeing Jesus in the Old Testament Bible Study series.
“In an age and culture where we all tend to have an overdeveloped sense of entitlement, this book makes a brilliant diagnosis that goes right to the heart of the problem.”
Ann Benton, Author and family conference speaker, Guildford, England.
“With empathy and grounded biblical insight, Melissa Kruger shows us the path to abiding joy amidst life’s varied ‘ups’ and ‘downs’.”
Lydia Brownback, Author of Contentment, Wheaton, Illinois.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Pick Three Leviticus Commentaries

Here's our top three...

Leviticus: Holy God, Holy People by Kenneth A. Matthews
Product description
This new Preaching the Word commentary reveals how the regulations detailed in Leviticus point to the perfection and fulfillment of Christ in the New Testament age.
It is the message that God spoke to his people through Moses as they prepared to depart for the Promised Land. It details regulations for holy living and sacrificial worship in Old Testament Israel. But does Leviticus have anything to say to Christians today?
Knowing that readers of the Bible often get hung up on the seeming irrelevance of Leviticus, Kenneth Mathews counters with this insightful Preaching the Word commentary. His chapter-by-chapter analysis reveals much about not only the demands of a holy God but about the kind of relationship he wants with his people and his standards for worship in any age.
As Mathews illuminates the significance of Israel's sacrificial system and symbols, he draws parallel after parallel to Jesus as their perfect fulfillment. His commentary will train pastors, teachers, and serious readers in how Leviticus foreshadows the saving work of Jesus, and the many ways God made accommodation for human sin through Christ.

The Book of Leviticus by Gordon J. Wenham
Product desription
Leviticus used to be the first book that Jewish children studied in the synagogue. In the modern church it tends to be the last part of the Bible that anyone looks at seriously. Because Leviticus is largely concerned with subjects that seem incomprehensible and irrelevant today -- rituals for sacrifice and regulations concerning uncleanness -- it appears to have nothing to say to twenty-first-century Christians.
In this excellent commentary on Leviticus, Gordon Wenham takes with equal seriousness both the plain original meaning of the text and its abiding theological value. To aid in reconstructing the original meaning of the text, Wenham draws from studies of Old Testament ritual and sacrifice that compare and contrast biblical customs with the practices of other Near Eastern cultures. He also closely examines the work of social anthropologists and expertly utilizes the methods of literary criticism to bring out the biblical author’s special interests.
In pursuit of his second aim, to illumine the enduring theological value of Leviticus, Wenham discusses at the end of each section how the Old Testament passages relate to the New Testament and to contemporary Christianity. In doing so, he not only shows how pervasive Levitical ideas are in the New Testament but also highlights in very practical ways the enduring claim of God’s call to holiness on the lives of Christians today.

Word Biblical Commentary: Leviticus by John E. Hartley
Product description
Although it is at the heart of the Pentateuch, the book of Leviticus is sometimes dismissed as dry and legalistic material with little relevance to modern religious concerns. But in this commentary Dr. John Hartley perceives that the message of Leviticus—the significance of pure worship and holy living—is also the heart of vital faith in any age. Amid the prescriptions for sacrifice and ritual to be observed by Israel in the wilderness, the author finds useful observations for the people of God today.
The emphasis of Leviticus on true worship, and on ordering the ethical life according to the will of Yahweh instead of idols, was at the heart of Israel’s raison d’etre, Dr. Hartley notes. Viewed in this light, such prescriptions as the “Holiness Code” (chapters 17-26) are far more than a list of ritual observances; they are Israel’s response to God’s charge to “be holy, for I, Yahweh, your God, am holy.”
Leviticus’ focus on the Aaronic priesthood also receives special attention in this treatment. The Levites are the designated communicators charged with transmitting God’s law through Moses—indeed, the purpose of the book “to preserve divine sermons for the instruction of the congregation in cultic and ethical matters.” Yet, despite their insistence on correct form and content in worship, the Levites do not become authoritarian protectors of a secret code in the manner of pagan priests. Since the formulas were proclaimed to the congregation, they became an informed laity exerting a balancing dynamic on the priests as well as receiving ministry from them.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Audio Book Discussion - Housewife Theologian: How the Gospel Interrupts the Ordinary by Aimee Byrd

Once again we find a fun and encouraging book discussion at Reformed Forum with authors Aimee Byrd, Michele Kruger and Nancy Guthrie as they discuss Byrd's book, Housewife Theologian: How the Gospel Interrupts the Ordinary. Don't miss the discussion and consider picking up the book as well here or here.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Audio Book Discussion: Gray Matters: Navigating the Space Between Legalism and Liberty by Brett McCracken

Insightfully, author Brett McCracken examines the top cultural issues of our day in Gray Matters: Navigating the Space Between Legalism and Liberty.  This work will be thought provoking and informative as the author creates a balance for many weighty issues of our day. For a good discussion with the author click over to Reformed Forum.

Book Description
Culture is in right now for Christians. Engaging it, embracing it, consuming it, and creating it. Many (younger) evangelicals today are actively cultivating an appreciation for aspects of culture previously stigmatized within the church. Things like alcohol, Hollywood's edgier content, plays, art openings, and concerts have moved from being forbidden to being celebrated by believers. But are evangelicals opening their arms too wide in uncritical embrace of culture? How do they engage with culture in ways that are mature, discerning, and edifying rather than reckless, excessive, and harmful? Can there be a healthy, balanced approach--or is that simply wishful thinking?

With the same insight and acuity found in his popular Hipster Christianity, Brett McCracken examines some of the hot-button gray areas of Christian cultural consumption, helping to lead Christians to adopt a more thoughtful approach to consuming culture in the complicated middle ground between legalism and license. Readers will learn how to both enrich their own lives and honor God--refining their ability to discern truth, goodness, beauty, and enjoy his creation.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Book review: The Greener Grass Conspiracy: Finding Contentment on Your Side of the Fence By Stephen Altrogge

The Greener Grass Conspiracy isn't new but well worth the time, effort and thought the reader devotes to it. The "If Only" syndrome hits us all, even Christians, and we must deal with and deal with it Biblically. Below is a review from sometime ago and a video from the publisher, Crossway. Invest in this one and put it to use in your life today.

Happiness is such an elusive thing. We all want it and can never seem to get our arms around it. We seem to always be searching for that next thing that will make us happy. In his book, The Greener Grass Conspiracy, Stephen Altrogge lays out our problem of discontentment and with wit, humor and a compelling easy to read style, directs us on a Biblical path to obtain that happiness we are all so desperately seeking.

In twelve concise chapters the author spells out our issues with discontentment, idolatry and complaining and then carefully and humorously guides us scripturally to the answers we seek. I repeatedly found myself making connections to many of the real life issues he used as examples. Those things that drag us down and cause us to complain and search for answers in the world and in ourselves rather than letting them drive us to Christ. His chapter on complaining, Eat the Meat and Die (you'll just have to read the book to understand the witty chapter titles), was especially meaningful to me as it likely will be to many readers. Likewise, the last several chapters on counting our blessings, suffering and heaven were warmly written and spoke to some of the serious concerns I have faced and that we all deal with in our lifetimes.

On the surface this may seem like just another self help book but I earnestly contend it is far more than that. Every Christian should be examining their lives for these issues and carefully contemplating their resolution. This little engaging book from Crossway can help you do that.

  "Greener Grass Conspiracy" Trailer - Stephen Altrogge from Crossway on Vimeo.

Want to read more from Stephen Altrogge? Check out his blog here.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Audio Book Review: Evangelical Theology: A Biblical and Systematic Introduction by Michael Bird

Connect here to find a brief but detailed audio book review of Michael Bird's,  Evangelical Theology: A Biblical and Systematic Introduction. This looks to be a insightful volume for those who wish to study systematics. Check out author interviews at the publishers site here.

Product description from the publisher

Biblical scholar Michael F. Bird contends that the center, unity, and boundary of the evangelical faith is the evangel, that is, the gospel, as opposed to a particular doctrine like justification by faith or inerrancy. The evangel is the unifying thread in evangelical theology and the theological hermeneutic through which the various loci of theology need to be understood.

Using the gospel as the foundation, this text presents an authentically evangelical theology, as opposed to an ordinary systematic theology written by an evangelical theologian. The gospel holds together doctrine, experience, mission, and practice. Some systematic theologies lean so heavily toward a discussion of historical theologians that the Bible is barely mentioned while others so ignore the historical development of the Christian faith that the theology is only a collection of proof texts. Bird attempts to bridge the gap and avoid each extreme as he pulls together the canonical and the creedal.

According to the author, theology is the act of making the gospel shape one's thinking, praying, teaching, and every other aspect of life. Evangelical Theology features tables, sidebars, and questions for discussion. The end of every part includes a "What to Take Home" section that gives students a run-down on what they need to know. And since reading theology can often be dry and cerebral, the author applies his unique sense of humor in occasional "Comic Belief" sections so that students may enjoy their learning experience through some theological humor added for good measure.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Book Review The Demise of Guys: Why Boys Are Struggling and What We Can Do About It by Philip Zombardo and Nikita Duncan

The Demise of Guys is a well written and well researched book. Informative and enlightening, it will be eye-opening for many and for many others it will simply reinforce what we already know, i.e., boys in this society are taking longer to mature and take responsibility than possibly ever before. The thesis of the book is that pornography and video gaming are major contributing factors to this decline to which this reviewer would heartily agree. The book is assembled in small, easy to digest chapters that leave room for contemplation and reflection. Well researched is an understatement as all the facts are backed up by numerous sources of data.

More than video gaming, this writer would suggest that easy to view internet porn is far more dangerous than even the authors suggest. Yes, it gives the incorrect view and expectations in relationships, but more than that, it is often the first step in much more serious crime which this work does not mention. Moreover, with all the accumulated data the authors have brought together, they still do not condemn pornography suggesting rather that those addicted to porn rather should lay off for a period of time and allow the brain to return to normal. Obviously, this is a huge problem with the work. The data supplied suggests something far different.

Another major fault would be in the chapter "What Can We Do" where the authors offer suggestions for males to overcome these addictions and make some positive changes in their lives. For all the authors' work this chapter leaves the reader feeling that there must be something more. The propositions are weak and faulty making no firm assertions that they will even work. What these young men need most are long term, positive Christian role models that will model what it is to be a man and lead productive useful lives for themselves, their families and most of all for the Lord. Oh yes, don't be alarmed at the use of some frank, street language which was not the least bit necessary to convey the authors meaning in any case. If that bothers you, you should skip this one.

On a scale of 1 to 5, The Demise of Guys rates a 4 for the outstanding amount of useful facts on porn and video gaming that are affecting our young men. But, sadly it's only a 2 overall due to the dismal recommendations to resolve the issues.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Pick Three Exodus Commentaries

Here's our "pick three" for outstanding Exodus commentaries.

The Book of Exodus; A Critical, Theological Commentary by Brevard Childs


Taking a pioneering approach to commentary writing, Brevard Childs gives an entirely original treatment to the book of Exodus. Apart from the philological notes and translation, this commentary includes a form-critical section, looking at the growth of the tradition in its previous stages; a consideration of the meaning of the text in its present form; and a consideration of its meaning in its total Old Testament context.
The Old Testament Library provides fresh and authoritative treatments of important aspects of Old Testament study through commentaries and general surveys. The contributors are scholars of international standing.

Exodus: Saved for God's Glory by Philip Graham Ryken


To read Exodus is to encounter God. The book is about the mercy, justice, holiness, and glory of almighty God, who rules history by his sovereign power, saves the people of his covenant, and delivers his people from bondage. Once heard, the stories recorded in Exodus leave a lasting impression. Readers return to these great acts of redemption again and again because they give captives the hope of freedom.
In this Preaching the Word volume, Philip Graham Ryken mines the majestic book of Exodus for knowledge of God's character and instruction for his followers. So much can be learned about God through the accounts of his deliverance of the Israelites from Egypt, his many divine interventions for them, and his transformation of them into an independent nation.
At once theologically instructive and decidedly practical, this commentary moves readers to great rejoicing at God's work in the life of every person following him on the path to spiritual freedom. Ryken skillfully relates how the Israelites' deliverance from slavery anticipated the salvation accomplished in Jesus Christ, proving that God remembers his covenant and always delivers on his promises. For those who preach, teach, and study God's Word, this book is more than just a commentary; it is a celebration of God's faithfulness.

The Message of Exodus: The Days of Our Pilgrimage by J.A. Motyer


When the Lord promised the land of Canaan to Abram and his descendants (Gen 15:7), every part of it was already occupied by other peoples. The long journey to possession of the Promised Land was prepared by God, yet it led through a path of adversity. We, the readers of the Old Testament, are left to wonder why. In this engaging commentary on Exodus, J. Alec Motyer explores the character of God through his covenant promises and persistent faithfulness to the people of Israel. Through the story of Israel we are exposed to an unquenchable fire: God the Savior, the Companion and the Indweller, who will not fail those who so often fail him.

Do you have any of these? Do you have another recommendation? Would you like to post a review? Let's talk. Leave a comment here or on our Facebook page. We look forward to hearing from you.
Iron sharpens iron...

Monday, March 3, 2014

Book Review: How the Gospel Brings Us All the Way Home by Derek Thomas

How the Gospel Brings Us All the Way Home is one for everyone's bookshelf. Don't borrow it - buy it. Read it, digest it, meditate on it and refer back to it often. Author Derek Thomas does a marvelous job walking us through "the best chapter in the Bible," Romans 8.

Perhaps nowhere else in Scripture do we have such a clear explanation of the Gospel as we find in the first chapters of Romans culminating in chapter 8. The book chapters are divided into 11 digestible chunks taken from Romans 8. Thomas winds his way through developing a clear understanding of grace, the work of the Spirit, union with Christ, legalism, killing sin, adoption, our hope in glory and much more. We're accepted in Christ rather than in our own works. We're given an understanding of how are lives are to be lived in light of the Gospel and we see the final hope we have in the life here after.

Thomas writes in an easily understandable style meant to convey theological truth with devotional warmth. You'll enjoy this and will be edified. You'll see how, indeed, the Gospel brings us all the way home.

Get it NOW. Its free for your kindle all month!

Want another opinion? Check these out...

If asked, 'Which chapter of the Bible would you take with you to a desert island?' I suspect many believers would answer, 'Romans 8' In a glorious section of God's Word, Paul sets before us the trials and the triumphs, the pains and the gains, the indicatives and the imperatives of living life as a child of God- saved by Christ, led by the Spirit, and cared for by a heavenly Father. Now, if a commentary on Romans 8 were permitted on the desert island, I would without hesitation, recommend this wonderful exposition by Derek Thomas. Like the chapter it illumines so clearly, it is a literary treasure and a spiritual feast. --Dr. Iain D. Campbell: Pastor, Free Church of Scotland in Point, Isle of Lewis, Scotland

While Christians may believe that the gospel merely begins our Christian lives, Derek Thomas shows us convincingly that the gospel is the beginning, middle, and end of our lives - indeed, that it is status-shaping, holiness-motivating, and glory-providing. Moving through the grand biblical themes of Romans 8 that shape our understanding of who and whose we are, believers will see that our union with Jesus determines everything about us. Would that my church members might marinate in these truths and so emerge gospel-soaked and gospel-encouraged. --Dr. Sean Michel Lucas: Senior Minister, First Presbyterian Church Hattiesburg, Mississippi