Fortress Press Commentary on the Bible

Posted by on Dec 20, 2014 in Book Reviews, Featured, Theology

Fortress Press Commentary on the Bible

Fortress Press Commentary on the Bible 291x300 Fortress Press Commentary on the Bible Let’s be honest. There are a multitude of commentaries on the market today to include multi-volume sets, one volume treatments of Scripture, and the approach of an Old and New Testament set. Thus, when a new commentary series, volume, or set comes on the market, it is always interesting to ascertain what this new entry has to offer that is different or for that matter the same as everything else available for purchase. Does the commentary provide a quick and simple overview or does it dig down deeper into the text, teasing out theological issues of importance that perhaps have been overlooked.

Fortress Press has recently released a commentary set that takes a look at the Old and New Testaments as well as the Apocrypha. For those not familiar with the Apocrypha, it is a collection of books written in the third to first century B.C. While not part of the Jewish Bible or most Protestant Bibles, they are part of the Roman Catholic canon and for that matter part of the Scriptures in some Orthodox churches.

There is much to enjoy in this two volume commentary set. The contributors to both volumes do an admirable job of explaining the main themes and issues of each section of Scripture. For instance, in the Old Testament commentary, there is a section that addresses the themes and perspectives of the Torah, the Historical Writings, Wisdom literature, and the Prophetic writings. As noted earlier, the Apocrypha is included as well in the Old Testament commentary and there is a helpful introduction to those books.

In the introduction to both volumes, it is noted that these commentaries seek “to provide students with diverse materials on the ways in which these texts have been interpreted through the course of history, as well as helping students understand the texts’ relevance for today’s globalized world. It recognizes the complexities that are involved with being an engaged reader of the Bible, providing a powerful tool for exploring the Bible’s multilayered meanings in both their ancient and modern contexts.” To that end, both volumes meet that stated goal as there is much information provided concerning each book of the Bible and the Apocrypha to include the various perspectives taken on the Scriptures on quite a number of important junctures.

There are some aspects of the commentary provided specifically in the Old Testament volume that I humble submit I found disagreement with, specifically in relation to the approach taken to the Genesis account as well as the support provided for the Documentary Hypothesis, heretofore noted as JEDP. It is stated that the Genesis creation account is “connected to the Babylonian myth the Enuma Elish and/or the battle between the Canaanite god Baal and Yam, each of which centers on order’s conquest of chaos.” Based on that belief, it is asserted that modern science cannot be found in Genesis nor can the text be utilized to address matters of a scientific nature. I would humble disagree that the Genesis creation account is specifically tied at all possible angles to addressing the Babylonian myth and thus has no relevant bearing on other issues. God provided us the how and why of creation, the how being related to matters of science and theology, and the why related to matters of theology to include the need to reveal that God is the Creator over and above the popular pagan religious myths of that time period.

Additionally, the support of JEDP or the position that Moses did not write the whole Torah is another point upon which I found disagreement. This concept is largely rooted in noting the different names for God used in various places in the Torah, those providing supposed support for multiple authors over an extended period of time far beyond that of Moses. This type of approach makes the claim that a single author could not have used different names or addressed varying issues within his same body of material. Many scholars have noted the difficulties in supporting the JEDP hypothesis. Thankfully, the section devoted to this approach is short and does not reveal itself too much later in the commentary.

Outside of those two points of disagreement, I found most of the commentary provided by the contributors to be helpful and devoted to engaging the text in a consistent manner. With any commentary, there is bound to be points of disagreement, especially in a set of volumes where many have contributed their thoughts and ideas. These volumes are no exception to that rule. Those who read these commentaries will find a great deal of valuable information to include the variety of thought presented by scholars through the years. Some may find the commentary and information to be a bit on the scholarly end of the spectrum; however, students and scholars are the intended audience.

I appreciated the inclusion of some rather lengthy bibliographies at the end of each section. It is always valuable to assess the material from which the contributors utilized. Additionally, having additional resources noted that one can dig into is always a helpful addition. If anything, these lengthy bibliographies provide and introduce to the reader material for which they may not be aware is available. For the voracious reader, such material is always welcome.

This is a commentary set I would recommend for the Bible College and Seminary student and for the more seasoned believer. The material provided in these commentaries is helpful and the contributors do a good job of presenting both the interpretive tradition as well as some contemporary application. With that said, this is a scholarly leaning commentary set, focused on digging into matters of society, history, linguistics, and interpretive tradition more so than everyday application of the text. Even so, this is a commentary set worth wading into as there is much to glean from its pages.

These books are available for purchase from Fortress Press by clicking here.

I received these books for free from Fortress Press for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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1 Peter: Exegetical Guide to the Greek New Testament by Greg W. Forbes

Posted by on Dec 19, 2014 in Book Reviews, Church, Featured

1 Peter: Exegetical Guide to the Greek New Testament by Greg W. Forbes

516qfG4YixL. SY344 BO1204203200  1 Peter: Exegetical Guide to the Greek New Testament by Greg W. ForbesWith Murray Harris’ inaugural book on Colossians and Philemon the potential for success of the Exegetical Guide to the Greek New Testament series was looking bright – and it continues to be so. Though only in its third of twenty books, this series has already made its mark as a standard Greek text commentary series for serious students of the Greek New Testament.

The most recent installment is on 1 Peter by Greg W. Forbes who is the head of the Department of Biblical Studies at Melbourne School of Theology in Australia. In his contribution to the series, Forbes shows himself to be an able exegete of what many regard to be the some of the most difficult Greek in the New Testament.

In keeping with the aim of the series, Forbes book accomplishes two primary services for the reader. First, the commentary is solely based on the Greek of the New Testament primarily using the fourth edition of the United Bible Societies’ Greek New Testament with some minor variations (xvi). 1 Peter is divided into pericopes by its Greek text, block diagrammed and then exegeted phrase-by-phrase. A good grasp of New Testament Greek is required to benefit from this book as well as an ability to understand the grammatical abbreviations used in the book.

Second, as a guide, the reader is presented with a number of helps in their own study of the Greek text. The purpose of the book is not to do all of the work for the reader, but, rather, to “provide all the necessary information for understanding the Greek text.” (xvi) Having a lot of the time consuming work done for you helps the reader to focus more on interpreting the information and developing the sermon. By breaking the book up into pericopes the reader already has a good idea as to how to lay out their sermons. There are suggested homoletical outlines (often giving more than one) as well as suggested further reading based on the subject matter of each verse or group of verses examined. When more than one suggestion is offered by commentators Forbes presents them along with his reasons for which one seems to fit the text best.

All of the books in The Exegetical Guide to the Greek New Testament are must haves for every pastor, student and teacher who is a serious student of the Greek. Murray Harris started a remarkable series and I trust that each successive contributor will be able to follow suit in his ability to handle the Greek New Testament. Forbes book is a must have for preachers and teachers of 1 Peter who want to dig into the original Greek.

I received this book for free from B&H for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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7th Annual 12 Days Before Christmas Giveaway – Day 6

Posted by on Dec 18, 2014 in Book Giveaways

7th Annual 12 Days Before Christmas Giveaway – Day 6

12 days 7 7th Annual 12 Days Before Christmas Giveaway   Day 6
Welcome to day six of the 7th Annual 12 Days Before Christmas Giveaway. Today’s giveaway is sponsored by our friends at Reformation Heritage Books. They’ve generously offered a Genuine Leather edition of the brand new Reformation Heritage KJV Study Bible. Here are a few details on this amazing new Bible:

A Study Bible to Feed Your Soul . . .

  • Thoughts for personal and family devotions for every chapter
  • Three dozen articles on how to live the Christian life
  • Guidance on how to experience the truths of the Bible

A Study Bible to Instruct Your Mind . . .

  • Thousands of study notes with integrated cross-references
  • Introductions to each section and every book of the Bible
  • Classic Bible text with explanations of difficult words
  • More than fifty articles on key Christian teachings
  • Concordance, color maps, daily reading plan, and more!

A Study Bible to Discover Your Roots . . .

  • Overview of twenty centuries of church history
  • Ancient creeds, confessions, and catechisms with introductions

12 Days Before Christmas Giveaway – Day 6

Terms & Conditions:
Each contest is limited to residents of the 48 state continental United States, unless otherwise noted. Prizes that can be distributed electronically may be available to those outside of the continental US.

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Can I really trust the Bible? by Barry Cooper

Posted by on Dec 18, 2014 in Apologetics, Book Reviews, Christian Living, Featured

Can I really trust the Bible? by Barry Cooper

Trust is a high commodity among people today but it something that is not given as easily as it was a few generations ago. Almost gone are the days where a gentlemen’s agreement was all that was needed between two people. It was possible because people had more trust in one another. Now, trust among people is harder to acquire. This natural reaction to distrust others has effected how people view the Bible. In our post-Christian world people don’t just naturally trust the Bible as reliable, let alone as the Word of God.

Now, more than ever, people want reasons to trust things and they often put a higher demand on religious texts like the Bible. They want to be reassured that there are good reasons to trust the Bible and that it comes from God. In his recent book, Can I really trust the Bible?: And other questions about Scripture, truth and how God speaks, Barry Cooper answer these questions and more. This books is a mini-introduction and apologetic to the doctrine of Scripture for the believer and non-believer alike.

The book is divided into five chapters. The first two chapters answer the question, “Does the Bible claim to the God’s word?”, as in both from God Himself (the ‘word’) and revealing God through Christ (THE Word). Cooper does a great job showing the relationship between Scripture as God’s revelation to man both of His word’s to man of and Himself to man in Christ. Cooper states

God makes himself known through Jesus, who is revealed in the Bible…Jesus repeatedly points to Scripture: the Word points to the word. At the same time, Scripture points to Jesus: the word points to the Word. …We can’t know Jesus apart from the Bible because, as Jesus himself says, the Bible always and on every page testifies to him. (27)

This is perhaps the best statement in the whole book. The Bible tells us of Jesus and Jesus affirms His trust in the Bible.

Chapters three, four and five tackle different aspects of the Bible. Chapter three briefly discusses the issues of the Bible’s consistency and possible corruptions. Using Scripture itself, Cooper shows how the message of the Bible is internally consistent and how it does fit well with a conspiracy myth. Chapter four addresses the issues surrounding canonicity: how we got the 66 books of the Protestant canon. Due to the brevity of the book Cooper is only able to highlight the relevant answers to these questions. He does spend half the chapter on inerrancy and what it does and does not entail (58-63). The final chapter answers the question as to how the Bible proves to be God’s word. Using Scripture again as his basis, Cooper points to passages like John 7:17 and James 1:22 where people are called to live out the teaching of the Bible. It is those who live it in addition to reading it that really see the truth of the Bible in their lives. It is in living out the Bible that we see its truth fleshed out in our lives which in turn strengthens our trust in it.

Can I really trust the Bible? is a great book for a new believer who has questions about the Bible and needs some basic answer to get their feet wet. It is also a good book for Christians to take their non-Christian friends through who have questions and are open to answers. Cooper’s answers to these questions show his own trust in Scripture as God’s word. He is not ashamed to let Scripture have a say in what we are to believe about it.

I received this book for free from The Good Book Company through Cross Focused Reviews for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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New American Commentary: Hosea, Joel

Posted by on Dec 17, 2014 in Book Reviews, Featured, Theology

New American Commentary: Hosea, Joel

NAC Hosea Joel 202x300 New American Commentary: Hosea, Joel The Old Testament prophetic books of Hosea and Joel are likely not at the top of the average believer’s reading list. That reality is quite unfortunate given both books contain valuable truths that are as important for us today as they were for the original hearers of the prophets declarations. Duane Garrett, as part of the respected New American Commentary series, has provided valuable exegesis and insight into the books of Hosea and Joel.

The New American Commentary series is one I have utilized quite often over the past year as I have dug deep into Old Testament books such as Ruth and Song of Solomon. In particular, I have found Duane Garrett’s efforts to be quite impressive, in particular his ability to flush out certain issues of the text in a manner that is both scholarly and accessible.

The format of this commentary is the same for both Hosea and Joel. Garrett begins each section with an outline to each book, a discussion of the title and the book’s overall place and function in the canon of Scripture, matters of textual importance such as the date and authorship, the genre and intent of the book, important themes and purpose to include specific elements and matters of theological important addressed in each respective book, the structure of the book, followed by the actual exegesis and analysis of the text itself which is also broken down into the individual elements of the text. A selected bibliography, subject, person, and scripture index are also provided, things which help the reader focus on certain elements of these books they may wish to focus.

When it comes to reading Hosea, Garrett rightly notes “Hosea is not an easy book. It begins with a prophet receiving a command to marry a prostitute and promptly describes the births of his three children, each of whom is given a bizarre but significant name.” For myself, these facts alone make this book rather interesting, if nothing else than to try and glean why God had Hosea do these things given that God never has someone do something for no reason at all. Furthermore, throughout Hosea are some rather striking images and Garrett does an excellent job of explaining the importance of that imagery in relation to the text.

Hosea is a book that is focused on fidelity. God commanded Hosea to marry a prostitute and to name His children those bizarre names to demonstrate to the people of Israel the extent of how they had strayed from their relationship with Him. Garrett saliently notes “The reason for God’s astonishing command to Hosea is that the land is guilty of the vilest adultery in departing from the Lord. In other words, God specifically tells Hosea to enter into the same kind of marriage that Yahweh himself is in. Hosea is to experience the sorrows of God and thus speak in God’s place to the nation.” Israel had literally prostituted herself to other gods, thus not remaining faithful to their betrothal relationship with their God.

I appreciated Garrett’s explanation of God’s promise in Hosea 2:19-20 that He would betroth His people to Himself forever. This marriage process is quite lost on the modern mind and the meaning of what it entailed needs to be stressed. Thankfully, Garrett provides the reader with some valuable insight into what God was saying to His people. Garrett rightly comments “This is no mere re-establishment of the covenant rights of Israel; It is the beginning of a relationship of love between God and his people such as they had not known before. It is a new covenant.” Furthermore, Garrett avers “In the analogy of betrothal Yahweh gives righteousness, justice, love, and compassion as the bride-price, the means by which he obtains his bride.” This was truly an act of God given the people clearly could not remain faithful on their own merits. In this new covenant, we are betrothed to the Bride (Christ). I this relationship, we know God in an intimate way. Garrett brilliantly notes “The goal of god’s wooing of the people, and the point of the whole text, is that they should know him. To know God implies the deepest relationship with him.” Hosea reveals God’s desire for that relationship.

Joel is another book that has its own bit of interesting texts. Garrett ably comments “On the one hand, its interpretation is hotly disputed…On the other hand, Joel draws in its short three chapters (four in Hebrew) a detailed picture of how the prophets presented and understood divine judgment, apocalyptic events, and the future of the people of God.”

Arguably, Joel 2 is among the most hotly debated portions of Joel. Is the locust army a continuation of the plague in chapter 1 or is this an entirely different judgment? Furthermore, if this is a new judgment, is it depicting a past or future event? Garrett correctly states “Joel used locust imagery to shape the picture of the invading army. Looking upon the locust swarm, he saw with prophetic insight not just locusts but a mass of human soldiers bearing down on his city, and he described this future army in locust-like terms. It would indeed be strange if Joel, prophesying immediately after a locust plague, had described the human army without allowing the locust analogue to influence his language. Both are armies of the Lord.”
I highly recommend this commentary for pastors, Bible College and Seminary students, as well as laymen. Garrett ably exegetes the text with great skill, carefully examining what God has to say to us in these two important prophetic books. Honing in on the underlying prophetic declarations of judgment and redemption, this commentary is an excellent addition to any believer’s library and demonstrates the overall excellence of the New American Commentary series as a whole.

This book is available for purchase from B&H Academic by clicking here.

I received this book for free from B&H Academic for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Best Books of the Year From the Leadership of Servants of Grace for 2014

Posted by on Dec 16, 2014 in Books of the Year, Featured

Best Books of the Year From the Leadership of Servants of Grace for 2014

Another year has come and gone, and with it, another round of book of the year lists have slowly but surely made their rounds around the blogosphere. Here at Servants of Grace, we review a lot of books. We review books Monday through Friday and sometimes on Saturdays. That means we reviewed over two hundred books this year on Servants of Grace. That’s a lot of books! We trust that you, our readers have found those book reviews not only helpful but thought provoking. In addition to this we offered quite a few author interviews, including some from our own contributors. Next year you can expect the same from us—great reviews on great books that people are talking about. Our goal as it pertains to book reviews is to keep you, our readers up to date on the latest and greatest in Christian books.

It is for this reason we offer the following list from the leadership of Servants of Grace: Craig Hurst, the book review editor of Servants of Grace, Mike Boling, the associate editor of Servants of Grace, and myself (Dave Jenkins).

Between Craig, Mike and myself, we are often asked for our recommendations whether at church or on social media. This list serves as our recommendations on the best books of the year. For as many books as we all read, you’ll see not much overlap. We all have our differing interests. We trust that this list will be helpful to you as you consider which books to get for either Christmas, for your book nerd friends, or for 2015 for perhaps yourself, your pastor or one of your friends.

Dave Jenkins

These are by no means in order of their significance or importance; except in the case of number one which in my view was one of the most important books published in quite sometime.

10) Be Holy: Learning the Path of Sanctification by Jason Garwood. I wrote an endorsement for this book, “We are living in a time (and culture) when great confusion exists in the Church regarding how we are to grow in Christ. While many people rightly teach the biblical balance between grace and effort in the Christian life—some overemphasize grace to the neglect of effort. Understanding the difference between grace and effort is critical. This is why I’m thrilled to recommend the book, Be Holy: Learning the Path of Sanctification by Jason Garwood. Garwood understands firsthand the struggles people face because he deals with them every day in his own life and pastoral ministry. He writes to help Christians and the Church to think through the issue at hand in order to more fully understand what sanctification means. As he does this, he roots the explanation of our new identity in Christ to our growth in Christ. Christians are to live from their new identity in Christ; we are to return to the basics of who we are in Christ, remembering what He has done to transform us. Our union with Him informs our communion with Him, which makes not only repentance possible, but provides the basis for our slaying the “dragon of sin” in our lives. This excellent book follows in the tradition of the Reformers and the Puritans, and contemporary authors like John Piper and Kevin DeYoung, who understand this biblical balance. I highly recommend this book, and pray the Lord will powerfully use it in the life of His people, and for the edification of the Church, for His glory.”

9) Taking God at His Word by Kevin DeYoung. Here’s an excerpt from my review: “I highly recommend this book, and it is my sincere prayer that Pastors and ministry leaders would pick up this book and buy it by the truckloads for their people. The Body of Christ has needed a book like this on the doctrine of Scripture for quite some time, one that helps the reader to know what to believe about the Word of God, what to feel about the Word of God and what to do with the Word of God. I hope and pray this book sells by the truckloads for in doing so, we may see the tide of biblical illiteracy begin to turn and a true delight, hunger and yearning for the teaching of the Word of God take its place.”

8) Active Spirituality: Grace and Effort in the Christian Life by Brian Hedges. Here’s an excerpt from my review: “his book will be of great help to you as it has to me as I continue to think through this particular topic. I highly recommend Active Spirituality not only because it is well-written, but also because it stands with the Bible while upholding the long and rich Augustinian and Reformed tradition on the issue of the perseverance of the saints and the assurance of the believer.”
7) The Company We Keep by Jonathan Holmes. Here’s an excerpt from my review, “All in all, The Company We Keep is an excellent book. As I’ve noted already we live in a society that is increasingly isolated. We need books like The Company We Keep to help us think through what biblical friendship is and to provide helpful guidance to us on this vital subject. Whether you are a new or mature Christian, The Company We Keep will help you to not only understand Christian friendship but to grow deeper and more meaningful Christian friendships with God’s people.”

6) The Gospel: How the Church Portrays the Beauty of Christ by Ray Ortlund. Here’s an excerpt from my review, “Overall, The Gospel How The Church Portrays the Beauty of Christ is a very good book.  This book will help Christians at all stages of the Christian life to understand how the gospel impacts relationships and how they are to engage one another within the local church because of the gospel. I highly recommend this book and pray the Lord uses it to awaken a culture in local churches where the gospel may not only be the driving force behind what is said on Sunday’s, but also in practice fuel how we do life with one another to the glory of God.”

5) Proof: Finding Freedom Through the Intoxicating Joy of Irresistible Grace. Here’s an excerpt from my review, “PROOF is an excellent book that will help a generation of fresh adherents to Reformed theology understand what they believe from the Word of God. Drinking deeply from the well of God’s grace is immensely satisfying and life changing. This book invites readers to drink from the well of God’s grace. As you do, you’ll awaken once again to the wonder of the cross and discover afresh how Jesus rescues sinners from their sin to Himself. I highly recommend this book and pray the Lord will use it to awaken a new generation from a shallow evangelicalism to the majesty truths taught throughout the history of the church. PROOF is rooted in the history of the Church’s theology, faithful to the Word and accessible to the lay person on up to the scholar. As the authors open up the Word, they invite readers to drink from the well of life in Jesus. This book will not only lead readers to the living well in Jesus Christ but cause you to jump in headlong in wonder at the God who by His grace has saved His people, and who is even now saving sinners, sanctifying His people and will one day glory His own.”

4) Hit List by Brian Hedges. I wrote an endorsement for this book, ““We live in a culture in which spirituality is on the rise, including a resurgence in mysticism, Gnosticism, and every other -ism. Many are confused about what they believe and why it matters, and sin is often minimized or hidden. Hedges draws on the best wisdom of the church to help readers better grasp the seven deadly sins and how the gospel frees God’s people from them. As Hit List blows away misconceptions about the sinfulness of man, readers will be captivated by the magnificence of what Jesus has done so sinners can put their sin to death and grow in the grace of God. This is an excellent and needed book. It can convict you of your sinfulness while pointing you to the sufficiency of the finished work of the Savior—Jesus Christ.”

3) Prayer by Tim Keller. Here’s an excerpt from my review, “Whether you’re a new Christian struggling with prayer or a seasoned saint, Keller’s book Prayer Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God has something for you. This book will help you not only how to pray but why you should pray. In addition to this this book will help enlarge your vision of God’s majesty which will stir your affections afresh with a passion and desire to pray. I highly recommend this wonderful resource by Dr. Keller and pray that the Lord would use it powerfully in the life of His Church and among His people, for His glory.”

2) What’s Best Next by Matt Perman Here’s an excerpt from my review, “I highly recommend this book for Bible college and seminary students and encourage seminary professors to incorporate it into your curriculum for future pastors and ministry leaders. This is a great resource for pastors and ministry leaders to business people and stay at home mom’s. We live in a rapidly changing and fast-paced world. Books like What’s Best Next will help us to learn that the purpose of our work goes beyond just the 9-5 or even making a pay check. Our work is for God’s glory and to expand His fame to the nations. I highly recommend this book and pray it will help readers at all stages of their journey with Christ to discover the true nature and purpose of their work for His glory.”

1) Dispatches from the Front by Tim Keese. Here’s an excerpt from my review, “This book tells some of the grand story of God’s redemptive work in the world. It is for this and many other reasons I think Dispatches at the Front is my book of the year and one of the best books I’ve read in the past decade. I highly recommend this book and pray the Lord would use it to fan the flame of His global mission in His people for His glory.”

Michael Boling

Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works – I have had the pleasure of working my way through the first three books of this series and am looking forward to digging into the remainder of the books. Okay, so this is cheating a bit, but these three books count as one submission on my list.

Sanctorum Communio: This is an excellent dissertation on the biblical concept of community, how that community was broken by sin, how the church is to be an example of what community looks like to a world that only knows brokenness, and how Christ is the center of the communion of saints. For anyone desiring an in-depth study on the topic of biblical community and what that looks like within the church and in daily life, I highly recommend this book.

Act and Being: While the concepts and terms presented by Bonhoeffer in this book are scholarly and many might not be completely familiar with the terminology used in this book, the copious footnotes help serve to explain the more difficult concepts and terms in a way that will help the reader grasp what Bonhoeffer is getting across. This is an excellent resource for understanding matters of ontology and epistemology as they relate to sin and the individual’s relationship to God and the necessity of the cross.

Creation and Fall: I highly recommend Creation and Fall by Dietrich Bonhoeffer as a valuable overview of creation, the fall, and the promise of redemption. While I have a few quibbles with some positions Bonhoeffer takes on things such as the days of creation, they are extremely minor points of disagreement that do not impact the overall excellent truth Bonhoeffer shares with the reader throughout this book.

Hit List by Brian Hedges – As Christians, we are called to do battle with sin, what the Puritans called mortifying sin. If you are truly serious about dealing with sin in your life, I recommend you read this book and apply the sound biblical truths Hedges shares. As noted by one of the endorsers of this book, outside of John Owen’s thoughts on the mortification of sin, Hedges book is a clarion call for the importance of allowing the Holy Spirit and the word of God to cut to the root of sin in your life. Give this a book a read as soon as possible!

Resisting Gossip by Matthew Mitchell – Gossip is a poison, one which has infected us all more often than we would like to admit. Mitchell’s book is replete with sound biblical advice containing the prescription that will dig at the root of this cancer in our lives. The only way to rid ourselves of this cancer is to have our hearts endure the life changing chemotherapy found in God’s Word and through the work of the Holy Spirit. I highly recommend this book by Mitchell for all believers, especially those who find themselves struggling with the sin of gossip which is pretty much everyone.

Taking God at His Word by Kevin DeYoung – Taking God at His Word is a highly needed book for a day and age where Scripture so often comes under attack. Sadly some of those attacks come from within the body of Christ itself. DeYoung does an excellent job of sharing what Scripture says about itself, why we can trust the Word of God and most importantly, why all that even matters for us as believers. I highly recommend this book for all believers as it is a tool you will return to over and over again. It is brief yet in-depth, accessible yet scholarly when needed, and most importantly, this book powerfully yet simply states the reality that God’s Word is truth.

The Godly Home by Richard Baxter – Marriage, parenting and family dynamics are no easy issues for anyone and there certainly are no perfect marriages, no perfect parents, and no perfect children as we are all sinners in need of a daily dose of God’s grace. With that said, books such as The Godly Home by Richard Baxter should be required reading for parents and their children. This would be an excellent book to utilize during family devotions as its addresses a plethora of important issues facing families. I highly recommend this as a resource for parents to implement in their parental tool chest as the sound guidance found within its pages will be of great assistance for your family, your children, and their children’s children.

The Watchers in Jewish and Christian Traditions by Angela Harkins, Coblentz Bauch, and John Endres – I highly recommend this book again for the serious Bible student who is interested in understanding the various traditions that interact with the Genesis 6 storyline as well as the writings found in the Book of Enoch. The Watchers is rigorous yet fruitful reading that will provide those who engage its essays with a valuable look into how the tradition of the Watchers has taken shape over the years. Since this story is in the Bible, it is well worth studying.

After They Are Yours: The Grace and Grit of Adoption by Brian Borgman – I highly recommend this book for those thinking about adopting, those currently in the adoption process, and for those who have already adopted a child. Borgman’s personal stories repeatedly hit home, the guidance he provides is biblically sound and extremely practical, and this book will assuredly be a blessing to those who may feel as if they are overwhelmed in the daily grind of what is often involved with adopting and raising that adopted child.

10 Things for Teen Girls by Kate Conner – I highly recommend this book for parents to purchase for their children. Furthermore, I truly encourage parents to read this book as well. Conner includes some very helpful points for discussion at the end of each chapter that would be perfect for family bible study or even in a youth group setting. This book would also be useful as part of a homeschool curriculum, either for reading class or bible class. However you utilize this book, it will greatly benefit your teenage daughter.

Everyone’s a Theologian by R. C. Sproul – For anyone desiring a place to start studying theology, I highly recommend this book. Dr. Sproul is always scholarly yet has the ability to break down difficult scholarly points into manageably understood concepts. Thus this book is very accessible to all believers. As an introduction to systematic theology and some very important and fundamental matters of theology as a whole, namely issues highly relevant for all believers, this book is a homerun. It will be a tool I will refer to for many years to come and it will make a nice addition to the other more voluminous systematic theology texts in my personal library.

Heaven by Christopher Morgan – I highly recommend this excellent book. It will be of great use for all believers in their study of heaven and what Scripture has to say on the subject. Reading this book stirred within me a renewed longing for that day when the Bride will return for his bridegroom for we know that then we will be with him forevermore in a place of perfect peace in the presence of our God forevermore.

Craig Hurst

 What’s Your Worldview by James Anderson – Ideas have consequences and so do beliefs. What we believe shapes the way we live. Using the “Choose Your Own Adventure” concept, James Anderson helps readers navigate through various worldviews. By answering basic questions you are led on the path those beliefs lead you. This is an amazing apologetics book for Christians to hone their understanding of other belief systems and use as an evangelistic tool with a friend.

Growing Up God’s Way for Boy and Girls by Chris Richards & Liz Jones – As a Christian parent I want to teach my kids about sex and do so in a way that is Biblically faithful. No Christian parent should ignore the sex talk with their kids and every parent should be in dialogue with their kids about it as they grow up and leave the house. These two books are both scientifically and biblically based. They address the basic issues surrounding puberty for boys and girls from a Christian worldview. These are must have books for parents.

China’s Reforming Churches by Bruce Baugus – Since I have adopted three children from China I am naturally interested in the country and the state of Christianity within it. Written from a Reformed perspective, this book offers great insight into the state of the church in China. It has insider perspective, theological evaluation as well as positive perspective for the future. This is a great book for those interested in the growth of the church outside USA and China in particular

For the Glory of God: Recovering a Biblical Theology of Worship by Daniel Block – I anticipated this book from the day I saw it and it did not disappoint. Block is the kind of writer you wish you could clone. This book is a comprehensive analysis of worship in Scripture with comprehensive application for the church. It is biblically based and pointedly practical. There will be small quibbles every reader will have but you cannot argue with the main thrust of the book – worship is for the glory of God and not about us.

A Passion for the Fatherless: Developing a God-Centered Ministry to Orphans by Daniel Bennett – As an adoptive father I read as many books on adoption as I can. Most are good but Daniel Bennett’s is the best when it comes to thinking theologically and comprehensively about orphans and adoption. Bennett writes from a pastoral and adoptive father’s perspective which makes the book all the more effective and clear. This is for anyone thinking about adoption, anyone who has adopted but wants to understand it better from a biblical perspective and for churches looking to start an orphan ministry.

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