Overview of 9Marks Series (from Logos’ website)
This remarkable series is a must-read for Christians of all levels. Those who are young in the faith will be propelled forward in their spiritual growth with these accessible guides to important topics and significant doctrines. Mature Christians, students, and pastors will reach new depths in their understanding of Scripture and the Christian life with these succinct, yet profound volumes. This series organically weds theory and practice through clear explanation of key theological themes coupled with practical application in the church and from the pulpit.
Several volumes provide helpful overviews of the whole Bible. In Biblical Theology in the Life of the Church, Michael Lawrence presents the substance and practical importance of what should be the most used tool in the Christian’s workshop—biblical theology. Viewing the multi-faceted unfolding of redemptive history from five angles, this volume provides the framework for understanding the Bible as a unified whole and competently navigating its rich diversity, wherever you find yourself in Scripture. Other volumes provide timely guides to perennial issues facing believers both corporately and individually. Grow as a corporate church with a deeper understanding of biblical eldership and the deaconate, church membership and discipline, church planting, and the marks of a healthy church. Grow in your personal faith with a deeper understanding of the Gospel, what it really means to be a Christian, the marks of a healthy church member, and personal evangelism.
Finding Faithful Elders and Deacons by Thabiti Anyabwile
The value of good leadership in the church goes far beyond any dollar value that we can ascribe to it. Since the days of the church’s institution God has equipped and called leaders to serve the church, serve in the church, and train leaders to continue on the work after the current leadership has moved on. Therefore, the next logical question we should be asking ourselves is: What are the qualifications of these leaders according to the Bible? Finding Faithful Elders and Deacons is Thabiti Anyabwile’s answer to this very important question. Thabiti’s book is a Bible-centered and practical exploration of the qualifications that should define the leadership in local churches. Thabiti takes his readers on a guided tour through 1 Timothy 3 and 4 while also not neglecting other pertinent passages that deal with the qualifications of both deacons and elders (as found in Acts 6 and Titus 1). Thabiti’s desire is not only to encourage Pastors, elders, and deacons to find and train others to serve in the ministry alongside them, but also provide them with the practical resources to bring honor to the God they serve.
The book is broken up into three different Parts: Part One – Finding Table Servants (Deacons); Part Two – Finding Reliable Elders; and Part Three – What Good Pastors Do. Parts One and Two are broken down into sub-chapters dealing intimately with each qualification listed in the Bible for that specific ministry. Part Three follows the listing of qualifications for both deacons and elders and focuses primarily on Titus 1:9 and 1 Timothy 4 and is a practical working out of 1 Timothy 3:15 so that Timothy would “know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of the truth”.
One of the strengths of this book (and there are many) is the Questions and Observations that Thabiti has at the end of each chapter in all three Parts of the book. At the beginning of each chapter Thabiti goes into detail on the meanings behind the key terms in that specific text of Scripture and what those terms mean in their historical context, and then proceeds to give the reader practical questions. The questions themselves were deeply penetrating and caused me to thoroughly assess myself more times than I would care to admit.
Another strength of this book, and one that really separates it from a lot of the other preaching books out there, is the fact that Thabiti graciously reminds Pastors that they are also sheep (instead of just the Chief Under-Shepherd) in need of hearing and obeying the voice of the Chief Shepherd. The temptation to “do ministry” in your own power and wisdom is very real and extremely easy to succumb to. All pastors need daily sustenance from the Lord so that they can preach, teach, and counsel in the power not found inside themselves but through the Holy Spirit. As Thabiti so eloquently puts it:
“A good pastor must not let his study and preparation blur a clear vision of the Savior. He must not study to impress others but to see Jesus in all of his crucified humiliation and resurrected splendor. He must open the Word in faith, believing that God is and that he rewards those who seek him (Matt. 6:33; Heb. 11:6). He must open the Scriptures to listen, not to dead words but to a living God who ever speaks through his Word. The good pastor studies in order to teach so that, in teaching, the Spirit may tune everyone’s ears to the Master’s voice. Before a pastor prepares to preach, he must recognize that he is but a sheep himself, who needs to hear the Chief Shepherd’s voice (John 10:3–4, 14–16). A pastor’s study and preparation should be, in the best sense of the word, devotional. Does our study reveal personal hope in the living God?”
Finding Faithful Elders and Deacons is an incredibly good book for anyone who wants a practical understanding of what the Bible has to say about the qualifications for elders and deacons by helping the people of God to identify and train men for ministry. I personally plan on re-reading this book many times over the coming years in order to continually be reminded of the seriousness of my own call to the ministry, and also to be stirred up to identify and train others to fulfill their calls to the ministry.
Disclaimer: I was provided the 9Marks Series by Logos Bible Software in exchange for an honest review. My review did not have to be positive, and I was only obligated to give my honest opinion about the 9Marks Series and Logos Bible Software. https://www.logos.com/product/33547/9marks-series?utm_source=joshdavis_sog&utm_medium=review&utm_content=productreview_33547&utm_campaign=logos2013q4
 Anyabwile, T. M. (2012). Finding Faithful Elders and Deacons (p. 124). Wheaton, IL: Crossway.