There are two types of books a student of the Bible can benefit from. Commentaries, which can be very involved and theologically deep and companions, which can serve as quick references or summaries. While both resources can vary in skill and ability required to utilize them fully, the latter tends to be more accessible for the every day reader.
The Essential Bible Companion to the Psalms is an excellent example of accessibility. Sitting down with the Psalms and giving them a cursory read will often leave the reader with questions or confusion. But, this new resource from Zondervan helps illuminate several key areas of each Psalm for the reader,
Theme – an overarching and common thread that runs through each Psalm
Type – categorized by various genres of Psalms that appear in the Scriptures
Background – a contextual synopsis of the historical and literal events that influence the understanding of the Psalm itself
Structure – a brief exposition of the Psalm verse by verse
Special notes – a breakdown of unfamiliar terms or ancient references that may be culturally unfamiliar
Last but not least, each Psalm has a brief reflection to summarize the message of the passage. Although each entry for each Psalm appears short and lacking on the page, the information is concise and accurate, providing ease of reading and appropriate information for studying one of the greatest treasure troves of Scripture, the Psalms.
I highly recommend you picking this book up, it is well worth having as a desk reference, coffee table book, or sitting on the reference section of your bookshelf.
I received this book from Zondervan in exchange for an unbiased book review.
What is your dream? If you are a Christian, is your dream different than the one your unbelieving friend, spouse, or neighbor dreams each night? Do you both have a common dream? Maybe the American dream?
Being Christian in America can become easy living. Most American Christians enjoy the pleasures of their own vehicles, theatrically lit sanctuaries, and charismatic speakers that deliver relevant and punch messages, week in and week out.
Author David Platt attempts to weigh in with a new perspective on American Christianity in Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream. Platt evaluates the radical discipleship of New Testament Christianity and compares it to contemporary examples of Christendom. An unlikely critic, shepherding a 4,000 member church in Birmingham, Alabama, listening to a “mega-church” minister speak on radical separation from the American Dream creates an interesting dichotomy. If what Platt evaluates as a stark contrast between today’s example of “discipleship” and the same “discipleship” laid out in scripture is true, we have a major disconnect.
Platt diligently demonstrates the difference in devotion through several means. When you can compare parking lots populated with millions of dollars in vehicles, bright lit meeting places, and freedom to worship when and where you please with secret meeting places, dimly lit gathering rooms, and bicycling from one meeting to another risking your life and not see a need for re-assessment of value, then something might be terribly wrong. Platt cleverly shows his readers how singular devotion to the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ concerning dedication, giving, and fulfillment of the great commission in all that we do can revolutionize your life. The stupor and haze of the American Dream no longer has to confound your judgment concerning putting your own hands to the plow.
Have you ever taken a step back from something that you have always known and endeared so much that it would hurt to let it go? What if the very thing you are so certain of and cherish so much is exposed for what it really is, and you find that you have been essentially living a lie your entire life?
Frank Viola and George Barna collaborate together in this production from 2008 called Pagan Christianity. The book sets out to uncover deeply held beliefs and practices that many view as orthodox Christianity. Frank and George pull out all the stops in this treatise against the ‘institutionalized’ system of the Christian church and set out to trumpet a return to the church’s biblical foundations. Frank and George instigate the presuppositions of the church of our day by contrasting it with historical and researched data while all the while campaigning for a more ‘organic’ approach.
We are also making an outrageous proposal: that the church in its contemporary, institutional form has neither a biblical nor a historical right to function as it does. This proposal, of course, is our conviction based on the historical evidence that we shall present in the book. You must decide if that proposal is valid or not. (page xx)
Reading the Bible. Seems to be a challenge for many people. In large part, there appears to be a segment of the ‘Christian’ population that falls short in this facet of their ‘faith.’ The deficit is apparently so great that a book was written to address the problem directly.
This book does more than just address the problem of ‘lazy’ reading practices. This book engages the reader in conversation. At least, it allows you to sit at the table and read in onto conversations taking place between the author George H. Guthrie and those he has selected to comment on various topics regarding Bible reading. Essentially, the author has created what is deemed ‘Your Guide to Understanding & Living God’s Word.’
Honestly, I found this book helpful. It was not only resourceful and informative, it provides practical insight from many respected individuals. Although, there is the view of only one woman, Mr. Guthrie’s wife sits down for a dialog about reading the Bible with the family. While touching on virtually every facet of reading and understanding the Bible topics related to foundational hermeneutics, ie., context, translation, application, the author also takes us on a journey through discussions concerning the Old Testament, New Testament, and crossing the culture bridge and reading it for our modern context.
Conversations with Dr. Guthrie include David S. Dockery, Andreas Kostenberger, George Guthrie (yes, he speaks with himself), Bruce Waltke, David Platt, Douglas Moo, and Michael Card. Indeed a solid lineup of many whom I would enjoy gleaning insight and wisdom from regarding their walk with Christ and the sustenance they have derived from living and breathing his word.
Have you ever read a systematic theology? These are not the type of books you curl up on the couch with a cup of coffee and a cozy blanket with.
Systematic theologies tend toward large voluminous shelf hogs that cost a few shekels more than an average theological work and they serve more for reference material than casual reading.
Dug Down Deep by Joshua Harris enters the theological realm encouraging readers to be ‘Building Your Life on Truths That Last.’ The book begins with personal anecdotes and a brief introduction to theological terminology used throughout the book. Next the author transitions from introductory customs to deep and thoughtful discussion related to the core tenets of Christianity.
Dug Down Deep consists of individual chapters dedicated to doctrines like God, Scripture, Jesus, the Cross, salvation, sanctification, the Holy Spirit, and the Church. Last but not least, a final chapter dedicated to Humble Orthodoxy, of which Joshua Harris and his ilk are known for promoting amongst evangelicals. Encompassing 231 pages and a worthy in-depth study guide, this title from Multnomah engages its readers as they seek to answer the question, “What are you going to build your life on?”
Have you ever truly experienced a faithful assembly, committed to biblical literalism and committed to obedience to what the scriptures say? Have you ever longed to be a member of one of those types of meetings where people are consistent in their application of the doctrines of the Apostles?
I hope your answer is yes. But I also wonder if you really know what the end result of that could be in some cases. This book authored by Jon Zens presents the perspective of women’s silence and subjection inside the meeting of the church. What’s with Paul and Women?: Unlocking the Cultural Background to 1 Timothy 2 is an intriguing look at the fallacies the author believes put restrictions on women in ministry.
The weekly Wednesday giveaway at the Koinonia Blog is a Theology of the New Testament by Frank Thielman.
From the book:
Frank Thielman’s Theology of the New Testament is an outstanding achievement. The book is marked by scholarly depth, exegetical rigor, and theological profundity. Both students and professors will profit immensely from this lucid treatment of the theology contained in the New Testament documents.” – Thomas Schreiner
“An accessible presentation of the key theological points of the New Testament books by an accomplished New Testament scholar and teacher. Its clear style, lucid organization, and sound theological insight make it a prime resource for serious students in both the academy and the church.” – Karen Jobes
– See more at: http://www.koinoniablog.net/2013/06/wednesday-giveaway-theology-of-the-new-testament.html?cid=6a00e54fc7cbdb88340192ab4d9f7c970d#comment-form