Based on the assumption that a “Johannine community” existed as a Christian group distinct from the churches mentioned in Luke-Acts and Paul, Raymond Brown attempts to reconstruct this community by determining the life-situation of the original audience of the Fourth Gospel and John’s Letters. He stresses passages that are significantly different from the Synoptics, indicating theological interest for the Johannine community.
Christians of the 21st century have an embarrassment of riches when it comes to Bible study tools. One valuable resource for God’s people is a study Bible. While there are many kinds of study Bibles, they are not all created equal. The best study Bibles are those that help the reader understand the Bible better. That is the goal of the NIV Study Bible, which is now in its 35th year. Having owned several study Bibles (ESV Study Bible, MacArthur, CSB Study Bible, etc.) and having reviewed other study Bibles here and here, I have seen the same helpful features that are found in many study Bibles. This includes charts, maps, and comments on the text. These features seem to be a given for study Bibles. In this review, however, I want to point out five unique features that I find to be the strengths of the NIV Study Bible.
In 40 Questions about Typology and Allegory, Mitchell Chase has provided concise, helpful, and comprehensive treatment on one of the longtime hermeneutical debates in the church going back to the Antiochian School and Alexandrian School in the fourth century: the interpretation of typology and allegory. With an affirmation of the authority, inspiration, and unity of the Bible, Chase aims to help Bible readers to be more faithful readers of Scripture and to see more fully the glory of the story of the Bible by orienting them to the subjects of typology and allegory. He presents his material in four key parts.
Part of my preparation for my comprehensive exam next month, I must master the basic contours of the second half of the Christian Bible—the New Testament. While I am just scratching the surface, I have found this study so rewarding that I want to share my method and some of its fruits.
Irenaeus on the Christian Faith is James Payton’s condensation of the church father’s magnum opus, Against Heresies. Irenaeus, a theologian of the second century, presents a defense and presentation of the Christian faith against Gnosticism. In Book I of Against Heresies, Irenaeus painstakingly describes the gnostic teaching. He responds negatively in Book II by offering a thorough refutation. He then responds positively in Books III-V by presenting what Christians believe from the Apostles’ Teachings (Book III) and from the words of Christ (Book IV). Book V serves as an addendum, where Irenaeus adds “further teaching” from Christ and the Apostles. James Payton finds Irenaeus’ presentation of the Christian faith beneficial and edifying even for believers who are a couple millennia removed from the dangers of first century Gnosticism.
Aída Besançon Spencer has contributed a significant resource in the study of the Letter of James. I received a copy of this book from the publisher, Kregel Publications, in exchange for an honest review. When evaluating exegetical commentaries, I typically look at three areas: 1) key features (usually dictated by the commentary series); 2) discussion… Continue reading A Commentary on James by Aída Besançon Spencer (Kregel Series) — A Book Review
A friend has asked me to respond to a discussion over at larapatricia.wordpress.com regarding speaking up against the government. I'm re-posting my answer to that discussion here at my space for easy reference. Is it biblical to speak up against the government? The simple answer: absolutely! Moses was commanded by God to speak against Pharaoh… Continue reading Speaking Up Against an Unjust Government, Civil Disobedience, and Pursuing Church Unity in Politics
David Mathis provides the church with encouragement and tools for spiritual growth in his monograph, Habits of Grace. Mathis highlights three principles of ongoing grace: hearing God's voice (Scripture), having God's ear (prayer), and belonging to his body (fellowship) (p. 15). His goal is to help the Christian see "how realistic and life-giving it can… Continue reading “Habits of Grace: Enjoying Jesus through the Spiritual Disciplines” by David Mathis — A Book Review
In Conversion, Michael Lawrence addresses the theological and practical problem that leads to false conversion in the church, especially among the children. He laments that, Too often our confessional theology says one thing, while our practical theology says something else. We say that regeneration makes us new creatures in Christ, but then we teach our… Continue reading “Conversion: How God Creates a People” by Michael Lawrence — A Book Review
John Onwuchekwa teaches his readers how to pray better corporately (as churches). In this short volume, Onwuchekwa laments the lack of corporate prayer that slows down and lingers on God's glories, attributes, and character unhurriedly, as well as the lack of meditation that confesses specific sins. Onwuchekwa, John. Prayer: How Praying Together Shapes the Church.… Continue reading “Prayer: How Praying Together Shapes the Church” by John Onwuchekwa — A Book Review