I’ve been getting in some books lately that I’m going to get into after the new year. As I wrote last week, we’re pretty busy now, and I’ll write more on that soon. For now, here are some books that I’ve received for complimentary reviews from IVP Academic and Lexham Press, and one from Wipf & Stock that is a normal review. I’ve written a bit about each book, and you can expect my reviews for them sometime (early?) next year.
But What About God’s Wrath?—Can a loving God be wrathful? It would be a lot easier to talk to both non-Christians and other Christians if we could just sweep away those parts of the Bible that talk about God’s wrath. (Though a lot would be easier now if we could just sweep verses away.) Is God’s wrath an expression of his holiness or justice? Is his just response not a loving response? The authors view justice as a derivative of God’s love. Because God is loving, he is just. Because he is loving to his people, he is wrathful toward his enemies.
Bearing God’s Name: Why Sinai Still Matters—Should we cast off the Old Testament? We have the New Testament. We have Jesus. Isn’t that enough? Carmen Joy Imes places her readers directly in front of Sinai, the mountain where God revealed himself to Israel, and explains what happened. What does it mean to “bearing God’s name”? This book should fit right in to my own studies, as it picks up a theme from Genesis 1:26-27 which runs through all of Scripture. Sinai matters for those of us who follow Jesus today. (Imes shatters ten myths about the Ten Commandments on her blog here, here, and here.)
A Week in the Life of a Greco-Roman Woman—The “Week in the Life of” series is accessible books of historical fiction. Scholars who understand the first-century Greco-Roman world have written books to help get us into the minds of the Christians during that time. What was it like to be a woman? Not seen as standing on equal footing with men, what happens when a woman in Ephesus hears Paul’s gospel and comes to know Christ as her King? Her life turns upside-down, and she is given radical new freedom. But how will it affect her as she lives under the rule of Caesar and of her unsaved husband?
The Messianic Vision of the Pentateuch—Jesus said Moses wrote about him (John 5:46), and all should have seen it. Did Moses write about Jesus? There are a few Messianic prophecies in the Pentateuch, but is there a central message? Author Kevin Chen :challenges the common view of the Pentateuch as focused primarily on the Mosaic Law, arguing instead that it sets forth a coherent, sweeping vision of the Messiah as the center of its theological message. Each Messianic prophecy in the Pentateuch contributes to the fuller vision of the Messiah that emerges when it is appropriately related to the others and to the Pentateuch as a whole.” Chen focuses on the meaning of the Old Testament as a unified literary work. Five books with one message. Chen shares with us a Bible, an Old Testament, a Pentateuch that was eagerly awaiting the Messiah King.
The Gospel of the Son of God—Matthew fills is Gospel from beginning to end with the declaration that Jesus is the son of God. It is found on the lips of Peter, a Roman centurion, Jesus himself, and God the Father. David Bauer argues that Matthew has written his Gospel in such away that the way it is written is just as important as the words Matthew wrote. Bauer is not the first to believe this, but his work looks refreshing (and solid). Just as we craft an important speech, Matthew wrote his Gospel with a certain form. Bauer shows how to understand Matthew, read and interpret Matthew, and how to reflect and apply Matthew’s words with themes on Christ, salvation, discipleship, and more.
Tending Soul, Mind, and Body—Jesus cares for our whole selves: soul, mind, and body. Pastors and church leaders are meant to carry on Jesus’ task of loving his sheep. How do we uphold the Bible against new theories in psychology? Or in cultural shifts? Or in the individual lives of our church members? How might psychology and counseling aid us in our spiritual formation? Do they help? The chapters here are based on the 2018 Center for Pastor Theologians conference and reflections given by pastors, theologians, and psychologists.
Deuteronomy: Invited to Know God—Reading the law is intimidating. Reading Deuteronomy, an exposition of God’s law to a new generation, seems redundant. Here is a long, winding book given to a large group pf people whose parents walked through a desert for forty years, and these people are about to ender a promised land full of hostile nations. And I’m supposed to get something from this book? “Deuteronomy is simply about knowing God,” and “to understand God better, we need to understand Deuteronomy better.” Deuteronomy calls God’s people to choose life over death, to love God, to follow him with their whole selves, and to “flourish under His loving wisdom and guidance.”
Architect of Evangelicalism—What does “evangelical” mean? The late Carl F. H. Henry, the founding editor of Christianity Today, was arguably the most influential theologian of American evangelicalism in the twentieth century. Henry worked “tirelessly to help Christians adopt a worldview that encompasses all of life.” Architect of Evangelicalism gives us the best of Henry’s Christianity Today essays so we will understand the roots of American evangelicalism, what separates it from theological liberalism, what evangelical Christian education should look like, and how evangelicals should engage with society.
Basics of the Faith—Basics of the Faith looks at essential Christian doctrines from some of the best minds of mid-twentieth century evangelicalism around the globe: inspiration (Philip Hughes), the divine attributes (Anthony Hoekema), sanctification (John Murray), original sin (Cornelius Van Til), the person of Christ (F. F. Bruce), the saving acts of God (George Ladd), the atonement (Leon Morris), the nature of the church (J. I. Packer).
The Lexham Geographic Commentary on Acts through Revelation—Have you ever read the book of Acts and thought, “Why is this place important? Why must Luke tell me seemingly every detail of Paul’s journeys?” Barry Beitzel explains the geographical setting of Acts and the other NT letters and how the gospel spread throughout the known world the first century. Because we aren’t familiar with the geography, we don’t know the places, the modes of transportation, the distances, and the travel conditions around the ancient Mediterranean. Paul’s missionary travels covered an estimated 15,000 miles by land and sea. This commentary provides a deeper understanding of the spread of early Christianity.
Wipf & Stock
Textuality and the Bible—The object of our study of the Bible is the Bible. Michael Shepherd looks at the disciplines of hermeneutics, compositional analysis, canon studies, and textual criticism, and “ultimately seeks to issue a call for study of the Bible for its own sake.” Study the Bible to know the Bible to know Christ and glorify God in all things.