Tag Archive for 'book'

Quotes from The Person of Jesus by Gresham Machen

Here are some quotes from the book The Person of Jesus: Radio Addresses on the Deity of the Savior by Gresham Machen. This is a very short book of a series of radio addresses given in 1935. This post is under the new category of Book Quotes, which gives you a sample of a recently read book. See the last quote for some humor.

So it is when we try to think of God as eternal. If the word “infinity” is related, by way of contrast, to the notion of space, so the word “eternity” is related, by way of contrast, to the notion of time. When we say that God is eternal, we mean that he had no beginning and that he will have no end. But we really mean more than that. We mean that time has no meaning for him, save as it has meaning to the creatures whom he has made. He created time when he created finite creatures. He himself is beyond time. There is no past and no future to him. The Bible puts that in poetical language when it says: “For a thousand years in your sight are but as yesterday when it is past, or as a watch in the night” (Ps 90:4). We of course are obliged to think of the actions of God as taking place in time. We are obliged to think of him as doing one thing after another thing; we are obliged to think of him as doing this today and that tomorrow. We have a perfect right so to think, and the Bible amply confirms us in that right. To us there is indeed such a thing as past and present and future, and when God deals with us he acts in a truly temporal series. But to God himself all things are equally present. There is no such thing as “before” or “after” to him.

Jesus does not present himself merely as an example for faith but presents himself as the object of faith.

And therefore to apparel [put on] ourself with Christ is none other thing than to believe assuredly that Christ is ours.

“Why does this man speak like that?” they said. “He is blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” (Mark 2:7). They were right. None can forgive sins but God only. Jesus was a blasphemer if he was a mere man. At that point the enemies saw clearly. You may accept the lofty claims of Jesus. You may take him as very God. Or else you must reject him as a miserable, deluded enthusiast. There is really no middle ground. Jesus refuses to be pressed into the mold of a mere religious teacher.

If the Jesus of the Gospels were a purely natural and not a supernatural person, then we should have no difficulty in believing that such a person lived in the first century of our era. Even skeptics would have no difficulty in believing it. Defenders of the faith would have an easy victory indeed. Everybody would believe. But then there would be one drawback. It would be this: the thing that everybody would believe would not be worth believing.

The bottom of the next quote is the most humorous I’ve read in a Christian book in a long time.

Those first disciples of Jesus [supposedly] became convinced that Jesus had risen from the dead because they experienced certain hallucinations, certain pathological experiences in which they thought they saw Jesus before their eyes when in reality there was nothing there. In an hallucination, the optic nerve is really affected but it is affected not by light rays coming from an external object, but by some pathological condition of the bodily organism of the subject himself. This is the so-called “vision theory” regarding the origin of the Christian church. It has held the field among unbelievers inside of the church and outside of the church since the days of Strauss about one hundred years ago. I think we ought to understand just exactly what that vision theory means. It means that the Christian church is founded upon a pathological experience of certain persons in the first century of our era. It means that if there had been a good neurologist for Peter and the others to consult there never would have been a Christian church.

The Person of Jesus

Also find it at: Westminster Bookstore

The Best Book for New Christians

OK, so I haven’t read every book in the world that are supposed to be for new Christians. The one mentioned below is by far the best one that I have read. If you’re short on time, skip to the last paragraph and the quote below it; otherwise, you can read about a few other helpful books too.

I have seen lists of books for new Christians written by bloggers. I think they almost always overshoot. They recommend fantastic books like Knowing God by J.I. Packer, which is one of the best popular level, contemporary books on God ever written (again I realize I haven’t read all of them), but I know from experience that there are Christians who’ve been saved for decades who still need milk and can’t handle this book. (That’s another subject.) I think many Christians, especially those who are well read, forget what it’s like to be new. This is that ‘one book’ that I think every Christian, or certainly everyone in the early stages, should read. But how many times have you read that? Everybody has their opinion.

At one time I was on the lookout for books that fit this category. I looked at The God Who Is There by D.A. Carson, which is a great book aimed at newer Christians. See posts where this book is mentioned. I read this recently and learned a lot from it, but I think it might get to be too much for new Christians. He’ll start out explaining what the gospels are, but then goes on and gets a little ‘thick’. It’s really a great book though for an ‘advanced beginner’. He starts out writing a lot about Genesis, then goes to John, then to Revelation (but not everything in-between). I’m not sure if he is one to write a book for new Christians. He knows like 39 languages and can quote book, chapter and section from Calvin’s Institutes like he wrote it himself. As a tangent–sometimes I tend to exaggerate a little. I think he only knows about 29 languages, or maybe 7.

I also looked at Basic Christianity by John Stott. The book is true to its title, but I don’t know if the content, including the tiny typeface of the edition I have, is quite suitable for most new Christians these days. Maybe it was when he first wrote it 50 years ago.

Then I remembered the one I read when I was a new Christian. It’s upstairs among some really old books that I don’t have on my regular bookshelf. Turns out that the book with the red cover and yellow title has been reprinted over and over in that span of 30 years and now has a nice new cover. You can’t go wrong in buying The Fight: A Practical Handbook for Christian Living by John White, for a new Christian. I’m not sure why I haven’t seen it mentioned. Maybe the title is off-putting. But people are obviously buying and reading it, and for good reason.

Here is a guide through the basic areas of Christian living we wrestle with throughout our lives: faith, prayer, temptation, evangelism, guidance, Bible study, fellowship, work. In this very personal book he offers new Christians sound first steps and older Christians refreshing insights into the struggles and the joys of freedom in Christ.

The Fight by John White for Young Christians

Do you have any suggestions?

Also see:

Walking with God through Pain and Suffering by Timothy Keller

This new book by Timothy Keller looks like it may be very good. Find all kinds of resources on it at Westminster Bookstore.

Amazon has it in hardcover and Kindle formats.

book-Walking-With-God

By the way, Westminster Books has one of my favorite books on suffering, Be Still My Soul, for 50% off the cover price at $6.50 for a week. This is more than $2 less than Amazon.

book be still my soul

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Putting Amazing Back into Grace

I was reading book reviews when I was supposed to be sleeping and came across this book that I had previously overlooked. Just because of this quote in one of the reviews on Amazon.com, I want to get it. I learn a lot from either gross misinterpretations and what an author believes is the orthodox interpretation, and I’m also curious about where these silly cliches come from. Maybe not quite as educational, but at least I’ll learn more about them (I’m terrible with cliches–why not just quote the Bible?–I think I know why) and learn why most aren’t Biblical and what something closer to the truth may be.

Perhaps my greatest praise is that this book challenges so many assumptions and so many of the words and phrases Christians use all the time. Horton traces the evolution of many of these phrases and shows how they are unbiblical at best, and heretical at worst. Some examples of this are “let go and let God” and “the Spirit’s leading.” Common phrases, but ones we use without really examining their underlying theological implications.

Michael Horton, Putting Amazing Back into Grace: Embracing the Heart of the Gospel

I’m also very much in favor of the recent emphasis on the gospel, having just read The Transforming Power of the Gospel by Jerry Bridges for example. It’s nothing new though of course. The Puritans emphasized it and it wasn’t new for Augustine or Paul either.

book-putting-amazing-back-into-grace-horton

Mini-Review: Be Still My Soul

Be Still, My Soul (25 Classic and Contemporary Readings on the Problem of Pain): Embracing God’s Purpose and Provision in Suffering
David Martyn Lloyd-Jones (Contributor), D. A. Carson (Contributor), J. I. Packer (Contributor), Nancy Guthrie (Editor), Jerry Bridges (Contributor)

Many short chapters all written by different people from different times. Many are Reformed, some aren’t, like A.W. Tozer (I really don’t know what he was except a great Christan thinker), Philip Yancey, who wrote two books on suffering, and more. This may be the best book on suffering that I’ve read even though no single chapter goes into a lot of depth. It’s also good for finding other quality books on living the Christian life. I can’t imagine how Nancie Guthrie found all of these great nuggets, many of them well off the beaten path.

Also see: In Store Now – Be Still, My Soul at Baker Books Church Connection

Free in February: Kindle version of ‘Imaginary Jesus’

This is free in February. I don’t know if it will be longer than that. I’m not familiar with the book–just passing it along.

Imaginary Jesus [Kindle Edition] by Matt Mikalatos, Tyndale House Publishers (January 4, 2010)

Book - Imaginary Jesus

Book Review: Learn to Read New Testament Greek

Learn to Read New Testament Greek by David Alan Black Learn to Read New Testament Greek, Third Edition by David Alan Black

This book and the companion workbook are review copies sent to me by the publisher, B&H Publishing Group of LifeWay Christian Resources, via NetGalley. I appreciate the opportunity to review these materials.

This review is written by someone learning Greek on their own. I hope this is helpful for someone in the same situation or for someone who is brushing up on Greek learned in the past.

I have looked extensively at a couple of the other popular beginning Greek grammars although I won’t be doing any direct comparisons.

Regarding the aesthetics, the hardcover is very sturdy in addition to being very appealing to look at. The black cover is a nice tie-in to the author’s last name. The paper is high quality, crisp and white which takes to a highlighter very well. The conjugations are in gray shaded boxes which helps them stand out and makes them easy to locate when wanting to go back and review them. The only thing I don’t like is that the font chosen for the Greek is a little less formal than what most of us are used to seeing which takes a little while to get used to.

In a word this book is efficient. There are no chapter overviews, introductions, summaries,  what you’ll learn in the next chapter, etc. which is usually annoying anyway. The author gets right down to business in each chapter. Each of the 26 chapters are short enough that you don’t need those things.

This doesn’t mean the book’s information is skimpy. You will learn a lot of the important terms so that when you read a more technical Bible commentary or read what others write about Greek, you will have learned or at least have a reference for the terms at the beginning level which are explained well.

The exercises for the first 17 chapters of the book are made-up sentences in Greek that the student translates. All of the words in the sentences are from vocabulary that has been learned previously in the book.

Starting in chapter 18, Bible verses are used for the exercises. When there is a word in a verse that hasn’t been learned, the English gloss (a short basic definition) is listed in parenthesis next to the Greek word. This is much nicer than at least one other book where the extra vocabulary is listed on another page, sometimes requiring a page turn so that one is constantly flipping back and forth. There is an answer key for the exercises in the Appendix at the end of the book.

For more extensive exercises there is a companion workbook, sold separately. There is no answer key in the workbook, but if you write to the publisher, they will send you one in PDF format. The workbook (which was a pleasant surprise since I didn’t expect it to be sent to me) has all sorts of exercises coming at the Greek from many angles.

Verbs are introduced in chapter 2 and all of the indicative verbs are covered by chapter 17. There are various methods for introducing verbs in the books I’ve seen. I like having them introduced early so that they can be reviewed frequently as time goes on. There are very helpful charts of the indicative verb forms in the middle of the book. I wish I would have known this earlier so that I could have referred to it as I went along but it wasn’t mentioned earlier in the book. There is also a very helpful large fold-out complete Greek Verb Chart glued to the inside of the back cover.

There are a couple of very important items that were put in footnotes which I think should be in the main part of the text. (There are very few, thankfully, and they are at the end of each section where they are easy to see.) In particular is footnote iii. on page 31 which mentions that kai can mean “both”, “also” or “even”. So be sure to pay close attention to the footnotes.

I believe this book is a very efficient way to learn beginning level Greek. I would think it would be especially useful for someone reviewing Greek that they’ve already learned. I like to use more than one book to be able to read things explained in different ways, but this book is my first choice for the primary book to study and I highly recommend it.

Buy it from Amazon.com

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: B&H Academic; Third edition (March 1, 2009)
  • ISBN-10: 0805444939

Book Giveaway: Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount by D.A. Carson

Bitsy at Jack Of All Trades is giving away Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount and His Confrontation with the World: An Exposition of Matthew 5-10 by D.A. Carson.

Drawing rules:

  • Shipping to USA addresses only. (My sincere apologies to my overseas friends, but postage is what it is!)
  • Post here and on your blog for two entries. (either/or will get you one.)

The Sermon on the Mount is one of my favorite parts of the Bible and this book has been on my list already.

Broadcast Depth Book Giveaway

Matt at Broadcast Depth received a random copy of a book from Westminster John Knox that came with a couple other books from Abingdon Press.

He is giving away Exodus from the Interpretation Bible Studies series and written by James D. Newsome. Here are the ways to win this contest:

  1. Write your own blog post promoting the giveaway and provide me with the link.
  2. Comment on this post and tell why you want this book.
  3. Tweet “Win a free copy of Exodus (Interpretation Bible Studies) by James Newsome http://tinyurl.com/l33qcs” and let me know your twitter user name.

Bloggers: Get a review copy of I Want to Believe

I found this today and thought I would pass it along to anyone who may be interested in reading and reviewing the book:
Bloggers and other media – receive a free review copy of I Want to Believe

I-Want-To-Believe

Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross: Experiencing the Passion and Power of Easter

I was reading a blog post by Brian Thornton at Voice of the Sheep entitled Father, Forgive Them and saw a reference to the book Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross: Experiencing the Passion and Power of Easter.

I was extremely impressed with the line-up of contributors which include in part, Nancy Guthrie (Author), John Piper, Timothy J. Keller, Jonathan Edwards, John Owen, Stephen F. Olford, Joseph “Skip” Ryan, Martin Luther, Adrian Rogers, Philip Graham Ryken, Martyn Lloyd-Jones, J. Ligon Duncan, C. J. Mahaney, Charles H. Spurgeon, Augustine, J. I. Packer.

Fellow blogger Trevin Wax has a review on Amazon’s site.

Book Cover

Free (plus S&H) Calvin Book for Pastors

Reformation Trust is offering John Calvin: A Heart for Devotion, Doctrine, and Doxology free for pastors (with $5 shipping).

This book was reviewed on this blog earlier.

HT: Challies

Book Review: New Testament Exegesis by Gordon Fee

New Testament Exegesis by Gordon Fee New Testament Exegesis: A Handbook for Students and Pastors by Gordon D. Fee

What is exegesis as defined by Fee?

“The term exegesis is used in this book in a consciously limited sense to refer to the historical investigation into the meaning of the biblical text. The presupposition lying behind this task is that the biblical books had ‘authors’ and ‘readers,’ and that the authors intended their readers to understand what they wrote (see, e.g., 1 Cor. 5:9-11; 1 John 2:1; see the Appendix). Exegesis therefore answers the question, What did the biblical author mean? It has to do both with what he said (the content itself) and why he said it at any given point (the literary context)–as much as that might be discovered, given our distance in time, language, and culture. Furthermore, exegesis is primarily concerned with intentionality: What did the author intend his original readers to understand?”

This book is for those very serious about exegesis. It’s very broad, but accessible for any student, pastor or anyone serious about studying the Bible.

Although the book was originally written 20 years ago, it has stood the test of time and has been revised in both the 2nd and current 3rd edition to keep it very up to date.

Is it necessary to know Greek to utilize the book?

This is addressed in the Preface to the first edition but also in the Introduction to the 3rd edition:

“A final word to those who use only the English Bible. First, you need to take heart that you can learn to do exegesis as well as anyone else. Knowing Greek gives one obvious advantages in several matters of detail. But the person without Greek who is willing to do a bit of extra work can enter into the full joys of this discipline. You must take seriously the need to learn the Greek alphabet; that will give you direct access to most of the better tools, especially when it comes to the study of words.”

For those who do know Greek the book goes in-depth into using Greek as part of exegesis.

By taking a look at the Amazon link you can “Search inside this book” and start with the Table of Contents to get a good overview of what’s covered.

Fee mentions a wide array of resources for research related to each step. Bibliographic material is mentioned within each chapter in addition to a whole chapter devoted to the material, based on category.

One could easily spend over $2000 on these books which may be a little overwhelming for some. For those without an extensive library of their own, the help of a public library or even at the minimum—the internet, a couple of good study Bibles and a couple of in-depth commentaries covering the passage you will be exegeting—one could get by and do most of the things outlined in the book.

Also overwhelming is the sheer number of steps required in the first chapter, many of which are explained in the second chapter. This is geared to a student who will be writing a paper on a passage of Scripture. The third chapter abbreviates the steps for pastors who have approximately ten hours a week to prepare a sermon.

I thought it would be helpful if the steps in chapter three were directly correlated to the steps in the first two chapters.

It’s important for everyone to carefully read the whole book. For English only readers, reading the portions related to Greek are still valuable. For students, the chapter for pastors is important for remembering application, prayer and reflection so that it doesn’t become only an academic exercise. Pastors will want to be very familiar with the first two chapters so they can tailor the steps to their needs with Fee’s guidance as outlined in the third chapter.

The Appendix, new to the third edition, explains what Reader-Response Criticism is, how popular this has become and how dangerous it is. I see it everywhere and this is not a good thing.

Personal notes:
As noted in the review, the number of steps involved can be overwhelming for a neophyte exegetor. As I was first reading the book I was wondering when the steps would finally come to an end. But once I got through all the steps and read the abbreviated portion for pastors, I could see how I can make it all work. I’m not using the pastor’s chapter as a way to do less work. (I would rather spend more time exegeting and not have to try to write a sermon. Now that’s hard work.) I went through the whole book and wrote down the steps that I can do—not knowing much Greek—along with page numbers and topics so that I can go through it one step at a time. Baby steps.

Another blogger bought this book for me which was on my Amazon Wish List. As one with a small library and small budget, I can’t say how much this is appreciated.

Paperback: 195 pages
Publisher: Westminster John Knox Press; 3rd edition (March 2002)
ISBN-10: 0664223168
ISBN-13: 978-0664223168
Book Cover Design: Really cool

Buy it at:

Free Book by John MacArthur

I don’t usually like to post more than once a day but this one has been getting around so I thought I’d post it now so that it doesn’t look like old news.

Daily Readings from the Life of Christ is offered through August 20.

HT: Travis Carden

Commentary on the New Testament use of the Old Testament

There has been a lot of buzz in the biblioblogosphere about the book Commentary on the New Testament use of the Old Testament, D. A. Carson & G. K. Beale.

Some blog examples:

etc.

Here is an interview in Christianity Today with the editors of the book:
Two Testaments, One Story
Top evangelical scholars team up for landmark commentary on New Testament use of Old Testament.