A Commentary On Judges And Ruth–Kregel Exegetical Commentary

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Do you need a really quality commentary on Judges and Ruth? Look no farther than this latest in the Kregel Exegetical Commentary series, this time by Robert Chisholm. Mr. Chisholm has 30 years teaching this portion of Scripture under his belt and it shows. Though a major commentary, this volume is effectively aimed at pastors and teachers. Instead of the rubbish approach of “speculative fancy that litters the history of biblical higher criticism”, he takes the superior and helpful “literary-theological” approach. That means he takes the text as he finds it! As a pastor, I am glad to have this book.

His Introduction for Judges is extensive and covers all the issues we might wonder about as well as the issues that scholars wrestle with. Chronological questions are the trickiest, but whether you finally come down where Mr. Chisholm did or not, you will for sure have the information to decide for yourself. The section entitled “What Is The Point Of Judges?” is exceptionally good. In addition, the section on female characters, of which Judges has many, is fascinating as a backdrop for the abject failure of men in those dark days. Preachers will love his suggestions on how to approach preaching the book as well.

The commentary itself is good. Just look at, for example, his explanation of Jeththah’s vow or of the Levite and his concubine shows he will tackle hard passages with verve. He thoroughly gives the different viewpoints, yet never fails to argue passionately for his point of view. I so prefer that approach whether I agree with the commentator’s conclusion or not.

He is equally as good on Ruth. I was unconvinced on his arguments against Daniel Block on the wrongness of Naomi’s sons marrying Moabites, but feel I know the issues involved like never before. There is no skepticism here.

In this second release in this series, Kregel is batting one thousand. If they can keep this level of quality, I say keep them coming!

I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 . 

Related article: Psalms Volume 1- Kregel Exegetical

 

 

 

Formation of the Bible By Lee Martin McDonald

In light of the barrage of attacking media on the Bible these days, canonicity is suddenly a hot topic. Sadly, most Christians do not really know how to discuss the topic of how our canon of Scripture came about, or more importantly, how it can be trusted. So we need volumes to educate us such as we have in this volume published by Hendrickson.

We have to either remove the rustiness that has developed or come up to speed as the world is asking the tough questions. The book can distinctly help us. This subject is complex and so subject to easy potshots! You will need a basic knowledge if, say, someone starts reading Bart Ehrman and says your Bible is hopelessly an untrustworthy text of antiquity and dares you to answer. Mr. McDonald is a scholar who gives us an introduction, a starting place, that assumes we may not the story of the our canon.

Though it comes as a surprise to some there were pseudepigraphal and apocryphal books that rose up to compete with the cannon that became what we know as authoritative Scripture just as the critics say. What is not true is the level of acceptance. This volume weaves through how that worked out.

The key value in this book is the way unfamiliar things are defined and explained. Both in the text and in an outstanding glossary of terms one can learn the language of canonicity. He gives full charts on all the books that you may hear of as “lost” too.

I do not reach every conclusion he does, but my only real fault with this book is that it does not hold up as a work of apologetics nearly as well as it as simply an educational one. On occasions he raised more questions than he answered, or at least answered powerfully. I believe an even stronger case can be made. Still, this book will be handy to have on the shelf.
I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

BONUS REVIEW:

Another book I just read that you may enjoy along these lines is Behind The Bible: A Primer on Textual Criticism by Jeffrey D. Johnson.

In around a short power-packed 100 pages the issue of how we can trust the text of Scripture is given. I don’t personally agree with which family of texts he says is best, but he is calm in his handling of these issues. You really get a feel for how the process has worked and how scholars have approached it in different time periods. I recommend it.

 

 

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So Jimmy, Why Do You Write This Stuff? (Independent Baptist Truth Revolution# 27)

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Well, it is a fair question. I am aware some are asking it too. For that matter, I realize how the articles in this particular series might be hitting some readers. In fact, let me name each category of those who may cross paths with this series, followed by a word to each.

1. Non-Christians

They simply would have little inclination to read this series and rarely do. It is likely too far removed from their lives to hold more than a momentary interest. To them I say that while we have our issues, our Savior, Jesus Christ, has none. In fact, He can help each of us with our issues.

2. Non-Independent Baptists

They might on occasion read to see what weird things go on in our group. It can be perversely therapeutic to read other’s problems to feel your own are not quite so bad. Probably they find some similarities within their own groups, just on different issues. I read often where other groups have their own foibles. For example, I read where some (not all) Calvinists absolutely rip each other up over some minute detail of their theology. I have even heard when one tells the other that they are not really a Calvinist (one held a ‘forensic’ view of justification while the other held a ‘transformative’ view). That sure sounds familiar! I mean if you switch our quirks for theirs. To them I say, please pray for us as we pray for you.

3. Balanced Independent Baptists From Balanced Ministries

They read this series and it feels dark. This is the group that I feel most awkward about. I must seem an unbalanced, rabble-rouser to them. They know nothing of what I am talking about. They probably will choose to stop reading and I don’t blame them. To them I say, be thankful for your church and the wonderful pastors you have had, but please know that others have had a far different experience than you have had.

4. Balanced Independent Baptists Who Have Suffered In Unbalanced Ministries

They love reading these type of articles. Their deliverance means so much to them as the casting off of bondage has liberated them and they want to see others delivered too. Christ means everything now and denominational politics and outward conformance never will mean anything again. My prayer is that the Lord would use my attempts at writing to help a few others move into this category. To them I say, “To whom much is given, much is required” applies to us.

5. Former Independent Baptists

They may love reading these types of articles too. They may hand my articles to show someone why they left. (I have actually heard of such occurences). They may be either: a) folks just like #4 above but who just felt they should move out of the Independent Baptist world, or b) someone who is bitter toward Independent Baptists. To them I say, either a) sorry to lose you, but may the Lord bless and keep you, or b) I do not discount your pain but Christ can move you past it. To live a life of ridicule (like stufffundieslike.com) is but to fall prey to the same lifestyle that hurt you. Ugliness will not cure ugliness.

6. Status-Quo Independent Baptists

They may or may not be aware of the abuses I have written about. They probably dislike this series and articles like it. It rocks the boat. It causes discussions they don’t want to be part of. When the discussion gets rather intense, they resent being forced to address these issues. To them I say, sorry I make you squirm, but the great issues, those that demand a right or wrong label, deserve to be addressed. If more banded together to address abusive behavior in our ranks we might live to see it changed–come help us.

7. Abusive Independent Baptists

They despise this series. I am glad. Others have cowered at their feet and let them have a reign of terror. I will not! If we can help some who are abused to see these abusers for who they are, lives will be helped. To them I say, you have hijacked certain segments of the Independent Baptist world and I will continue to do my bit to stop you as long as I am able. I believe the pen is far mightier than the abusive sword you wield and you will lose in the end if you continue on this course. Still, Christ stands ready to help you too.

8. Hurting, Confused Independent Baptists

They read this series as just one of the many ways they sincerely try to find direction for what they deal with. Their letters will break your heart. Often, every step to stop the mistreatment they face is met with more intense abuse. If the Lord will enable me to help any of them, even a little, I will be so grateful. To them I say, Christ has better for you than this. Walk out of the dark bondage into the light of His grace. Your soul can feel His warmth again. You must only shut out the voice of manipulative men and listen only to His voice. You will heal when you only listen to His voice.

Conclusion

I can not explain why the Lord has led me to write this series, but I know He has. No amount of criticism, nor even as bad as I hate it, no amount of misunderstanding of my motives, will stop me. As an Independent Baptist, I look back to the John R. Rices and Lee Robersons who felt compelled to stand against a convention they believed to be drowning in liberalism and unbelief and took great heat to make their stand. I follow in a long tradition. There are many more like me and we are not going away. May the Lord help us away from a new sort of denominationalism, from a slaughter of soul liberty, and from abusive practices of the most unchristian sort. God bless you all!

Find all articles in the series here.

Bible Revival–A Needed Book

Bible-Revival-by-Kenneth-BerdingHow would you like a book that addresses one of the biggest, yet often overlooked problems of our day? It is the problem of a famine of the Bible– not only in our world, but within Christianity itself. Adding to the damage is our lack of ideas on how to address the problem. How will I address the problem in my life? How will pastors address it in our churches? Packing a real wallop, this volume by Kenneth Berding and published by the Weaver Book Company shares real answers. The answers are deftly given, and as the subtitle says (“committing ourselves to one book“), are what we should have already realized.

Mr. Berding confines his case that we have this famine to one succinct chapter. That suffices as I doubt any reader would fail to see the obvious nature of the Bible’s standing among God’s people. He even discusses some possible reasons, like distractions and so on, that gives insight to where we are today. Chapter two to the end are insightful, practical advise on what must be done.

His approach is one of confronting the things that keep the Bible at a such distance that it does not have the dramatic effect it otherwise would on our lives. Things like seeing the Bible as truly sufficient, or that it can be actually understood, or our being superficial in reading it, or worse, that we already know all the important stuff–these are makings of biblical illiteracy. He call our biases “special interests” and the preferred type of sermons today “therapeutism”. One of our biggest blunders, as he well explains, is our imagined right to an opinion of whether what we read is acceptable to us or not. He leads us persuasively away from these things.

Were we to confront the things that Mr. Berding calls out we would without fail have a revival in our personal lives regarding the Bible. I recommend this book for you and me. As a pastor, I recommend it to those I pastor too. It is a gem that I pray finds a wide audience!

I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 .