7 Men by Eric Metaxas

Here is a biographic volume consisting of seven vignettes. The subtitle of “And the secret of their greatness” hints at what author Eric Metaxes is up to. Never was an introduction more indispensable than here where we learn that he is not attempting to give an authoritative biographic word, but to examine the questions: 1) What is a man? and b) What makes a man great?

This is not profound biography. There is likely very little new here beyond what you might read in a longer biography, but his wrestling with real manhood is more of a success. At times, he rambles about his own personal thoughts or reminiscences of the subject at hand, but it all flows well. Though he has written some well-received biographies, this volume appears to be put together more in haste.

Still, it is enjoyable reading and goes fast. I left it wanting to read a fuller length biography of at least two of his 7 men. The addition of the chapter on Corrie Ten Boom was nice too.

There is a pretty good tracing of Christianity in each life and some good insights. Some of us would question Pope John Paul II being included and offered as if on the same level of Christianity as the others, but even that chapter told all I might ever want to know of him in an interesting way.

These books of collated mini-biographies can be a nice change up in our reading schedule and can suggest future reading. For what it is, it is well done.

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.

  



Madison’s Gift by David O. Stewart

Here is a brilliantly executed volume on one of our most underrated Presidents, James Madison. Madison was a man little of physical stature, one that stood in the shadows of Washington and Jefferson, but who did more heavy lifting on what our Constitution actually says than anyone. A diligent student and a tireless worker, Madison earned the label “Father of the Constitution.”

 

Instead of a cradle-to-grave standard biography, Mr. Stewart gives us his life through the lens of the five key relationships of his life. In that every life is probably partially defined by our five closest relationships, this volume succeeds in bringing Madison alive. 

 

His relationship with Washington was interesting in that he would have been considered Washington’s protege, but that relationship changed as Washington focused on holding the Union together while Madison increasingly focused on the political party he helped form. The writing here is so good you find yourself sad that the relationship was what it was by Washington’s death.

 

With Alexander Hamilton, you are shocked again as you read of their close association, common goals, and joint writing of The Federalist Papers giving way to being key leaders of rival parties.

 

Jefferson and Madison were soul mates and of equal intellectual powers. You will read of the unwavering friendship where Madison always gladly deferred to Jefferson.

 

The most shocking aspect of his relationship with James Monroe is how often they had a falling out only to be great friends again.

 

With Dolley, he found the perfect wife for what he did with his life. Though he married late, you will see how well she complemented his work.

 

I thought this approach to Madison would be a chronological nightmare for the reader, but Mr. Stewart’s writing washed that fear away.  I feel I know a lot more about what made Madison tick and must rate this volume a winner!

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.  

 

Be looking for a post on presidential biographies coming soon.

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Acts (EP Study Commentary) by Guy Prentiss Waters

Looking for a solid commentary on Acts aimed more at expositional help rather than just exegetical detail? You ought to check out the new EP Study Commentary volume by Guy Prentiss Waters. That is not to say that it isn’t exegetically sound, but that it is written in a way at once interesting and clear.

 

The Introduction is short but gets you going in the right direction. Mr. Waters writes from both a reformed and amillennial perspective, and though that is not my own viewpoint, I still recommend this volume anyway because of the perceptive comments he so often gives. In fact, I have a growing appreciation for this series as a whole, though I only have a few volumes, because of its warm-hearted approach. As with the series, this volume is particularly pastor-friendly.

 

Perhaps the best commendation I can give it is the nuggets I found myself underlining as I perused it. Yes, I found some paragraphs that I disagreed with, but I never failed to see one who loved our Lord, His Word, and the Book of Acts in particular. The application was of the sort one hopes to find in preaching. The commentary length is ideal as well.

 

I appreciate the exegetical commentaries and use them often, but it is volumes like these where the reading turns pleasant. I wholeheartedly recommend it.

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. 

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