Revival Sermons of Jonathan Edwards–A Review

book edwards

Jonathan Edwards was an amazing man. Besides being impressive for his theological writings, he was one of the preachers God used mightily in the Great Awakening. Having read the book Jonathan Edwards on Revival in the past and being amazed by it, I was pleased to see this book that collects some of his most effective revival sermons of that time. In case you’re wondering, this book does include the famous “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God”.

For those who are not that knowledgeable of Jonathan Edwards, this book provides a preface that gives a biographic overview of him. After that preface, you have seven of these great sermons. There are several things you will notice about the sermons. First, they’re long. Where it seems only fluffy sermons appeal to the masses in our generation, the Lord used deep, profound, scripturally-laden sermons in that day (I imagine that would still work!). Second, his style usually involves beginning with some doctrine on the subject and then branching out into pointed, applicable material to take the Scripture home to the hearer’s hearts. Finally, these sermons will not allow the listener to escape the searching light of God’s holy Word.

While the sermons have great historical value, they serve far better as a conduit to examine our own hearts. They serve also as a call for our sermons of today to get back to the Bible since it is the Bible that the Holy Spirit uses to pierce the heart of men and women.

This book is an attractive paperback edition that will serve as a nice addition to your library. I 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.

KJV Expressions Bible–A Review

book kjv expressians

The KJV Expressions Bible published by Hendrickson publishers is the perfect Bible for those interested in journaling. This Bible gives over 2 inch margins on the outside of each page. With the recent upsurge in adult coloring there’s ample room for that activity as well. Finally, and much more in line with my tastes, this Bible gives you wonderful room to take notes.

The wide margin Bibles I’ve used in the past are rather expensive. This volume is much more inexpensive, though it might be your choice for your second Bible rather than for your “church” Bible. You might even prefer to fill up all the note pages, and decide that means you’ll deserve a new one when that happens. If you’re looking for note taking, journaling, or coloring, this is an attractive, economical choice.

The volume comes in an attractive brown, leather over board edition. To give you all that journaling room there’s no other frills, as you’ll find it’s all just the biblical text. At the end of the Bible they did include a harmony of the Gospels, a list of the miracles of the Old and New Testaments, and a list of the parables found in the Bible.

I don’t think you’ll regret getting this Bible if you do. My son is begging me for my review copy. He thinks it’s awesome. I’m sure you will too.

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.

Five Festal Garments by Barry Webb

book five festal

I wish other scholarly books read like this one. It could make a prototype for future scholarly monographs. For one thing, he loved to read the New Testament back into these five wonderful Old Testament books. These five books – Song of Solomon, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, and Esther – became the five short Old Testament books that were sung in the great festivals of Israel. Though they are not together in our Bibles, it’s still a great idea to look at them together. Mr. Webb has hit a home run and packed an incredible amount of material in 150 pages.

Mr. Webb describes these books as sitting on the edge of the canon because they had more trouble with acceptance than any in the Old Testament. In the chapter on each of the five books he crams in much material like you might find in an introduction in a commentary, but the depth can’t hide the warm spiritual truth he uncovers for Christians.

He broke down the Song of Solomon in an incredible way. He describes the incredible statement it makes about love between a man and a woman in a tasteful way. He may not see it as a picture of the love of Christ for his church as much as I do, but he does finally conclude that there’s something of the love of God in it.

Without getting bogged down as I’ve seen so many scholars do, he broke down the episodes of the book of Ruth. He beautifully brought out the theology to be found in this amazing little book. He also discussed Ruth as salvation history, which many scholars will no longer do.

He sets the scene of suffering in the book of Lamentations and makes sense of its structure. Again, the theology was spot on. I may not have agreed with all his conclusions on Ecclesiastes, but I was intrigued by what he had to say. In the chapter on Esther he addressed the charge that it’s a secular book. He did see Esther and Mordecai as more conflicted characters than Bible characters like, say, Daniel. Again, he provided us with many avenues of study.

I enjoyed this book. I sat down and read it straight through in about two hours. I don’t see how anyone could read it without benefit. It’s an awesome book.

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.

Of God and Men A.W. Tozer


This title is not as well-known as many of A.W. Tozer’s other volumes. Don’t let that lack of fame fool you as it has all the qualities that we have come to love in Mr. Tozer. In fact, even more than some of his other books he lived up to his title of modern-day prophet here. A few times he even sounded angry at our casual, carnal Christianity. He couldn’t suffer spiritual foolishness easily.

At 167 pages, this book is an easy, yet profound read. The chapters are short, but pack a punch. He knew God from the Scriptures and personal relationship and he knew men from his own heart and ministering to others. His clear perceptions sparkle on every page.

I’m sure what sticks out to me may not be the same thing that sticks out to you, but several things did stick out to me. I love his chapter on holiness before happiness. He compares Christians to soldiers who do not seek to be happy on the battlefield, but who seek to get the war over with so he can go home to his loved ones. Home is where you’ll find happiness. His point is that we be a good soldier no matter what as we have great happiness to come.

Another favorite chapter was on how not all faith pleases God. He said, “let us beware that the Jesus we ‘accept’ is not one we have created out of the dust of our imagination and formed after our own likeness”. I also loved the chapter on backing into our convictions. One other chapter that I especially appreciated was the one on cultivating simplicity and solitude. There he admonished us to avoid the “digest type of mind” that loves short facts. Wow, if he could see us now!

This is another great Tozer title that will bless your soul.

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.

Luke (NTL) by John Carroll

book luke NTL

This commentary is a fairly recent entry in the well-known New Testament Library (NTL) series. Before I received this book, I had heard reports that it was one of the most practical volumes in the series for pastors. Now that I’ve had a chance to get into it, I must agree. It’s a quality midsize commentary for the Gospel of Luke.

After an extensive bibliography, Mr. Carroll gets into his Introduction on Luke’s Gospel. Though rather brief, I felt it covered all the bases well. In fact, it might be the length that many pastors would prefer. He begins by explaining Luke’s impressive qualities, including he says, “Christian historian, gifted storyteller, literary artist, and theologian”. He sees Luke is drawing the picture of Jesus within the Roman world. As you will find in most such commentaries, he outlines what has been believed about Luke being the author of this gospel. He dates Luke’s Gospel later than I would. He discusses genre and purpose followed by the suggested approach to reading Luke’s Gospel. He feels that Luke applies his story to Israel’s story. He sees Luke’s Gospel as the theocentric and says, “what drives the story as God’s faithful commitment and relentless activity to accomplish the divine purpose for Israel, and through Israel for all people”. Finally, after discussing textual issues of the Gospel of Luke, he gets into the design of the narrative, which covers issues of structure. All in all, it’s an introduction well done.

The commentary itself was well done. He brought in appropriate background material, defined the meaning of words, and did lose track of the narrative flow of the gospel of Luke. Every passage I checked had meaningful, helpful commentary that you could appreciate. In fact, I compared some passages to what I had read in some of my favorite larger exegetical commentaries, and Mr. Carroll had something worthwhile to share in every passage. This is a good resource to add to your shelves.

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.

To The Cross by Christopher Wright

book cross

After years of producing quality mid-sized commentaries, Christopher Wright has shown himself adept at writing fine sermons with helpful devotional material. In fact, this is his third such title in the last several months. One of those other titles was also by IVP and entitled Cultivating the Fruit of the Spirit. This latest volume called To the Cross is just in time for Easter.

One of the things that I especially noticed in this volume is how well Mr. Wright follows in the footsteps of his mentor, John Stott. I mean that as a sincere compliment that it is. In this exposition, he brings the story of the last days of Jesus to life. The sermons are warm, thoughtful, insightful, and touching.

His first sermon is on the Last Supper. I appreciate how he tied the blood of the covenant to this story. The next sermon on Peter’s denial was even better. He showed how failure was a part of Peter’s life and how that Jesus knew those failures and could handle them. The sermon on insults and paradise highlighted the people around the cross and described how Jesus’ last three temptations were so full of irony. He ended the sermon with two of the sayings of Christ on the cross. The last two sermons covering Jesus’ sufferings on the cross were gripping. He brought that to life far better than most I’ve seen. The sermons were over by page 108 and make outstanding devotional reading for Easter.

I was surprised to find the appendix where he talked about the process of preparing these sermons. It’s like a nice bonus, especially for younger preachers, who can greatly glean from surveying the methods of an effective preacher like Mr. Wright.

This book deserves to find a large audience. Every reader would have to be blessed by what they find on these pages. You won’t regret the time spent reading this fine book.

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.

John (NTL) by Thompson

book john NTL

This commentary on the Gospel of John is one of the latest in the New Testament Library (NTL) series published by WJK. This volume is designed to be a major mid-length commentary for those who study in the Gospel of John. It is aimed more at those who teach than scholars. You will find it quite suggestive on many passages.

Marianne Meye Thompson explains in her preface that she has worked 17 years on this commentary. That’s a lot of time for mature reflection. It’s also fair to say that this is one of the more conservative volumes in this series. She chooses not to debate the historicity of the stories in John’s Gospel, but just comments on the text that we have.

I could not agree with her that the John of this Gospel was not the John, who was the son of Zebedee. Still, the Introduction to John’s Gospel she gave was filled with helpful insights. You could sense a love of the gospel of John as you read her comments. She makes some great comments on how John is different than the Synoptic Gospels. The discussion of Jesus as the son of God in both the Introduction and a later excursus (excursus 2) showed that this was an area of the author’s expertise. I thought her explanation of how matters affecting ritual purity were absent from John was well-made as well.

The section on structure was rather short though competent, and her opinion on the dating of John landed at the conservative position of the 90s. She stated that this commentary “focuses on the gospel’s account of Jesus of Nazareth: what he said, what he did, how is life ended, and what happened after his death.” To my mind, this commentary achieves the goals the author set out at the beginning.

Though it was not as in-depth as some of the major exegetical commentaries out there, I thought the commentary proper was both interesting and helpful. She wrote in a clear way that was easy to understand. I could not agree with all her conclusions, but I appreciated the way she wrote. I checked several passages in this commentary, and the quality was consistent throughout.

If you’re looking for an additional voice in your studies of John’s Gospel, you would do well to cure this volume for your shelves. I 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.

A Theology of Mark’s Gospel by David Garland


This book is the equivalent of a whole shelf of books on the Gospel of Mark. Veteran commentator, David Garland, has written an ideal volume here. Think of it as a book that summarizes all the issues and themes that scholars often talk about involving Mark’s Gospel to put beside your commentaries on Mark. Fortunately, Zondervan is putting out a whole series called the Biblical Theology of the New Testament (BTNT) in eight volumes to cover the New Testament. Authors in the series are required to have already written a commentary on one of the books in their section. Mr. Garland has already written a commentary on Mark in the NIVAC series. Though its stated audience is for upper college and seminary-level students, I found it, as a pastor, accessible and easier to read than many volumes of its kind.

The book is divided into two parts, though that division is a little skewed. Part one only has two chapters covering introductory matters while the rest of the whole book is on major themes in Mark’s theology. While those first two chapters on introductory matters were well done, I feel part two is where the immense value of the book comes out.

Do you know why I find chapters 3 through 14 so valuable? It’s because all the issues that I’ve encountered in commentary reading on Mark’s Gospel get discussed in a clear, suggestive summary of what’s been believed and straightforward reasoning behind conclusions Mr. Garland offers. Some of these subjects were ones I’ve tried to get smaller individual volumes on, but was thrilled to find them all here.

He discusses what the introduction of Mark 1:1-13 means. He covers the Christological titles of Jesus, such as the Son of Man. Other standout chapters were his explaining the Kingdom of God in the Gospel of Mark. He made great sense of the secrecy motifs that you so often hear of in regards to Mark’s Gospel. Another subject that you hear about so often is the prominence of discipleship and he covered it in great depth. Don’t miss chapter 10 on the requirements, costs, and rewards of discipleship – that chapter is quite perceptive. He makes clear what the atonement means in Mark’s Gospel, and as you might expect, covers Mark’s eschatology. The last chapter is on the debate over the end of Mark’s gospel, and though I find the longer ending more accurate, he well covers the issues.

As I said before, I can’t believe how many volumes I’ve looked for that could be replaced by this one volume. For my money, it’s quite a bargain.

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.

Mornings on Horseback by David McCullough (Presidential Bio. Series)

book TR horseback.jpg

Though this book could not be classified as a regular biography, as the story of Teddy Roosevelt ended in this volume before the famous parts even began, it was still a joy to read. David McCullough is easily one of my favorite authors. I’ve read over half of the books he’s written, and he always writes in a style that appeals to me. He often makes his nonfiction works read with the energy of great fiction. Though I would not label this volume my favorite of his books that I’ve read, I still enjoyed it. He painted a vivid portrait of all the foundational elements of Teddy Roosevelt’s life.

Teddy Roosevelt was not really cut from the same cloth as other men who held the office before him. His family was filthy rich. The hardships of the average citizen he could only see vaguely from a distance. I almost find it surprising that he became the rugged man he was with a high society background in New York City as he had.

A few things stand out from this early period of his life. His family adored him. For some reason, everyone in the family decided he was the most important person in their family from a young age. He faced horrific asthmatic attacks, and there was doubt on many occasions that he would even live to adulthood. That desire to live “the strenuous life” flamed up early, even before he had the health to really carry it out. He was able to see much of the world including Europe and the holy land, which was unknown to most Americans in those days.

He revered his father, Theodore Roosevelt, Sr. His father was a kind family man. He really didn’t have to work in the family business as he inherited his fortune, but he was often involved in major philanthropic efforts. He invested time in his family. Teddy Roosevelt’s deep respect of his father at times stressed him as he sought to live out the highest expectations that would please his father. While Teddy was at Harvard, his father died. He suffered greatly with stomach cancer and Teddy was grief stricken that he could not do more to help his father. Still, his father was a moral man and stressed morals to Teddy. To a great degree, Teddy held to those morals. His father also exposed him to Christianity, took him to church, and taught him the Bible. I could not tell from reading this book if Teddy had a personal faith in Jesus Christ, but it certainly impacted the man that he was.

Teddy met and married a beautiful young lady. While he served in the New York State house, his wife became sick in what was expected to be a routine delivery of their first baby. At the same time, his mother became sick. They were all in the same house while Teddy was away. Teddy rushed back, but both died just a couple days apart. As is often the case, tragedy molds a person and makes them more fit for greatness.

I look forward to reading a full biography of Teddy Roosevelt somewhere down the line, but this book is still a worthy read for either presidential biography lovers or McCullough fans. The book ended after Teddy put his life back together after some ranching in North Dakota and married his second wife. I finished the book thinking why didn’t McCullough just finish it. Had he done so, the book would’ve likely have been as great as “John Adams” or “Truman”. All in all, it is still an outstanding volume.

To read other articles in this series, click here.

Introduction to Biblical Interpretation (3rd Ed.)


William Klein, Craig Blomberg, and Robert Hubbard, Jr. have teamed to give us one of the best hermeneutics textbooks that is in print today. It’s been popular with students since it was first written in 1993 and this third edition ensures its use for years to come. It has an attractive hardback cover to complement its substantial contents. I’ve perused several of these volumes on biblical interpretation that’s on the market today, and find this book to be one of the top choices.

Coming in at over 600 pages, this book deserves the label of in-depth. It might be a little tough to those who have never studied hermeneutics before, but those who have will love this volume. Don’t misunderstand me – it’s well-written, accessible, but covers a lot of information.

Chapter 1 on the need for interpretation drew a nice portrait of why hermeneutics are so important in studying the Bible. Without proper hermeneutics, the Bible gets to mean what anyone wants it to mean. When that happens, it means nothing. The next three chapters on history, literary and social-scientific approaches, and the canon and translations were not as interesting to me as what followed. In fact, some of the social scientific approaches gave credence to groups whose voice is off-base in interpreting the Bible. If those things are your interest, you will find those chapters well done.

Chapters 5 and 6 serve to allow the reader to see his or herself in the process of interpretation. Chapters 7 through 10 are the heart of the book. Those chapters cover the nuts and bolts of hermeneutics. There are a few things discussed the strike me as splitting the hair a little too fine, yet every hermeneutics textbook will discuss these things today. You will appreciate the choice writing that illuminates some rather technical information. There’s good help for interpreting different parts of the Bible and in both Testaments.

After chapter 11 delved into what we gain from proper interpretation, chapter 12 discussed the immensely important subject of application. Without application, interpretation is a hollow exercise. The authors did a good job in giving hints at how to make application after interpretation is done.

I’ve had the chance to study this subject in great detail, and I picked up a few key points in this book that I really appreciate. I don’t see how you can go wrong getting this book and I highly 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.