Book Giveaway: Broadcast Depth Edition

Matt, who blogs at Broadcast Depth, is giving away what looks to be a good resource. He’s giving away James D. Newsome’s Exodus from the Interpretation Bible Studies series. Here’s how to enter:

  1. Write your own blog post promoting the giveaway and provide him with the link.
  2. Comment on the 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 him know your twitter user name.

That’s it! Head on over and enter NOW!

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Why would I want this book? Well, I think Exodus is one of the more important books in the Bible and I would like to know it well.  Also,  I am reading a very interesting work showing the Book of Exodus as the pattern for understanding the Book of Revelation (which is very interesting) – so it would be good to have a pastoral commentary on the Exodus to go along with Durham’s work in the WBC series.   But the problem is I don’t tweet…..

HT: Jason

New Book: The Bible Among the Myths

Courtesy of Jesse Hillman at Zondervan I got a copy of John N. Oswalt’s The Bible Among the Myths: Unique Revelation or Just Ancient Literature?  (Zondervan, 2009).   It just came out this month!  It came yesterday but I’ve been too busy to really look it over but I am really looking forward to it.  It’s only 208 pages too so it’s not overwhleming reading!  It’ll help me on my need to have a better grasp on Hebrew Bible/Old Testament issues.   He does address the life of Jesus and Bultmann too so that should be interesting since Bultmann is really taking some hits lately around the biblioblogsphere!  And I know he has a solid pastoral approach to things so I know it will help me as well in that respect. 

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From the Zondervan Website:

OswaltThe Bible Among the Myths is a sometimes controversial, always engaging corrective to a growing rejection in Western society of the revelation found within the Old Testament regarding a transcendent God who breaks into time and space and reveals himself in and through human activity.

Description: 
Sixty years ago, most biblical scholars maintained that Israel’s religion was unique—that it stood in marked contrast to the faiths of its ancient Near Eastern neighbors.  Nowadays, it is widely argued that Israel’s religion mirrors that of other West Semitic societies.  What accounts for this radical change, and what are its implications for our understanding of the Old Testament?  Dr. John N. Oswalt says the root of this new attitude lies in Western society’s hostility to the idea of revelation, which presupposes a reality that transcends the world of the senses, asserting the existence of a realm humans cannot control. While not advocating a “the Bible says it, and I believe it, and that settles it” point of view, Oswalt asserts convincingly that while other ancient literatures all see reality in essentially the same terms, the Bible differs radically on all the main points.  The Bible Among the Myths supplies a necessary corrective to those who reject the Old Testament’s testimony about a transcendent God who breaks into time and space and reveals himself in and through human activity.

Looks pretty interesting!  Review forthcoming! 

ps. I know too I want to get his commentaries on Isaiah too.

John Bevere’s Breaking Intimidation

Due to some situations our church has been facing as of late, we were advised to read John Bevere’s book Breaking Intimidation: Say “No” without feeling guilty, be secure without the approval of man (Charisma House, 1995, 2006).   

Breaking IntimidationMany of my blog readers will probably think this sort of stuff is absolute silliness but ah well, let them.  Bevere’s book Breaking Intimidation is a really important book for many pastors and leaders to read.  While most often used in the context of ministry one can easily apply the concept to nearly any and every other situation from intimidation in the workplace, the home, the school or the community. This issue applies to all people as well because the spirit of intimidation is just that, a spirit and not a attitude or a disposition.  It is a spirit, therefore, even those with strong personalties and strong spiritual lives can be faced with or succumb to a spirit of intimidation, and a controlling spirit is not among only those with strong personalities, it can come from more quiet people too.  It is also not limited to men or women.  It does not take much – one can easily unwittingly submit to a spirit of intimidation without realizing it.  In my case, I was both unwittingly and somewhat aware of my giving into it.  The person I am dealing comes across as pretty intimidating and it takes a bit of effort for me to stand up to it.  Really, I need the Holy Spirit to help me deal with it.   What happens is when we do give into a spirit of intimidation is we loose (0r give up) our spiritual authority given to us in Christ (cf. Ephesians 1) and the gifts within us become dormant and we are not able to be free or hear from the Lord in our relationship with him (also that spirit then takes our authority and begins to use it agianst us).   To overcome intimidation we have recognize  what is going on and then repent for giving in, submit to the Lord and then pray against the intimidation, thenit will begin to break.  Reading this book will help you learn what the spirit of intimidation is (not unlike a jezebel spirit – it’s a controlloing spirit that does not want to be the leader but wants to control the leader and manipulate him or her so as to assert it own will and keep the leader from doing what God wants him or her to do), how to identify it, and how to break free of its grip on your heart and life.   Get it and begin your new life of spiritual freedom today!  Seriously. 

Eugene Peterson on literacy

I am reading through Eugene Peterson’s book Under the Unpredicable Plant: An Exploration in Vocational Holiness (Eerdmans, 1992).  Thanks Mark!  It’s actually a good time for me to be reading this book given my limited leadership and pastoral experience  – I have just enough experience in the ministry that I can identify with some of the things Peterson talks about but his is not the only book I am learning from.  I am sensing my heart that I need to be listening to people like Peterson, for if I listen I will learn from them and benefit from it greatly in the years to come.  

Anyways he has a great quote on literacy in America that I want to share:

Something similar took place in the field of education [meaning our question for education hasn’t turned out like we thought it would in similar vein to our failed experience in freedom of religion – we don’t really have freedom of religion but rather a culturally enslaved religion] Our educational priorities and practices have produced a population with a high degree of literacy so that virtually everyone has access to learning.  The reading skills that used to be the privilege of a few people are now available to all.  But with what result?  TV Guide is our highest circulation magazine, with Reader’s Digest a strong second.  Our nation of readers uses its wonderful literacy to read billboards, commercials, watered down pep talks, and humerous anecdotes {probably meaning mainly the comics section of the newsper].  I don’t think I would voluntarily live in a place where education was available only to the wealthy and privileged, but simply providing everyone with the ability to read seems to have lowered rather than raised the intellectual level of the nation (37). 

And you all thought NT Wright’s book on Justification was grumpy?  😉  I think there is truth to this – we teach people to read because we believe the ability to read empowers people to live.  I had a professor in my education program in college argue that to not teach a person to read was esentially immoral.    He believed teaching kids to read was a moral issue.   But his view is not an uncommon one.   But Peterson raises a good point here: to what end has the increase in literacy accomplished?   Is it so that can read the comics better or the want ads?  People Magazine?  GQ?  Fictional novels like Left Behind?

Is all the reading we do realy making us smarter?  Is the empowering of people by teaching them to read really occuring?

If we make the connection to the church – what good has our making biblical literature available to people?  How about all the Bible software people have on their comupters but don’t use?  All the books we have on our shelves that maybe we have read or haven’t read?   What about all the Bibles we barely read?  Are we just getting information or is the information bringing transformation? 

Peterson wrote this book in 92 but I don’t think things have changed much.  What say you all on this matter?

what i chose for the giveaway

So many tough choices, really!  So in the end I decided to go with:

Klyne Snodgrass’ Stories with Intent: A Comprehensive Guide to the Parables of Jesus ($31.00)

Kenton Sparks’ God Words in Human Words: An Evangelical Approriation of Biblical Scholarship ($17.27)

It was tough to go between Sparks and Letham’s book on the Trinity.  Real tough.  But in the end I think I chose to go with Sparks because he covers such a broad spcetrum of the Bible and issues I would like to read up on, though I really want to check out Letham too.

Bible Review: Discover God Study Bible

This is my way overdue review of the NLT Discover God Study Bible graciously sent to me by Laura Bartlett over at Tyndale Publishers. 

DG BibleThe purpose and intent of the Discover God Study Bible is to help those who use it to learn more about God (who he is and how he works in our lives) and to glean from the biblical text what it means to know God as well as the different ways we come to know him.  

In many ways I would say it is a devotional Bible in its focus more so than a study Bible such as in the NLT Study Bible sense – and I think this is perfectly okay.  Christians need devotional resources to help in their own personal spiritual formation  and knowing God, or discovering God is a very important aspect of that process.  In fact, do we really ever stop “discovering” who God is and how he works in our lives?  Not a chance.   I personally think our discovering God will keep on even well into eternity. 

The lay out of the Bible is pretty much in line with most typical study Bibles.  The main difference is the single column layout of the text with notes at the bottom.  References are center column.   There are paragraph headings with maps variously interspersed throughout with brief descriptions, also it is a red letter edition.  Each book has introductory notes with sections such as “Discover God in Levitucus” (covering the main theme of holiness) “Growing through Leviticus” (addressing issues of personal holiness and worship) “Levitucus Facts” (that covers authorship, provenance, etc) followed by a brief outline.  Replace Leviticus with any other book title and that’s the general format.   There’s no stance on who wrote Hebrews, though not Paul.

So what makes it different?  It’s emphasis on knowing God or as it is titled, ‘Discover God.”  Really, it’s a focus on the attributes of God.  It is based off the late Bill Bright’s teachings.  This alone can let you know the nature of many of the notes.  Again, this is not necessarily a bad thing but it may help make sense of some of the notes.  For example at 1 Timothy 2:11-15 the note reads:

2:11-15 In the assembly, women are to submit to the leadership of the men by listening and learning “quietly and submissively” (compare 1 Corinthians 14:34-35).  Verse 12 refers to the distinctive, suthoratative activity by which the teacher presents the God’s Word and applies it.  Thus, Paul forbids women to teach men and to hold positions of “authority over them.”  However, they are commanded to teach other women (compare Titus 2:4-5).  The word “saved” in verse 15 makes sense if it refers to sanctification (compare 1 Timothy 4:16; Philippians 2:12), not justification.  Christian women should recognize that childbearing can be a unique and important means of sanctification in their lives.

Other key features of the Bible include what is billed at the Topic Guide System.  The first 60 pages or so of this study edition has a guide for major teachings of the Bible in a topical format.  Such topis include Discover the Bible, Discover Worship, Discover God, Discover Holiness, Discover Salvation, Discover Purpose, Discover Ministry and so on.  Under each category then is a list of topics related to the theme.  For example, for the category of Discover Holiness there are a few statements set a maxim such as:

Because God has set me apart as His special possession, I can live a life of transformed service

Because God has commanded me to grow in grace and obedience, I will look to Christ’s perfect example as my standard for holiness.”

Each thematic category has statements similar to these and they are spread throughout the Bible where the related themes occur.   I did find it interesting there wasn’t a statement that started out “Because God is Holy…”  So moving on, there is a topical listing based off key questions related to the thematic topic.  For holiness questions are asked: “What does it mean to be holy?” “What are the standards of personal holiness?” or “What is our role in holiness?”  

With this last question, one then learns about delighting in God rather than sin, identifying ourselves with Christ’s life and work, educating ourselves and our family with Christ life and work, trusting God while facing temptation, and yielding to the Spirit.   The part about delighting in God is then broken down to rejoicing in repentance, Gladness in God, and joy in discovering God and so on.   Of course verses are given to help support and explore these themes and ideas.

So this is the basic approach to how the Bible works – there are lots of different ways people and use this Bible for their own benefit and perhaps also in a small group format.  It covers quite a few essential teachings of the Bible and the Christian faith: God, Faith, Salvation, Adoption, Church, Worship and the like.  Overall I think this is a great Bible most Christians would like to have and use mainly for devotional purposes to help them learn more about God and the Christian life.

RBL Additions

The following are some of the more interesting book reviews added to the RBL list:

A. Philip Brown II and Bryan W. Smith, eds.  A Reader’s Hebrew BibleReviewed by Hallvard Hagelia.

Bryan M. Litfin.  Getting to Know the Church Fathers: An Evangelical IntroductionReviewed by H. H. Drake Williams III.

I. Howard Marshall.  A Concise New Testament TheologyReviewed by Edward J. McMahon II.

Craig S. Keener on reading the Bible

Craig Keener shared on the Koinonia blog about an influential book for him.  I am glad it was the Bible!  But listen to the interview – can you imagine? reading 40 chapters of the Bible a day? Reading the entire NT in a weekWow!!  I feel ashamed already.  Not really but dang.  How many of us have even read 40 seperate chapters of the Bible this year?

Craig S. Keener (PhD, Duke University)[and an AGTS grad!] is professor of biblical studies at Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is the author of numerous commentaries, journal articles, and other works focusing on New Testament studies and Biblical Studies, including Revelation for the NIVAC series and a two volume commentary on John (Hendrickson, 2004). [bracket mine]

HT: Koinonia Blog

Yet Another Book Giveaway!

1-peterSomehow Daniel ended up with an extra copy of J. Ramsey Michaels commentary on 1 Peter in the Word Biblical Commentary Series.  So he decided to give it away to one of his few (soon to be many), but loyal, readers!  Here are the rules:

1. Write a post about this giveaway and link to this post on your blog – 1 point

2. Add Text, Community & Mission to your blogroll and let me know via comment – 5 points (If I am already on your blogroll, let me know for 5 points)

3. For every referral WordPress tracks from your blog to mine you will receive 1 point

4.  Whoever has the most points by midnight next Friday May 8th will win!

5. Sorry US residents only (But still feel free to announce it).

6. If you do not win the book, consider buying it from the WTS bookstore.  It is well worth the price, Michaels and Davids in NICNT are the best Evangelical 1 Peter commentaries.

But I bet Karen Jobes and I. Howard Marshall do good work too! 

Have at it!

PS. May 8th is my birthday!