Friday, October 1, 2021

Clever Cub Gives Thanks to God by Bob Hartman

Book cover
Clever Cub Gives Thanks to God
by Bob Hartman,
Steve Brown (Illustrations)

ISBN-13: 9780830781553
Paperback: 24 pages
Publisher: David C Cook
Released: September 1st 2021

Source: I received a review copy of this book from the publisher through Amazon Vine.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
Clever Cub is a curious little bear who LOVES to cuddle up with the Bible and learn about God. Clever Cub wants to give thanks to God but doesn’t know how. So Mama Bear tells the story of Peter and John healing a man—a man who then gave thanks to God in a wonderful way! This engaging picture book tells the story of God's healing in Acts 3 and teaches children ages 3-6 the joy of showing gratitude to God.

My Review:
Clever Cub Gives Thanks to God is a Christian children's book is aimed at ages 3-6. It started with the mother thanking God for something good and teaching her cub to think about what he'd thank God for. She then told him the story from Acts 3:1-10 where Peter heals a lame beggar. The cub asked things like if the "temple gate called Beautiful" was in rainbow colors, and the illustrations showed what he's imagining. Still, the illustrations (while cartoon style) were fairly accurate in giving an idea of what things would have looked like. It's a fun way to teach this important lesson, and my 5-year-old niece enjoyed it. It's a bit wordy for my 2-year-old niece, though.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Thursday, September 30, 2021

Known by Aubrey Sampson

Book cover
by Aubrey Sampson

ISBN-13: 9781641583084
Paperback: 208 pages
Publisher: NavPress Publishing Group
Released: September 7th 2021

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
Names help us know that we belong and to whom we belong. The names you believe about yourself impact how you live, how you love, and how you move and bear witness to the gospel. God has true names that he speaks over you and wants you to hear. But we also carry other names--painful, damaging names that we have spoken over ourselves or that others have branded on us. Too often, in times of low self-worth, grief, or failure, we exchange our God-given identity for those false names. Known invites you to understand and embrace what it means to be created and named in the image of God.

My Review:
Known talked about how accepting God's names for you can free you from the hurtful, untrue names you've been told and change how you live. I appreciate that the author used Scripture both for supporting verses as well as examples of name changes. The author made good points about names and frequently used examples from her own life showing how a new name or a new understanding of a name change her. For example, she felt ashamed about being "Needy" until she realized that we're created to need God. She talked about finding the name at the root of an issue that you struggle with and how you can be transformed and healed when you're renamed. She also pointed out how humankind bears the image of God and our worth comes from God.

I must admit that I'd expected the focus to be on actual names given to all believers in the Bible, but many of her examples were personal names. Things that people hurtfully name you and how God, through prayer, can give you a new name. Unfortunately, the author's wandering style often left me wondering what the main point of a chapter was meant to be. I was also distracted by the author switching to present tense to describe past events (as people usually do that in past tense). Overall, though, I'd recommend this book.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Monday, July 19, 2021

Mysteries of the Messiah by Rabbi Jason Sobel

Book cover
Mysteries of the Messiah
by Rabbi Jason Sobel

ISBN-13: 9780785240051
Hardcover: 224 pages
Publisher: W Publishing
Released: March 23rd 2021

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
In Mysteries of the Messiah, Rabbi Jason Sobel reveals the many connections in Scripture hidden in plain sight. He uncovers connections between the Old and New Testaments, connects the dots for readers with details about Jesus, the Torah, and biblical characters, and is written with the unique perspective of a rabbi with an evangelical theological degree.

My Review:
Mysteries of the Messiah looked at how different words add up to certain numbers and how words with the same number point to Jesus as Messiah. The idea is that each letter in Hebrew and Greek has a corresponding number and you can add up the letters in a word or phrase to get the corresponding number. The author feels that it's perfectly valid to connect words and phrases with the same number and these will point to theological truths. He didn't convince me of this as the connection is never derived simply from the words.

He also taught some rather odd ideas from various Jewish traditions. For example, he believes that the Fall happened on day 6 (apparently, of creation week, even though God says that everything was very good on that day). Also, he teaches about a donkey that would have been hundreds of years old, a ram over a thousand years old, the tradition that Isaac was actually killed and was dead for a while before being resurrected, and the belief that Israel shared the same land boundaries as the Garden of Eden (though that old ram was apparently living in the Garden of Eden until needed as a sacrifice instead of Isaac).

However, he did cover some information that is more widely taught. I've read similar information in other (much better) books talking about finding symbolism pointing to the Messiah in the feasts or providing cultural background to various verses in Genesis. The author talked about a couple prophecies that were fulfilled by Yeshua and how his life was reflected in the Passover, First Fruits, and Pentecost. He talked about how there were similar events in the life of Yeshua and in the lives of Joseph, Moses, and David and events symbolic of Yeshua's mission in the lives of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Ruth. He also talked about creation (where he rather freely changed the common translations of various words to translations that better fit his ideas).

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.

Thursday, July 8, 2021

What Love Is by Kelly Minter

Book cover
What Love Is
by Kelly Minter

ISBN-13: 9780593197882
Paperback: 192 pages
Publisher: LifeWay Press
Released: 2014

Source: Bought.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
The letters of 1, 2, & 3 John were written to encourage followers of Jesus to remain faithful to the truth. Believers are challenged to look at contrasting themes such as walking in the light instead of darkness, truth versus lies and deception, loving God more than loving the world, and the meaning of true fellowship and community rather than shallowness. This study reveals not only the heart of John but also the heart of Jesus.

My Review:
What Love Is is a 7 week Bible study on 1, 2, 3 John. The format for each week was: an introduction that was two pages long and some group discussion questions if you viewed the video. Then there were five days of study for each week. She started with a story from her life that was somewhat a parable for a point made that day or week. She asked reading comprehension questions on the verses being studied and provided commentary to explain the verses. She also asked questions to help the reader apply the lesson to your life.

There were two comfort-food recipes at the end of each week. To be honest, I felt like my fellow Bible study participants were more excited about the included recipes than the study. The author also repeatedly stated that she found the verses in that section difficult to understand and basically only really understood the simple verses. This made me wonder why she chose to do a Bible study on these letters and not on something that she better understood or had life experiences which could help add depth of understanding and insight to the verses. Overall, though, she did a good job of explaining the verses. She often quoted another person's explanation and said that she thought it was the best explanation. Not a bad study, but I didn't really get anything new from it.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Monday, May 24, 2021

The Global Flood by John D. Morris

Book cover
The Global Flood
by John D. Morris

ISBN-13: 9781935587125
Hardcover: 175 pages
Publisher: Institute for Creation Research
Released: January 22nd 2013

Source: Bought.

Book Description, Modified from ICR:
Why does the Genesis Flood Matter? The study of geology is a daunting task, especially when investigating ancient rock, strata, and fossils. What do the rocks and strata tell us about the geologic history of the earth? How do fossils help us unlock the mysteries of the geological catastrophes of the past?

For some, the thought of a worldwide flood is ludicrous. But for serious scientists who research the various formations of the earth and the catastrophic processes that shaped the world we see around us today, the evidence of a global flood is indisputable. The Global Flood presents that evidence in a way that clearly demonstrates why the biblical account of the Flood matters to all of us who want to understand and communicate the truth of the Genesis Flood with confidence.

The Global Flood helps to meet a great need today. It is comprehensive. It is aimed at those who are not experts in earth sciences. People everywhere need to understand the true significance of the year-long, mountain-covering Deluge that buried and fossilized trillions of marine and land animals and plants only a few thousand years ago. Over 95 percent of these fossils - even within sedimentary strata seen in the highest mountains of the world - are marine creatures! We don't need to stretch the creation week of Genesis 1 to allow for this. The fossils were formed after, not before, Adam! There's no need to add millions and billions of years to earth history.

My Review:
The Global Flood examines the evidence for the world-wide, biblical flood described in Genesis as the cause behind much of the strata and fossils often interpreted as requiring millions of years to create. The author started by describing some history of the study of geology and how different worldviews affect how the evidence in the present is interpreted. He then examined in detail what the Bible says about the creation week and the Flood which would indicate what we'd expect to see in the rock layers. He then examined the different rock strata: what's in it which would help indicate when and how it was formed, how evolutionist explain it, and how a worldwide flood (or the creation week or post-Flood activity) is a better explanation for how it was formed. The author also talked about things like world-wide flood legends in other cultures, tree ring dating, questions about where all the water came from or how the mountains could have been covered, etc.. The tone was not too technical to understand while still explaining a lot of detailed information. Overall, I thought this was a nice summary of the information, though I've read much of it elsewhere as well.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Monday, May 17, 2021

The New Testament in Its World by N. T. Wright and Michael F. Bird

Book cover
The New Testament in Its World
with N. T. Wright and Michael F. Bird

MasterLectures Video
Publisher: Zondervan Academic
Source: Free month offer from MasterLectures.

Video Series Description:
Enter the world of the New Testament. A companion to The New Testament in Its World by N. T. Wright and Michael F. Bird, these lectures serve as your passageway from the twenty-first century to the era of Jesus and the first Christians.

Professors Wright and Bird will guide you through how to read the New Testament, the world of Jesus and the early church, deep studies on both Jesus and the apostle Paul, lectures on every book of the New Testament, as well as how to live the story of the New Testament today.

In addition to numerous studio lectures, on-location sessions will immerse you into the world of the New Testament. Filmed around the world, this series takes you on a journey with Wright and Bird to Jerusalem, Corinth, Athens, Rome, Nazareth, Qumran, Capernaum, and the shores of the Sea of Galilee.

At nearly 13 hours of content, these lectures are the definitive video introduction to the history, literature, and theology of the New Testament.

Watch the Trailer.

My Review:
Length: Around 14 hours of video when including the bonus material.

The New Testament in Its World is a video study about the books of the New Testament. The series was so long that I was not able to complete it before the end of my free trial period. I enjoyed sessions 5 through 15, which gave cultural background and context to the New Testament and the early church. The later sessions focused on specific books of the Bible and tended to focus more on the debates about who wrote the book, who it was sent to, etc. They also summarized the major ideas in the books and suggested applications. Both authors apparently wanted to talk about each book and each summarized the book, so some of it was repeated information.

Some of these sessions were filmed on-location or included brief video clips of the cities where the letter was written or was sent. While the cultural background information was potentially interesting for anyone, I felt like the debated information was much more academic than most people would care about.

Introduction - Welcome to the Study
Session 1 - Beginning Study of the New Testament
Session 2 - The New Testament as History
Session 3 - The New Testament as Literature
Session 4 - The New Testament as Theology
Session 5 - The History of the Jews
Session 6- Jewish Context of Jesus, Early Church
Session 7 - Greco-Roman Context of Early Church
Session 8 - The Study of the Historical Jesus
Session 9 - The Profile and Praxis of a Prophet
Session 10 - Who Did Jesus Think He Was?
Session 11 - The Death of the Messiah
Session 12 - Afterlife for Greek, Roman, Jew
Session 13 - Story of Easter (Apostle Paul)
Session 14 - Story of Easter (the Evangelists)
Session 15 - Story of Paul's Life and Ministry
Session 16 - A Primer on Pauline Theology
Session 17 - Galatians
Session 18 - 1 and 2 Thessalonians
Session 19 - Philippians
Session 20 - Colossians, Philemon, Ephesians
Session 21 - 1 and 2 Corinthians
Session 22 - Romans
Session 23 - The Pastoral Epistles
Session 24 - The Gospel according to Mark
Session 25 - The Gospel according to Matthew
Session 26- Gospel of Luke, Acts of the Apostles
Session 27 - The Gospel according to John
Session 28 - The Making of the Gospels
Session 29 - Intro to Early Christian Letters
Session 30 - The Letter to the Hebrews
Session 31 - Letters by Jesus's Brothers
Session 32 - Petrine Letters: 1 and 2 Peter
Session 33 - Johannine Letters: 1, 2, 3 John
Session 34 - Revelation
Session 35- Intro to Textual Criticism of the NT
Session 36 - Canonization of the New Testament
Session 37 - Bringing It All Together
BONUS: What Are "Principalities" in the Bible?
BONUS: Why Study the Historical Jesus?
BONUS: What Is Prayer?
BONUS: How Did Jesus View His Vocation?
BONUS: What Paul Means by "Faith"
BONUS: The Persecution of Christians
BONUS: Why Does Resurrection Matter?
BONUS: How to Understand the Holy Spirit
BONUS: How the Gospel Is Different from Ancient Religion
BONUS: The End of Exile: Daniel, Jesus, and Redemption

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Monday, May 10, 2021

How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth with Douglas Stuart and Mark Strauss

Book cover
How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth
with Douglas Stuart and Mark Strauss

MasterLectures Video
Publisher: Zondervan Academic
Source: Free month offer from MasterLectures.

Video Series Description:
Understanding the Bible isn't for the few, the gifted, the scholarly. It's for everyone. the Bible is meant to be read and comprehended by everyone from armchair readers to seminary students. A few essential insights into the Bible can clear up a lot of misconceptions and help disciples of all kinds grasp the meaning of Scripture and its application to your twenty-first century life.

How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth, taught by scholars and professors Mark Strauss and Douglas Stuart, covers everything from translation concerns to different genres of biblical writing. In clear, simple language, sessions will help you accurately understand the different parts of the Bible and their implications for both ancient audiences and humanity today, so you can uncover the inexhaustible worth that is in God's Word.

By completing this series, you will gain greater familiarity with and appreciation for the Bible as a whole, insight into the ten basic genres in the Bible and how to correctly interpret each, and a deeper understanding of how to apply God’s Word to your own life today.

My Review:
Each episode was 21-29 minutes long.

How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth is a video series that explains how to understand and interpret the different genre of the Bible (narrative, poetry, wisdom, prophetic, etc.). I've read a similar book in the past and found it helpful, and this series covered much of the same information. It was a good review. It's for laymen level, so the speakers were easy to listen to and understand. Overall, I'd recommend this series.

Session 1 - The Need to Interpret
Session 2 - A Good Translation
Session 3 - Epistles: Think Context
Session 4 - Epistles: Hermeneutics
Session 5 - Old Testament Narratives
Session 6 - Acts: Historical Precedent
Session 7 - Gospels: Many Dimensions
Session 8- Parables: You Get the Point?
Session 9 - Law: Covenant Stipulations
Session 10- Prophets: Enforcers
Session 11 - The Psalms: Prayers
Session 12 - Wisdom: Then and Now
Session 13- Revelation: Judgment & Hope

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.