Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Crossing the Divide by Jake Hanson

book cover
Crossing the Divide
by Jake Hanson

ISBN-13: 9781634090209
Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Shiloh Run Press
Released: April 1, 2016

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
John Wesley entered the scene of 18th century England facing greater hostility than exists today in the West. He forged his ministry in the midst of mobs, riots, and angry diatribes, yet this fearless evangelist found a way to reach the very enemies in need of transformation. This complex personality drove one of the most significant renewal movements of the English-speaking world--a movement that transformed the spirituality, morality, and work of the church for the next three centuries.

My Review:
Crossing the Divide is a biography of John Wesley (including the beginnings of the Methodist movement). It's based on and included many quotes from his journals, letters, sermons, and various writings. The author provided a balanced view of John Wesley, showing both his strengths and weaknesses while remaining respectful of all he accomplished. The writing flowed well and was easy to read. The author picked interesting things to focus on but didn't get too in-depth on any one topic. I'd highly recommend this book to teens and adults.

The book started with John's childhood, education, relationship with his brother Charles, and their unsuccessful mission to America. When they returned to England, they struggled with "by faith alone" and found personal transformation. John's preaching on this and other topics put him in conflict with the Established church, so he dealt with a variety of theological controversies. His new viewpoint also meant that he pursued those who would normally not set foot in a church.

A friend convinced him to do open field preaching, and John created groups to teach the converts resulting from his preaching. We learn about how these groups worked, problems John faced in keeping the organization going and in his personal life, and how he organized his movement to last beyond his death. We also learn about his teachings on and efforts toward helping the poor and the sick and against social evils like slavery.

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.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Temple Cutaway Wall Chart

book cover
Temple Cutaway
Wall Chart

ISBN-13: 9781628623505
Publisher: Rose Publishing
Released: January 28, 2016

Source: .pdf review copy from the publisher.

Book Description, Modified from Amazon:
See the interior and exterior of both the First Temple (Solomon's Temple) and Second Temple (Herod's Temple at the time of Christ). This highly detailed diagram by acclaimed Bible artist, Bill Latta, shows both Temples: The one constructed in 960 BC and the one expanded in 62 BC by King Herod the Great. Reproducible worksheets on the back for classroom use.

My Review:
Temple Cutaway Wall Chart is a 26" by 19" poster showing the exterior and interior of Solomon's Temple and Herod's Temple. It's for use in Sunday school or Bible study classes. For Solomon's Temple, the courtyard shows the temple, brazen alter, brazen sea/laver, and ten bronze basins. Labeled on the interior drawing are the golden lampstands, table of the bread of the presence, the altar of incense, the veil, and the Ark of the Covenant.

For Herod's Temple, the courtyard shows the brazen laver, altar of burnt offering, place of slaughter, temple and porch of the temple. Labeled on the interior drawing are the double-folding doors and outer veil, golden lampstand, table of showbread, golden altar of incense, the inner veil, foundation stone, and chambers of the inner sanctuary.

On the back of the poster are reproducible worksheets you can copy and hand out to class or study participants. These worksheets include a smaller, black and white version of each temple shown on the front. There's also a sheet for each temple giving further details about and Scripture references for each of the labeled objects. Between these worksheets are ten trivia Q&As about the temples.

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.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

1, 2, and 3 John by Karen H. Jobes

book cover
Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on The New Testament:
1, 2, and 3 John
by Karen H. Jobes

ISBN-13: 9780310244165
Hardcover: 358 pages
Publisher: Zondervan
Released: Feb. 11, 2014

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
Designed for the pastor and Bible teacher, the Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament brings together commentary features rarely gathered in one volume. Written by notable evangelical scholars, each volume treats the literary context and structure of the passage in the original Greek, and each author provides an original translation based on the literary structure. The series consistently provides the main point, an exegetical outline, verse-by-verse commentary, and theology in application in each section of every commentary.

Critical scholarship informs each step but does not dominate the commentary, allowing readers to concentrate on the biblical author's message as it unfolds. While primarily designed for those with a basic knowledge of biblical Greek, all who strive to understand and teach the New Testament will find these books beneficial.

In her commentary on John's letters, Karen H. Jobes approaches the three letters of John as part of the corpus that includes John's gospel. Jobes treats three major themes of the letters under the larger rubric of who has the authority to interpret the true significance of Jesus.

My Review:
1, 2, and 3 John is an in-depth examination of the text of 1, 2, and 3 John. While you will probably get the most out of this commentary if you know some biblical Greek, I could clearly understand the author's points even though I don't know Greek.

The commentary looked at the context, main idea, and overall structure of each section of verses. Then the author examined the text verse by verse. She looked at the original Greek to help clarify the intent and explain the variations found in different English translations. She compared certain words to John's other writing to see how he usually used them or to how other New Testament writers used those words. She also looked at the social context and at speculations about what conflict motivated the writing of these letters.

Each section finished with an Application, which was a summary of what the verses said, what we learned from the text, and why it matters. Zondervan Exegetical Commentaries have consistently helped to clarify my understanding and deepen my engagement with the studied verses. I'd highly recommend this book to individuals who want to take their study of the Bible deeper.

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.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Discipleship That Fits by Bobby Harrington, Alex Absalom

book cover
Discipleship That Fits
by Bobby Harrington
& Alex Absalom

ISBN-13: 9780310522614
Trade Paperback: 240 pages
Publisher: Zondervan
Released: Feb. 9, 2016

Source: Review copy from the publisher through Amazon Vine.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
Based on careful biblical study and years of experience making disciples in the local church, Bobby Harrington and Alex Absalom have identified five key relationships where discipleship happens in our lives. In each relational context, we need to understand how discipleship occurs and we need to set appropriate expectations for each context.

Public Relationships : The church gathering corporately for worship

Social Relationships : Networks of smaller relationships where we engage in mission and live out our faith in community

Personal Relationships : Small groups of six to sixteen people where we challenge and encourage one another on a regular basis

Transparent Relationships : Close relationships of three to four where we share intimate details of our lives for accountability

The Divine Relationship : Our relationship with Jesus Christ where we grow through the empowering presence of the Holy Spirit

Filled with examples and stories, Alex and Bobby show you how to develop discipleship practices in each relational context by sharing how Jesus did it, how the early church practiced it, and how churches are discipling people today.

My Review:
Discipleship That Fits is about how discipleship occurs in different group sizes. People don't normally feel comfortable sharing private struggles in a group of over 100 people, for example. The authors identified five types of groups and how people expect to interact in groups of that size. They also compared these group types to examples in the Bible, like Jesus teaching the crowds, the seventy-two, the twelve, the three, and spending time alone with His Father.

The authors speak from experience, and they share what they've learned. They included examples of how groups of these sizes might be organized. They're clear about the strengths, weaknesses, and goals of discipleship in each context and that all five are important in their different ways. While they included advice specifically for church leaders, it's actually aimed at any Christian. They wrote with a casual tone and were easy to understand. I'd recommend this book to Christians interested in forming discipleship groups.

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.