Thursday, July 26, 2018

New Light on the Difficult Words of Jesus by David Bivin

book cover
New Light on the Difficult Words of Jesus
by David Bivin

ISBN-13: 9780974948225
Paperback: 208 pages
Publisher: En-Gedi Resource Center
Released: Sept. 1, 2005

Source: I bought this book.

Book Description from Goodreads:
What if we could step back into the first-century world of Jesus and walk on a dusty road with him as one of his first Jewish disciples? Here we examine Jesus' lifestyle as a first-century Jewish rabbi and look at how his words would have been understood within the larger framework of first-century Judaism. His words will grow in clarity and depth when seen in the light of their original setting.

My Review:
New Light on the Difficult Words of Jesus looks at the first century, Jewish context of Jesus to better understand his teachings. Each chapter explored a specific topic, like what a rabbi was, what was expected of their disciples, what Jesus meant by his "yoke" or his reference to not destroying but fulfilling the Law. The author looked at cultural contexts unknown to modern Christians, idioms that have lost their meaning in translation, and Scripture references made by Jesus which we might have missed. He referred to rabbinic sayings that originated from around that time and Second Temple-period Jewish literature. The book was very informative, especially if you haven't read similar books. I have read this type of book before, and I learned some new points that I hadn't heard before.

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.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Devotions from the Lake by Thomas Nelson

book cover
Devotions from the Lake
by Thomas Nelson

ISBN-13: 9781400309160
Hardback: 224 pages
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Released: April 24, 2018

Source: Review copy from the publisher through BookLook bloogers.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
Life has a way of slowing down and simplifying when you’re by the water. Enjoying long walks, ice cream cones, and watercolor sunsets with your family and friends is a way of life on lake days . . . wouldn’t it be a dream to live like that year-round?

Devotions from the Lake includes 100 devotions and beautiful photography.It is a wonderful way to start each day at the lake with quiet devotional time as you gain deeper insight into how God meets us through rest and play and how to bring all the best parts of “lake life” to everyday life.

My Review:
Devotions from the Lake has 100 devotions loosely based on things that you might do or see when staying at a lake. Each devotion started with a verse. The author reminisced about the theme--skipping stones, popcorn, coffee, shells, etc.--then tied in the verse and provided a very short prayer. There's also a full-color picture of the theme, but only a few were lake scenes.

Most of the themes were only loosely connected to the accompanying verse. For example, for Isaiah 53:4 ("Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows."), the author initially talked about hearing mourning doves in the distance. Then "...mourning doves are commonly found sitting on telephone wires. This reminds us that when mourning stirs anew, we can find comfort in a phone call to a friend who understands..." Only the last three sentences referred to the verse and Jesus.

However, some of the devotions used the theme to illustrate the principle in the verse. For example, the one on Psalm 32:9 with the horseback riding theme talked about a horse that is responsive to its rider and how we should likewise be responsive to a nudging from God. I enjoyed these, but I felt like most of the devotions were more focused on the reminiscing than on God.

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.