The Exodus

The Exodus is one of the most well-known and important events in Scripture. Anyone who attended virtually any form of Sunday School knows something about the Exodus. It is, if you will, a watershed moment. Unfortunately, many of the details behind the Exodus are vague or unknown to most believers. The key to understanding the lessons of the Exodus is embodied in the details.The Exodus - larger

In real time the situation may have looked grim to the Israelites, but from our perspective in the twenty-first century, it teaches us how God works in the lives of His people. It serves as an illustration of how God cares for those He has chosen. We get a glimpse of how God works all things together for good. How much we learn from this lesson is dependent on how well we know the details of the Exodus.

That’s where the The Exodus: From: Passover to the Promised Land comes in. This newly published work is concise and highly informative. In expected Rose fashion we are provided with a succinct and easy to understand text which is well appointed with charts and graphs to accent one’s understanding.

While this pamphlet may be brief – fourteen pages, it is filled to capacity with valuable information. It address all of the basic instruction that one needs to know about the Exodus. “Basic” is the key word here. It does not delve into scholarly minutiae.

There are ten sections to this publication. (I hesitate to call them chapters.) It begins with a brief description of “What” the Exodus was accompanied by a basic historic timeline leading up to the event. Next is an informative discussion of “When” the Exodus happened. This section covers the two major theories concerning the timing – the High Date and the Low Date. It is also accompanied by a basic timeline. Section three is a brief introduction to the “Five Key People of the Exodus.” Section four focuses on the “Ten Plagues” with a highly illustrative chart describing the plague and the Egyptian gods against whom it was targeted each dealt with individually. “Biblical Feasts Related to the Exodus” follows next giving us an understanding of four feasts.

So what route did the Exodus take? Section six gives us the three currently accepted possibilities accompanied by a map for all three. Sections seven through nine cover “God’s Provision, Judgment and Presence” all detailed nicely with charts describing how God interacts with His people in all three areas. The book ends with a short introduction to the Passover and its meaning.

The Exodus: From: Passover to the Promised Land is an excellent introduction to the Exodus and the many facets involved. It is highly recommended as Sunday School, group Bible study, or personal study material. You won’t get bogged down with scholarly detail or argumentation. It provides an overview of a critical event of world history from a biblical perspective aimed at increasing the biblical knowledge of believers.

Disclaimer: This volume was provided to me by Rose Publishing for a fair and honest review.

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Rose Guide to the Gospels

How well do you know the four Gospels? Since the Gospels are essentially a four-part biography of Christ, every believer should have a desire to know the Gospels, at least the basics.

So then, do you find yourself praying for a publication that would explain, categorize, simplify, and condense the vital information of the four Gospels into a verbally understandable and visually appealing format? The solution to these criteria can be found in the newly published Rose Guide to the Gospels: Side-by-Side Charts and Overviews.Rose Publishing  is well-known for its creative, conservative and Christ-centered publications. Their modus operandi is to provide Bible students with concisely written and visually appealing Bible information.

Rose Guide to the Gospels

The Rose Guide to the Gospels is just what you’ve been praying for. It is a crisp yet comprehensive examination of the four Gospels. It covers seven major and critical aspects, seven chapters of essential instruction. And in excellent Rose fashion the volume is well appointed with charts, maps and pictures to aid in the education process.

Concerning the hard facts, the primary translation employed is the 2011 NIV with an occasional indulgence to the ESV. The authors of this publication are several to include Rose staff writers and the well-known Timothy Paul Jones—How We Got the Bible.

The seven chapter titles are properly named for their contents. Chapter 1, “The Four Gospels,” provides some basics on the Gospels including a book-by-book overview of each Gospel featuring author, date, audience and a brief outline. And, since the Gospels chronicle Jesus’ ministry, Chapter 2, “The Life of Jesus,” proceeds with His birth, ministry (teachings, miracles, etc.), death, burial and resurrection. The chapter concludes with a three-page chart on the prophecies fulfilled by Jesus.

Chapter 3 is a “Harmony of the Gospels” with a brief explanation of how harmonies work. It includes an eleven page chronological harmony. It terminates with charts on the parables and miracles of Jesus. Chapter 4 is “Who’s Who in the Gospels.” It includes short, biographical sketches on all the primary characters found in the Gospels. The sketches are short but informative. Chapter 5, “Understanding the World of Jesus,” provides background information on the culture that Jesus experienced, vital for a complete understanding.

Chapter 6, “Evidence for the Resurrection,” is a compilation of information on the truth of the resurrection presented in Objection/Theory and Answer format. The book concludes with Chapter 7, “How We Got the Gospels,” written by Timothy Paul Jones. It details the reliability of the written text.

The Rose Guide to the Gospels is highly recommended for individual Bible study, small group Bible study and Sunday School. It might also serve well as a supplemental text for a Bible College 101 course. This volume might also be beneficial for pastors investigating ways to present the four Gospels.

The most appealing aspect of this publication is the volume of information, both written and charts, that is all compiled in one place. A student studying the Gospels will not have to search far and wide for information. It is perfect to stimulate the appetite for further study.

Disclaimer: This volume was provided to me by Rose Publishing for a fair and honest review.

2011 NIV Loose-Leaf Bible

Are you a serious Bible student? Serious! Really serious! If you answer in the affirmative, then Hendrickson has just published a Bible precisely for you – the 2011 NIV Loose-Leaf Bible. It’s a Bible with plenty of room in the margins for your personal notes and discoveries.

As the title describes, this is a loose-leaf version and it can be purchased with or without the binder that fits which has “Holy Bible” embossed in gold letters on the front. It’s a wise decision, otherwise you’ll have to purchase a four-inch one to hold this massive volume. Besides, it looks classy.2011 NIV Loose-Leaf Bible

Yes, it’s big, so probably it’s not one that you can carry with you to church every Sunday or perhaps not even to your favorite Bible study. But for sincere, detailed, note-taking, personal Bible study, it is ideal. Permit me to provide some of the hard-core specifics.

The Bible is printed on 8.5×11 inch white paper. Each page is punched with five holes designed to fit either a 3-ring or 5-ring binders. The purchased binder is a 3-ring. Including the binder this volume weighs in at eight pounds (Yes, I weighed it!). The “wingspan” (binder edge to binder edge when laid flat) is 28 inches.

The soft-core details are thus: The translation is the 2011 New International Version (NIV) laid out in paragraph format. Please understand, the NIV is a dynamic equivalent translation (thought for thought). The print is rather small, 9.5 type, however, that is dictated by the fact that there are two inch margins all around with no exceptions. (Hendrickson advertises 1.25-inch margins but actually measure at two inches.) Center column references are included. A concordance of 2474 words and 155 biographical entries are included at the end. And at the very end are 32 unlined, blank pages for additional note taking or moving throughout the volume.

Do not let the size of this volume deter you; it has a specific purpose: It is designed for the meticulous, detail oriented Bible student. It is not a family Bible to be placed on the coffee table. It is meant to be used, day-in and day-out.

The construction and format of this Bible affords every believer the opportunity to create his/her own personal study Bible. While the plethora of “study” Bibles on the market today can be beneficial (and also produce additional income for scholars), there is no substitute for creating one’s own study Bible – your own notes, thoughts and insights that are meaningful to you alone. No single factor is more critical to a believer’s spiritual growth than personal Bible study and this Bible is fashioned for that particular function.

To summarize, this Bible is huge but at the same time overflowing with possibilities. If the Word is an integral part of your life, go for it.

Basics for Believers

D.A. Carson is one of the most well-known and well-respected NT scholars in the evangelical world. His scholarly reputation precedes him. So, when Carson produces a volume entitled Basics for Believers, people should pay attention, even if it was originally published in 1996 and now repackaged in 2018.Carson_BasicsforBelievers.indd

Basics for Believers: The Core of Christian Faith and Life is Carson’s foray into a basic study of Philippians with the angle of encouraging believers to return to the essentials of our Christian faith. This book is, to quote Carson from his Preface, “Originally these five chapters were prepared as four messages delivered during Holy Week 1994 at the ‘Word Alive’ conference in Skegness, England. (Chapters 2 and 3 were formerly a shorter single message.)”

What this means is that we are guided how the book of Philippians should apply to our lives as believers and in this case from Carson’s perspective.

The most magnificent aspect of this book is that Carson does not shy away from being frank and challenging believers. In the very first chapter, “Put the Gospel First,” he dares believers to make Christ, and thus the Gospel, the top priority in their lives. In the remaining four chapters Carson explains what this priority should look like with a precise exposition of Philippians 1.27 – 4.23.

There are a couple of areas in which Basics for Believers (theological) may be a little “deep” for new believers, however, it is well worth the effort. It would be ideal for a Bible study group of mature believers led by a qualified teacher to enhance and expand their understanding of the faith and the book of Philippians. If you want to get a good start on Philippians, this is a worthwhile addition to your library.

Disclaimer: This volume was provided to me by Baker Books for a fair and honest review.

Spiritual Gifts

The area of Spiritual Gifts and how they are put into practice in the Christian life has been written about in a multitude of forms – books, articles, websites, etc. They have also been preached and taught ad infinitum with the primary goal to motivate the individual Christian to serve his Lord and Savior. The format of most information follows a familiar pattern: first, general information – what are spiritual gifts, what are the gifts and definition of the gifts; and second, practicality – how to serve utilizing one’s gift(s).Spiritual Gifts

Thomas R. Schreiner, professor at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, now adds to the ever-growing list with Spiritual Gifts: What They Are & Why They Matter. But don’t expect the “familiar pattern” outlined above. Schreiner devotes only half of the book to the details of Spiritual Gifts. Only four of eleven chapters examine the specifics of Spiritual Gifts (87 of 172 pages).

The typical arrangement is deviated from significantly. There’s one chapter on definitions, then two in which Schreiner defines ten truths about Spiritual Gifts. He concludes his discussion with a chapter on the generalities. Despite the unique arrangement, the basics of Spiritual Gifts are dealt with in a comprehensive and understandable manner.

The primary focus of the book (seven chapters) is to present a biblical argument for cessationism. His opinions are biblically supported and those who believe in cessationism will find a couple more arrows for their quiver. However, Schreiner does admit that his arguments are not the be all end all on the matter. And he concedes that this issue is not of the first order.

Principally Schreiner focuses on the gifts of prophecy (two chapters) and tongues (two chapters). Both gifts are defined and then reason is presented as to why they are not functioning in the church today. The concluding chapter is an argument for why he believes in cessationism.

This is a volume that should be read by every pastor and teacher not because it comprehensively explains Spiritual Gifts but rather because it presents a biblical view on a controversial subject. It is also highly recommended for every believer who is intent on serving their Lord and Savior.

Disclaimer: This volume was provided to me by B&H Publishing Group for a fair and honest review.

40 Questions About Salvation

I would assume that most people reading this review are born-again believers – saved. There has been some salvation experience in the past. However, they may not be aware of the all the intricate, theological details that caused that experience to come about. 40 Questions About Salvation attempts to penetrate those details.4285 salvation cvr.indd

The book is another in the 40 Questions series produced by Kregel Publications. This is the eleventh in the series. Other volumes include such title as Church Membership and Discipline and Baptism and the Lord’s Supper. This volume is written by Matthew Barrett, associate professor of Christian theology at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.

The book is divided into five parts covering every aspect of salvation beginning with sin and all the way through to glorification. Each chapter concludes with “Reflection Questions” which are well-formed and should help the reader determine how well the material has been assimilated.

Barrett’s goal, of course, is to explain how the entire salvation process works. He achieves that goal well – from a highly Calvinistic perspective. Nevertheless, this is a solid read. Regardless of one’s soteriological beliefs, this is worth a careful study. All of Barrett’s explanations are thoroughly backed by Scripture with many passages exegeted in detail.

Every reader will enjoy “What Is Meant by Salvation?” (#6); “What Does It Mean to Be Born Again?” (#15); “What Is Saving Faith?” (#19); and Can We Lose Our Salvation?” (#’s 34 & 35). These would seem to be questions that everyone has irrespective of one’s soteriology.

40 Questions About Salvation is “meaty.” In his Preface: How to Read This Book, Barrett states, “This format is best suited for beginning students, churchgoers and pastors…” It may be a stretch to include beginning students and churchgoers. If you fall into those two categories, be prepared for some heavy theological lifting. But certainly, every pastor should have this book in his library.

Disclaimer: This volume was provided to me by Kregel Publications for a fair and honest review.

Expository Exultation

With the publication of Expository Exultation: Christian Preaching as Worship John Piper has completed his trilogy. The first two volumes include A Peculiar Glory and Reading the Bible Supernaturally.Expository Exultation

Expository Exultation is written in the style for which Piper has become well-known – lots of words. There are seven parts to the book which includes twenty-one chapters (309 pages of text not including the General Index and Scripture Index).

Piper has two goals in this volume. First is to defend the practice of preaching in corporate worship, i.e., preaching as an integral part of the worship experience. There is no doubt that he achieves that goal. The second is to define expository preaching and then explain how it should be accomplished. It is the accomplishment of this second goal that I feel he comes up short at least in the second part. Piper defines expository preaching over the course of two parts (4 & 5). And, although they are wordy, there is a definition to be gleaned. It is the “how-to” which is lacking.

The assessment then is this: If you desire to gain a philosophy of preaching (particularly expository), then this volume will certainly gain your interest. However, if you desire a detailed explanation of the ins-and-outs of putting an expository message together, this book will likely disappoint.

If you are a fan of Piper, Expository Exultation will not disenchant you. However, if you desire to sharpen your preaching skills, your expectations will not be met. In the end it’s a good read for preachers who have enough “how to preach” books on their shelves.

Disclaimer: This volume was provided to me by Crossway for a fair and honest review.