Friday, 18 December 2009

Expository Outline: Acts 17:30-31

1) v30 - Command: God commands everyone to repent now
2) v31a- Reason: God has set a day when Jesus will judge everyone
3) v31b- Evidence: God has raised Jesus from the dead

6 Tips for Bible Reading

Read it Prayerfully
Read it Systematically
Read it Carefully
Read it and Remember it
Read it Obediently
Read it with Others

Book Review: 'The Word Became Fresh: How to preach from Old Testament narrative texts' by Dale Ralph Davis

Those who’ve read Dale Ralph Davis’ commentaries on Joshua – 2 Kings will be familiar with his unique blend of careful scholarship and explanation of the text, witty humour and homely illustrations, and clear and challenging application of the text. ‘The Word Became Fresh’ is no different and does not disappoint.
Spurred on by the fact that so many Christians think the Old Testament is such a ‘problem’, and why so many pastors shy away from expounding the Old Testament in their churches, Davis sends forth this tome as “an exercise in reading the Old Testament for fun and profit.” (preface, page ii). He takes us through the principles for handling the Bible, and Old Testament narrative in particular. He equips us with the tools for the task; but he by no means leaves us there. He then goes on, with many examples from his own study, to get alongside us and show us how to use these tools in mining the riches of the Old Testament narrative books.
One of the many great strengths of the book is that Davis keeps our noses in the Bible. He gives us principles for approaching, handling, applying and preaching Old Testament narrative; and then brings us immediately with him into his study working with us through a passage. Further, he doesn’t want us to remain unchanged as we see our glorious God revealed in the pages of the Bible, he is constantly pressing home the great truths of these passages as he works through them with us. This is very refreshing to see, a book on handling the Bible that keeps us in the Bible.
This is one of the freshest, clearest and helpful books I have read on handling the Bible. I cannot recommend it highly enough. I cannot count the number of times I have come back to it. It is a great reminder of how exiting Old Testament narrative is, and of the great riches there are to be mined within as we diligently study it in dependence on the God who has given it to us. Therefore it spurs us on to faithful study that we, and those we serve, may know and love the God who has revealed Himself through His Word (which includes Old Testament narrative). Buy it, but don’t lend it; buy them their own copy instead!

Book Review: ‘Contending for Our All: Defending truth and treasuring Christ in the lives of Athanasius, John Owen and J. Gresham Machen’ by John Piper

Jude reminds us in his letter to “…contend for the faith that was once and for all delivered to the saints.” (Jude 3). In this short study John Piper introduces us to three men whose lives show that they understood this; namely Athanasius, John Owen and J. Gresham Machen. All three of these men stood for the truth of God’s Word even when this meant opposition, unpopularity, threats, exile, sickness and suffering. They took no pleasure in getting involved in controversy just for the sake of an argument; rather, they were prepared to contend out of a deep love for the Lord Jesus and His people, recognising that when the gospel is at stake our all is at stake. In Athanasius’ words, “Considering that this struggle is for our all…let us also make it our earnest care and aim to guard what we have received” (pg 20). Piper’s book, as with his other biographical sketches, is a great reminder of the value of church history. He introduces us to Athanasius in his lifelong battle for the deity of Christ against the Arians; John Owen the Purian pastor and writer, whose great desire was for holiness – both his own and others’; and J. Gresham Machen the seminary founder of who contended for the gospel in the midst of liberalism. However, Piper doesn’t stop there. He goes on to show the profit of looking at the lives of Christians from the past, how we can learn from their example and the way they stood for the truth, reminding us that the battles they fought are not too dissimilar to the ones we need to fight today. Specifically, as he looks at the lives of these three men, we are challenged to recognise the need to contend for the gospel in our day and to do so in a godly and gracious manner. Well worth investing in and digesting!