Monday, June 22, 2015

Packer on the Christian Life by Sam Storms


Packer on the Christian Life: Knowing God in Christ, Walking by the Spirit
by Sam Storms
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Having read several of the Theologians on the Christian Life series, this is the first one about someone who is still living. Not a biography, rather this book takes a look at the comprehensive amount of material that Packer has published and what his views are on theology and living the Christian life. The book starts off with his view of the atonement and then discusses other aspects of Packer's teaching through the years. He is extensively quoted throughout the book. Teaching on prayer and finding God's will are discussed as well as the huge impact that the Puritans, particularly John Owen had on Packer's own theology development. Overall this was an excellent resource summarizing Packer's teaching through the years.

"...he insists that God's ultimate end in his dealings with his children is not simply their happiness but his own glory. The purpose of the Christian life is God's glory, not ours."
"Knowing God is of central importance in living a life that is both productive for oneself and pleasing to God."

And the gospel summarized: "First, God's holiness and justice require that rebellion against his perfect law be dealt with retributively, namely, in the suffering of both spiritual and physical death. Second, we humans can do nothing about this. We are helpless to atone for self and are thus wholly at a loss to escape the wrath of God that our sin has incurred. Third, Jesus Christ, the incarnate God-man, has taken our place under judgment and received in himself the penalty that was our sentence, thereby laying the foundation for our pardon and immunity from divine prosecution. Fourth, each human must look in faith outside and away from self to Christ and his cross as the sole ground of forgiveness and future hope."

*I received a copy of this book free from the publisher Crossway in exchange for my review.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

For the Love of God's Word


For the Love of God's Word: an Introduction to Biblical Interpretation
by Andreas J. Kostenberger
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Easy to read book on Bible interpretation. A good portion of the book is spent on the different literary genres of the Bible and how this affects interpretation. Each chapter starts off with the chapter objectives and a chapter outline and ends with key resources and key words. There are also lists of things to consider when interpreting a particular genre of the Bible. For the most part, the book was understandable but got a little technical in some parts. A lot of unfamiliar words were introduced, but there is a glossary in the back of the book to help with definitions.
Starting off with an overview of the whole Bible and the importance of history and how the historical context affects interpretation, the majority of the book then discusses the canon of the Bible, then the different types of genre, and finally how language affects meaning. For someone who is just learning how to study the Bible, this book would probably be a bit overwhelming, but for those who have read a book or two on Bible study and the inductive study method and the idea of hermeneutics, this book is excellent to continue understanding how to best interpret the Bible. The basis behind this book is the hermeneutical triad of history, literature and theology. The final section of the book discusses biblical theology and how that is derived from our study of Scripture.
The last chapter of the book brings it all together and that the whole idea behind interpreting the Bible is to arrive at application and allow what we've read to change our lives and make us more like Christ. Being able to interpret the Bible correctly is necessary but it is not the end goal, rather, application resulting in a changed life is the goal. "Will you check off reading this book on some list and continue to interpret the Bible exactly the way you did before? Or will you apply what you've learned and let these principles transform your study of Scripture so that Scripture, in turn, will change your life and the lives of those with whom you will share what you've learned?" Various resources are listed for help in studying the Bible, such as concordances, atlases, dictionaries and commentaries. Also included are guidelines for application.
Overall, an excellent book and resource for helping to better understand and study the Bible.

*I received a copy of this book free from the publisher Kregel in exchange for my review.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Miracle Drug by Richard Mabry

Miracle DrugMiracle Drug by Richard L. Mabry
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Since I like books having to do with a virus or bacteria strain gone amok, this one sounded up my alley. Sure enough, I was soon into the storyline and turning pages to find out what would happen. The story developed quickly and kept my interest. Imagine being in a position of being the personal physician of an ex-president who then develops a fatal illness. That is untreatable. Except perhaps by an experimental drug that was not approved by the FDA and thus discarded, so only a small amount of it remains. And another person, who is also your girlfriend, is affected with the same illness and you only have a small amount of the drug to administer. Do you give one dose to each and hope it works? Or two doses to one for that person to have a better chance? Not an easy position to be in and one that the main character faces in this story.
For those who like mysteries, particularly with a medical theme, this was an interesting and quick read. I read it within a day.

*I received a copy of this book free through Netgalley from the publisher Abingdon Press in exchange for my review.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

True Woman 201: Interior Design

True Woman 201: Interior Design - Ten Elements of Biblical Womanhood (True Woman)True Woman 201: Interior Design - Ten Elements of Biblical Womanhood by Mary A. Kassian
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Having read True Woman 101 by Mary Kassian and Nancy Leigh DeMoss, I was interested to read the sequel and see what it was about. While having read True Woman 101, it is not necessary to read that first before doing True Woman 201. It lays the foundation but the books can stand alone. In this second book, the authors dive more deeply into Titus 2 and what a godly woman looks like. Each week a separate character trait is looked at. This book is designed to be used as a Bible study guide with a small group though it can also be done on one's own.
Some of the character traits discussed, ones that are counter-cultural to the world we live in, are discernment, reverence, and love for one's husband and children. On a side-note, it was rather surreal to be reading in the chapter on children and have a Christian blogger quoted, where I stopped and was like, wait - that looks like something I wrote! So I checked the endnotes and sure enough, one of my blog posts was quoted! However, it was not quoted favorably but rather used as a negative example. Still a bit of a shock to see myself quoted in a book! (I did not request this book for review because of being quoted in it; I had no idea I was quoted!)
The lessons are designed to do 5 days a week, so it's a manageable study for women to do. It would be excellent to use this with teens or in pre-marital counseling with women. Another great place to use this study would be in a mentoring ministry. As each week looks at a different trait mentioned in Titus 2, the study draws upon other Scriptures that also talk about these traits. The authors aren't afraid to tackle some of the harder subjects, such as the phrase in Titus 2, "workers at home", though they don't go into a ton of detail on the issues.
I would recommend this study, particularly with a small group of women that are mixed in age of younger and older, even teens. It is a 10-week study so could even be done over a summer break.

*I was sent a copy of this book free from the publisher Moody Press in exchange for my review.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Exploring Christian Theology: Creation, Fall and Salvation

Exploring Christian Theology: Creation, Fall, and SalvationExploring Christian Theology: Creation, Fall, and Salvation by Michael J. Svigel
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a great introductory text into the subject of theology, particularly on the subjects of creation and the fall, and our redemption through salvation. Easily readable, the book highlights key passages that talk about this particular theological topic and then show how the theology developed through the course of church history.
This book breaks down the doctrine into easily understandable chunks of information. Principles to remember and dangers to avoid are given to show what the doctrine is about and how it can be mis-used. For those who may feel intimidated by the study of theology, this is a great book to get started in, providing easily understood information without being overwhelming. Further resources are given in the book to do further study. Another interesting part of the book is quotes from past Christians throughout church history, relating to the doctrine being discussed.
This is the 2nd book in this series that I have read and I am looking forward to reading the 3rd.

*I received a copy of this book free from the publisher Bethany House through Netgalley in exchange for my review.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Let's Study John by Mark Johnston

Let's Study John (Let's Study)Let's Study John by Mark D. Johnston
My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I was intrigued when I found out about this Bible study series for it looked very in-depth. When I received the book, I was surprised to discover that it wasn't so much a Bible study guide as a commentary on the book of John. It can be used as a study guide, as the back of the book has discussion questions to use for a small group Bible study. But it's not just an academic, scholarly commentary. Rather, it is a readable commentary that the average person can soak in the truths found in the book of John. This would be an excellent study for a group to go through together. I'm not sure I'll be able to use it at any of our church's studies as it's designed as a 26-week study and most of our studies are much shorter than that. Perhaps in the future the ladies will be willing to tackle a longer study.
This is not a book that you can just sit down and read through. It takes time to digest, to soak in what is being said and to reflect on it. It is meant to be used as a commentary and study guide, not just a book that one sits down and reads. Now I'm eager to read other books in this series by Banner of Truth!
Each chapter starts with a portion of Scripture and then takes it apart. The chapters are not long, but again, not meant to be read in a hurry but to be slowly digested. While one can use on their own, it would also make for a great small group Bible study.

*I received a copy of this book free from the publisher Banner of Truth in exchange for my review.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

How to Enjoy Reading Your Bible by Keith Ferrin

How to Enjoy Reading Your BibleHow to Enjoy Reading Your Bible by Keith Ferrin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a short, quick read with very practical tips for getting into the Bible. We know we should read the Bible but often we find ourselves doing it as a chore rather than a delight. The author reminds us that it's not just about gathering information about God, but also that it's about a relationship with God, getting to know Who He is. And we do that by reading the Bible.
Some of the tips include reading whole books in order to see the story, praying before, during and after reading, and having a Bible buddy. Included with each chapter are discussion questions. The end of the book has a couple 60-day challenges to do with a group to immerse yourself in a book of the Bible (he suggests Philippians and 2 Timothy).
Very practical book with some great tips for making Bible reading more enjoyable.

*I received a copy of this book free from the publisher Bethany House through Netgalley in exchange for my review.