Tag Archives: B&H Academic

Commentary on 1-2 Timothy & Titus by Andreas J. Kostenberger

Biblical Theology for Christian Proclamation – Commentary on 1-2 Timothy & Titus. Andreas J. Kostenberger. General Editors, T. Desmond Alexander, Andreas J. Kostenberger, and Thomas R. Schreiner. Nashville, B&H Academic, 2017. 612 pp. $39.99. Purchase at Amazon for less.

Introduction

I reviewed the first volume to be published, Hebrews, back in 2015. Dr. Kostenberger is senior research professor of New Testament and biblical theology at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. He also is the founder of Biblical Foundations.

The Commentary Series

The Biblical Theology for Christian Proclamation Commentary series explores the theology of the Bible in considerable depth, spanning both Testaments. Authors come from a variety of backgrounds and perspectives, though all affirm the inerrancy and inspiration of Scripture. United in their high view of Scripture, and in their belief in the underlying unity of Scripture, which is ultimately grounded in the unity of God himself, each author explores the contribution of a given book or group of books to the theology of Scripture as a whole. While conceived as stand-alone volumes, each volume thus also makes a contribution to the larger whole. All volumes provide a discussion of introductory matters, including the historical setting and the literary structure of a given book of Scripture. Also included is an exegetical treatment of all the relevant passages in succinct commentary-style format. The biblical theology approach of the series will also inform and play a role in the commentary proper. The commentator permits a discussion between the commentary proper and the biblical theology that it reflects by a series of cross-references.

The major contribution of each volume, however, is a thorough discussion of the most important themes of the biblical book in relation to the canon as a whole. This format allows each contributor to ground Biblical Theology, as is proper, in an appropriate appraisal of the relevant historical and literary features of a particular book in Scripture while at the same time focusing on its major theological contribution to the entire Christian canon in the context of the larger salvation-historical metanarrative of Scripture. Within this overall format, there will be room for each individual contributor to explore the major themes of his or her particular corpus in the way he or she sees most appropriate for the material under consideration.

This format, in itself, would already be a valuable contribution to Biblical Theology. But there are other series that try to accomplish a survey of the Bible’s theology as well. What distinguishes the present series is its orientation toward Christian proclamation. This is the Biblical Theology for Christian Proclamation commentary series! As a result, the ultimate purpose of this set of volumes is not exclusively, or even primarily, academic. Rather, we seek to relate Biblical Theology to our own lives and to the life of the church. Our desire is to equip those in Christian ministry who are called by God to preach and teach the precious truths of Scripture to their congregations, both in North America and in a global context.

It is our hope and our prayer that the 40 volumes of this series, once completed, will bear witness to the unity in diversity of the canon of Scripture as they probe the individual contributions of each of its 66 books. The authors and editors are united in their desire that in so doing the series will magnify the name of Christ and bring glory to the triune God who revealed himself in Scripture so that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved—to the glory of God the Father and his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, under the illumination of the Holy Spirit, and for the good of his church. To God alone be the glory: soli Deo gloria.

Summary

As with any commentary, there is an in depth introduction of each book looking at the author and date as well as its historical context. Also, there is a literary analysis and a look at the structure which offers a discussion of the genre and vocabulary used throughout.

After all of the introductory material, the author offers the occasion and purpose of each book as well as whom the opponents were. From there, the book offers commentary in such a manner that the reader will understand how the book fits into the larger scope of the overall context that surrounds the passage as well as how it fits into the overall flow of Scripture.

Review

As a pastor, I use a number of commentaries. Most of them are simply broke down by pericope and then verse. This series not only does that, but offers much greater detail and breaks down the passage into further subheadings. For example, each section includes a bridge which shows explicitly how the passage applies to a modern day context.

Regardless, the ultimate use of this commentary will be to help the student of Scripture orient himself (or herself) to the larger theme of the Bible. This is a great aid for so many who think that these three epistles do not apply to anyone except pastors. Kostenberger does an excellent job of exegeting the Scriptures and allowing each passage to be understood by the rest of Scripture. Sometimes this will present a challenge for the pastor and exegete but it shows that the authority of Scripture reigns in the mind of the author. Furthermore, it is abundantly clear that the series is based on an understanding of inerrancy as basic foundational approach to the Bible.

Recommendation

As a pastor, I cannot wait for the rest of this series to be published. As a Christian, I appreciate the accessibility and readability of the commentary such that anyone who wants to study the Word deeper can. I highly commend this resource to any thinking Christian or any pastor who wants to take his study to another level.

 

The SBC and the 21st Century edited by Jason K. Allen

Allen, Jason K., ed. The SBC and the 21st Century: Reflection, Renewal, Recommitment. Nashville: B&H Academic, 2016. 269 pages. $29.99. Purchase at Amazon or on Kindle for less.

Note: This review was first published in The Pathway.

Gary Shultz, Jr., Reviewer

What does the future look like for the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC)? The SBC is one of the largest denominations in the world, with over 15 million members and over 40,000 churches in the United States alone, but both membership and baptism numbers have been slowly declining for several years. For Southern Baptists, this decline raises questions about our methods of reaching people for Christ, our faithfulness to what we say we believe, and our attitude toward our culture. How should we minister and witness going forward in a rapidly changing world?

In September of 2015 Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (MWBTS) in Kansas City, MO hosted a symposium to consider these issues. This book, edited by Jason Allen, the President of MWBTS, is a collection of those presentations along with several other essays addressing the SBC’s future. Divided into three sections, these essays address three important questions. Will the SBC grow more unified around its convictions and mission or fragment over secondary doctrinal differences? Will the SBC continue to maintain its Baptist identity while engaging and partnering with other evangelical churches? Finally, will the SBC be willing to think through its structures, programs, and efforts to most effectively reach this world for Christ or will it continue to do the same things it has always done?

The heart of the SBC is collaborative ministry, exemplified by the Cooperative Program, through which SBC churches together fund missions, education, and other denominational institutions at both the state and the national level. Yet a host of issues threaten this collaboration, including differences of opinion on how to cooperate, doctrinal disagreements, and methodological preferences. Including essays by denominational leaders such as Frank Page, Thom Rainer, and the Missouri Baptist Convention’s Executive Director John Yeats, the first section addresses questions of how Southern Baptists should continue to cooperate. These essays highlight the importance of the Cooperative Program, state conventions, and engagement with the broader evangelical community in helping the SBC accomplish its mission, but also stress that they are means to that end, not the end in and of themselves.

While the heart of the SBC is collaborative ministry, the identity of the SBC is found in its doctrine. At this point in its history, the SBC has united around the truths expressed by the Baptist Faith and Message 2000. However, the rapid changes in our culture continue to challenge our theological foundations. The second section, including contributions from Albert Mohler, David Dockery, and several professors from MWBTS, highlights the need for solid convictions on doctrines such as regenerate church membership, human sexuality and gender, and the nature of the church.

As necessary as cooperation and doctrine are, they are meant to keep us on mission for our Savior. The third group of essays, with chapters from denominational leaders such as David Platt, Ronnie Floyd, Jason Allen, and Paige Patterson, speak to the future of the SBC’s missions institutions as well as the continuing relevance of preaching, prayer, and theological education. Ultimately, doctrine, mission, and ministry complement one another, and the SBC must continue to stay strong in each area in order to effectively reach the coming generations for Christ.

After I finished reading this book my main takeaway was hope. God in his grace has used the SBC to reach millions of people for Christ. As we continue to unify around our mission, stand boldly on our doctrine, and commit ourselves to gospel witness and ministry, I believe that God will continue to use the SBC for his glory. These essays will encourage and equip you and your church as we look towards a future of fulfilling the Great Commission together.

Sharing Jesus Without Freaking Out by Alvin Reid

Reid, Alvin. Sharing Jesus {without freaking out} Evangelism the Way You Were Born to do it. Nashville: B&H Academic, 2017. 144 pp. $16.99. Purchase at Amazon and on Kindle for less.

Introduction

Alvin Reid holds the Bailey Smith Chair of Evangelism as well as serving as the senior professor of evangelism and student ministry at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. More than teaching on evangelism, Dr. Reid (Doc) also serves as pastor to young professionals at Richland Community Church in Wake Forest, NC. He is interactive on social media and is always willing to help and instruct any who might ask him. Oh, and I would be remiss if I did not mention he one proud grandpa to whom this book is dedicated. You can find out more and get bulk discounts at http://www.bhacademic.com/sharingjesus/.

Way back in 2009, I reviewed Doc’s textbook Introduction to Evangelism.

Summary

Divided into eight chapters, Doc sets out to explain how he has found great success in his evangelism ministry. The answer is quite simple just from looking at the chapter titles. Chapter one discusses the importance of spreading the word without overcomplicating the message. Chapter two explains the message of grace and mercy over and above the message of anger that so many preach today.

The third chapter begins to deconstruct the walls we have built to evangelism by looking at the need for conversations instead of the sales pitch presentation. Continuing the conversation explanation, Doc moves in chapter four to show how you are vital to the mission of God even though you cannot do this in your own power.

As he continues to build the conversational model of evangelism, he turns to conversation starters and transitions that will help you to engage anyone with the gospel of Jesus Christ. The sixth chapter takes this even further by instructing the reader on how to let the other person help you. In other words, as you get to know them through a conversation, they will point you to their need of the gospel.

Once you begin to transition to the gospel, you will find that that you are able to talk more freely about the things of the Lord, but you will need to be careful as you must also talk with more than words. Chapter seven is devoted to showing the reader the importance of living out your faith in the context of sharing your faith.

The final chapter argues for making friends instead of making visits. Here, Doc wants you to have a plan of action before you go into any situation in order that you might effectively share the gospel more readily.

Review

BOOM!

This is just what the church needs! Yes, you can argue that we have the Bible and that we have many different methods of proclaiming the gospel, but the fact of the matter is, here in America, we are simply not doing what we have been commanded by our Lord and Savior. Doc Reid has been proclaiming the gospel for many years and, to be honest, has challenged me greatly in his success rate.
This is not to say that evangelism is all about success rates and models and strategies, but it is to say that Doc’s ministry is proof that the Word of God does not return void (Is. 55:11). As I been blessed to listen to Dr. Reid present a number of times in the state of Missouri where I live, I have learned much from his ministry. One area I find that has helped him to be more effective is the location of where he lives and ministers. His town of Wake Forest is larger than my county in Missouri.

That being said, as this book shows, it is not about the size of the community as much as it is about the size of the God who has commissioned you to this mission. Doc shows that the key to effective evangelism is having a strategy in place before you engage with the message. The key to evangelism is realizing you are engaging people not statistics.

In Sharing Jesus Without Freaking Out, Doc explains that our mission is evangelism for the sake of seeing souls saved and not for the sake of numbers and statistics and honor at state conventions. Doc shows how sharing the message of salvation in Christ alone is natural to the one who has been born again because the new creation in Christ has a message to proclaim. Doc simply equips the new creature to do what God has enabled him or her to do.

Recommendation

Christendom owes a great debt to Doc Reid for his humility and accessibility as an academic thinker on the topic of evangelism. More importantly than that, he has modeled for the Christian what consistent obedience to the Great Commission looks like in the local context of evangelism. As the evangelism team leader in my association, I have been looking for a resource that I could give to my pastors that they would want to read and implement in their own ministries. I have found that resource. I highly commend this book to everyone who calls on the name of Christ as their Lord and Savior and who wants to be a better soul winner in their own ministerial context.

The Lost Sermons of C.H. Spurgeon, Volume 1 edited by Christian T. George

The Lost Sermons of C. H. Spurgeon, Volume 1. His Earliest Outlines and Sermons Between 1851 and 1854. Edited by Christian George. Nashville: Broadman and Holman Academic, 2016. 560 pp. $59.99. Purchase at Amazon for less.

Introduction

I have reviewed one other book, way back in 2009, by Christian George entitled GodologySince that time, George has become a renowned Spurgeon scholar and serves as the curator of The Spurgeon Library as well as assistant professor of historical theology at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, MO. You can read more at Spurgeon.org.

Summary

Divided into 2 parts over 560 pages, the first part offers an introduction to the book as well as the larger proposed 10-volume series. Here, the reader learns that though the sermons were never lost to history, they were lost to publishing history. In essence, George has set out to see the completion of what Spurgeon himself desired to accomplish though he had to abandon that attempt for reasons explained in his autobiography.

The second part which comprises the overwhelming majority of the text shares the sermons from notebook 1. This notebook contained some 77 sermons ranging from 85 words to 571 words. These were not the complete sermons as much as they were the outlines for the sermons preached between 1851-1854.

Review

These notes and outlines are heavily annotated with remarks by Christian George that offer insight and explanations into what he was saying or why he corrected a text. Each sermon shows a facsimile on the facing page that shows precisely what Spurgeon wrote in his own hand with his own dip pen. George has done the reader the service of transcribing (and in some cases translating!) what Spurgeon wrote.

A definite modern adaptation to this resource is found on pages 34-45 offering pie charts and graphs and word clouds that break down all of the information found within the 77 sermons. From word counts to percentages of sermons found in various testaments and books of the Bible to the distances Spurgeon would travel in order to preach.

All of this adds another layer to those interested in the Prince of Preachers. My one contention is the use of the glossy paper as it makes writing your own notes nearly impossible (and certainly impossible with a dip or a fountain pen of which Spurgeon would be appalled 🙂 ).

Recommendation

My hope is this new publication, and the yet to be published remaining 9 volumes will introduce a new generation to the power of the preached word through one of the greatest pastors of any generation. This first volume deserves a wide readership and a prominent place in any pastor’s library. My prayer is that the Lord would use this series to raise up a new generation of preachers passionate for God’s glory as revealed in His Word specifically through the proclamation of it in the local pulpit.

Commentary on Hebrews by Thomas R. Schreiner

Commentary on HebrewsBiblical Theology for Christian Proclamation – Commentary on Hebrews. Thomas R. Schreiner. General Editors, T. Desmond Alexander, Andreas J. Kostenberger, and Thomas R. Schreiner. Nashville, B&H Academic, 2015. 400 pp. $39.99. Purchase at Amazon for less.

Introduction

Thomas R. Schreiner is the James Buchanan Harrison Professor of New Testament Interpretation and Professor of Biblical Theology at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, KY. He serves as Associated Dean of the School of Theology.

Dr. Schreiner joined the Southern faculty in 1997 after serving 11 years on the faculty at Bethel Theological Seminary. He also taught New Testament at Azusa Pacific University. Dr. Schreiner, a Pauline scholar, is the author or editor of several books and commentaries.

Introduction to the Series

The Biblical Theology for Christian Proclamation Commentary series explores the theology of the Bible in considerable depth, spanning both Testaments. Authors come from a variety of backgrounds and perspectives, though all affirm the inerrancy and inspiration of Scripture. United in their high view of Scripture, and in their belief in the underlying unity of Scripture, which is ultimately grounded in the unity of God himself, each author explores the contribution of a given book or group of books to the theology of Scripture as a whole. While conceived as stand-alone volumes, each volume thus also makes a contribution to the larger whole. All volumes provide a discussion of introductory matters, including the historical setting and the literary structure of a given book of Scripture. Also included is an exegetical treatment of all the relevant passages in succinct commentary-style format. The biblical theology approach of the series will also inform and play a role in the commentary proper. The commentator permits a discussion between the commentary proper and the biblical theology that it reflects by a series of cross-references.

The major contribution of each volume, however, is a thorough discussion of the most important themes of the biblical book in relation to the canon as a whole. This format allows each contributor to ground Biblical Theology, as is proper, in an appropriate appraisal of the relevant historical and literary features of a particular book in Scripture while at the same time focusing on its major theological contribution to the entire Christian canon in the context of the larger salvation-historical metanarrative of Scripture. Within this overall format, there will be room for each individual contributor to explore the major themes of his or her particular corpus in the way he or she sees most appropriate for the material under consideration.

This format, in itself, would already be a valuable contribution to Biblical Theology. But there are other series that try to accomplish a survey of the Bible’s theology as well. What distinguishes the present series is its orientation toward Christian proclamation. This is the Biblical Theology for Christian Proclamation commentary series! As a result, the ultimate purpose of this set of volumes is not exclusively, or even primarily, academic. Rather, we seek to relate Biblical Theology to our own lives and to the life of the church. Our desire is to equip those in Christian ministry who are called by God to preach and teach the precious truths of Scripture to their congregations, both in North America and in a global context.

It is our hope and our prayer that the 40 volumes of this series, once completed, will bear witness to the unity in diversity of the canon of Scripture as they probe the individual contributions of each of its 66 books. The authors and editors are united in their desire that in so doing the series will magnify the name of Christ and bring glory to the triune God who revealed himself in Scripture so that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved—to the glory of God the Father and his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, under the illumination of the Holy Spirit, and for the good of his church. To God alone be the glory: soli Deo gloria.

Summary of this Commentary

In his volume on Hebrews, Thomas R. Schreiner says, “The words of Jesus on the cross, ‘it is finished’ (John 19:30) capture the theology of Hebrews.

“My aim in this commentary is to focus on the biblical theology of the letter. The emphasis on biblical theology shows up especially in the introduction and conclusion where theological structures and themes are considered. In the introduction I will examine four different structures that are woven into the entire letter: 1) promise/fulfillment; 2) eschatology; 3) typology; and 4) spatial orientation (which can also be described as the relationship between heaven and earth in the letter). The commentary will conclude, after presenting an exegesis of each chapter, with a discussion of some major theological themes in Hebrews.”

Review

As with any commentary, you have your front matter to the book of the Bible being considered (author, date of writing, genre, purpose, etc.). You also have your exposition of the text of the particular book. What sets this commentary apart is it emphasis on the biblical and theological themes found within the text. Furthermore, the Introduction looks at the book of Hebrews and where it fits in with the story line of the Bible as a whole.

The strength lies in the focus. Whereas other commentaries look at the books largely from a single unit perspective, Schreiner here strives, and succeeds, in showing how (negatively) the Bible would not be complete with the omission of the book of Hebrews. Positively, he shows how the book of Hebrews not only fits well in the Bible and largely explains how the Old Testament ought to be interpreted in light of Christ but how the book of Hebrews is necessary for our understanding of Christ.

Recommendation

What better commentary to begin a series on biblical theology than the book of Hebrews? Schreiner nails it with this commentary and whets the appetite for pastors and Christians devoted to studying the Word of God. If Schreiner writes it, it is worth reading. This commentary is no exception. I highly commend this to all Christians.

 

Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart by J.D. Greear

Stop Asking JesusGreear.  J.D. Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart: How to Know for Sure you are Saved.  Nashville: B&H Academic, 2013.  132 pp.  $12.99.  Purchase at Amazon for less.

Introduction

J.D. Greear is the lead pastor of The Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina.  He has also written Gospel: Recovering the Power that Made Christianity Revolutionary.  You can follow him on Twitter or check out his website where a study guide for this work can be downloaded for free.

Summary

At 128 pages and 8 chapters, this is a short and concise work that moves at a fairly quick pace.  The introduction by Paige Patterson quickly dispels the idea that J.D. is out to ruffle feathers for the sake of ruffling feathers.  Instead, J.D. shares how he was baptized four times and would have been baptized more all because he was never sure of his salvation.  Chapter two explains that God does want us to have assurance with chapter three offering the hope of Jesus taking our punishment for us.

Four and five look at what true belief and repentance really means while chapter six looks at the doctrine of eternal security and why the Bible warns against losing one’s salvation.  The work concludes with a couple chapters on how you can truly know you are saved of Christ.  The first way is to continue to honestly look at the fruit in your life.  Regardless, J.D. knows that many will struggle with doubt and finishes the book with a chapter on what that person should continue to do.

The two appendices look at the importance of baptism and assurance based upon justification by faith alone.

Review

Pastor Greear hits the nail squarely on the head in this work.  I love that Paige Patterson, an evangelist if there ever was one, wrote the foreward to this work and stated plainly that he “dislike[d] the title of this book” and then proceeds to explain why you need to read it.  J.D. offers extremely sound evidence from Scripture as to why it is not a matter of how we ask for forgiveness but that we have repented of our sin based upon the work of Christ on the cross.

I wish that B&H, as opposed to B&H Academic would have published this work for the reason that some may think it is above the “lay level” because of the academic tag.  Regardless, the fact that the Southern Baptist Convention’s printing arm has published this work is both encouraging and interesting.  It is the SBC, and many of the preachers/pastors therein, that have lead the charge of asking Jesus into your heart.  Gratefully, the conversation is now wide open for discussion and Pastor Greear has graciously set the boundaries between ignorant, though passionate, rhetoric and what the Bible clearly teaches on salvation and assurance.

Recommendation

I found much to love about this work.  As one who doubts his salvation more than I’d like to admit, there was much comfort in these pages.  For any who have called on Christ as Lord and Savior, I highly recommend this resource.  For any who are curious as to what the Bible does teach about salvation (i.e., the gospel) then I recommend this work to you as well.