Tag Archives: Crossway Books

ESV Men’s Devotional Bible

ESV Men's Devotional BibleESV Men’s Devotional Bible. Wheaton: Crossway Books, 2015. 1616 pp. $34.99. Purchase at Westminster Book for less or on Kindle for under $10.00.

Introduction

From the dust jacket:

Our world presents daily distractions that can easily displace Christ as the center of a man’s heart and life. The goal of the ESV Men’s Devotional Bible is to strengthen and encourage men through the life-giving Word of God and sound devotional content aimed at nurturing godliness.

With 365 theologically rich and gospel-centered devotions drawn directly from the Bible, this all-new resource was created under the editorial oversight of Dr. Sam Storms with contributions from over fifty Christian leaders. Introductions orient men to each book of the Bible, exploring its unique contribution to a man’s walk with God. Thoughtful and instructive articles address the importance of sound doctrine, life in the local church, leadership, the heart, calling, and a host of other relevant issues for today.

The Men’s Devotional Bible will strengthen men in their walk with Christ, helping them apply the gospel and the truth of God’s Word in their homes, churches, and workplaces.

Summary/Review

Sam Storms serves as the general editor of this devotional Bible. The primary difference between this particular Bible and a Bible with only the text is the daily devotionals interspersed throughout the text.

I have reviewed a few of Crossway’s various ESV Bibles and have found them all to be worthwhile resources in addition to the actual text of the Bible. What sets this Bible apart from others is that it is not a study Bible. Rather, it is the complete text of the Bible that includes a daily devotional that is rooted in the surrounding text.

In other words, instead of having two books on your nightstand or desk (one a Bible and the other a devotional), you have only one that includes both. Furthermore, instead of most devotionals that are based on a phrase or two of Scripture followed by a page of the devotional writer’s meditation, these devotionals are based on chapters or large sections of Scripture and are obviously meant to be a servant to the text rather than the replacing of the Word of God. This is an important distinction that I fear is often lost in today’s publishing world of numerous devotionals.

There are two elements that would have made the ESV Men’s Devotional Bible absolutely perfect. First, a simply yearly reading plan to follow. While these are readily found almost anywhere these days, there is not one included in this particular Bible.

Second, and this could have been accomplished with or without the reading plan, would have been to include the devotionals within the context of a daily reading plan. I realize, however, that this would have been difficult given the layout of the daily devotionals as near the featured text as possible. In other words, not every devotional will be in conjunction with the day’s reading according to even a generic canonical reading plan.

Recommendation

Regardless of the two “negatives” this is one of the best devotionals I have come across. It serves the purpose of getting the Bible in the hands of men while engaging them with problems and biblical truths that are needed in today’s culture seemingly more than ever.

I highly recommend the ESV Men’s Devotional Bible to all men as it will afford them the opportunity to learn from godly men on a daily basis.

 

The Immigration Crisis by James K. Hoffmeier

Purchase this book at Amazon for $10.19Hoffmeier, James K. The Immigration Crisis: Immigrants, Aliens, and the Bible. Wheaton: Crossway Books, 2009. 174 pp. $14.99. Purchase at Amazon for $10.19.

Note: I originally published this review on 17 June 2009. I am republishing it now due to the Syrian refugee crisis that is dividing the land. I have reread this work in the last few days and have found it to be of great benefit as I personally try to understand the current issues and offer biblical counsel on what we are to do.

I recently wrote a review on Ancient Word, Changing Worlds where the authors showed the importance of the doctrine of Scripture throughout history. In that book, they argue that the Bible is written for all people in all times. This has wide ranging implications for just about everything in our lives today.

One implication would include the issue of immigrants in America—legal and illegal. This issue has become the center for many political campaigns. So too, many political pundits are discussing the pros and cons on television and radio. In The Immigration Crisis James K. Hoffmeier, professor of Old Testament and Near Eastern archaeology at Trinity International University, uses careful exegesis and hermeneutics to show how the Bible speaks to this “lightning rod” issue today.

Looking primarily at the Old Testament, Dr. Hoffmeier writes of how Isaac and Jacob were treated while living in foreign lands. He then details how the Israelites were aliens in a foreign land (Egypt) and how the Law instructed them to treat aliens and immigrants once they settled in the land God had given them.

He then takes a look at what Christ said regarding aliens—“I was a stranger and you invited me in.” He explains what Paul means when he calls Christians aliens of this world in Ephesians. The last chapter explains how all of this applies to us today and how we should approach the issues of immigration today.

Recommendation

I must confess that I really have not given much thought to the issue of immigration in America except to know that it has become fodder for talk show hosts and politicians seeking office. After reading this book, I have come to understand the issue of immigration through a biblical lens. For that, I am indebted to Dr. Hoffmeier.

What is more, Dr. Hoffmeier does not write as a mere scholar looking to add his two cents to a hot-button issue. Rather, he is writing from the experience of a war refugee and an alien in two different countries. He has been a sojourner in a foreign land and understands what that feels like.

While you may not agree with all of his exegesis, Dr. Hoffmeier will certainly help you think through some critical issues while maintaining a biblical worldview on the issue. If you live in a region of the United States where the topic of immigrants is prevalent, then this book is a must read. If you would simply like to better understand what the Bible says about this issue, then this is certainly the place you start your research. This is a timely book in an era when the world continues to shrink with the advancement of travel and the Internet.

Praying the Bible by Donald S. Whitney

Praying the BibleWhitney, Donald S. Praying the Bible. Wheaton: Crossway Books, 2015. 112 pp. $13.99. Purchase at Westminster Books for less or on Kindle.

Introduction

I have reviewed a number of books by Dr. Donald Whitney. You can read those reviews here. Specifically, you will want to read the review of Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life if you are not familiar with this foundational book to his ministry – The Center for Biblical Spirituality.

Summary

Put plainly, this book will teach you pray through the Bible.  With only 85 pages of text, he moves from the problem we encounter in prayer to the solution to the method in which we can pray. He then offers examples of praying through Psalms as well as other parts of the Bible like the epistles of Paul or the prophets.

He concludes the book with examples like George Muller, Jesus on the cross, and the Christians in the book of Acts. Two appendices offer a handy “Psalms of the Day” chart as well as some instruction on praying the Bible with a group.

Review

Having sat through his class on this topic when I attended the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, I am overjoyed that this is now in print. Like a surgeon, Whitney cuts through any and all excuses the Christian may have for not praying and shows how it is not as self-defeating as we think. Rather, he argues, it is our method.

Once he has laid that foundation, he is off to the races in sharing what he knows to be profound and true – God has given us a prayer book and we should use it. He writes with heartfelt conviction and over 30 years of experience living and praying what he preaches.

In the end, this book may take 90 minutes to read but will, if you apply the principles, radically change your life assuming you are a Christian.

Recommendation

Having experienced first hand the paradigm-shifting teachings of this book in a seminary classroom, I know the impact this book will have on Christendom. If you are a Christian and you are looking to revitalize your prayer life and have never heard about or been taught praying through the Bible, then I would recommend you pick up a copy today. Right now, even. Read it and allow the Holy Spirit to work through Don’s teaching to enable you to pray daily, regularly, and without ceasing. I can promise that if you are a believer and you apply these principles of prayer to your life, you will grow in your walk with Christ.

Experiencing the New Birth by Martyn Lloyd-Jones

Experiencing the New BirthLloyd-Jones, Martyn. Experiencing the New Birth – Studies in John 3. Wheaton: Crossway Books, 2015. 400 pp. $30.00. Purchase in print at Westminster books for less or on Kindle for $9.59.

Introduction

I have reviewed a number of Martyn Lloyd-Jones’ works published by Crossway Books in the last few years. You can read those reviews here as well as a number of other notifications and news.  Also, one of my personal highlights was my interview with Jonathan Catherwood, MLJ’s grandson.

Summary/Review

Experiencing the New Birth is a compilation of Lloyd-Jones’ twenty-four sermons from John 3:1-30 preached at Westminster Chapel from 9 January – 10 July 1966. Until  now, as I understand it, these sermons have yet to appear in print though they are available at the MLJ Trust.

These sermons are fairly straight-forward and hit home as most all of the Doctor’s sermons do. His exposition of this most familiar passage in the gospel of John brings a strange newness to the passage. It is remarkable how a sermon from nearly fifty years ago still speaks to the Christian today.

Further, after having read these sermons, the Christian will challenged by the black/white theology of the apostle John in that you are either a new Christian or you are not. You are either Nicodemus…a man full of knowledge but not Christ or you are a born-again believer in Jesus Christ.

This work is meant to be read one chapter at a time as they were preached one sermon at a time. To that end, these twenty-four chapters serve as a devotional meant to be meditated on and applied by the Christian. Of course, you will not agree with everything ML-J writes, but the reality is you will be confronted with a great God who through His resurrected Son, Jesus Christ, is completely sovereign over your life.

Recommendation

Add this to your library. Read it. Devour it and chew on it. We are indebted to Crossway Books for bringing to print these sermons for the modern Christian today.

Why We Pray by William Philip

Why We PrayPhilip, William. Why We Pray. Wheaton: Crossway Books, 2015. 112 pp. $11.99. Purchase at Westminster for less as well as on Kindle.

Introduction

William Philip has been senior minister of St. George’s-Tron Church in Glasgow, Scotland, since 2004. He was formerly director of ministry at the Proclamation Trust in London and is now chairman of Cornhill Scotland, an organization committed to training pastors for expository preaching. Prior to ordination, he was a doctor specializing in cardiology.

In other words, he appears to be a modern day Martyn Lloyd-Jones!

Summary

This 112 page book is divided into four chapters all dealing with a different reason as to why we pray. The first is God is a speaking God. The second is because we are sons of God. The third is because God is a sovereign God and the fourth is because we have the Spirit of God.

At the end of each chapter is a list of questions that are meant for deeper thought or for a discussion group.

Review

At only 112 pages and four chapters Why We Pray may be one of the quickest reads on this most important aspect of the Christian Life I have read to date. Granted, there are a number of articles and such, but this little book is full of biblical insight centered on who God is and what He has done for us through His Son, Jesus Christ. It is quite frankly because of who God is that leads us to be able to pray confidently knowing that He not only hears our prayers but He will answer them as well.

Philip deftly deals with certain questions (why pray if God knows what is going to happen) though he readily admits he is not dealing with them exhaustively. His intention in writing this book is to give the reader confidence to pray. Therefore, he does not belabor his points nor does he offer systematic theologies on various doctrinal concerns. This is done, in my estimation, in order to quickly introduce the reader to the necessity and joys of prayer and to gently give them a little nudge to begin praying.

I believe the brevity and succinctness of Why We Pray is its greatest strength. Along with that is the apparent high view of God the author has as he extols His greatness page after page.

Recommendation

There are a number of books on prayer. Why We Pray deserves your attention because it is short, succinct, powerful, and full of conviction and joy as the author happily explains that the greatest reason to pray is the truth that you get to talk directly to the Creator of the universe. I highly recommend this resource to all Christians.

Seeing and Savoring Jesus Christ by John Piper

Seeing and Savoring Jesus ChristPiper, John. Seeing and Savoring Jesus Christ. Wheaton: Crossway Books, 2001. 142 pp. $9.99. Purchase at Westminster for less or on Kindle.

Introduction

Note: I read and am reviewing the 2001 edition. What is pictured and linked to is the 2004 revised edition which is a paperback.

John Piper needs no introduction. For those that have never heard of please check out his ministry’s website, Desiring God. You can get most every book they have free in PDF as well as all of his sermons and podcasts.

Summary

Divided into thirteen chapters, Piper takes the reader on a journey from understanding the ultimate aim of Jesus to nuggets of truth as to what what Jesus came to do. Along the way, you will learn the deity and excellence of Christ while also considering His power and wisdom.

As Piper brings the reader to the apex of the joy of Christ, he also shows us the glory of Christ as he helps you to consider the anguish and saving sacrifice of Jesus. He concludes with meditation on Christ’s resurrection and His promised Second Coming.

Review

I read this book because in a recent podcast, John Piper stated that if he were to recommend any one book of his to read first it would Seeing and Savoring Jesus Christ. That caught me by surprise a bit. I had read this years ago when I first came to Christ but had it sitting on my shelf collecting dust. I decided to reread it and now understand why Piper says he himself rereads this book often.

Each chapter is short and can be read devotionally or, quite honestly in one night. I chose to read the book in the morning after my daily Scripture reading. My discovery was that it quickened my heart to the things of God in such a concerted effort that I could not help but meditate on Christ throughout the day.

Each chapter was saturated with Scripture and every chapter ended with a concerted prayer in to help one converse with God. I usually do not read these prayers as I find it often difficult to pray someone else’s prayer, but these were different. I found the prayers to be a spring board to deeper communion with God.

Recommendation

It would be easy to say that if Piper recommends this book, I recommend this book. Too be honest, it was because he stated that he rereads this book often to be reminded of Christ’s glories. If John Piper needs a reminder, then so do I, and I think I can safely assume, so do you. Please get yourself a copy and read and reread this quality devotional that will draw you to Christ.

Roman Catholic Theology & Practice by Gregg R. Allison

Roman CatholicAllison, Gregg R. Roman Catholic Theology & Practice: An Evangelical Assessment. Wheaton: Crossway Books, 2014.  496 pp. $28.00. Purchase at Westminster Books in print for less or on Kindle.

Introduction

Gregg R. Allison is professor of Christian theology at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is secretary of the Evangelical Theological Society, a book review editor for the Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, an elder at Sojourn Community Church, and a theological strategist for Sojourn Network. He is the author of numerous books, including Historical Theology: An Introduction to Christian Doctrine,  and Sojourners and Strangers: The Doctrine of the Church.

Summary

This book follows the structure of the Catechism of the Catholic Church and therefore is not necessarily divided into chapters per se. Allison first presents the Roman Catholic doctrine and then follows up with an evangelical assessment. In other words, he does not shy away from the obvious differences in theology nor does he attempt to bring them together in a harmony of ecumenicism that so many often attempt today.

Review

This is one of those reviews that, if I had a different purpose than simply introducing you to quality Christian resources, I could spend countless hours and pages writing. Having grown up Roman Catholic (RC), I found Allison to be very informed on what the RC church believes. Further, his assessments were spot on and extremely balanced. He did not jump onto any theological soap boxes nor did he chase any rabbits such that he lost his focus. Rather, he stayed on task and dealt with each doctrine both independently and as a whole system of belief.

This work may or may not be read cover to cover. It can be dealt with based on various points of discussion with members of the RC Church. While I would suggest reading cover to cover as this is the only volume I have read that treats RC theology as a holistic worldview, many will find that it becomes an apologetic resource.

Roman Catholic Theology and Practice is accessible to all readers though written by an excellent systematic theologian in his own right. Allison does a masterful job of explaining RC theology on its own merits and through the lens of the RC Church. This work offers much insight into what they believe and how we as Protestants should understand and respond.

Recommendation

Having grown up in St. Louis, I call it the Rome of the West), this would have been an invaluable resource to own. I highly recommend this book to all who want to understand 1) the ongoing differences between Protestants and Roman Catholics, 2) how to respond to those differences, and 3) a deeper understanding of biblical truths. This work would also be an excellent gift to a Catholic who is questioning the differences between their beliefs and those of the Protestants.

The Dawning of Indestructible Joy by John Piper

Indestructible JoyPiper, John. The Dawning of Indestructible Joy: Daily Readings for Advent. Wheaton: Crossway Books, 2014. 98 pp. $7.99. Purchase the print copy at Westminster Books for less or on Amazon Kindle for $3.99.

Introduction

John Piper needs no introduction though to my surprise I have not reviewed a book by John Piper since 2011. I have, however, read many in that time.

Summary/Review

This is a twenty-five day devotional meant to stir your heart to a greater and deeper joy in God. Each devotional is maybe 4 pages long at most. Though in those few pages, your mind will be set squarely on the riches of the grace and mercy of God through His Son, Jesus Christ.

Unlike many devotionals meant to help you feel good about yourself, Piper writes so that we might begin to understand that it is not about us but instead all about God. Every devotional is a meditation kick-starter that will leave you pondering the glorious truths of God all day long.

Recommendation

I personally have always enjoyed Piper’s works. They are challenging and wonderfully written in such a way that you are driven to your knees in worship of an awesome, holy, and loving God. I highly recommend The Dawning of Indestructible Joy to all. This is the perfect antidote to being weighed down by the cares of the world.

 

Edwards on the Christian Life by Dane C. Ortlund

Ortlund EdwardsOrtlund, Dane C. Edwards on the Christian Life: Alive to the Beauty of God. Wheaton: Crossway Books, 2014. 208 pp.  $18.99.  Purchase at Westminster Books or for Kindle for less.

Introduction

Dane Ortlund is senior vice president for Bible publishing at Crossway. He serves as an editor for the Knowing the Bible series and the Short Studies in Biblical Theology series, and is the author of several of books. He lives with his wife, Stacey, and their four kids in Wheaton, Illinois.

Summary

Divided into thirteen chapters over 200 pages, Ortlund offers a treatise on how Edwards’s view of God’s beauty affected how he viewed everything about God.  The first chapter lays the foundation for how Edwards saw God’s beauty as the theme by which he organized all of his theology. From there, Ortlund organized the rest of the work in a seeming chronological, albeit theological, manner from new birth to sanctification to glorification.

Chapter two looks at the new birth while three through five offer views of what is commonly called fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23) in love, joy, and gentleness.  Chapter six looks at Scripture while the next few get practical as Ortlund explains the beauty of Edwards’s thoughts on prayer, obedience, and the pilgrimage of Christian in this world.

He wraps up with chapters on Satan, man (the soul), and Heaven before concluding with a look at four criticisms of Edwards.

Review

This may be the closest I have ever personally come to reading a systematic treatment of Jonathan Edwards’s theology. To that end, I was enamored with what was written and how it all influenced most every aspect of Jonathan’s life. Furthermore, it was evident how Edwards’s view of beauty has influenced the likes of John Piper (and, consequently, anyone influenced by Piper!).

This work was an easy and quick read though you will definitely want to be able to read it slowly in parts. You will also want to read with a pen in hand as you will underline and take notes throughout the book. What is more, you will be grateful for the bibliography as you will want to investigate Edwards’s thoughts further on some of the topics.

Finally, perhaps the best thing that can be said about a book that is not the Bible is that it drives you into the Bible to study and know and seek to either agree more or disagree completely. In the end, you will find that your knowledge of God is enhanced because Ortlund places Edwards’s thought exactly where it was originated…in the mind of God as found in His revealed text, the Bible.

Recommendation

Fans of Jonathan Edwards will love this work. Those who only know of Jonathan Edwards as the preacher of Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God will be fascinated to know what made Edwards long for genuine revival and that was the beauty of God and His creation.  I heartily recommend this work to all.

The Heresy of Orthodoxy by Kostenberger and Kruger

Heresy of OrthodoxyKostenberger, Andreas J. and Michael J. Kruger. The Heresy of Orthodoxy: How Contemporary Culture’s Fascination with Diversity has Reshaped our Understanding of Early Christianity. Wheaton: Crossway Books, 2010. $19.99.  Purchase at Amazon and for Kindle for less.

Introduction

Andreas Kostenberger is professor of New Testament at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and has written a number of books. Micheal Kruger is President and Samuel C. Patterson Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity at Reformed Theological Seminary. HE blogs at Canon Fodder.

Summary

Divided into three parts, the authors begin with a look at the origins of the New Testament and how today’s understanding of diversity and pluralism are impacting our view on early Christian tradition.

The second part traces the development of the New Testament Canon.  Here they spend three chapters explaining the historical evidence as understood by the historical time and place of the actual occurrences of the formation of the Bible.

The third part explains how the Bible was copied through the years before the printing press and now, the digital age.  Throughout this section, they offer an apologetic for a right understanding of textual criticism and the importance of ones presuppositions.

Review

This book is not going to be for everyone. It is fairly technical in its jargon and study.  It predominantly takes on the Bart Ehrman and is a solid response to his work Misquoting Jesus.  Ultimately, The Heresy of Orthodoxy is yet another book that seeks to answer the challenges of the validity and authenticity of the Bible.

Sadly, there is nothing new under the sun.  This conversation will never end as long as Christ tarries.  I found that this work was extremely concise and and informational as to the nature of the argument in denying the authenticity of Scripture. The author’s make the case that it boils down to one’s worldview. The effects of higher criticism notwithstanding, Kostenberger and Kruger successfully show how one can be critical of the Bible while maintaining an orthodox view of its writing.  Furthermore, they detail with great accuracy the historical context from which it was written and came to be accepted as the final 27 books of the New Testament.

Again, this work is heavy on technical language, but is necessitated by the technical language espoused by those who profess to be scholars.

Recommendation

If you are questioning the authenticity of the Bible, specifically the New Testament, then this book is for you.  If you are a pastor or a budding theologian, then you ought to read this book.  We must be able to engage the charges leveled at the Bible especially when there are “innocent bystanders” in the cross-hairs.