Tag Archives: Nancy Guthrie

The Promised One by Nancy Guthrie

The Promised OneGuthrie, Nancy.  The Promised One: Seeing Jesus in Genesis.  Wheaton: Crossway Books, 2011.  288 pp.  $15.99.  Purchase at Amazon for less.

Introduction

Nancy Guthrie, renown for her devotionals has ventured into writing Bible studies.  The first in a series entitled Seeing Jesus in the Old Testament looks at Jesus in the book of Genesis.  I have reviewed a number of works by Nancy Guthrie all of which can be found here.  Nancy still teaches at Christ Presbyterian Church in Nashville, TN as well as speaking at conferences all over the country.

Summary

Being a 10-week Bible study, it makes sense that this work is divided into 10 chapters.  The first week, however, looks at Luke 24, the story of the disciples on the road to Emmaus following Christ’s resurrection.  In that chapter, she shows how Genesis points us to Christ.  Each succeeding chapter moves through Genesis though not in it’s entirety.  Nonetheless, by the time the study is done, the student will have studied pretty much all of Genesis.  She looks at the creation account the second week and the fall the third.  Week four studies Noah and the flood while week five zeroes in on the tower of Babel.  The last five weeks focus on the Patriarchs and their children.  You will look at Abraham, Abraham and Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, and finally the sons of Jacob.

Each chapter includes a personal Bible study section, the teaching chapter and, more importantly given the topic of this particular study, how Genesis points to what is yet to come — Christ.  Finally, each week has a discussion guide that helps facilitate a deeper study.  Within the discussion guide, Nancy begins with an ice breaker to get the discussion started and then brings everyone in to delve into the word of God.

Review

Nancy’s approach to writing a Bible study is very similar to her approach to writing a devotional.  She seeks to encourage and exhort and challenge with the tender-hearted care of a mother concerned for the well-being of her children.  Her teaching chapter is extremely informative and offers much in the way of deep understanding as to what the Scriptures teach.  On practically every page she points the reader to Christ.

The personal Bible study time is extremely important as it saturates the reader in the Word and prepares his or her heart for the teaching chapter and then the “gold mining” section that is known as the discussion guide.  All four sections play an important role in digging deeper into the Word of God.  Furthermore, Nancy seems to leave no stone unturned in her study.  Yes, there is much more than meets the eye when studying the Bible, but that is always the case.  Regardless, the reader will definitely feel as though they have had a work out in studying the Bible and will most certainly leave the study with the reality of learning something new.

One other aspect I like of this study is that it can be both a group effort and an individual study.  I think it best, however, that it be viewed as a both/and instead of an either/or.  To that end, this study would be most effective.

Recommendation

Some men may not like the idea of using a Bible study written by a woman and I understand that, but this should not necessarily be the case.  Nancy is not holding any authority over a man through this book.  To that end, I can recommend this study to anyone looking to study Genesis from a Christ-centered perspective.  You will surely be grateful you did when you are finished.

 

O Love That Will Not Let Me Go edited by Nancy Guthrie

O Love That Will Not Let Me Go – Facing Death with Courageous Confidence in God.  Edited by Nancy Guthrie.  Wheaton: Crossway Books, 2011.  160 pp.  $12.99.  Purchase at Westminster books for $7.65.

Introduction

Nancy Guthrie’s works have become staples in my library. You can read past reviews of her works here. In this particular work, Nancy has compiled many of the same authors from her previous works to talk to the Christian about death.

Summary

Nancy has divided this book into four parts that logically flow from one another. The first part looks at the reality of death. Contributions from J.I. Packer, Michael Horton, John Piper and Martyn Lloyd-Jones, etc., set the stage for straight talk about death. The quote that really stood out for me in this section was from Joesph Bayly who wrote, “The attitude of New Testament Christians toward impending death was acceptance, not prayer for deliverance.” We could use this understanding today!

The second part offers a perspective that helps the child of God to endure. Randy Alcorn leads off this section with a challenge to live each day as though it may be your last. At one point he quotes Dawson Trotman, founder of Navigators, as saying, “You are going to be what you are now becoming.” Those are frightening words for some and refreshing words for others. Other contributors to this section include R.C. Sproul, Abraham Kuyper, and Jeremy Taylor.

Part three looks at the only hope that saves us from despair. Timothy Keller is the only living man to have been selected for this section. Others include John Owen, Richard Baxter, Martin Luther, and Thomas Boston. This shows, at least to me, that because we have lost the fear of death as our greatest enemy today, we need to return to those divines of yesteryear to cultivate a greater understanding of hope for the present day.

The book concludes with part four looking at the future that does not disappoint. We end with writings from Joni Earackson Tada, Richard Sibbes, Jonathan Edwards, John Calvin, C.H. Spurgeon and R.L. Dabney. We are challenged by Calvin, “Our mind never rises seriously to desire and aspire after the future until it has learned to despise the present life.” Such sobering words for a sobering subject!

Review

As one who works in a funeral home part time (bi-vocational ministry), I have seen the need to bring back a theology of death. I appreciate this work and commend Nancy Guthrie for the way she arranged the articles and brought them all together.

I was struck by the lack of living contributors (7 of the 22) though that may have much to do with Nancy’s choice of who to include than anything. Judging from her past books, this may very well be the case. It still remains, however, that there needs to be a revitalization of speaking about death from the pulpit today. Nancy has offered a kick start to that.

Finally, be sure to read this book with pen in hand. You will be underlining and writing in the margins on just about every page. There are many choice quotes throughout. These will leave you thinking deeply about the fragility of this life and the hope that awaits in the next. That is always a great place to be!

Recommendation

Pastor, buy this book! Buy multiple copies. You will want to have many on hand to give away to members of your congregation as they experience death in their families and friendships. Read this book and be moved to teach your congregation to die well!

Men and women who call on Christ as Lord and Savior. Purchase this book. Become familiar with its content. You, too, need to be thinking about death. For it will make you long more deeply for Christ each day.

Be Still, My Soul by Nancy Guthrie

Guthrie, Nancy.  Be Still, My Soul: Embracing God’s Purpose & Provision in Suffering.  Wheaton: Crossway Books, 2010.  176 pp.  $12.99.  Purchase at Westminster for $9.09.

Introduction

Nancy Guthrie needs no introduction to readers here at Christian Book Notes. She has quickly become one of my favorite devotional writers (or editor as the case may be) today. Her books, Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus and Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross have blessed me (and many others) during Christmas and Easter. Her book, Hearing Jesus Speak Into Your Sorrow,was used by God as a sweet balm to the soul of my wife during a difficult time in our lives. You can read my reviews of these books here. You can purchase Nancy’s books at Westminster.

Review

This 25 day devotional is very similar in approach to her other two devotionals, Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus and Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross, in that she pulls from various theologians and writers to take the reader on a multi-faceted journey through suffering.  This time she draws from men like Philip Yancey, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and Abraham Kuyper as well as women like Helen Roseveare and Corrie Ten Boom.  Many familiar names are present as well.  Great saints like Lloyd-Jones, Edwards, Spurgeon, Piper, and Luther.

She divides this devotional into three parts.  The first parts spends nine days looking at God’s perspective on suffering.  The second part takes you on an eight day journey learning about God’s purpose in suffering.  The third and final section is another eight day journey spent at the foot of throne of God understanding His provision in suffering.

After spending twenty-five days drinking in the wisdom of the ages by many great divines who have suffered much for the gospel, you will have a more God-centered understanding of what and why you must go through suffering.

Recommendation

After having read Hearing Jesus Speak Into Your Sorrow and knowing a little about her own sufferings, Be Still, My Soul has a much deeper meaning.  Granted, Nancy did not write these devotionals herself, but it seems abundantly clear to me that she drank deeply from the well of God’s providence and provision during her season of suffering and this is the outpouring of what she learned.  I highly recommend Be Still, My Soul as well as anything else written by Nancy to any man or woman who calls upon the name of Christ as both Lord and Savior.  Even more, this particular devotion would be excellent to give to one who may be grieving or dealing with a season of suffering apart from Christ.

Hearing Jesus Speak Into Your Sorrow by Nancy Guthrie

Guthrie, Nancy.  Hearing Jesus Speak into Your Sorrow.  Carol Stream: Tyndale House, 2009.  166 pp.  $14.99.  Purchase at Westminster for $9.89.

Introduction

For readers here at Christian Book Notes, Nancy Guthrie needs no introduction.  She has edited two excellent, seasonal devotionals:  Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross and Come, Thou Long Expect Jesus.  You can read both of my reviews here.

This particular book was sent to me I believe back in June of 2009.  I had plans to read it in July, but God had other plans.  That month was when my daughter was born with all of her difficulties.  You can read quick posts about this time here, here, and here.  My daughter is doing well though we still have a long road ahead of us (she was recently diagnosed with Stickler’s Disease-a genetic disorder), and we are expecting baby number 5 on her first birthday!

As I was saying, I had every intention of reading this book until my wife picked it up and read it while Sarah was in the NIC-U.  This book was a gift from God at a time in our lives when we did not know what was going to happen next (do we ever know?).  Therefore, the review that follows is not like a normal review.  Rather, it is my wife explaining how this book ministered to her during this time.  The review is being posted at this time because, quite honestly, the book ended up in a nightstand drawer and I forgot all about it!

Review

Hi, I’m Krista. I don’t write books reviews. As a matter of fact, I usually only write in perfect manuscript penmanship little words for my son to copy so please bear with me.

In her book, Hearing Jesus Speak into Your Sorrow, Nancy Guthrie says at one point after losing one of her children to a deadly metabolic disorder that her pastor challenged her by saying, “It’s at times like these when you have to really ask yourself, ‘Is the gospel really true? Do I really believe what I say I believe? Do I really trust God?’” I remember during my pregnancy with our daughter having a conversation with a friend about the birth of our third son. He was born amid some rather frightening complications that nearly cost us both our lives. We were later told that another 24 hours in the womb and he would have been stillborn.

As I shared this with my friend, I said, “God is so good.” She agreed but then said something she had been struggling to get her mind around was whether or not  God would have still been good even if our son had died. At the time, my response was an almost immediate, “Absolutely.”

While reading this book, staring at my daughter and all the other babies in the NICU, I was really challenged with this. It caused me to do some soul-searching to determine if I really believed the gospel to be true. Did I really believe God was good even in the midst of difficult circumstances? If my daughter didn’t survive would God still be good?

Nancy Guthrie’s book challenged me with scripture showing how Christ suffered, how He understands our pain and our sorrow and how ultimately He loves us enough to be far more concerned with our souls than with the circumstances of this fleeting life. Taking the scripture presented in this book and then turning to the Bible itself gave me comfort and calm but ultimately re-affirmed to me that even when times are difficult and we are hurting and suffering God is good and the gospel is absolutely true. Christ is sufficient no matter the circumstances and we can find rest and comfort in that.

Recommendation

Obviously, this book is highly recommended.  My wife continues to draw from Nancy’s ministry and writings.  We have offered this book to people who are suffering through tragedies and tough times in general.  Every person that we know who has read this book has said it was “just what they needed.”

Jesus, Keep me Near the Cross by Nancy Guthrie

Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross: Experiencing the Passion and Power of Easter ed. Nancy Guthrie. Wheaton: Crossway Books, 2009. 152 pp. $12.99.  Purchase at Westminster books.

Nancy Guthrie has once again dazzled with a compilation of seasonal devotionals. Her last devotional book, Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus (read my review here) was for the Christmas season. This time, she is keeping us focused on the cross of Christ during the Easter season.

From the back of the book:

In a culture where crosses have become little more than fashion assessories, it’s easy for even the best-intentioned among us to rush from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday without contemplating all that the cross means. We miss out on tremendous spiritual riches when we do.

With devotionals from John Owen and Joni Eareckson Tada to Martyn Lloyd-Jones and the late Adrian Rogers, Nancy Guthrie charts a course of what it means to contemplate the cross of Calvary. Just the chapter titles alone cause the reader to want to meditate on the glory of Christ. For example, chapter 3 is titled An Innocent Man Crushed by God (Alistair Begg). Spurgeon writes chapter 7 entitled Then Did They Spit in His Face.

With this 25 day devotional, every reader will be challenged to meditate on Christ’s crucifixion. Every day you will saturate your soul with what it means to know that Jesus Christ died for your sins. After 25 days, you will want to continue meditating on the cross of Christ and how your sin, if you are saved, was nailed to the cross with Christ. There is truly no better way to start (or finish) your day if you are a devotional reader than to read this book.

Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus

Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus ed. Nancy Guthrie.  Wheaton:  Crossway Books, 2008.  142 pp. $12.99. Buy from Westminster Books

Note:  This is not a book review per se because of the genre of the book (devotional) and the seasonal nature of this devotional.

Christmas is that time of year when everyone gets rushed and hurried in the home, in the office, and in the shopping stores.  We go about our daily business with the addition of the Christmas festivities.  It is so easy to get caught up in it all and shove the real reason we celebrate Christmas to the back burner.  Nancy Guthrie has put together a book of 22 meditations from some of the pastoral giants of past and present.  (Joni Eareckson Tada is one of the contributors and is not included in the phrase ‘pastoral giants.’)

Continue reading