What (or Who) Is the Bible Really All About?

Growing up, I can remember learning the great stories of the Bible in Sunday School. My teacher would position the artist’s renderings of each Bible character on a flannelgraph in front of the class as she retold the story to a crowd of fidgety onlookers. Abraham, Noah, Moses, David, Daniel and his friends, and others would all eventually take the stage on that fuzzy board.

No matter which character we were learning about, it always seemed to end in the same place. How can I have faith like Abraham? How can I trust God like Noah? How can I be a leader like Moses? How can I defeat the “giants” in my life like David? Could I “dare to be a Daniel”? At the end of it all, I was left with a lot of dos and don’ts, as well as what seemed to be a slew of seemingly disconnected Bible stories.

My well-meaning and faithful Sunday School teacher was unintentionally teaching me that the Bible was all about me. As I read my Bible, I was to follow or avoid the examples of the main characters of Scripture. The Bible largely became simply a book of characters for me to emulate and rules for me to obey. It wasn’t until much later in life that I would learn that while the Bible does contain moral imperatives to follow, there is a much larger, more glorious purpose in the pages of Holy Scripture.

One of my favorite passages of Scripture tells of an encounter two men had with the risen Lord Jesus. As the men discussed all that had recently taken place in Jerusalem, they were perplexed by the reality of the empty tomb. Jesus then said to them:

    “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself. (Luke 24:25-27, ESV)

Jesus was ultimately saying that had these two men read their Bibles properly, everything that had happened would have made perfect sense. They would have understood that the Bible is ultimately about Jesus from beginning to end. What the Old Testament promised God would accomplish through his Messiah had finally come to pass!

You see, the Bible is one grand story of God’s acts in history to rescue and redeem rebellious sinners through the person and work of his Son, Messiah Jesus. The stories of Abraham, Noah, Moses, David, Daniel, and so on, are not merely moralistic tales, but shadowy representations of redemptive qualities ultimately fulfilled in Christ. Stating it simply, the Bible is less about what “I’m supposed to do for God” and much, much, much more about what God has done in Christ to graciously save his people.

May we be those who give ourselves continually to the reading of Scripture, so that we would become more deeply acquainted with the One to whom all of Scripture bears witness; the One whom to know is life eternal!

For Further Reading…

The Unfolding Mystery: Discovering Christ in the Old Testament, by Edmund P. Clowney

Jesus on Every Page: 10 Simple Ways to Seek and Find Christ in the Old Testament, by David Murray

Is Jesus in the Old Testament?, by Iain M. Duguid

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REVIEW | Bible Study: A Student’s Guide, by Jon Nielson

9781596386372

BIBLE STUDY: A STUDENT’S GUIDE IS ON SALE AT WTSBOOKS.COM –
$6.00/copy (54%off) or $5.00/copy when you buy 5. Click here for more information.

My major in undergraduate school was “Youth Ministry”. Many of the books that I was assigned to read for class made me feel more like a junior high school student than a student in college. Maybe it was the fact that a majority of these textbooks were published in the late ‘90s, when clip art was mistakenly understood as both a cool and an essential visual aid? Sadly, I walked away from many of those books disappointed. Sure, there were certainly elements that could be positively received and applied. However, a majority of the content I was exposed to left me wanting more…and certain that “more” could be had. This desire for greater substance and clarity not only occurred in the books that served as my classroom texts, but also of the books that were written specifically for students as well.

In the years since my undergraduate days, I have still been hard-pressed to find a book, targeted at students, that was not primarily filled with “fluff” and a disproportionate amount of personal illustration (not to mention, clip art). That is, until now…

Bible Study: A Student’s Guide (P&R, 2013), by Jon Nielson, is a seriously practical book about Bible study for students who are serious about their faith. On a side, Jon presently serves as the college pastor at College Church, in Wheaton, Illinois. Before he became a pastor to college students, Jon served in both youth and sports ministry. Jon’s experience with students, along with his gift as both writer and teacher, and a sincere love for the Scriptures are unmistakable in this book.

As noted by the publisher, Bible Study: A Student’s Guide, “confirms that real, meaningful Bible study in not only possible for students, but important.” Students can read, study, interpret, and apply the Bible responsibly. And, I believe, when a student begins to do this regularly, their energy for personal study will be exponentially increased. So, how does Bible Study get a student moving in that direction? In order to set the student in motion, Neilson begins by addressing and explaining several core convictions about the Scriptures:

  • The Bible Is God Speaking
  • The Bible Is Powerful
  • The Bible Is Understandable
  • The Bible Is a Literary Work

From there, Nielson moves on to some key hermeneutical issues, including genre, the unity of the Bible’s story line, technique and approach, and he addresses several possible pitfalls along the way.

I can say, by far, that Bible Study: A Student’s Guide is the single best book (for students) that I have ever encountered, in terms of learning how to effectively study God’s Word. It communicates a high view of Scripture by clearly articulating, in terms a student can digest, the authority, inerrancy, and perspicuity of God’s Word. It takes an unashamed Christ-centered approach to all of Scripture. It handles the necessary discussion of biblical genre very well. Nielson, as well, provides a wonderful balance between a grammatical-historical and redemptive-historical hermeneutical approach. Even as one with a couple degrees in theology, I was energized as I read it because it was taking elements of Bible study that I hold dear and consider essential, and in turn instructing me on how I may articulate these things in terms that students can understand. Really, the remarkable thing about this book is that it would be an excellent primer for anyone, student-thru-adult, on responsible and intelligent Bible study.  Perhaps that’s why D.A. Carson noted, “If you are a high schooler, read this book carefully and thoughtfully, and then loan it to your parents.”

In sum, I have no question that, in terms of student ministry, this will be my “go-to” book to use, recommend, and give away on the topic of Bible study. It will be my starting point for training and setting a foundation for thoughtful and substantive Bible study in student ministry small groups. And, it will be a resource I consult often as a guide to explaining, in profoundly clear terms, the theological and methodological necessities of Christ-exalting Bible study.

Coming away from this text, students (and, perhaps, parents!) will no longer be stuck in the ambiguous world of “What does this passage mean to me…?”, and will now be energized by the ability to approach God’s Word asking and answering the more important question, “What does this passage mean?” From there, the heart-transforming truth of the Scriptures may be effectively applied.

I enthusiastically recommend this book!

*A copy of the book was provided by the publisher, at no charge, for the purpose of review.  I was under no obligation to offer a positive review.

BOOK DETAILS:

224 Pages
Publisher: P and R Publishing Company
Publication Date: April 2013
ISBN 10: 1596386371
ISBN 13: 9781596386372

BUY NOW at WTSBOOKS.COM – $6.00 (54% 0ff) or $5.00 when you buy 5 or more copies.*

*Limited time offer. Subject to change without notice.

Daniel Block on “The Shema” & NIVAC Kindle Sale

9780310492016One of the most well-known texts of Scripture in the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) is Deuteronomy 6:4, “The Shema”.  Though it is certainly familiar, it is by no means immune to difficulty in the translation process.  Daniel Block, Gunther H. Knoedler Professor of Old Testament at Wheaton College Graduate School, in his recent (NIVAC) commentary on Deuteronomy, offers what I feel is both a helpful interpretation and clarification of the text.  He writes:

“THE SHEMA IS ONE of the most important symbols of Judaism. To this day, orthodox Jews recite verses 4–5 twice daily as part of their prayers (cf. v. 7). Despite its importance in Jewish and Christian tradition, the Shema is enigmatic. The sense of the first two words is clear. But the construction of the remainder is unparalleled in the entire Old Testament, so any interpretation, including our own, should be deemed provisional. On the surface the four words appear to be arranged in an ABAB parallelistic order, translated literally:

Chart taken from the Kindle edition of "Deuteronomy" (NIVAC), Zondervan, 2012.

Chart taken from the Kindle edition of “Deuteronomy” (NIVAC), Zondervan, 2012.

The first line could be interpreted either as a sentence, “Yahweh is our God,” or appositionally, “Yahweh our God,” though the latter creates problems for interpreting the second line. The critical word in the second part is obviously [echad], which in the overwhelming number of occurrences represents the cardinal number “one.” However, in a half dozen instances, the word functions as an equivalent to lebaddô, “unique, only, alone.” Within the immediate and the broader contexts the purpose of this statement is not to answer the question, “How many is God?” but “Who is the God of Israel?” To this question the Israelites were to respond in unison and without compromise or equivocation, “Our God is Yahweh, Yahweh alone!”

Moses’ concern here is whether God’s people would remain devoted exclusively to Yahweh or be seduced by the gods of Canaan. His exposition of the Shema in the remainder of 6: 5–19 confirms this interpretation. Answering to the Supreme Command, by uttering the Shema the Israelites were declaring their complete, undivided, and unqualified devotion to Yahweh. This is not strictly a monotheistic confession (cf. 4: 35, 39) but a cry of allegiance, an affirmation of covenant commitment that defines the boundaries of the covenant community. It consists of those who claim this utterance as a verbal badge of identity and who demonstrate this identity with uncompromising covenant commitment”[1]

All NIVAC Volumes on Sale! (Kindle Editions)

For a limited time, Zondervan Academic has discounted the entire set of the NIVAC Commentary Series to $4.99 or less (Kindle ed. only).  For purchase information on Dr. Block’s commentary, click here.  The following are links to each individual volume. GenesisLeviticus, Numbers;DeuteronomyJoshuaJudges and Ruth1 & 2 Kings1 & 2 Chronicles;EstherJobEcclesiastes, Song of SongsIsaiahJeremiah, Lamentations;EzekielDanielJoel, Obadiah, Malachi;Hosea, Amos, MicahJonah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah;Haggai, ZechariahMatthewMarkLukeJohnActs;Romans1CorinthiansGalatiansEphesiansPhilippians;Colossians & Philemon1 & 2 Thessalonians1 & 2 Timothy & TitusHebrewsJames1 Peter2 Peter & Jude1, 2, & 3 JohnRevelation.


[1] Block, Daniel I. (2012-08-21). Deuteronomy (NIV Application Commentary, The) (pp. 181-182). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

Red vs. Black? Update

pressLast week I posted some introductory remarks about a short series of posts having to do with the inspiration and authority of Scripture, especially as it relates to the words of Jesus and Paul.  Due to a number of events, the series I hoped to accomplish in a week has been delayed.  For those who were anticipating the posts, I apologize for the delay and will be completing it shortly.  Thanks for your patience!

Red vs. Black? | On the Inspiration and Authority of Scripture

pressIn a recent interaction on Facebook, my wife encountered a gal who noted that she believed there was a distinction in authority between the words of Jesus as recorded in the gospels, and the words of Paul as recorded in the epistles.  In noting the distinction, this woman said that Paul addressed many subjects, in her opinion, more harshly, than the themes of love she associated with the teachings of Jesus in the gospels.  This women went on to note that if a certain subject is found in one of Paul’s letters, but is seemingly absent from the teaching of Jesus recorded in the gospels, then we should certainly dismiss the subject(s) that Paul is addressing.

This perspective on alleged “opposing” viewpoints and emphases between Jesus and Paul is not a new issue.  Though scholars have been debating the subject for some time, it does often raise the question in the minds of many people as to whether or not the words of Jesus, recorded in Scripture, perhaps carry more weight than those of the apostle Paul.  After all, in many Bibles, the words of Jesus are set apart in red letters.  So, are we to consider the words of Christ as weightier than those of Paul?  Is all Scripture, in fact, the inspired and authoritative Word of God in equal fashion?

In addressing the issue, I’d like to approach it from several angles.  First, I want to consider how Jesus defines the role and ministry of the Holy Spirit in the gospels—specifically in relation to his own teaching.  Next, I want to consider what Scripture has to say about the role of the Spirit in the inspiration of Scripture.  Finally, I want to look at Scripture’s witness to itself as Holy Scripture, in both the Old and New Testaments.  From there, I believe we can draw a conclusion as to how we are to read the words of Christ and the words of Paul in terms of their inspiration and authority.

While volumes could be written on each of the angles I mentioned, my intent is to be faithful to Scripture and brief in explanation.  So, as we progress, I’d welcome your interaction and thoughts in areas you feel may be helpful in clarifying or further expounding the subject.  In keeping with my desire to be brief in explanation, I will post on each of the angles separately over the course of the next week.  I hope that this exercise will be mutually helpful, whether as a review or further instruction in our understanding of the Bible.

Old Story New Preview: Week 1, Day 2

Yesterday we began the preview of Marty Machowski’s new family devotional Old Story New: Ten Minute Devotions to Draw Your Family to God (New Testament).  I hope you found it helpful, and even gave it a test run with your family.  As noted, we’ll be previewing the entire first week courtesy of New Growth Press.  So without further delay…here’s Day 2!

DAY TWO

Remember It: What do you remember about yesterday’s story? What do you think is going to happen today?

Read Luke 1:39–45.

Think about It Some More: After the angel told Mary about God’s plan, Mary went to see Elizabeth, a relative of hers.

When Mary arrived and walked through Elizabeth’s front door, the little baby growing in Elizabeth’s tummy jumped, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. Even before Mary could tell Elizabeth that she was pregnant, Elizabeth already knew. The Holy Spirit told her that Mary was going to have a baby, a very special baby. She said that Mary’s baby would be her Lord! That means that she knew Mary’s baby was God and would rule over her life.

Talk about It

  • What was amazing about Elizabeth’s greeting? (She knew what happened to Mary even though Mary didn’t tell her.)
  • What did Elizabeth’s baby do when Mary arrived? (Elizabeth’s baby, who was later to be known as John the Baptist, jumped inside of her.)
  • Why did Elizabeth’s baby jump inside her? What was so special about Mary’s baby? ( Jesus was no ordinary baby; he was the Son of God. Jesus came to earth so that he could die on the cross for our sins. He is only a little baby in our story, but he is still the Savior of the world.

Pray about It: Thank God for the way he used Mary and Elizabeth to work out his plan to send us Jesus.

From Old Story New: Ten-Minute Devotions to Draw Your Family to God by Martin Machowski. Copyright © 2012 by Covenant Fellowship Church. Used by permission of New Growth Press, www.newgrowthpress.com

 

 

REVIEW: Old Story New, by Marty Machowski

Family devotions…  Followers of Christ, whose families are growing, likely have the desire to do devotions as a family, but often are at a standstill when it comes to actually setting out to do so.  Whether it is time, organization, lack of content, or a bit of anxiety, the reasons abound for not getting into the rhythm of regular family devotions.

As a husband and a parent (of a quickly growing 10-month old), with both a full-time job and a part-time position in vocational ministry, I often struggle to establish regular, substantive times of devotions with my wife.  I know that what my wife and I establish now will be the foundation upon which we build our times of family devotions when our children are at an age of understanding.  In light of that, it is important to me that I find resources that will assist our family in establishing quality times of family devotion and worship.  And these cannot be  resources that merely market themselves as a “family devotional”.  They must be doctrinally sound, gospel-centered, graciously honest, accessible and applicable to a range of ages, and those that we can utilize well within our busy schedules yet remains substantive.  Though that may sound like quite the list of criteria to meet for a family devotional, I am excited to say that one in particular thoroughly passes this test!

In Old Story New: Ten-Minute Devotions to Draw Your Family to God (New Testament) (New Growth Press, 2012), family pastor Marty Machowski provides a guide to lead your family through the New Testament in 78 weeks.  As the next offering in Machowski’s Gospel Story for Kids series, Old Story New remains true to the distinctives which set this series apart.  Here we have a resource that is keenly aware of the Bible’s grand story, rich in biblical theology, hermeneutically sound, and responsible in application that connects the reader’s point of need with the grace of the gospel at every pass.

Machowski begins with an altogether helpful introduction that sets families up to utilize the devotional to its fullest extent.  Beginning with a note on the sovereignty of God in salvation, Machowski explains what responsibility the parents have in training their children while trusting God for their child’s salvation in Christ.  He moves forward to explain the benefit of using the devotional in cooperation with its Old Testament/Hebrew Bible counterpart Long Story Short and the Gospel Story Bible.  As one acquainted with both of the aforementioned resources, I can honestly say I know of no other family devotional series that handles the entirety of Scripture so well.  If you choose to work through the Scriptures with the complete series, your family will be well equipped with a thoroughly Christ-centered understanding of the Bible’s grand story of the redemptive work of God from Genesis to Revelation.

For parents struggling to connect with children who may vary quite significantly in age, Machowski concludes the introductory chapter with extremely practical suggestions and insights as to how to connect each study with your children at various stages in their development.  Far from quick generalities, these suggestions are evidence of the years of experience Machowski has as a parent and pastor.

Moving into the devotional, each week’s devotional is clearly connected to a specific story in the Gospel Story Bible.  Though you do not need to own the Gospel Story Bible to benefit from or follow the week’s devotions, it does provide a helpful rendering of each story for a wide range of children.  The text of Scripture to be read with each devotional is clearly listed.  Each week’s story is then divided up into five days:

Day 1 – “Picture It” – This section helps your family understand the context, setting, and subject of the story.  It is then followed by a reading of the text, questions concerning the interpretation and application of the text, and a time of family prayer.

Day 2 – “Remember It” – This section helps your family recall and retain what they encountered on Day 1.  It is a time of open discussion as your family reviews the story and its significance.  Again, It is then followed by a reading of the text, questions concerning the interpretation and application of the text, and a time of family singing/prayer.

Day 3 – “Connect It to the Gospel” – Perhaps my favorite feature of Machowski’s devotional series, this section encourages your family to think about how the story either points forward to or back at the gospel.  A wonderfully helpful section that helps your family steer away from mere moralism and move toward an understanding of the Scriptures insofar as they tell the grand story of God’s redemptive work in Messiah Jesus.

Day 4 – “Remember It” – Having discussed a particular story for 3 days, this section helps get your family talking about the impact the story has had on their lives this week.

Day 5 – “Discover It” – Yet another unique feature of Old Story New, Machowski helps your family connect the New Testament story with its Old Testament roots (specifically the Psalms and Prophets).  This will give your family an increased awareness of the unity of the Scriptures and the grand story they tell.  Additionally, it may serve to awaken an interest in the Old Testament Scriptures among your children, as much of the OT, in some churches, is often left aside while a majority of time is focused on the NT.

Overall, I cannot say strongly enough how effective the structure and substance of this series is for developing quality times of worshipful, devotional study as a family.  God has given families a gracious gift in the resources and ministry of Marty Machowski, and I recommend Old Story New and the entire Gospel Story for Kids series with enthusiastic acclaim.

*As a part of the Old Story New Blog Tour, the publisher, at no charge, for the purpose of review, provided a copy of this book.  I was under no obligation to write a favorable review.

Old Story New Giveaway & Interview

Want to win a copy of Old Story New for your family?! CLICK HERE to check out the giveaway and my interview with Marty Machowski.

Old Story New: Feature and Giveaway

As a parent, one of the things I must do when selecting biblical resources for my son/family is sift through the myriads of unhelpful material that makes up so much of Christian literature today.  Simply because something sits on the shelf in a Christian bookstore doesn’t mean that someone has already done the work of discerning the soundness of theology within.  In reality, there are excellent, Bible-saturated, doctrinally sound, and substantial resources available, but many times you just need to be a little more pro-active in your search.  In an effort to point you in the right direction, I’d like to make you aware of an exciting children’s series and its latest family devotional.

The series is Marty Machowski’s Gospel Story for Kids collection of children’s resources, published by New Growth Press.  Susan, Gresham, and I have enjoyed reading from The Gospel Story Bible.  It is truly a joy to read a children’s Bible that is thoroughly Christ-centered, redemptive-historical, and one that responsibly condenses and applies each story.  Alongside The Gospel Story Bible, Machowski has written a children’s curriculum that focuses on understanding how the Old Testament points to Christ.

Additionally, Marty has written two family devotionals.  The devotionals are designed around a 10-minute, discussion-based format.  In 2010, New Growth Press released Long Story Short, which worked its way through the Old Testament with the intent of working through the text in order to draw families closer to Christ.  This month (October, 2012) marks the release of Machowski’s New Testament devotional, Old Story New: Ten-Minute Devotions to Draw Your Family to God (New Testament).

In partnership with the generous folks at New Growth Press, over the next week-and-a-half I will be posting the first week of devotions from Old Story New, an interview with Marty, giving away 2 copies of the book, and posting my review as a part of the Old Story New Blog TourBe sure to check back tomorrow for the first excerpt and instructions as to how you can enter to win a copy of Old Story New.  You may want to subscribe via RSS or email to receive the updates automatically in your inbox or reader of choice.

In the meantime, here is a brief bio of Marty as well as some of the advance endorsements Old Story New…

BIO

Marty Machowski is a Family Life Pastor at Covenant Fellowship Church, a Sovereign Grace Ministries church in Glen Mills, Pennsylvania, where he has served on the pastoral staff for more than twenty years. As leader of their children’s ministry, Promise Kingdom, he has worked for many years to develop curriculum and devotional material that connect church and home. His passion is equipping families to understand the Bible as one gospel story and help them share that with their children. He is the author of The Gospel Story for Kids series including Long Story Short: Ten-Minute Devotions to Draw Your Family to God (OT)The Gospel Story Bible; and the Gospel Story Curriculum: Finding Jesus in the Old Testament and the forthcoming Old Story New (NT): Ten-Minute Devotions to Draw Your Family to God and Gospel Story Curriculum: Following Jesus in the New Testament. He and his wife Lois and their six children reside in West Chester, Pennsylvania.

ENDORSEMENTS

“Marty Machowski has done it again! This book, along with the earlier Old Testament devotional book, Long Story Short, is another masterful devotional book for families. It is simple without being shallow. It is theologically robust without being pedantic. It is comprehensive without being overwhelming. Best of all, it is doable for busy parents with children.”
Dr. Tedd Tripp, Pastor; conference speaker; best-selling author of Shepherding a Child’s Heart
“So much of the family devotional material available today does little more than use the Bible to teach half-truths and full-out moralism. The reason my wife and I love Marty Machowski’s books and the reason they have become important resources as we seek to raise our children in ‘the discipline and instruction of the Lord,’ is their consistent focus on the big picture of the Bible’s big story. Old Story New is yet another wonderful resource that we gladly commend and look forward to reading with our children.”
Tim Challies, Author; pastor; blogger
“Marty Machowski ‘gets’ families. Even more importantly, he knows how to connect them to the Bible with simple, relatable New Testament studies that make much of Jesus in every lesson. If you want your kids to see the Savior through his Word, spend some time in this exciting new devotional.”
Dave Harvey, Church Planting and Church Care, Sovereign Grace Ministries; author of When Sinners Say I Do: Discovering the Power of the Gospel for Marriage

REVIEW: Slaves, Women, and the Gender Debate, by Benjamin Reaoch

Cultures vary in times and places.  Certain practices that are culturally acceptable in one part of the world may not be in another.  Practices/behaviors that were, at one time, culturally acceptable in a particular culture may no longer be acceptable in that same culture as the years have passed or vice versa.  In light of a world comprised of ever-changing cultures, the question arises as to how we are to apply the pan-culturally authoritative and unchanging truth of God’s Word to the oft-changing cultural practices and expectations of our day.

In terms of biblical interpretation, one hermeneutical approach that has developed over that last 50 years which attempts to deal with reading and applying the Scriptures in a world of changing cultures, has come to be known as the “redemptive-movement hermeneutic” or the “trajectory hermeneutic”.  Those who advocate the use of this interpretative method believe that “there are indications in the Bible that move us beyond the specific instructions of the Bible and toward an ultimate ethic” (emphasis original).[1]  For example, such an approach seeks to answer the question of why slavery, while mentioned in the Scriptures, is never expressly condemned.  Taking the approach a step further, proponents seek to utilize a redemptive-movement hermeneutic to “go beyond” what the Bible proposes in terms of the role distinctions between men and women, thus abolishing any Scripturally prescribed distinctions (i.e., Egalitarianism).  Though many scholars/authors advocating such an approach do not arrive at the following conclusion, some are using a trajectory hermeneutic to go even further, thereby condoning the practice of homosexuality.

Does the Bible indicate the validity of the redemptive-movement/trajectory hermeneutic (RMH, moving forward)?  Should we move beyond the prescriptions of the Holy Scriptures toward an “ultimate ethic”?  The ultimate resulting question is, as with slavery, how do we reconcile certain prescriptive and/or restrictive areas of Scripture when it appears there are also elements present that would appear to point toward a fully liberating ethic?

In his new book, Women, Slaves, and the Gender Debate: A Complementarian Response to the Redemptive-Movement Hermeneutic (P & R, 2012), Benjamin Reaoch (Ph.D., The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) engages the arguments of RMH proponents (most thoroughly, Kevin Giles and William Webb), and provides a soundly exegetical and hermeneutical complementarian engagement and response.  Reaoch states his thesis as follows:

The significant differences between the New Testament instructions to slaves and to women seriously undermine the conclusions made by the redemptive-movement hermeneutic.  The fact that the New Testament “points beyond” the institution of slavery does not indicate that it likewise points beyond God’s design for gender roles.[2]

After a helpful introduction, which serves as a very accessible primer to the issues at large, Reaoch handles his engagement in 6 chapters, along with helpful concluding chapter and a chapter which examines the continuing discussions within the RMH debate.  Beginning with a chapter entitled, “The Redemptive-Movement Hermeneutic”, Reaoch surveys the surfacing and development of RMH through the writings of Stendahl, France, Longenecker, Thompson,  Webb, Giles, and Marshall.  Through brief profiles, he notes each author/scholars contributions to the RMH in terms of books, articles, and significant conclusions.  Reaoch then summarizes the complementarian responses offered by Grudem, Schreiner, and Yarbrough.  Utilizing these responses, he moves into what serves as an introduction to his study of slavery and women’s roles in particular.

Chapters 2 and 3, respectively, address slavery and women’s roles according to the Scriptures.  Reaoch includes a helpful section addressing the manner and place of slavery in the ancient world.  He then moves forward to engage the aforementioned scholars’ arguments and conclusions which he intersperses throughout his analysis, in which he structures by addressing the passages concerning each issue, the grounds for obedience in terms of slaves and women, and then the purposes for obedience.  Reaoch’s organization provides for a very accessible survey and understanding of the issues at hand in light of the biblical data.

Chapter 4, entitled “Comparing the Data” assessed the Scriptural data that was presented in chs. 2 & 3, but focuses mainly on the differences between the passages concerning slavery and women’s roles.  Ultimately, Reaoch draws the similarities from common purposes of obedience while the grounds for obedience show marked differences.

Chapter 5, “Heremenutical Considerations: Part 1”, critically engages William Webb’s work Slaves, Women, and Homosexuals: Exploring the Hermeneutics of Cultural Analysis.  Reaoch examines Webb’s idea of “theological analogy” and several aspects of Webb’s guiding criteria.  Chapter 6, “Hermeneutical Considerations: Part 2” continues to critique Webb’s work with particular attention given to the arguments that Webb gives to bind the slavery and women’s roles arguments together.

As Reaoch concludes, he summarizes the issues and avoids mere academia by demonstrating what is at stake in the debate as it relates to his role as a pastor, husband and father.  Reaoch notes, “This study has not been an abstract, academic endeavor for me.  As a pastor, I am zealous to teach and preach and lead in such a way that individuals are inspired and instructed to glorify God in every aspect of their lives, not least of which is the area of manhood and womanhood.

In sum, Reaoch provides a thorough and largely accessible summary, critique, interaction and response to the issues of trajectory hermeneutics from a complimentarian perspective.  His writing is fluid, and his organization is clear.  For those who have interacted with proponents of the redemptive-movement hermeneutic in general, or specifically, William Webb’s work in particular, this is a first-rate response that is both scholarly and pastoral.  I recommend it!

*A secure, digital copy of the book was provided by the publisher, at no charge, for the purpose of review.  I was under no obligation to offer a positive review.

BOOK DETAILS

Publisher: P and R Publishing Company
Author: Reaoch, Benjamin
ISBN-10: 1596384018 | ISBN-13: 9781596384019
Cover Type: Paperback
List Price: $25.00
BUY NOW at Westminster Bookstore$16.25 – 35% Off

[1] Benjamin Reaoch, Women, Slaves, and the Gender Debate: A Complementarian Response to the Redemptive-Movement Hermeneutic (Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 2012), xvii.

[2] Ibid., xix.

ESV Single Column Journaling Bible

I use the ESV Bible as my translation of choice for personal study and devotion.  The accuracy and readability of the text, I believe, are unparalleled insofar as modern translations of the biblical text are concerned.  Moreover, the scholarly study notes, charts, tables, etc., in the Study Bible edition of the ESV are comparable to having a small theological library at your fingertips.

Every so often, I’ll post on a resource I hope to get my hands on in the near future…as well as those I think will be of great benefit to my readers.  That said, Crossway has just released a new edition of the ESV text in a single column, journaling format!  Crossway describes the updated edition of their journaling Bible, saying:

The ESV New Journaling Bible is a complete redesign of the original Journaling Bible. The Bible text is now laid out in an easy-to-follow, single-column format. Ruled lines in the extra-wide margins match up with each line of Bible text, enabling users to more easily align their notes with specific verses. With high-quality Bible paper and cover materials, the New Journaling Bible is a durable edition for anyone who wants to capture notes, prayers, or personal reflections in their Bible. (links added)

As one who tends to vigorously mark up and notate whatever I happen to be reading, this format is premium for those who, like me, take notes on jot thoughts on the text as they read.  I’ve yet to get my hands on the new addition, but I’m hoping to get a copy in the near future.  In the meantime, you can preview a sample of the interior by CLICKING HERE.

If you’re interested in grabbing a copy of the New Journaling Bible, check out the links below:

  • JOE THORN is giving away 2 copies of the New Journaling Bible over at his blog in a giveaway that ends on Wednesday, 8/22/12, at 10pm CST.
  • WTSBooks.com is offering the ESVJB, at 40% off the retail price, for $23.99.
  • Head over to Crossway’s site to see all the different editions of the ESVJB.  (Personally, I’d love a copy of the Red Edition!)