My Recommendations: Book of the Week, October 8

If you plan to make a visit to the British Museum in London, having a guide like Through the British Museum with the Bible by Brian Edwards and Clive Anderson helps to direct your experience. With this guidebook in hand, you will be able to locate, identify, and understand the significance of the individual finds displayed so marvelously in this world class museum. The present edition is updated as of 2013. Due to the ever changing displays, there will be a few items that will not be present at the time of your visit. However, having the information remains valuable and the book speaks to the vast majority of displays. Even if you do not get to the British Museum, this book provides dependable information on a large number of archaeological finds demonstrating the historical integrity and accuracy of the Bible.

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My Recommendations: Book of the Week, October 1

Dr. Eugene Merrill’s A Commentary on 1 & 2 Chronicles is one volume in the Kregel Exegetical Library series. As he explains in his “Preface,” the Chronicler sets forth the history of his people as the last, if not one of the last, writers of the Old Testament. The writer presents the covenant violations of his forefathers. However, he also understands that God plans to restore and redeem His people. Therefore, Merrill seeks to develop the full theological implications while interpreting the details of the text. Since the Chronicler records genealogies, Merrill provides readers with a superb introduction to the study of biblical genealogies. Adhering to a firm conviction in biblical inerrancy, he interprets the text with a literal, historical, and grammatical methodology. Thirteen charts help elucidate the text.

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Messianic Hope and the Gentiles–Thinking Through Romans 15:8-13

Romans 15:8-13 provides us with the apostle Paul’s theology of Messianic hope as founded upon the scriptures of the Hebrew Bible. In this significant text he builds upon the revelation of hope about which he speaks in Romans 15:4. With emphasis the apostle refers first of all to revelation twice-written, then follows up with key Scripture citations in each of the three divisions of the Hebrew Bible to demonstrate that the totality of the Old Testament testifies to the Messianic hope of the Gentiles. Not finished yet, Paul then mentions “hope” three times in the closing verses of this section (Romans 15:12-13) to drive home his point. With such amazing focus, how could we miss this truth’s importance to believers, to the Church, and to missions? May your heart be challenged as mine has been in meditating on this text in Paul’s epistle to the Romans.

As a contributor to ParkingSpace23’s blog, I posted an article about the hope the Gentiles possess in Jesus Christ as the Messiah. I hope you will click on the following link Messianic Hope and the Gentiles, read, and praise the Lord for being included in God’s redemption program from the beginning.

Blessing–Even in Affliction

Sometimes our lives seem as fragile as a bluebell clinging to its perch on an ancient chapel’s stone wall. The prophet Jeremiah caught the deep emotional pain disobedient Jerusalem must endure as the Lord brings upon her the covenant curses as discipline. Lamentations 3:1-6 reads as follows in the ESV:

I am the man who has seen affliction
under the rod of his wrath;
he has driven and brought me
into darkness without any light;
surely against me he turns his hand
again and again the whole day long.
He has made my flesh and my skin waste away;
he has broken my bones;
he has besieged and enveloped me
with bitterness and tribulation;
he has made me dwell in darkness
like the dead of long ago.

As I read and meditated on this significant central chapter of the Book of Lamentations, the thought came to mind that, through Christ, the believer’s experience, even in the midst of affliction–be it discipline for disobedience or just refining fire–should be markedly different. Significantly, an interior portion of Lamentations 3 (vv. 19-33) focuses on the steadfast love and mercy of God. Thankfully, we, unlike Jeremiah’s lament on behalf of disobedient Jerusalem, might sing the following (a psalm of my own composition attempting to reflect the truths of Scripture texts reflecting similar terminology and phraseology):

I am the one who has seen blessing
even in affliction–a
he has removed his wrath and protects me with his rod.b
He has brought me out of darkness
into his glorious light;c
surely his good hand is upon me
again and again the whole day long.d
He has made my flesh dwell secure;
he has healed my bones–
and kept each one from breaking.e
The LORD surrounds me all day long
and preserves me amidst shouts of deliverance.f
He is my lamp and has turned darkness
into his marvelous light.g

Footnotes:

a Genesis 33:11; Psalms 21:3-7; 144:15; Romans 4:5-9; Ephesians 1:3

b Psalms 23:4; 85:1-3; Romans 5:9; 1 Thessalonians 1:10; 5:9

c 2 Samuel 22:29; Job 33:28-30; Psalms 27:1; 112:4; Isaiah 9:2; 42:16; Micah 7:8-9; John 8:12; Romans 13:12; 2 Corinthians 4:6; 1 Thessalonians 5:5; 1 Peter 2:9

d Ezra 7:6, 9; 7:28; 8:18, 22, 31; Nehemiah 2:8, 18; Psalm 111:7; Isaiah 49:2; Matthew 8:3

e Job 19:26; Psalms 16:9; 34:19-20; 51:8; 73:26; Proverbs 3:7-8; Isaiah 58:10-11

f Deuteronomy 32:10; 33:12; Psalms 31:21; 32:7, 10; 125:2

g 2 Samuel 22:29; Job 29:3; Psalms 107:13-15; 112:4; Isaiah 9:2; 42:16; Micah 7:8; John 8:12; 12:35-36; Acts 26:17-18; Romans 13:12; 2 Corinthians 4:6; Ephesians 5:7-10; 1 Thessalonians 5:5; 1 Peter 2:9

My Recommendations: Book of the Week, June 12

Reading the Old Testament sometimes can seem like ploughing through long pages filled with words without fully understanding their importance. Don’t miss the overall meaning, beauty, and power of over two-thirds of your Bible. Allow What the Old Testament Authors Really Care About: A Survey of Jesus’ Bible, edited by Jason S. DeRouchie, to guide you into understanding the themes and doctrinal emphases of each of the books of the Old Testament. Seventeen different writers present valuable insights about authorship, historical setting, purpose, theological themes, and ultimate message. Richly illustrated with many full-color photographs and charts, this volume will delight readers over and over again. The contributors include DeRouchie, Daniel Estes, Todd Bolen, Stephen Dempster, Daniel Hays, Andrew Schmutzer, Boyd Seevers, Preston Sprinkle, Gary Yates, Gary Smith, Kenneth Turner, Jeffrey Mooney, Chris Miller, Donald Fowler, Daryl Aaron, John Crutchfield, and Edward Curtis.

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“Song of the Bow”: A Biblical Meditation for Memorial Day

Memorial Day marks the national commemoration of those American warriors who gave their lives for our nation on the field of battle. We take the time to honor their memory, to decorate their graves, and to remember their sacrifice. David provided us with a wonderful song, an elegy, preserving the memory of two such warriors for the nation of Israel: King Saul and his son Jonathan. My meditation on 2 Samuel 1:17-27 was published yesterday on ParkingSpace23’s blog, Click on the following link “Song of the Bow”: A Biblical Meditation for Memorial Day, read, and keep on remembering those who served our nation as soldiers, marines, sailors, and airmen. Do not allow their memory to die. Pass their story on to the succeeding generations. Remembering their service and honoring their memory belongs to every day of the year, not just Memorial Day.