- I was hoping for reflections specifically related to advent, but it turns out that it's just a rearrangement of Wright's sections from "Luke For Everyone." If you already have that, you can just follow the daily Revised Common Lectionary readings from Luke and go to the corresponding section in "Luke For Everyone." The only difference is that some sections are cut off short if the passage in Luke For Everyone was longer than the lectionary reading, and also each reading ends with a question for reflection. I felt a little misled since the title makes it seem like there will be advent-specific reflections. A convenient repackaging for those that don't already have the other title, but disappointing if you do have "Luke For Everyone" already. It's a shame because "Lent for Everyone: Luke Year C" seems to have had fresh devotionals from Tom, at least the first week I looked through did not come from "Luke For Everyone." It seems for this advent book (9 years after the Lent one) the publisher wanted something to sell without having to get new content.
- Interesting that he calls this a "model" for prayer despite the fact that it is literally a prayer to pray, not just a example. It literally is the gospel prayer. Our tendency is to be overly fearful of ritual, even though that is the way God disciples his people from the Torah on through the fulfillment in Jesus Christ.
- I hate to give this only three stars, because there was a lot of great and really impactful teaching. The problem is how often it was a mixed bag. One of the things I love about hearing from Christian OT scholars is that I feel like I'm being made aware of my own cultural bias. The thing with Waltke is often I recognize the American Evangelical bias that I'm trying to get away from in the very way he's interpreting the texts, in contrast with someone like Gordon Wenham, who I feel like takes me into another world, rather than taking American culture and worldview into the text as Waltke frequently does. Some of these things are really alarming. For example, his views on women carry this subtle (or not so subtle?) misogyny. When talking about Adam and Eve, he shares a story of a knight who raped a woman. The knight does not get punished for it because he "rightly" answers the queen's riddle by pointing out that all women want to rule over everyone. That is the moral of the story, and he says that's a great story and teaches us what Genesis 3 is saying. Wait, shouldn't the moral of that story be that men aren't held accountable in society? Shouldn't the moral be the outrage we feel at miscarriage of justice? No, the moral is that women just want to rule everyone according to Waltke. He also talks derisively of an apparently obese woman that he sat next to on the airplane. He later says that a husband should have zeal for his wife as his property. I wish I were making this up. He also teaches the eternal subordination of the Son in Genesis, flirting with an ancient heresy, with the intent of making a cultural point on gender relations, (and that's some radical eisegesis to bring ESS into Genesis 3). There's all this kind of misogyny that unfortunately is pretty widespread in the American church (I'm sure all of us have certain influential pastors that might jump right to our minds). I really love Bruce Waltke and his manner, but there are topics that are really unfortunate cultural leftovers. All in all though, for the price, I would say look to another mobile ed course, like any of Douglas Moo's NT courses (if you are looking for other courses at this price level). The good here is really good, but it's just mixed in with mediocre, questionable, and sometimes unfortunately bad teaching.
- It might just be that too many topics were covered in two hours, but I found that none of the topics were touched on at depth to be really insightful or helpful. The course feels more like an introduction to start studying these things rather than a course on the topics. In some ways Ben says as much, saying that you really need to get his six books on the topics to fully experience the course. Maybe it's better to just get those books and skip this course. Also, I found that he would somewhat often say that most people don't understand the context of a passage, but then his presentation of the context often felt unconvincing at full of equivocation (for example, does "work" mean "career", does "work" mean "labor", does "work" mean the good one does in the world? He uses the word in a very unclear way then applies verses that seem to be referring to specific aspects of work. In all, I couldn't really apply anything, but I like Ben's work in general so this isn't meant as a criticism of him and the many valuable resources he's produced.
- As Rod pointed out, hard to trust the content of the book when it's marketing blurb reveals such a startling misunderstanding of other Christian's beliefs. Roman Catholics are definitely NOT the only Christians who believe in the Real Presence in the Eucharist. There are Protestants and Eastern Orthodox who do as well. Steer clear of this one and go to more informed sources.
- I felt like the section on the gospels was somewhat tedious with the amount of interaction in textual criticism and redaction and source scholarship with secular and skeptic scholars. I almost didn't get through that part, thinking the whole book would go along at that pace and tone. However, Marshall really came out at his pastoral best once it got to Chapter 4 (The Epistles of Paul) and onward. The book has helped me think about the topic a lot more clearly, and above all, has encouraged me in my faith and reminded me of the importance of encouraging our brothers and sisters in the faith, especially those who's love is growing cold. Highly recommend it, even if one skips the gospels and acts portions for the overly academic tone.