• This collection of essays from 12 distinguished scholars was first published nearly 40 years ago and is still relevant today. From Carson's "Redaction Criticism: On the Legitimacy and Illegitimacy of a Literary Tool", we can learn how to approach interpretative tools for the church, such as Critical Race Theory (CRT). Can CRT be used as an objective tool? Carson's essay shows us the clarity we should expect from such discussions. In Godfrey's "Biblical Authority in the 16th and 17th Century: A Question of Transition", he responds to the Rogers-McKim proposal. They proposed that the great reformers "fully recognized errors in the form of the Bible while maintaining the faithful fulfillment of its function." If Martin Luther and John Calvin, men who lived and died for the doctrine of salvation, could believe the Scripture to contain errors, then it's a possibility for all Christians to do likewise. But they didn't and Godfrey shows us the evidence. Helm's "Faith, Evidence and the Scriptures" was a surprising essay. I didn't expect an excursion into how the Scripture, Holy Spirit and Faith come together. Scripture and Truth is a platter of thought-provoking essays to be read by any student of biblical authority and scripture inerrancy. These great minds show us how far, wide and deep this topic can be.
    1. Gordon Wenham, an OT expert, will tell you everything you wanted to know (and then some) on the Psalms, especially the canonical approach. Read how Book 1 to 5 tell a big story, how Psalm 1 and 2 are the theme-setters for the whole book and how neighbouring psalms can shed light on our reading. He writes in a scholarly way which might be too much for some readers. However, with a little bit of effort, his insights are accessible. To say the book helps readers pray and praise with the Psalms is an over-sell. To be precise, I would say it guides readers to read and interpret the Psalms.
      1. More important than the new insights in this book are the techniques used to reach those insights. Techniques like questioning assumptions or finding what triggered the passage are presented in easy terms for general readers. While the ten techniques presented in the book are sound, some of the new insights are debatable. For example, Newton argues that the man and treasure in the Hidden Treasure (Matthew 13:44) is not who we think they are. In other cases, the insights are a much welcome correction to popular belief. For example, Newtons' insights on the Prodigal Son is one similarly reached by Charles Spurgeon and John MacArthur. If the Bible seems kind of dry and you are in need of fresh eyes, this could be a book to renew a deeper study in Scripture. As Newton would agree, just make sure you check your assumptions or biases as you read.
        1. Christians are willing to die for Inerrancy of Scripture. But inerrancy of Scripture may not reveal tensions in the text or show an obvious way to resolve them. Consider these statements: 1. God is full of wrath in the Old Testament. 2. God is full of love in the New Testament. Are the statements in error? They are not. A test of inerrancy does not immediately reveal the underlying tension or solution. However if we look at them from unity of Scripture, the two statements reveals the young believer's underlying question, "Why is God different in OT and NT?" Unity of Scripture then points the way forward by demonstrating that God is full of wrath in the NT and God is full of love in the OT. With unity in mind, Kaiser shows how whole categories of seemingly unrelated questions can be resolved. Questions like "How are OT saints saved?", "Has the church replaced Israel?", "Is missions in the OT?" and more are addressed in chapters with titles like "The Unity of the Bible and the Doctrine of Salvation", "The Unity of the Bible and the People of God" and "The Unity of the Mission in the Old Testament". Thought-provoking and insightful in every chapter. A brilliant book by a brilliant scholar.
          1. Thanks to this book, I've started my day by praying to God that the fruit of the Spirit may ripen in my life: Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self-Control. The absence of sports metaphors, personal anecdotes or inspirational stories is a feature, not a bug. Chris Wright explains he is writing for both preachers and general Christian readers. Showing sensitivity for missions, Wright expects the preacher to develop his own illustration to fit his local context. Thus, illustrations are drawn from Ruth, David, and the acts of God and Jesus. Each chapter (with one exception) shows that each part of the fruit is rooted in the character of God as revealed in the Old Testament and Jesus in the New Testament. Wright then shows how Christians are to grow to reflect the love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and gentleness of God. In conclusion, a terrific book for anyone studying Galatians 5:22-23. Chris Wright is precise and clear in his Bible-saturated explanations. The goal of the book is to persuade readers to bear fruit by being rooted and alive in Christ. May it bless you as it blessed me.
            1. Paul Tripp begins the book by alerting the reader on worldview, theirs against the gospel. The next chapter is Christian anthropology, to pose the question, "Who are we?" And the answer is we are creatures, sinners, sufferers and saints. Tripp then proceeds to unpack an eight point exposition on Genesis 3. While many Sunday School children knows the story of Adam and Eve eating the Forbidden Fruit, not many see how the story applies to our lives, much less on money. Along the way, Tripp shows us the Lord's Prayer, the blessing and dangers of money and reveals what we treasure, love and anticipate in relation to money. His chapter on God's Generous Agenda is the strongest chapter in the book, which realises the title: Redeeming Money. Parts of the book are better spoken or preached than written. When written, the repeated phrases or ideas can be monotonous. Most readers will gain from the grace-filled counsel he offers but a few will need to figure out how to bridge the universal truth he conveys and their own lives. Not everyone will relate to the examples Tripp describes. In this book, Tripp brings the anxious away from their money worries, to look at themselves, the grace of God, allowing God to reveal and reorient their hearts, and thus eventually redeem their money for God.
              1. All Things New aims to show that the Christian life does not start at Sin and end at Atonement. Hughes thesis is that Christians have long ignored the wider narrative of Creation and New Creation and our role as agents of renewal. The book is strong on explaining the wider narrative which is outlined in six parts, each with 3-4 chapters, beginning with Eden and ending with Heaven and Hell. However, the book is weak on showing the biblical basis for Christians as agents of renewal. In one brief section it questionably links the Resurrection of Christ to a call for Creativity in disciples. All Things New includes things new to traditional thought, for example Solomon was an oppressive slave master and Jesus was a revolutionary. The limited evidence and much needed discussion on these items is in marked contrast with the space and depth devoted to the chapter on the rethinking of Hell, an argument for Annihilationism. I was hoping Hughes' All Things New would be a shorter book (˜300 pages) that makes the similar Church and Culture arguments found in Keller's Center Church (˜900 pages) or Kuyper's Pro Rege (˜1500 pages). That was not his intent, and I should not expect it to be. Instead of reading it as a big ideas book, it is better to read it as one man's journey through a myriad of ideas set in the grand narrative of Scripture. Some of the ideas will stick, some will not, but the personal stories and testimonies will entertain and encourage.
                1. "The Trinity, Practically Explained" argues that the doctrine is not an intellectual puzzle to be solved but an important practical necessity in the life of the Christian. The historical background of Arius and the Council of Nicaea is absent because the author's focus is on presenting the biblical arguments for the Trinity. His argument begins on the premise that only God can save but by showing that God the Father saves, Jesus the Son saves and the Holy Spirit saves, the inevitable conclusion is God is a Trinity. The impact of the Trinitarian God and our Trinitarian salvation impacts our worship, witness, ethics and hope. In his online biography, Macchia describes himself as an ecumenical theologian and his ecumenical approach can be seen in this well-written book which should find doctrinal agreement across denominational lines.
                  1. Puritans have a well-deserved reputation for writing long and hard on one topic or one bible verse. They squeeze the Bible dry to quench the reader's thirst. Piper does the same on the topic of Providence. He makes a sustained argument from Scripture: from the definition of Providence, to the Ultimate Goal of Providence and finally to the Extent and Nature of Providence. This book has the potential to be a classic the same way Puritan classics of 300 years ago are still enjoyed today.
                    1. The Transformative Word commentary series takes a thematic approach and is designed to be paired with another, presumably thicker, commentary. This is to explain why Universal Story: Gen 1-11 is less than 150 pages long. Thus, if the reader is looking for conclusions or up-to-date scholarship to bring to the next debate, this is not the right book. Here, the author asks different questions, for example, "What exactly went wrong in Eden?" and invites us to re-look at familiar verses from a different angle. While he does not shrink from asserting the Bible as the key to understanding reality, over and against Science, he does not aim to put to rest topics such as creationism or sexual ethics. Remember the small page count and the aims of the commentary series. Universal Story is a good book to introduce a wider audience to commentaries and to invite further conversations on God's revelation.