Book Review – John (Reformed Expository Commentary) (19/9)

Note: This review is based only on the first chapter of each volume.

John (REC)Richard Phillips has finally published an expository preaching commentary on John. After reading his book, Jesus the Evangelist, I was looking forward to see how he will expound on the whole gospel of John, and now it has come.

As with every commentaries within the Reformed Expository Commentary Series, this is no exception. Phillips handles the text carefully, each verse is explained and expounded, and he does not skim over the text, unlike many preachers today who are pretty fond of doing this. He patiently explains difficult and hard verses unhurriedly, allowing the readers to join in the conversation, and think along with him.

Richards shows the readers how he does his exegesis by explaining his how he derives his point from the verse. It is truly expository preaching, with at least one or two applications for each sermon. I anticipate that this commentary would certainly be of help for preachers who wishes to preach through the whole of the gospel of John, and also for readers who wishes to have a devotional reading of the bible passage in a systematic way.

Rating: 4 / 5

Disclaimer: I was given this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

If you’re interested, you can get get yours here, and here (free international shipping).

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Book Review – Victory through the Lamb (24/8)

When you mention the book of revelation, often people find this book confusing and hard to understand, and for good reason — we’ve been studying this book for the past 2000 years and still haven’t come to have a good grip at the book!

However, Mark Wilson has done a great service to the christian community by producing a book that aims to explain this difficult book in plain language, and he does just that with this book. Throughout the book, Wilson wants to the reader to read it through 2 perspectives, one of suffering and the other of victory. On the surface, it does seem to be quite irony/contradictory, why would the victorious be suffering or why would the suffering be victorious?

Vicotry Through the LambBut Wilson manages to weave through these 2 themes throughout the book as he explains the through the book of revelation. Initially, I found it weird for him to include stories of how Christians have suffered in the early beginning of the church before the reading of the bible passage. But as I read on, I found these stories to be gripping and sets the context of suffering very clearly in my mind as I was reading through the first-half of revelation. Wilson has also made the reading of revelation slightly easier by providing his own translation of the biblical text in the book. What his translation does very well is that it helps the readers to catch the different greek words that are used but often translated with the same word, e.g. stephanos and diadem/diddema, which are often translated as crown, and also a quick explain of the word without the need to refer to a dictionary. Secondly, Wilson refers the readers to what the original readers would be very familiar with — the Old Testament allusions used in the book of revelation and thus help the readers see the need for the importance of being familiar with the Old Testament before he/she attempts to interpret revelation. 

What this book does very well is, it does help you understand the book of revelation according to the classical premillennial interpretation. However, Wilson does not support the popular Left Behind pre-tribulational rapture, instead, Wilson firmly believes that the church will face on-going tribulations until our Saviour’s return. Even if you don’t agree with it, you will appreciate the simplicity of how Wilson explains his view in this book. And, if you really don’t want your congregation to be living on the Left Behind series as the only source of understanding revelation, maybe this will be a better alternative that you can point your congregation to.

Rating: 4.25 / 5

Disclaimer: I was given this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

If you’re interested, you can get it here, and here (free international shipping), Kindle.

Book Review – 1 Samuel For You (17/8)

If you grew up listening to bible stories I’m sure you would have heard before of the story of King Saul and King David. However, when was the last time you heard them preached in the pulpit? For myself, I probably can only remember 3 instances where the sermon was from 1 Samuel, but none of them pointed me to Christ. So it was refreshing to see that Tim Chester had written a commentary that’s extremely readable and insightful for all christians.

1 Samuel For You1 Samuel isn’t particularly difficult book to understand, but many a times when we fear to read the bible text carefully or if we do not have a working knowledge of the original languages there’s many things that we will miss out. That’s my initial response when I was using the is commentary. It is remarkable that Chester has never tried to put out a Hebrew word or phrase, but he simply just tell us what the word means, which is sufficient for most christians.

Readers must not expect this book to be a verse by verse commentary , rather it takes blocks of 2-3 chapters (at times) and explains them in the context of the book, and also helps the readers see how each and every part of the book points us to Jesus. Chester is really able to show us how he derives his main points through the exegetical work he has done, yet Chester has the gift of being to lead the reader see how he has done his exegetical work without using any technical jargons or being too abstruse. Also, Chester is able to help readers see the link of how characters or situations in 1 Samuel are pointers to what Christ will fulfil/has fulfilled in the New Testament. Although I do not agree to all his allusions, I agree what he has been doing is a fine example of showing Christians how they should read their Old Testament, with one eye one the historical context, and with other of how Christ is ‘hidden’ in it.

This is really a book I foresee I will recommend others to if they want to have a deeper understanding of 1 Samuel. I foresee that pastors and cell group leaders will find this resource to be exceptionally helpful not just for those they lead, but also for themselves. Chester pull no punches in this book, and often confronts the readers with very apt application that will force the readers to reflection hard on their own lives about what they have learnt.

Rating: 4.75/5

If you’re interested, you can get it here, and here (free international shipping), Kindle.

Disclaimer: I was given this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.