Book Review – Spreading the Feast: Instruction and Meditations for Ministry at the Lord’s Table (18/8)

As a Christian who attends a brethren church, one of the things I appreciate the most is that we partake the Lord Supper weekly. I am reminded weekly of my need for Christ and His gracious love towards me. Yet, many a times, my understanding of the Lord Supper remains ever so shallow.

Spreading the Feast: Instruction and Meditations for Ministry at the Lord's TableSeeing this book, I was eager to see how this will help me grow in this area. Howard Griffith has written this book to help christians and pastors have a deeper understanding of the Lord supper whenever they partake of it.

The book is divide in 2 parts. The first explains the significant and theology of the Lord supper. The 2nd acts mainly as meditations on the Lord supper. These can be taken as topical sermons on the Lord supper. Two of them focus on the fulfilment aspect of the Lord Supper, The other on the application of union of Christ

So who is the book for? I would think this book is meant primarily for lay christians who wants a deeper and clearer understanding of the Lord Supper. The 3 mediations will prove to be especially helpful for christians to see the continuity of the bible. For pastors though, I would not recommend this to be a book for you to get. You will probably need a book that gives you more meat for the theology of the Lord Supper. Other resources will be able to better meet your needs.

Rating: 4 / 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

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Book Review – Evangelical Ethics: Issues Facing the Church Today, Fourth Edition (15/8)

As a Christian, I’ve always liked John Frame’s definition of theology — “the application of the whole Bible to the whole of human life.” A case in point, this book by John Jefferson Davis is one of those that seeks to apply the word of God to all areas of our life.

Evangelical Ethics: Issues Facing the Church Today, Fourth EditionWithin this book, Davis tackles 13 contemporary topics. Some of the topics includes the usual like reproductive technologies, divorce and remarriages, abortions, etc… As a pastor these will be topics that one day you need to discuss or wrestle with with your congregation.

Unlike most books, Davis does not give readers a direct answer to their questions. Rather, David wants the readers to examine the questions historically, biblical and applicationally. He takes readers through the historical trends of each topics, then he examines the relevant pages of the bible and makes his observations and interpretation clear to his readers. Next, he comes to the topic at hand and gives his thoughts on it. Throughout the book, I felt that Davis was able to present the topics and his thoughts clearly, but not impose his conclusions onto the readers. I was clearly given the opportunity to think through the topic myself and come to a conclusion based on what I thought was biblical.

Pastors, especially those living in the united states will benefit most from this book since this was written from that perspective, and primarily for christians living in those settings. However, this book can still be useful for pastors living elsewhere as they provide clear starting points for pastors who are beginning to think about these issues.

Rating: 4 / 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

A History of Western Philosophy and Theology (1/4)

John Frame has written a masterpiece with this work. When I think of a book on philosophy, exciting is rarely used to describe it. Yet, I have to say, I was truly exciting to received this book for reviewing. I’ve been helped by Frame’s writing in the past and was pleasantly surprised when I saw this book coming out soon after his systematic theology textbook was out. How does John Frame manages to write so much so fast?

A History of Western Philosophy and TheologyI’ve yet to completed this book, but so far based on whatever I’ve read. I’m glad to say this book is a book that any beginners in philosophy can use. Frame takes the readers through the various philosophies and philosophers of the different ages. He explores what they teach and more importantly, examines what the bible has to say about their philosophies. The first chapter by frame is excellent and ought to be a required reading for any christian taking philosophy. He examines and defines the terms he will use within the book, and introduces the distinctive presuppositional apologetics perspective to the readers. He explains to the readers that different between the christian and non-christian understanding of philosophies.

Having done that, Frame then guides the readers along starting with the greek philosophy. What i found extremely helpful was how Frame covers some philosophers that are not often covered in other textbooks. This includes the early church fathers and the recent christian philosophers. Being a christian philosophy book, Frame certainly focuses on the christians philosophers. But Frame also interacts with the big guns of philosophy, such as Descartes, Kant, Nietzsche and Wittgenstein.

Readers will also be pleased to know that this book complements the RTS course on philosophy taught by Frame, which is available free online. Frame has given christians a good alternative textbook on philosophy, albeit it can be skewed towards the christian side. It is still an excellent textbook for anyone who wants to hear the christian perspective on philosophy. This book is certainly worth the price you pay for it. Recommend for any christian who is interested in philosophy and also for pastors who have people in their congregation who studies philosophies in college. You will find help in this book.

Rating: 5 / 5

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

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

P.S. As an alternative, Revolutions in Worldview: Understanding the Flow of Western Thought is a good one book that covers general philosophical thoughts. Get it here and here (free international shipping).

Book Review – 1-2 Thessalonians (Reformed Expository Commentary) (12/1)

I don’t know about you, but I’ve often heard preachers comment that the Thessalonians are a ‘model’ church but strangely I seldom hear preachers preach on Thessalonians. This is why I’m glad I was given the opportunity to review this book.

1 & 2 Thessalonians (Reformed Expository Commentary)Richard D. Phillips pens another great commentary in the Reformed Expository Commentary Series. As with every commentary in this series, it seeks to present expository sermons on the passages to the readers. Each of the sermons reads excellently and will help budding preacher see how preaching can be exegetical and applicational.

Do note that Phillips prefers to preach on smaller sets of verses. For example, Phillips preaches 5 sermons on the first chapter of 1 Thessalonians, which consists of 10 verses. There are also situations when Phillips preaches a larger set of sermon (e.g. 1 Thess 4:13-18), and then proceed to break the verses down into 3 sermons (4:13-14; 4:14-17; 4:16-18). Although I prefer exposition that takes a bigger chunk of verses, this commentary is still helpful as it allows me to slow down and examine the verses in smaller segments.

I especially like the chapter on the rapture, where Phillips goes against the popular teachings of the ‘secret rapture’. He shows the error in such teaching and then aims to give a correct and biblical understanding of the rapture. As with every commentary in this series. Each chapter seeks to be exegetical, expositional and applicational. Preachers who needs help or guidance in these areas ought to consult these and perhaps use these as their devotional/evening reading everyday as they prepare their preaching series.

Rating: 4.5 / 5

If you’re interested, you can get it here and here (free international shipping).
Or alternatively, you could also get 1 & 2 Thessalonians: The Hope of Salvation (Preaching the Word) both are excellent choice for expository preaching on 1 & 2 Thessalonians. 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

P.S. As announced in this blogpost by Richard D. Phillips, I’m looking forward to the upcoming commentaries on Song of Songs (Duguid), Ezra-Nehemiah (Thomas), Revelation (Phillips), Zephaniah-Haggai-Malachi (Duguid), and 2 Samuel (Phillips).

Book Review – Let the Earth Hear His Voice: Strategies for Overcoming Bottlenecks in Preaching God’s Word (29/12)

Every preacher who has tried to excel in preaching would probably have felt the immense burden and enormous responsibility to preach faithfully and competently. Many a times, you would find yourself just like Paul who cried out to God, “Who is sufficient for these things”. No doubt some of these struggles come because of bottlenecks that occurs during the preparation of sermons.

Let the Earth Hear His Voice: Strategies for Overcoming Bottlenecks in Preaching God's WordGreg R. Scharf understands the problems face by preachers and wants to help them go through these bottlenecks. Although this is primary a book about resolving these bottlenecks, Scharf does not want to make any assumptions, he starts by making a biblical case for preaching. Having shown that preaching is biblical and necessary, Scharf then tackles 8 of such bottlenecks.

This book would especially be helpful for young budding preachers, since they would soon encounter these bottlenecks in the near future. More experience preachers would quickly identify themselves with the various bottlenecks, but they will go away learning some ways to deal with them. This book is definitely practical for preachers and deals with things that preachers often faces. Though tackling these situations Scharf gently encourages preachers to continue to work on their weaknesses rather than to give up on it.

Personally I was helped by this book, most of the books on preaching do not really deal with this bottlenecks at such a detailed level and I’m thankful that such a book has finally been published. If you’re looking for a book to help you with the  practical issues in preaching, then this is the book for you. Pastors should get this book and review their preaching every year or every two years. I’m sure they will find themselves preaching better and better as the years goes by.

Rating: 5 / 5

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

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

P.S. You might also be interested to get Christ-Centered Preaching: Redeeming the Expository Sermon, here and here (free international shipping), kindle.

Book Review – 1-3 John (Reformed Expository Commentary) (19/11)

Preaching the word of God is a tremendously important task. Make sure you have good mentors who can show you an example of what good preaching is, is essential to that end. What I’ve always tried to do when teaching on any particular books of the bible is to find expository commentaries that preaches on the book and learn from them.

1-3 John (Reformed Expository Commentary)For those look for help in preaching the Epistles of John, they can consult this commentary. Within this commentary, Douglas Sean O’Donnell shows readers how he preached the epistles of John. He allows readers to understand how he interprets the passages, and why he makes the point that he makes. I have to say that O’Donnell has certainly been very exegetical within this commentary. He examines the passages phrase by phrase, looking into the meaning of each of them. Explaining them in the context of the passage and giving helpful illustrations along the way.

Although I did not find this commentary to be as sermon-like as his previously commentary on Ecclesiastes was (which was excellent). I do see a clear strength in his exegesis. I think for preachers who struggles with understanding what is good exegesis, or the difference between eisegesis and exegesis, this will be a good commentary to consult. O’Donnell will bring you through step by step his exegesis for the passage.

One sad ‘regret’ is how short this commentary is. However given how the epistles of John consist mostly of 7 chapters. It is understandable why this commentary is much thinner that the others within the same series.


Are you preaching on the epistles of John any time soon? Or perhaps aiming to study the epistles of John? Then do get this book and read it both devotionally and also gain some  exegetical knowledge on how to understand the passages.

As with every commentary in the Reformed Expository Commentary, this commentary is excellent for any preachers and seminary students who intends to study or preach this passage.

Rating: 4.5 / 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

P.S. I recommend as an alternative you can also consult 1-3 John: Fellowship in God’s Family. Get it here and here (free international shipping), kindle.

Book Review – Modesty: More Than a Change of Clothes (12/11)

You will be hard press to find books written on modesty. You will be even more hard press to find a book that talks not just about outward modesty, but also inward modesty. Right now I think this is one of the best book out there on the topic of modesty.

Modesty: More Than a Change of ClothesMartha Peace and Kent Keller teams up for this book. Each brings their perspective into the issue. Although this book is written primarily for ladies, Keller helps the ladies understand the struggles man faces with immodest dressing. This gives an idea to the ladies about how modesty matters to men who are striving to stay pure.

First the book drives at an important point, they want the readers to understand that modesty has to be an inward change and attitude. The heart needs to embrace modesty inside out before we move to talk about what or what not to wear. Next, Keller helps readers understand the difference between man and women. I appreciate how Keller bring out several examples which I felt was aptly and accurately described. I find myself nodding and agreeing to most of the points that were raised and wondered why no one has written as clearly as he has regarding this issue.

Next the authors examine the old and new testaments regarding the theology of clothing. One of the key teaching Peace and Keller examines is why clothes are even necessary in the first place. This bring us all the way back to Genesis, where God is the one who clothes us, God is the one who defines modesty for us. At the New testament section, Peace and Keller drives back to the central point of the modesty of the heart. As I read this book, I was very thankful the authors decided to go back to this point repeatedly. This is what will make the book useful and applicable despite the frequent fashion changes over time. No matter how fashion has changed, if the desire to be modest comes from the heart and guided by the teaching of the Bible, then it can be applied at any time.

Lastly, the authors gives the gospel hope for those who might have been immodest. The authors direct the readers to Christ the Saviour who has bled and died for the immodest, to make them clean and modest.

I find this book very helpful to those who are motoring teenagers. The book is not very long with short chapters. Parents may also want to read this with their daughters to help ground them with a biblical understanding of modesty. Guys may not find this book as helpful as the girls, but pastors should give this book a read so they know what books to direct their youths to if they are interested to read up on this topic.

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

Book Review – Apologetics: A Justification of Christian Belief (5/11)

John Frame has been a strong proponent to the presuppositional apologetics. The new edition of the book hopes to make presuppositional apologetics easier to christian to understand and to pick up.

Book Review - Apologetics: A Justification of Christian BeliefFrame attempts in his first chapter to explain and make a case for presuppositional apologetics. He answers very clearly some of the common questions raised against presuppositional apologetics but also how we are to understand the terms thrown away by the critics. Frame hopes that by doing so, he would not only answer the critics, but also ensure that the critics would criticise presuppositional apologetics fairly.

Although this is not an easy book to read, I have found Frame’s explanation extremely helpful at times. For example, In explaining why we cannot starting on the same premise as an unbeliever or an atheist, Frame uses the illustration a paranoid who suspects everyone who is out to kill him (i.e. wrong premise). Now no one in their right mind will ever counsel this person with the same premise, so why would we do that when it comes to apologetics? Why would we be so willing to give up our premise and take on the premise of the other person? Furthermore, unless the christian worldview is assume, there will always be contradiction in our lives that goes against any other premise. The only way that makes sense of the world is the Christian premise.

An additional point on why I found this book helpful. Many books on apologetics focuses on the defence of the gospel, which is good and right. However many fail to see that apologetics can also take on an offensive approach. This is covered by Frame which shows convincingly that the task of an apologist, is not only to show the strength of his/her belief, but also to who the weakness of the other party’s belief.

I also like how Frame gives an example of he shared the gospel to someone on the plane.I found that the example shows how he would approach the questions or objections an unbeliever would have towards christianity and how he employs the defence and offence of the gospel.

Regarding the changes between the first and second edition, I’ve only read parts of the first edition. And based on what I’ve read (and if memory serves me right), I did not observe too many changes between the two edition. Readers will have to seek advice from other reviewers who have read both editions for more information on this.

I do urge would-be readers to be persistent in reading this book. You might not find this book easy to read the first time round. But take it one step at a time, read and think through the book slowly. I think the book is aimed especially towards those who are currently studying in college or have studied at college. This will not be a walk in the park, but it will certainly help you think through apologetics slowly, thoughtfully and biblically.

Rating: 4.5 / 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

P.S. I would also recommend Covenantal Apologetics as an alternative to this book. Get it here and here (free international shipping), kindle

Book Review – Ministries of Mercy, Third Edition: The Call of the Jericho Road (14/10)

Evangelicals are often concerned with getting the gospel right, but they are often not so careful at carefully thinking through the implications of the gospel. One area has had more attention recently is the area of social justice. I have to say being one who attends a church that isn’t too active in the area. I find myself often not think gin about this aspect. Timothy Keller has however persuaded me to think otherwise.

Ministries of Mercy, Third Edition: The Call of the Jericho RoadIn this book, Keller has given me ample reason to consider the implications of what it means to be a christian and a church in out world. In the first section, Keller wants to highlight the magnitude of the problem. He shows how many in America is suffering and lacking in many aspect. As one who does not come from America, I did not find the first chapter to every helpful. However, the rest of the chapters were excellent and helped me visualised similar problems that happens in my own country.

Keller uses the parable of the good Samaritan and makes an excellent case of highlighting the importance of meeting the needs of others. Within the book, I found that Keller gives a very balance approach between meeting the felt needs of people and also meeting their spiritual needs. Keller helps christians think christianly about these issues and helps to see that both aspects are essential to the work of social justice.

In the next section, Keller then helps the christian think through how to implement such measures within the church. I have found this section to be very helpful as well. As one who is convicted by Keller is saying, you might be wondering, how will I be able to implement these in my church? This is where this section comes in. Keller guides readers through the whole process from the start, even before the ministry has started. He highlights the importance of preparing the congregation, looking to God to provide the means of meeting such meets. He helps readers think not only of how to start a particular ministry, but also how to ensure that the ministry continues and grows in the process. One area I liked especially was how Keller talks about what we should do when someone leaves the ministry. This is often an area that is often overlooked or simply ignored. I’m glad that Keller has brought up some pointers on it.

Overall, I have often this book to be an excellent book to read if you’re thinking about how you or the church can grow in the social justice aspect. I’m sure this book will be a good biblical and practical guide for you. Recommended for pastors or ministry leaders serving in this aspect.

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

P.S. I would also recommend Good News to the Poor: Social Involvement and the Gospel by Tim Chester as a companion to this book, you can get it here and here (free international shipping), kindle.

Book Review – The Message of the General Epistles in the History of Redemption (7/10)

The letters of Paul (and perhaps James) can often be found in the preaching of the church. But other letters are sadly mostly “forgotten”. I have found that Brandon D. Crowe has written a helpful book to fill a vital gap.

The Message of the General Epistles in the History of RedemptionWithin this book, Crowe covers the general epistles, the letters of Peter, John, James and Jude. Although these are mostly short letters. Crowe takes time and effort to explain the letters to the readers. I especially appreciated how Crowe allocated one chapter to each letter. This really allows Crowe the space to explain each letter in depth and also allows the readers to have a deeper understanding of each letter.

For each letter, Crowe gives a good introduction for it. Next Crowe brings the readers through guided tour of the letter. He points out the main points of the passages, gives explanation for them and also brings out the relevant application for the readers. I have found the book to be a bridge between introductions to the letters and commentaries. For someone who is interested to study the letters but not keen to explore the technical aspects within a commentary or for those who wishes to work through the passages first before given an exegetical explanation, this will be an excellent choice for you. As I read, I thought that Crow gives a good extended introduction, but as the same time, he does not gives “answers” to the readers. he allows readers to think and examine the text for themselves.

For some time, I have been wanting to study the letters of Peter. This book comes as an excellent help for me and I recommend you to get it too. For pastors, this may be a good you want to recommend to your congregation. It is not as daunting as a commentary, yet it is not a watered down book that does not challenge your members.

Rating: 4.5 / 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

P.S. I have not read this, but Letters to the Church: A Survey of Hebrews and the General Epistles by Karen Armstrong will be a good companion to this book, you can get it here and here (free international shipping), kindle.