Book Review – The Secret Life of a Pastor (10/11)

How well do you know your pastor? Do you know what his daily life or spiritual life is like? I guess most of us don’t really know our pastors lives. We don’t really know what they struggle with, we don’t really know what their seminary training entails and we don’t know what their burdens are. Yet out pastors need counsels, advice and support. Michael A. Milton writes this book as an older pastor helping pastors pastorally go through some of these issues.

The Secret Life of a Pastor: (and other intimate letters on ministry)This book focuses on the preparation a pastor go through, the objectives the pastor should achieve and the discipline to care for both their family and the family of God. Milton comes as an experienced pastor and teacher, giving valuable advice to budding pastors. He tell students in seminary that they are to take their training, especially in the learning of original languages seriously. He helps them see that they have been given the privilege to learn something most of his congregation will not have the chance to! This gives them the motivation and correct perspective into their calling and training. Seminary students are not to take these modules as mere academic lessons, rather they are to see that they are being equipped to do what many of their congregation will never have a chance to do.

Next, Milton raise the issue of the daily workings of the church. It would be easy for a pastor to get use to the weekly routine of the workings of the church. It slowly becomes a task that the pastor has to complete. Milton helps pastors see the purpose and value behind some of these routine tasks like infant baptism, expository preaching and ministering. Using his experience, Milton shows reminds pastors that God is working through these means. Their work and labour no matter how mundane is something that God has appointed them to do, they must not lose the wonder of how God is using these means to grow His church.

Lastly, Milton takes readers to see how important it is for them to take care of their own families. He reminds readers that they are not to neglect their families but specially make time and effort to build up their own families.

I have found Milton to be an excellent guide for helping me gain an insider perspective on what a pastor’s life looks like. I think pastors will find his pastoral advice helpful to their life and work. Hopefully this book will help revitalise those who are weary and energise those who are struggling through their ministry.

Rating: 4.25 / 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 – Ancient Israel’s History: An Introduction to Issues and Sources (24/6)

I’m really out of depth when it comes to the Old Testament, however I am keen to grow in this area, and thus wanted to read this book to help me grow in my understanding of the Old Testament especially of it’s historical context.

Ancient Israel's History: An Introduction to Issues and SourcesThis reference material therefore comes as a very helpful tool in this pursuit. To be frank, having very little exposure to the current research of the Old Testament, this book seemed at first to be an insurmountable task, this was not helped by the introduction which was slightly technical.

However, as I ploughed through the various chapters I found them to be very readable and informative. The authors reviews several scholars on the various books of the bible, bringing to the readers a summary and history of what has been discuss in the scholastic world. Each book of the bible is given an in-depth review and also contains many helpful side-notes that help illuminates various topics that are relevant to the biblical book (e.g.  the ANE city of Alalakh in Genesis or the Role the Sinaitic Covenant played in Israel). What was very helpful was also the fact that each chapter aims to give a rough guide to the whole biblical book instead of just providing the background materials. So as one reads through Genesis, one will be given additional information on the various events in Genesis as it progresses along.

Although it has been very helpful, I do find that this book is meant for Old Testament scholars or seminary students. Lay persons will benefit from this, but will need to be prepared to work through the materials. For pastors who intends to do a preaching series on the Old Testament, they can consider to consult the chapter on the book they are going to preach. As it stands, the book is around 460 pages (not counting the 100 pages of references material) which can be daunting for many. But, for those who really want to grow in their understanding of the Old Testament, or are pursuing a research topic in the Old Testament, it book will be of much value too them.

Rating: 4.25 / 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 – Engaging the Christian Scripture (30/3)

The bible is one of the few books most people would struggle to read it all the way through. Yet, it is without a doubt, one of the most important book in the world and this especially so for christians. When one begins to read the bible one will be faced with a array of literature within the bible. Narratives are generally a lot easier than epistles or wisdom writings. yet the crucial task of understanding the Book still lies with the individual christians.

Engaging the Christian ScriptureAnd here is one book that will help layperson and new seminary students alike in understanding the Book. Engaging the Christian Scripture is really a book that helps you engage with the christian Scripture.

Arterbury, Bellinger Jr and Dodson has written a helpful book on teaching christians what the bible is all about. Comparing with other New/Old Testament introductions, this book is really meant to help readers understand the bible itself. It does not spend time wrestling with the authorship provenance or purpose. Rather it tells the readers what each of the bile is about, the type of literary and genre it belongs to, and how to interpret and understand such genre.

I found this book to be exceptionally user-friendly and very useful to anyone who is new to this subject or topic. Included inside are also side notes that helps the readers pick up very useful information related to each chapter.

I would recommend any lay person who has a desire to grow in their understanding of the bible, or any students who are thinking or has just started seminary to read this book. It will surely help them to read and understand better.

Rating: 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