Book Review – From the Pen of Pastor Paul (17/2)

Making the Word of God understand and applicable is one of the key responsibility of a preacher. One way for preachers to improve in this area is to listen or read good preaching. Daniel R. Hyde has written a commentary on the book of Thessalonians that will help pastors in this aspect.

From the Pen of Pastor PaulThis is not a typical commentary, Hyde doesn’t start off the commentary with a detailed discussion on the authorship, providence and theology of the letter. Rather Hyde dives right into the text and starts his preaching immediately after the preface. Astute readers will be able to see how Hyde uses his resources in his sermon. This will help budding preachers understand the value and how much of the commentary he should quoting in their preaching.

Preachers who prefers preaching sermons on a few verses each time will like this commentary by Hyde. Hyde mostly preachings on 3-4 verses for each sermon, and each of his sermons is always peppered with applications thoroughly. Preachers will find this helpful for this own devotional reading and for their preparation.

Given that I have previously reviewed another similar commentary by Richard D. Phillips, it would be helpful to give readers a quickly comparison between the two. In my opinion, the one by Phillips is certainly more exegetical, whereas the one by Hyde is more homiletical. In terms of the breakdown of verses, both are comparable. If I have to choose only one, I would choose Philips over Hyde simply because the I like the whole series of commentaries thus far. Pastors can be assured that they will be well served by both commentaries no matter which they choose.

Rating: 4 / 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, the commentary by Phillips is also one that you might to consult. Get it here and here (free international shipping).

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Book Review – Invitation to James (22/11)

The book of James has often been considered the “proverbs” of new testament since it contains many short sayings. However, is there an overarching topic/theme within this book?Invitation to James

Yes, there is, and that is tightly connected to the context of the letter. Sunukjian aims to show that and does a brilliant job at it. In this book, Sunukjian really helps the reader to be in the context that James was written in, he is able to help readers see and feel the times when christians were persecuted, yet he is able to do it without boring the audience.

As with every book in this series, Sunukjian gives the readers a big overview of the whole book, and from it breaks it down into the different chapters. He repeatedly helps the readers see this overview several times within the different chapters so the readers do not miss either the trees or the forest. Next, he begins every sermons with an introduction, make not mistakes, Sunukjian does an excellent job for introductions and would be a good book for preachers to learn how to do excellent introductions to their sermons. Following which he moves on to the main teaching of the passage. This is does very carefully with one eye in the original context, and other eye with modern application.


Although this will not be a commentary that readers will want to reference for exegetical purpose, it is a good series to read as sermons on the various passages. The sermons handles the passage well and is a model for preachers to be clear in their preaching.

Recommended for preachers, or lay christians who want to read fine preaching on the book of James. You will not be disappointed.

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.

Book Review – Invitation to Philippians (22/11)

Philippians have often been called the letter of rejoices, Paul in this letter uses the word rejoices several times. But do you know what circumstances Paul was in as he pen this letter? Well, he was in prison, and might have died at any moment after meeting the Caesar.Invitation to Philippians

Sunukjian in this book helps the readers to see and feel how Paul might have felt as he felt this letter to the Philippians. Sunukjian begins by giving the readers a general overview of the whole epistle of Philippians which he will always refer to as he preaches through Philippians. This is very helpful as he allows the reader to see how every single piece “fits” together in the big picture.

In every sermon, Sunukjian will always begin with an introduction. This is one of the strength of the book, he uses good and extended introductions, for preachers who are poor in this area, this is one of the books that might help your preaching. Next, he will move on to the main teaching of the passage. This is another strength of the book, Sunukjian explains the passages with much clarity, allowing young (whether in age or in christian age) readers to be able to grasp the meaning of the bible text.

However, Sunukjian does not explains the “whats” and “hows” of his sermons, and thus the reader has to do the (hard)work himself to find it out, though Sunukjian is so clear that it would easy for anyone to find them out through reading them.

This will be a good book for preachers, or for christians who wants to understand the book of Philippians in it’s context, yet in an easy to read and understand format.

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.

Book Review – Invitation to the Book of Jacob (22/11)

Invitation to the Life of JacobJacob is a character full of mystery, chief among which is the question why did God decide to give His blessing to the one who acts so deceitfully? Yet as Donald Sunukjian suggests it’s really a picture of us too.

Sunukjian in this book sets out to the readers a series of sermons based on the life of Jacob, from Genesis. It is essentially his sermons on this passages. Sunukjian does not spend much time discussing what he does, or why he does certain things, rather Sunukjian allows the readers to see how he brings across the message to his audience and allow his readers to see the fruit of his labour.

The sermons inside are clear, and expository, that is, they explain the bible text. Sunukjian would always begin the book with a general overview of the passages he will cover. Thereafter for every sermon he will begin with an introduction, and his introductions are alway very varied, not only use one kind of introduction for every sermon. Next, he will move on to the main teaching and also have a few applications within his teaching.

Although I enjoyed reading his sermons, I do find his one of his sermons a rather odd-ball (No. 6, A Good Thing The Right Way) This was pretty much a modernised reenactment of the bible text, which I personally disagree with, but Sunukjian does bring his point clearly across.

Having said that, I find this sermon help for preachers or lay christians, not as a commentary but really has someone else’s sermon (think e.g. Spurgeon’s sermon) you should not expect to find guides or hooks to follow or explaining why these are done. If you’re looking for a place to start reading sermons on Jacob, this is a good place to start.

Rating: 3.75 / 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 – Biblical Portraits of Creation (11/9)

It used to be that Genesis was a really simple, straightforward book to study, no big controversies maybe other than the JEDP documentary hypothesis (and if the pastor doesn’t want to talk about it, it’s still relatively fine). Now however, the tide has turned. It’s one of the few books of the books that has been contested and even contested fiercely within the Christian and evangelical circles. Due to that, books that have appear on the shelves on Genesis have sometimes gone rather technical. Don’t get me wrong, I’m thankful for such books. But it has created a barrier that Genesis is a difficult to study, when in reality it shouldn’t.Biblical Portraits of Creation

Although this is not a book on Genesis, it is however a book centred on creation, it might seem strange and indeed felt a little weird when I first started to read them. However, the authors’ intention for this book is to ensure the church is not so lob-sided that we stay away from it due to the current controversies regarding it. And I agree there has been a lack of teaching on Genesis meant for the layman.

This book is really a series of sermons each expounding on one portion of passage with regards to creation. Overall I felt that the passages selected had a great spread, although sometimes we might only be able to think of 2 to 4 bible passages that are linked to creation, Walter Kaiser and Dorington Little are able to use some not-so-familiar passages to deliver on this topic. This is to be commended, they have helped me to that creation is not just a few passages linked only to creation, but the bible has many more passages that talks about it!

Having said that, I do have to say that there was one particular chapter that I thought didn’t fit in this book, and that was about the genealogy of Jesus, sure, I’m aware that the greek word comes from genesis, yet, I do think it’s a bit of a stretch to make that point in this book.

Overall, I felt that the sermons by Little was slightly better, Kaiser’ ones were sometimes more technical and had more pointers and sub-pointers. However, located at the appendix is an essay by Kaiser, and that is a superb article! I felt that particular piece should be well worth the price of the book. You really ought to read it. Kaiser and Little have also very wisely added in discussion questions for each and every chapter, anticipating, in fact encouraging readers to use them in conjunction with their sermons.

In summary, if you want to have a book that speaks particular on the topic of creation, yet not too technical, this is the book to go. You’ll be able to learn not just biblical teachings from them, but also pick up some relevant application points along the way.

Rating: 3.75 / 5

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

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