Saturday, May 16, 2015

(Review) ESV Children's Bible from Crossway

Publication Date: April 30, 2015.
Publisher: Crossway.
Genre: Bible.
Pages: 1,392.
Source: Free copy (Green hardcover) from Crossway in exchange for a review.
Rating: 5 stars for excellent.

For more information Crossway. 

A choice of two other front covers.

ESV Children's Bible
ESV Children's Bible

Available at Amazon, Christian Book, Mardel. 

Reading the Bible early in life builds a strong foundation. The gift of a Bible to a child is a precious investment in their life.
The ESV Children's Bible is
  • For 5 to 10 year old range.
  • Hardcover in three choices of colors. 
  • Double-column.
  • Words of Christ in black.
  • 1,392 pages.
  • 9.5 text size.
  • 11 page dictionary. 
  • Two "God's Word for me" sections. These help explain and encourage when in doubt, feeling guilty, "decisions to make," or "about what Jesus did." 
  • 8 maps illustrated to engage children. 
  • 200 color illustrations throughout the Bible. For example, rebuilding "the wall of Jerusalem," and "Jesus teaches about Himself on the way to Emmaus." 
  • The Bible begins with short essays on "The Bible, God's Message to Us," "What the Bible Says About Itself," and "How to Use the Bible." 
My Thoughts: 
I love Bibles. I love Bibles published for children (with illustrations.) I love Bibles published for adults (with no illustrations.) I love God's Word.

Theopneustos-Greek: God breathed, inspired by God. Greek translation from Biblehub. 

What I love about the ESV Children's Bible.

  • Matte pages. 
  • The use of different colors for chapter number, page number, name of Bible book, and section headings. 
  • Color illustrations with detail. The people have expressions on their faces (important to my visual type learning style.) I have taken the time to study many of the illustrations. As a child when I was in Sunday school the teacher held up a 10x13 illustration of the Bible story as she shared the story. Illustrations are important for children. I believe this adheres the story in memory.  
  • The Bible lays open flat. I love books that open easily and stay open while on a table (so I don't have to force it.) 
  • The print is easy to read. 
  • Lastly, the solid word for word ESV translation. 

Back cover
 All Scripture links courtesy of Bible Gateway.

Friday, May 15, 2015

The ESV Following Jesus Bible by Crossway

(Review) The Scripture Cannot Be Broken: Twentieth Century Writings on the Doctrine of Inerrancy, edited by John MacArthur

Publication Date: March 31, 2015.
Publisher: Crossway.
Genre: Nonfiction, apologetic, Bible.
Pages: 336.
Source: Free copy from Crossway in exchange for a review.
Rating: 5 stars for excellent.

Available at Amazon, Christian Book.

John MacArthur has compiled a work of fourteen essays in defense of the Bible. Fourteen essays written by men who have knowledge, training, and an abiding love for God's Word.
The goal of the book is to respond to the current belief (both in the world and church) that the Bible is not trustworthy. Many people believe the Bible is outdated, filled with mistakes, and not relevant for the modern world. However, society and culture do not teach nor determine how we are to live and what we are to believe.

The book is divided into five sections:
  1. "Historical Perspective." 
  2. "Scripture"
  3. "Inspiration"
  4. "Inerrancy"
  5. "Infallibility"
There are fourteen chapters. 
Some examples of the chapter titles: 
  • "The Attestation of Scripture" by John Murray
  • "Scripture" by J.I. Packer
  • "Verbal Inspiration in Church History" by R. Laird Harris
  • "The Meaning of Inerrancy of Scripture" by Robert Preus. 
Additional contributors: Harold Lindsell, J. Barton Payne, John M. Frame, Benjamin Breckinridge Warfield, Edward J Young, Alan M. Stibbs, Rene Pache, Paul D. Feinberg, Roger R. Nicole, and Gordon R. Lewis. 

My Thoughts:
There are two words repeated throughout the fourteen essays, inerrancy and inspiration. To see these two words repeated, although taught in various ways, helped. This is my first reason for giving The Scripture Cannot Be Broken 5 stars for excellent. The essays are academic. To zero-in on a two word emphasis helped me to keep focus. Each of the chapters are written by men of different writing styles and personalities, yet it helped me to concentrate on their intention and aim. I enjoyed reading about the history of the church, early church father's writings, the Bible's witness to itself, Scripture interprets Scripture, the definition of inspiration, and the unity of Scripture. In each of these topics, the focus is on helping me understand the Bible is the inerrant and inspired Word of God.
The Scripture Cannot Be Broken is academic and some readers maybe intimidated by the book. I considered it a challenge.
We live in an era where we must know what we profess to believe. To state "I am a Christian" means little to the kosmos/world. Reading and studying the Bible is important, understanding why we believe in God and his Word is imperative.
To believe in God means we have trust and have put our faith in Him, "with an implication that actions based on that trust may follow." Definition from The Strongest Exhaustive Concordance."
"But even if you should suffer for righteousness sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect." 1 Peter 3:14-15. 

Link to read more information on the book, plus download an excerpt: The Scripture Cannot Be Broken. 

Author Biography: 
John MacArthur has served as the pastor of Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California, since 1969. He is known for his verse-by-verse expository preaching, and his pulpit ministry has extended around the world via his daily radio program, Grace to You. He has also written or edited nearly four hundred books and study guides. MacArthur serves as the president of The Master’s College and Seminary, a four-year liberal arts Christian college. He and his wife, Patricia, live in Southern California and have four grown children.

Scripture links courtesy of Bible Gateway. 

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Bible Reading Update

Photograph of my paternal grandmother, my dad and his two sisters. 1929. 
The last Bible reading update was posted on April 1, 2015. 
Since my last posting I've read:
Jeremiah chapters 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51, 52.
Lamentations chapters 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. 
Ezekiel chapters 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16. 
Numbers chapters 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36. 
Deuteronomy chapters 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34. 
Romans chapters 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16. 
All the above Scripture read from the ESV.
The Bible I'm using is the ESV Journaling Bible by Crossway.

I also read 2 Corinthians chapters 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13. This was the 4th time to read 2 Corinthians in 2015. The book was read from NASB, MacArthur Study Bible. 

All Bible links from Bible Gateway.
 Are you reading your Bible? 

(Review) A Chance to Die: The Life and Legacy of Amy Carmichael by Elisabeth Elliot

Publication Date: 2007. Originally published 1987.
Publisher: Republished by Revell. 
Genre: Nonfiction, biography, missionary.
Pages: 384.
Source: Self-purchase.
Rating: 4 stars for very good.

Further links on Amy Carmichael:
The Amy Carmichael Story, from The Torchlighters (DVD)
History Makers
Gospel Fellowship Association

The life story of missionary Amy Carmichael. From her childhood, to her missionary work in Japan and India. Elisabeth Elliot's reference material was from previously published books written by Amy Carmichael and the Dohnavur Family.

My Thoughts:
Although I enjoyed reading the story of Amy Carmichael's life. The book is not warm with intimacy in regards to the character of Carmichael. At first sight, it seems Elisabeth Elliot didn't capture or flesh-out the person of Amy Carmichael. However, I believe Carmichael was captured just as she was. She was a private, no-nonsense, serious, devoted, moral, dedicated, persevering, steadfast, faithful, and intelligent person. And these qualities come through in her biography. The entire focus of Carmichael's life was in the mission work entrusted to her by God in India.
I've read remarks that she was against marriage. She was against marriage as far as her own life was concerned. She did think it best to not marry if a person was going to dedicate themselves as she had done. But, she was not against marriage. God had called her to "something different." Her "face" was set "like flint" in her mission. See Isaiah 50:7, Luke 9:51.
A Chance to Die is written chronologically, from birth (1867) and childhood in Ireland, to her "calling," to the first missionary journey to Japan, and her lengthy mission work in India, until death in 1951.
Quotes are often mentioned from Carmichael's books.
Carmichael was a devoted reader of the devotional Daily Light. This book is also quoted from in the bookI'm familiar with this book as I have read from it daily since 1999.
One of the most interesting and sad aspects of the book for me was Carmichael's work with the children in India. The little girls that were given by their parents to the Hindu temple as babies, later grew in to the horrific role of the sex trade. Carmichael worked to find girls (of all ages) willing to leave this life and live in her mission home. In modern times we hear about the sex-trade business affecting children, but this is not something new.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

(Review) Knowing Scripture by R.C. Sproul

Publication Date: February 25, 1999. Revised edition (1977.)
Publisher: IVP Books.
Genre: Bible.
Pages: 152.
Source: Self-purchase.
Rating: 3 stars for good.

From the back cover of the book, "The theme of this book is not how to read the Bible but how to study the Bible."
The later part of the quote is probably the most ignored.
Christians who do read the Bible are not aware of how to really study the Bible.
R. C. Sproul takes both points and teaches the how and why of reading and studying the Bible.

My Thoughts:
Knowing Scripture is written for a new Christian or for a person who is not a solid reader and student of Scripture.
Consider this a primary book for Bible reading.
Some of the topics discussed are:

  • "Why study the Bible?"
  • What is exegesis?
  • Hermeneutics.
  • Criticism.
  • The culture of Bible times. 
  • Tools for study.

Available @ Amazon, IVP Books, and Christian Books.

Additional links:
Ligonier Ministries 
Renewing Your Mind

Friday, April 17, 2015

(Review) Jesus Greater Than Religion by Jefferson Bethke

Publication Date: October 14, 2014.
Publisher: Nelson Books.
Genre: Christian life, apologetic.
Pages: 240.
Source: Copy purchased by my church.
Rating: 5 stars for excellent.


This is the paperback full book version. It can get mixed up easily between the Bible study and the full book version. I know this because some of the members of our small group went to Lifeway Christian Bookstore in search of the Bible study. Once there they did not know the correct book to buy.

The full length book version from the Bible study that began from a poem Jefferson Bethke wrote and has on Youtube. My previous review has the Youtube of his poem.
Bethke touches on several different themes in Jesus > Religion. The main theme is loving Jesus and focusing our life and worship on Him, and that it is far "better" than worshiping ourselves or a religious dogma.
The word "better" is best defined as truth. Truth is in Jesus Christ and His Good News. Instead, mankind has made themselves the object of worship. Praise God for His mercy and grace through Jesus Christ!

My Thoughts:
I love this book for the following reasons:

  • The emphasis throughout the book is on Jesus period. 
  • Bethke does not swerve away from current culture's thoughts on what Christians should believe and be complacent over. I've heard some reviewers state he is a fundamentalist, Bethke just states what the Bible says and does not mix words. 
  • One of my favorite points in the book is in reference to reverse legalists. "They are better defined by what they are against than by what they are for. They are doing the exact same thing as what they are defining themselves against. They are elevating behavior, clothing, and other secondary issues as requirements to gain access into the kingdom. It's a sickness in all of us to put our righteousness in absolutely anything except Jesus, and if we think we aren't doing that, it usually means it's even worse." 
  • Bethke expounds on a problem people have had since the early church, adding rules and actions that are needed for salvation. It's Jesus + a rule. This is nonsense and heresy. Jesus is greater than religion. Jesus is greater than man. 
  • Early in the book Bethke talks about "silence," this is something many people are not comfortable with. "...silence, because in those moments we might actually have to face up to who we really are." I wanted him to elaborate more. Silence is something many people dislike. 
  • "Santa Claus" Christianity. Now that's a candid statement. I have a mental image of children sitting on Santa's lap and giving him their lengthy list of wants. As adults we too can rattle off a list of wants to God and believe that his favor will be in the form of material blessings. 
  • The book ends with an invitation: "Do You Know Jesus?" We need to see this more in books. 

One statement Bethke made I'm not quite in agreement with.
"...religious people see certain people as the enemies, when Jesus' followers see sin as the enemy."
Sin is the true enemy. But, if a person standing before me is holding a gun with the intention of harming me or my family, both the sin and the person is the enemy.
I understand the point he is making, but I had to be clear on what I believe.