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A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament (UBS4): 2nd Revised Edition by Bruce Metzger

9781598561647oIn the past few months I have been fascinated by the study of textual criticism. To see how men are actively reviewing the manuscripts of the Bible to determine what was originally written has opened up to me a new appreciation for the Word of God. It has also shown me why there are some differences in various translations of the English Bible.

In his book, A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament (UBS4): 2nd Revised Edition, Dr. Bruce Metzger gives detail into verses of the New Testament and why the committee of the Greek New Testament (United Bible Society, 4th edition) chose the readings that they did. Dr. Metzger gives historical background on certain manuscripts and also the methodology of the translators to show how they arrived at the conclusions they did.

In some cases the choice was easy. A verse or verses did not follow the flow of the writer so it was apparent that someone changed the text. In other cases, many manuscripts agreed with each other and only a few dissented. However, there are some where the decision was not so easy and the reasoning was given by Dr. Metzger on why the reading was chosen over another reading.

As an example, there is a famous passage of Scripture, the woman caught in adultery, that is not in some of the best manuscripts. Also, some have it in a different gospel. Dr. Metzger goes into the history of this passage citing church fathers, current research, and textual evidences to show the reader that this passage may not be authentic. Thus, when the reader sees in a modern translation notes about this story not being in the original, Dr. Metzger’s book gives reasons why it is treated as such.

I also appreciate the introduction which gave history into the field of textual criticism. Dr. Metzger points out that certain documents seem to originate from a common source and there are several common sources for many of the manuscripts discovered to this date. These common sources share characteristics which let the translator know how a passage was written.

Some of the characteristics are: paraphrasing over verbatim copying, explanation of the texts versus leaving the words as is, changing of words for better flow of grammatical structuring, and questioning certain words or phrases altogether.

This book has really opened my eyes into Bible translation and the painstaking way in which the translators are carefully regarding each word they hold to be authentic.

*I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Fearless Parenting by George Barna & Jimmy Myers

9780801000645Raising children is not an easy task. There are many challenges, setbacks, and times of frustration. I should know because I have three children of my own, all of them toddlers or younger. It is because of my present situation that I was interested in a book by George Barna and Jimmy Myers titled Fearless Parenting.

This particular book deals with how to raise faithful kids in a culture that is against Christianity. Rather than taking an approach that somehow it will all just work out because we are Christians, Barna and Myers argue that parents need to be intentional about raising their children. By using culture to show how God got it right and the world got it wrong, this book will help parents  guide their children in a way that is Biblical and God pleasing.

Some of the information presented really is more a challenge to what the parents want their children to have. By this I mean certain character qualities, goals, passions, and ideally a heart for God. The books also gives instruction on how parents can help their children see the traps that the world will set for them.

Materialism, pornography, power, and notoriety are a few of the traps that the world will use to bring a person down. By training children correctly to see what is eternal and what is temporal, a parent will give their child an advantage to, ideally, living for that which will last and not that which will disappear ever so fast.

*I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher and exchange for my honest review.

Trade Up by Dean Niewolny

9780801019586Most people when it comes to a career are thinking about how to better themselves. They take into account compensation, prestige, and in some cases how they can use their influence for personal gain. Few look at a career as something to use to make a difference. In his book, Trade Up, Dean Niewolny talks about how important it is to move from an idea of being a career minded person to a difference-maker.

He demonstrates that is a life of giving that makes one satisfied. Often times we think in terms of what we want. Niewolny is trying to get his readers to understand there is more to life than just getting. By helping others become successful the individual should find a life that has meaning, purpose, and leave a lasting legacy.

I appreciate this aspect and take from the book and highly recommend that those starting in a career or those who may been in career for a long time really take a good look at the material presented. If more people lived with the idea of how to help others rather than just making money and moving up the corporate ladder what a better place this world could be.

*I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher and exchange for my honest review.

The King James Study Bible, Full-Color Edition

225_350_book-2356-coverThis particular Bible is a unique Study Bible in that rather than focusing just solely on study notes it also as the dynamics of archaeological notes, personal profiles, as well as some cultural studies. I was rather surprised how helpful I found these additional notes and know that I will benefit greatly from using them.

I will say the difference in this Study Bible versus other Study Bible is that this particular Bible is really more trying to get the reader to understand Scripture. It’s not so much after trying to present a particular doctrine, although there are some that are obvious for those who know where to look, but rather it is trying to get the reader a full immersion on what it is stated in Scripture.

Often times we study Bible we have to be careful not to come at it with an American mindset. This can be very damaging because we will assume that our culture is similar to what was happening back then. This is not the case. As such we need to have a good understanding of the cultural historical context in which scripture was written..

This particular Bible does that very well so that the reader is given a sample of the mindset that would have happened back when the Bible was being written. However, we also need to be careful that we don’t so caught up in historical context we actually lose the presentation of scripture. Scripture does go against cultural things and this need to take into consideration.

*I received a complimentary copy of this Bible from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

#Truth by Josh McDowell

truthJosh McDowell is a favorite author of mine.  I recall reading Right From Wrong and Truth Slayers through my high school years. When I became a youth pastor I used McDowell’s books to help me teach high schoolers in a way that related to them.

McDowell has taken his love of truth and youth and combined them into a devotional to strengthen his readers to know the truth. With devotions on truths for: the existence of God, God’s Word, God becoming human, and more, McDowell’s book will be a great resource for daily assurance that truth exists and it is to be found in God.

“I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.”

Jesus Among Secular Gods by Dr. Ravi Zacharias and Dr. Vince Vitale

0b284aa8151419741597863df5f05b43I recall a webinar that I viewed in which Dr. Zacharias and Dr. Vitale spoke on truth and the impact the absence of it has on a society. As each man spoke, I was impressed with the candor and level of detail each had in explaining why the Christian faith is superior to all the world’s religions.

During this webinar, they mentioned their newest book, Jesus Among Secular Gods, as a resource for those attending to receive a deeper teaching on how the sciences have been given a god-like place in Western civilization. They argue that science has attempted to usurp faith and become the new religion of the “educated” mind.

As I read this book, I focused on chapter three: Scientism. In this chapter, Dr. Vitale shows that science’s answers to life fail when placed under scrutiny. Science has tried to answer in such a way to exclude God but evidences keep pointing back to God. Thus, the scientist either provides an answer that begs more questions or ignores the data to ignore having to place God into the conversation.

I found this book to quite insightful and well ordered. It is a great resource for any Christian entering academia where Christianity is reject or even ridiculed. It is also a wonderful book to read to strengthen one’s understanding of just how wonderful God is.

*I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

NKJV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible

225_350_book-2335-coverWhen a Bible is read it is often done through the lense of the reader. This is not a bad thing unless the lense of the reader is understanding something that is not there. This happens more than realized because our cultural dictates how we understand something we read. It is the same with the Bible.

The NKJV Cultural Backgrounds Bible seeks to give the reader an understanding of the culture of Scripture. By doing this, the reader should have a better comprehension of what the writer was trying to say. Instead of viewing it as a foreigner, the goal is to place the reader in a setting as if they were alive as the Biblical events are taking place. I found this Bible to be a great help in understanding what a person in Biblical times may have thought.

As to this Bible itself, it is a heavy Bible coming in at just over four pounds. The text is easy to read and the photos are stunning. The articles are well placed and not distracting. There are also great aids in the back of the Bible such as a weights and measurement section and a brief concordance.

This is a great Bible for study and it would do well for those that want to better understand the day in which Biblical characters lived. For those wanting a devotional Bible, seek elsewhere.

*I received a complimentary copy of this Bible from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Real Artists Don’t Starve by Jeff Goins

225_350_book-2292-coverThere is this understanding that most artists can’t make it in the real world. A few may make it big but most will scrap and claw to just survive. So goes this thought…until now. 

Jeff Goins, in his new book Real Artists Don’t Starve, blows away this false understanding that most artists will starve. They need to live in the real world and lose their creative bent. How many artists did not pursue a passion because they believed the lie that they could not survive? 

Jeff Goins uses example after example of artists who buck this false narrative of starving artists. For example, he uses the artist Michelangelo who, when research was done, was found out to have significant wealth. Yet many believed that he was poor throughout his life and some have even used him as an example of a struggling artist. 

Goins takes time to show how an artist can be successful and not fall prey to being eaten by lies and negativity. He quotes authors, tells stories, and gives anecdotal insight to give his readers the belief that they can make it as creative people. 

The information presented here is not new material. It is Goins writing style that present this information in an upbeat and constructive way that drives home the realization that creativity does not equate to scarcity. 

*I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.