Absolute Surrender by Andrew Murray

SurrenderRarely do I come across a book that has such value that it impacts from the first few pages of reading. Absolute Surrender by Andrew Murray is one of those books. The depth and richness of the challenges set forth by Murray are of such caliber that every Christian should read this book and could you benefit from making it a yearly habit.

Murray sets forth the premise that Christians are living life without the power and grace of God because they are not fully surrendered to him; absolutely surrendered is the term he borrows.

Starting with the example of King Ahab in I Kings 20, with particular attention to verse four, Murray shows the heart of absolute surrender. King Ahab is being attacked and his response to the demands of the invaders is “All that I have and all that I own are yours” (my paraphrase).

Murray challenges Christian to take this approach in their relationship with Jesus Christ. From this challenge, Murray then gives examples of the benefits and blessings of being absolutely surrendered to Christ and calls all Christians to seek such a life.

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

Accuracy of Translation by Robert Martin

accuracy_of_translation-194x320Translating the Bible is a great undertaking. A translator not only has to understand the language being translated but also understand the language using the translation. Such difficulty arises when certain words cannot be translated or if a word or phrase has fallen out of usage thus making it difficult to translate.

Dr. Robert Martin understands some of these difficulties and has written a small book on Bible translation and why accuracy is so important. Using the NIV Study Bible (1984), he shows how translation goals could influence how a version is translated.

Does the translation seek to be a thought-for-thought translation or a word-for-word translation? This could be a problem for either option. For example, in America if a person “kicks the bucket” we understand this to mean that someone has died. Should a foreign person translating our books translate the words as “a person died” or use the term “kicked the bucket” and explain it elsewhere?

Dr. Martin gives examples of where he believes the NIV has failed in translation and should be reconsidered as a Bible. He gives cause to be alarmed as he sees some cultural influences in the NIV that may detract from the original intent of Scripture.

Martin uses this example on page 26 of his book. Mark 9:24 in the NIV reads, “…help me overcome my unbelief.” The words “me overcome” are interpretive and Martin argues should be placed in brackets indicating that these words are not in the original. This is just one example of issues Martin has with some of the translational choices of the NIV Translating team.

I found this book to be quite helpful in understanding Bible translation and how certain committees adopt a policy on how they will translate the Bible. It really opened my eyes that not all translations have the same goal and it would be wise to have several to at least compare.

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

The Shack Revisited by Dr. C. Baxter Kruger

b912b00b73575d53b7e29f044dccf2f2One of the greatest pieces of fiction that has come in the last 20 years is the book The Shack written by William Paul Young. This book has introduced God in a way that has many people thinking. While there is some theological discrepancies I have with this novel I will admit that it has definitely caused conversation and I believe that is a good thing.

Because of this, C Baxter Kruger has written a book The Shack Revisited. This particular book deals with some of the issues raised in the shack in relation between God and man. One thing to note is that he doesn’t actually extract pieces of the novel to use or rather use as a novel as a springboard to go deeper into certain topics that the shack has brought about.

I was a little disheartened by this because I was hoping he would go into some of the issues raised in The Shack rather than using the book as a means to discuss certain theological teachings.

One such area was the idea that God seems less judgmental of people. God is holy and righteous and this causes Him to judge people based on His holiness and glory. Kruger did not address this and was bothered that he did not.

Thus, I would exhort my readers to look at written works by the following men to help understand what  God, through the Bible, has told us about Himself and His ways:

  • Dr. John MacArthur
  • Dr. R.C. Sproul
  • Dr. Ravi Zacharias
  • John Calvin
  • John Wesley
  • Stephen Charnock
  • Robert Murrary M’Cheyne
  • A.W. Tozer

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

Grace is Greater by Kyle Idleman

9780801019418The grace of God is something that is very difficult to understand. On the one hand, we appreciate it. On the other hand, because we do not understand it we may find it difficult to accept it from God and extend it to others.

In his book, Grace is Greater, Kyle Idleman gives a understanding of what Grace is from the Bible and then explains why it is so necessary in the life of a Christian. Often people exclude themselves from certain types of roles because they feel they are unworthy based on past mistakes.

Idleman shows that the grace of God can overcome any past mistakes and as a result no one should be considered unqualified if God has asked himi/her to do something.

He then points out that grace is greater our own personal lives. We should extend grace when we want to take vengeance on somebody, or if somebody injured us. God has given us so much grace that he has made the relationship between himself and us possible. Why should we not extend grace to others?

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

Memoir & Remains of Robert Murrary M’Cheyne by Andrew Bonar

memoirandremainsofmcheyne-204x320He was born in Edinburgh Scotland. The year was 1813. He was the youngest child of the family and his name was Robert Murray M’Cheyne. Reverend M’Cheyne would go on to become an influential preacher and inspiration to many in Christianity.

Were it not for Andrew Bonar we may not know much of M’Cheyne. Bonar took effort to chronicle the life of Robert M’Cheyne and the best book on the subject is titled Memoir & Remains of Robert Murray M’Cheyne. This particular work begins with a memoir to M’Cheyne relating some of his struggles, thoughts, and dealings as he went throughout his life. By using some of M’Cheyne’s journal entries we get some insight into the man. The book contains some of the letters that M’Cheyne wrote to various people with the intent of becoming more and more like Christ. Following the letters in the book come a sample of sermons by M’Cheyne. .

These sermons show the heart of M’Cheyne and how he understood and applied the Scriptures. His desire to let go of worldly enticements and seek after Christ become all the more apparent as each sermon is read. M’Cheyne’s passion also protrudes as he desires that all who hear him find their calling and life in Jesus Christ.

M’Cheyne was somewhat of a poet and would often used poetry to explain some of the thoughts and musings that he had. These poems are at the back of the book and are quite inspirational. For example, take a sample of a poem titled They Sing the Song of Moses:

And oh! When, life’s dark journey o’er
And death’s enshrouding valley past,
We plant our foot on yonder shore,
And tread yon golden strand at last

Shall we not see with deep amaze,
How grace hath led us safe along;
And whilst behind–before, we gaze,
Triumphant burst into a song! (p. 633c – 634a)

M’Cheyne loved God and the peace that would come to him upon his death. He wanted all to know this peace and some of his poetry’s heart is apparent while reading.

On a personal note, I took the challenge to read the whole Bible in one year following the readings outlined by M’Cheyne. Upon accepting this challenge, I wanted to learn more about this individual and found this particular book extremely helpful and insightful. I don’t normally recommend books to everybody. However, I hardly make an exception with this book. The language may be difficult for a modern English reader but take the time to read this work. It may just be life changing to you.

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

The Real God by Chip Ingram

realgodWho is God?

God has been defined, redefined, and then redefined again. Some say that God is this, some say that God is that. Many accept parts of God they like and reject parts that they do not. Others hold views that God is unreachable.

In his book, The Real God, Chip Ingram desires for his readers to come to an understanding of who God is. While a human cannot completely understand an infinite God, God has given us His Word to reveal Himself. Using the Bible as his foundation, Ingram teaches on seven attributes of God. By doing so, the reader should come away with a proper understanding and view of God that is Biblical and truthful.

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