Getting the Gospel Right by R. C. Sproul

9780801019692The Gospel. How important is it to get the good news of Jesus Christ right? What are the ramifications of such an undertaking? Some would say that Roman Catholics and Protestants are in agreement with what the Gospel is. Others would say that they are vastly different. Is it such a big deal?

In his book, Getting the Gospel Right, Dr. R.C. Sproul examines two documents: Evangelicals and Catholics and The Gift of Salvation. These documents were signed by Evangelicals and Catholics leaders in an effort to agree on the fundamental teachings of the Gospel. R.C. Sproul sets forth to show that, while the documents were signed, the doctrinal teachings of Roman Catholicism and Evangelicals are not the same.

By highlighting the two documents and breaking down each of the statements contained therein, Dr. Sproul demonstrates that what was written is not Scriptural. He carefully exposes some of the flaws of these documents and champions the mottos of the Reformation: sola gratia (grace alone), sola fide (faith alone), soli Christo (Christ alone).

This book is a great introduction into the variances within Christendom between Roman Catholics and Evangelicals. I encourage those want to know more to read additional titles by R.C. Sproul to get a viewpoint from a reformed theologian and contrast that with those from Roman Catholics.

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

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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.

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.

Exalting Jesus in Acts by Tony Merida

ActsWhen going through any book of the Bible one must take note to recognize what the author is trying to convey. Each author has a specific way in which they present Jesus Christ as the Redeemer and Savior of mankind. Therefore, the reader must take note as they are reading Bible passages to see how Christ is being presented or hinted at in various passages.

In his book, Exalting Jesus in Acts, Tony Merida has written a commentary on how Jesus Christ is exalted throughout the books of Acts. Merida shows how Christ is exalted in Acts and does so in a expository and devotional way.

For example, the section on the first seven verses of Acts has: the main idea of these seven verses, bullet points on the various topics within those verses, as well as its commentary on these verses. In addition, at the end of this section are reflection and discussion questions. These are very helpful for someone who is leading a Bible study or perhaps a pastor who is preparing a sermon.

I was rather surprised by this because most of the commentaries that I have strictly try to take from scripture what the verses are trying to communicate. There is not much in the way of devotional thought. By adding this element, I enjoyed reading the commentaries and using the questions to see my risen Savior in the passage.

With this guide in mind I can see this particular series being very helpful to those who want to do Bible study with a devotional aspect but not a pure devotional study or a pure exegetical study. Rather it is almost a hybrid between the two and I really enjoy that type of approach.

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

Paul the Apostle by Robert D. Picirilli

9780802463258Other than Jesus Christ, the most influential individual in the New Testament is Paul the Apostle. Having written more of New Testament than any other individual, the Apostle Paul is a person who laid the foundation for much of Christian teachings.

However, some of Paul is lost because people do not understand the man. While this may not be intentional, often the theological teachings of Paul are the focus. Yet, Paul lived in an environment that would have shaped his cultural and personal views of life.

In his book, Robert Picirilli tries to bring out the life of Paul but not in a theological or philosophical way. Rather he writes about Paul so that the average individual understand who this man was. So much of Paul’s writing may be understood more if a person has knowledge of Paul’s life.

Another thing to point out is that Picirilli is bring about some new research on Paul in terms of who he was, the area in which he lived, and some of the historical context that gives identity to what Paul may have faced while he was writing many of the works of the New Testament.

I really appreciated how well this book was written and that it was written not in a very educational or academic way. Rather, it was written in a way so that every individual could read it understand more of food Paul was. Another thing to note is that there are some great resources in the resources section at the back of the book to help people who are studying the life of Paul really dig deeper into a historical, cultural, theological, and personal context of who Paul was.

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