Integrating Exegesis and Exposition by Dr. Christopher Cone

The latest book by Dr. Christopher Cone is a presentation that stems from an essential drive that ought to be possessed by all believers — that of allowing the Scriptures to have unfettered, unhindered access to their lives for the purpose of spiritual change / growth. Citing Romans 12:1-2, Dr. Cone demonstrates in the opening paragraph of the book that a process of transformation is to occur for all Christians as the “expected response” to the great doctrinal truths of Romans 1-11, rightly labeled as “God’s mercies.” He then conveys the logic flow which dictates that for the Scriptures to transform a life, they must be communicated by means of properly equipped voices determined to uphold the faithful transmission of God’s Word to others; and that to be done excluding all purely human influences and distractions. It is then that biblical communicators merit being “faithful stewards” and “diligent workers”...

How to Interpret the Bible for Yourself by Richard Mayhue

This is an excellent little study on basic hermeneutics and Bible study methods. It is filled with good suggestions and ideas, and written on a level that most readers could readily understand and apply. Dr. Mayhue is the Dean of The Master’s Seminary and as such is used to dealing with heavy theological issues. Yet, in this, his love for the simple truths of the Scriptures has in no way been dimmed. The reader of this volume will be encouraged and motivated to be a lover of the Word. I highly recommend it....

Warfield on the Christian Life, Living in the Light of the Gospel by Fred G. Zaspel

Benjamin Breckinridge Warfield was among the greatest theological minds ever produced in America (some compare him favorably with Jonathan Edwards), yet he has lost favor in our postmodern era. He was one of the famous “old Princeton” theologians, along with Charles Hodge, A. A. Hodge and J. Gresham Machen, and taught at Princeton from 1873-1921, during some of the most tumultuous times in modern church history. He published massive amounts of indepth doctrinal material, taught more than a generation of pastors and Christian leaders, and was one of the most influential evangelicals of his day. Nevertheless, during his lifetime liberals were slowly gaining dominance in the West and in 1929 Princeton itself officially repudiated the fundamentals of Scripture, which Warfield had devoted his life to teach and defend. Today, despite his great efforts, Warfield is largely ignored except by some in the Reformed camp who recognize his contribution to...

The Word of God in English by Leland Ryken

Leland Ryken is a professor of English at Wheaton College and a well-known literary critic and scholar. His interest in the translation of Scripture into English was enriched and heightened when he served on the translation committee for the English Standard Version. He writes, “On the basis of that inquiry, I ended with a belief that only an essentially literal translation of the Bible can achieve sufficiently high standards in terms of literary criteria and fidelity to the original text. Consequently, I have ended with a deep-seated distrust of how dynamic equivalent translations treat the biblical text” (p. 10). This thorough, well-written volume is a polemic supporting this conviction. As a literary scholar, Ryken’s interest lies with the English text rather than the handling of the original Greek and Hebrew. His concern is that, in an attempt by modern translators to provide a readable English Bible, they (those following...

A Word for the Day by J.D. Watson

Most “devotional” books and booklets function like spiritual vitamins – take one a day and you will feel better. But neither vitamin pills nor devotional books were ever meant to replace balanced diets; they are meant to be supplements. Hence, most devotional material is light on doctrine, designed to give the reader a spiritual lift more than instruction in truth. Enter Dr. Watson’s excellent book. Ignoring the normal lighthearted paradigm of this genre of literature, Dr. Watson offers biblical meat and potatoes. I can think of no other book of this type that so meticulously enlightens the mind as it encourages the heart. J. D. Watson is at heart a pastor and he can’t help but sermonize on occasion. With some of these comments the reader may take issue, as they might with any author. Also, Watson’s strong preference for the KJV is apparent, which might not sit well...

What on Earth Is God Doing? by Renald E. Showers

This book provides a biblical answer and reveals Satan’s counterfeit to the three major worldview questions: Where have we come from? Why are we here? Where are we going? (p. 128). The Lord has a plan and a goal for all of His creation, and it is these that Satan makes every attempt to thwart. Since God’s ultimate purpose is made possible only through the Redeemer, the devil focuses much of his attention on subverting, or even attempting to eliminate, the Savior. What on Earth Is God Doing? traces this conflict between God and Satan through history. Showers understands all of history in light of this conflict and, therefore, reads both biblical accounts and historical events through this lens. This being the case, the author often does not proof-text many of his statements but sees events in light of his understanding of this conflict. For example, concerning Cain’s murder...

The Voice of Luke, Not Even Sandals by Brian McLaren

The Voice of Luke is part of “The Voice Project” sponsored by the Ecclesia Bible Society. The project is derived from the concept that people today think, and therefore, need to read differently. “Instead of propositional-thought patterns, people today are more likely to interact with events and individuals through complex observations involving emotions, cognitive processes, tactile experiences, and spiritual awareness” (p. ix). It is for this reason the goal of “The Voice Project” to tell the story of the Bible in a narrative format, in order that the “passion, grit, humor and beauty” which is often lost in most translations, is recaptured. “One way to describe this approach is to say that it is a ‘soul translation’ not just a ‘mind translation’” (p. x). The editors admit, however, that their translations of Scripture are really a cross between translation and paraphrase, a “retelling” which seeks to bring “the biblical...

The Trinity, a Journal And Historic Creeds, a Journal by Kenneth Boa

Ken Boa, who received a master’s degree in Theology degree from Dallas Theological Seminary, as well as doctoral degrees from New York University and the University of Oxford, is president of Reflections Ministries as well as Trinity House Publishers. He is the author of several books including four journals in the Reflections series, all published by NavPress. The two journals under review, along with the other two journals in the series, Sacred Readings and The Psalms, all attempt to do the same thing: take the reader on a meditative journal through the Scriptures or creeds via the use of “the ancient art of sacred reading,” better known as lectio divina. It is important to know that lectio is not found, promoted or prescribed anywhere in the Word of God. It is a technique invented by the “Eastern desert father John Cassian early in the fifth century” (all quotations come...

Translating Truth by Wayne Grudem, Leland Ryken, C. John Collins, Vern S. Poythress, Bruce Winter

Translating Truth is a defense of the “essentially literal” (“word-for-word”) approach to biblical translation as opposed to the “dynamic equivalent” or “thought-for-thought” renderings. Each of the five contributors was part of the Translation Oversight Committee for the English Standard Version, an essentially literal translation published in 2001. The first chapter, by Wayne Grudem, is extremely informative and sets the agenda for the entire book. Grudem lays out his position: “Translators should not only ask, ‘Have I rendered the main idea of this sentence correctly?’ but should also ask, ‘Have I represented correctly the meaning that each word contributes to this sentence?’” (p. 29). Having so framed the debate, Grudem moves on to give examples of how dynamic equivalent translations leave out the meaning of some words which are in the original text and add meaning that are not there. As a result, dynamic equivalent translations cannot be trusted for...

Theological Interpretation of the Old Testament, A Book by Book Survey by Kevin J. Vanhoozer, Ed. (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2008), 336 pp., paper $12.99

If you happen to own Dictionary for Theological Interpretation of the Bible you have the same book in a different format. Each Old Testament book is addressed by a different author who provides background information, overviews the theological message, discusses its place in the canon and its historic interpretation, and provides various insights. The volume is not designed to offer in-depth study of the individual books or even a good survey. Its main contribution is a quick index to a variety of views concerning interpretation and contemporary scholarship. Beyond that I did not think the book was very helpful....