Pastors' Library

"What does Jesus say about. . ." (Christ Speaks to Us Today)

Cecil Price, AMG Publishers, Chattanooga, TN, 2008, 1901 pages, ISBN 9780899576114, $34.99.

This alphabetized concordance contains Scripture references on virtually every subject that Jesus addressed during His earthly ministry. Also, the author gathers New Testament references concerning those whose lives were touched by the Lord Jesus Christ. Each biblical reference is printed in full using the New American Standard Bible. If one wants to know what Jesus said about a particular issue, he will find it indexed in this excellent reference tool.

For example, if one turned to the reference on the kingdom of God, he would find that Jesus spoke on more than a dozen different occasions on this subject. Price identifies the geographical locations where Jesus spoke on this subject: Galilee, the Temple in Jerusalem, the Mount of Olives, Perea, and the Upper Room. Price sometimes makes brief comments on the subject before he lists the entire passage under discussion.

The post-resurrection appearances of Jesus provide another type of entry found in this concordance. The apostles and other New Testament writers list nineteen references to such appearances. The author tells us where Jesus was and what He said at each of these.

Those who want to study the parables of Jesus will find over seventy references to His parables. Noteworthy are the parables on The Lost Son, The Lost Sheep, and The Good Samaritan.

Appendix A contains further references for study. Appendix B shows a map of the ministry of Jesus.

Price has devoted considerable research to this volume, and his work should be a valuable asset to a pastor's study. In a world ever increasingly in need of hearing Christ speak, a tool that catalogs His words is a welcome addition to our arsenal.

Glen Jones

Target: All
Type: Reference / Concordance
Take: Recommended

 

An Old Testament Theology (An Exegetical, Canonical, and Thematic Approach)

Bruce Waltke with Charles Yu, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, 2007, ISBN 9780310218975, 1040 pages, $44.99, hardcover.

Old Testament seminary professor and prolific author Bruce Waltke has written what may be the capstone of his illustrious teaching career. This massive volume traces the history of the chosen people from Creation through the prophets.

The book explores the events and promises of the Old Testament by categorizing them as gifts from God. For example, Waltke discusses creation in a chapter titled "The Gift of the Cosmos" and the Poetic Books in 3 chapters titled "The Gift of Wisdom". This is significant in that it shows the author's underlying interpretation of the purpose of the Old Testament: God's revelation of His character and His work to His people through His Word.

Additionally, Walkte opens the book with 6 chapters of introduction detailing the basis for and task of pursuing a comprehensive theology of the Old Testament as well as a thorough explanation of his methodology and hermeneutics. He then leads into the rest of the work with a 30 page overview.

Throughout the book, Waltke stresses the covenant that I AM (Jehovah) made with Abraham; a covenant that, Waltke contends, extended from the physical nation of Israel to the spiritual nation, the Church. The author does not contend that God replaced Israel with the Church. Rather, he says, the Church brings together the redeemed of Israel and the redeemed from the Gentiles to constitute the kingdom of God.

Waltke implicitly and explicitly disagrees with dispensationalism in his works. He states that "No verse in the New Testament pertaining to salvation history after the resurrection of Jesus Christ represent the fulfillment of Old Testament Land promises in an intermediate Jewish kingdom" (p. 584). He believes that The Old Testament prophecies of a future Land fulfillment are fulfilled in a spiritual sense in the heavenly kingdom.

Covenant theologians will surely find much in this book to strengthen their faith. Premillennialists who believe in a literal 1000 year reign of Christ on earth will doubtless have reservations concerning the author's ecclesiology and eschatology, but should find the book as a whole to be a valuable resource for teaching and preaching the Old Testament and grasping the larger themes of the whole Bible.

Glen Jones

Target: Serious Bible Students
Type: Covenant Theology
Take: Recommended

Jesus Jesus through Middle Eastern Eyes: Cultural Studies in the Gospels

Kenneth E. Bailey, InterVarsity Press, 2008, ISBN: 9780830825684, 443 pages, $23.00, softcover.

Have you ever engaged in conversation with someone from another culture? Simply knowing the words of their language is never quite enough. Meaning emerges only as you wrap the words you hear (or use) in everything else you know about yourself, about the other person, and how your respective ways of understanding the world were shaped.

The conversation after all, is between persons; and it is about meaning.

Jesus through Middle Eastern Eyes is about your conversation with a Person-Jesus of Nazareth. Kenneth Bailey's objective is to acquaint you with the cultural context in which Jesus' words are "wrapped." By doing so, he opens a way to a clearer grasp of what Jesus' teaching words mean.

Bailey's important contribution is refreshing and guile-less; authoritative without being authoritarian; theologically sound without having to sound like a theologian.

As Bible expositors, we know that context matters, and that "context" includes more than the verses or chapters on either side of our sermon or lesson text. To "be there" would help, but is usually beyond our reach and means. Bailey graciously shares decades of life and study in the Middle East with us, to help close that gap.

So approach this book as a walk through Jesus' neighborhood with a "local," who seems to know the people and places like the back of his hand.

In Bailey's company you will squirm under the stinging heat of the Pharisees' questions, and marvel as the skillful young Rabbi manages to elude every attempt to pin him. You will see the women in the Gospel accounts in a different light, and that Jesus' elevation of, and respect for them was radically different from his contemporaries. Jesus' parables will spring to new life for you as you see them in their original cultural settings.

This is an engaging and compelling read.

Bob Gerow

Target: Serious Travelers
Type: Biblical Studies
Take: Must Read

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