Luke–Acts in Modern Interpretation

A long look at modern takes on Luke’s books. . . .

Luke-Acts in Modern Interpretation

Stanley E. Porter and Ron C. Fay. Luke–Acts in Modern Interpretation. 392p., $31.99, Kregel Academic.

Luke-Acts in Modern Interpretation explores the lives and work of ten interpreters who have significantly influenced the study of the Lukan writings over the past 150 years. The chapters contain short biographical sketches of the scholars that illuminate their personal and academic lives, summaries and evaluations of their major works, and analysis of the ongoing relevance of their work in contemporary scholarship on Luke-Acts.

Key thinkers surveyed include the following:

  • Adolf Harnack
  • Martin Dibelius
  • F. F. Bruce
  • Loveday Alexander
  • C. K. Barrett
  • Hans Conzelmann

An introduction and a conclusion by Stanley Porter and Ron Fay trace the development of Luke-Acts scholarship from the 1870s to the present and examine how these ten scholars’ studies have shaped the field. Those invested in understanding the recent history of scholarship on Luke-Acts will find here a valuable deposit of historical insight into biblical studies.

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The Darkness

For those of you missing the Left Behind series. . . .

Ron Brown. We Have Not Been Listening. Book One: The Darkness series. 182 p., $15.99, Deep River Books.

St. Augustine Baptist Church, an African-American megachurch in the heart of Nashville, has served as a welcoming haven for its community for years. And seven years after the arrival of Bishop G. T. Thomas at St. Augustine, the church now had a new sanctuary, family life center, and four-story parking structure—not to mention that the congregation had grown from six hundred to twenty-four hundred members during that time. St. Augustine was an obvious success story, and many of its most active congregants basked in their church’s glory.

Suddenly, a strange and inexplicable event has left thousands suddenly missing and the city in chaos. Yet, many of those same prominent members at St. Augustine are still present, and dealing with the myriad crises this catastrophic event has left in its wake. It eventually becomes clear: the rapture of the saints has occurred, and many of those who considered themselves believers in Christ have been left behind.

Even as they encounter and often help others who have never known Christ, these folks who have been left behind are left to wrestle with a number of questions: Why am I still here? Didn’t see God see my attendance, my works, my doctrine? Am I an “exceptional sinner” because of what I’ve done or been? Do I have no hope of redemption now?

We’ve Not Been Listening, book one of The Darkness series, shines a light into the self-deceptive darkness of the human heart, by telling the story of churchgoing people who discover they have not been taken in the rapture. And yet, it is a story about God’s love and mercy and about the many chances He gives us—even when it seems we are out of chances.

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God’s Elect

A very different take on the difficult questions of election and predestination. . . .

God's Elect: The Chosen Generation  -     By: John Chipman

John Chipman. God’s Elect: The Chosen Generation. 112p., $14.99, Deep River Books.

God’s Elect offers a message of hope for all Christians who worry about whether they, or their loved ones, have been chosen by God.

The biblical doctrines of election and predestination generate much passion and emotional intensity among Christians. Most theologians have determined that these are doctrines filled with mystery, tension, and paradox which will never be resolved.

Author John E. Chipman disagrees.

He provides a fresh, biblical viewpoint regarding the perplexing doctrine of election that has the potential to kindle a re-thinking of the way Christians view and talk about God’s purpose of election in the New Testament. In God’s Elect, Chipman presents a truth that is neither Calvinistic nor Arminian—a truth that is simply, well, biblical.

This book makes no claim to be deeply philosophical or scholarly. The arguments are intentionally simple, yet profoundly biblical.

If you feel like you are caught in an ever-darkening doctrinal bog of election and predestination, and sense that you have lost God somewhere along the way, then you will want to read God’s Elect. In its pages, you will find a path that leads back to the sunlight, back to solid ground, and back to the true God of the Bible.

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Kerux: Psalms, Vol. 1

Digging deeper into the wisdom (of the) Psalms. . . .

Psalms, Volume 1: The Wisdom Psalms

W. Creighton Marlowe and Charles H. Savelle Jr. Psalms, Volume 1: The Wisdom Psalms. Kerux Commentaries. 240p., $27.99, Kregel Academic.

Psalms, Volume 1: The Wisdom Psalms includes psalms with themes perpetuated in Old Testament wisdom literature such as Job, Proverbs, and Ecclesiastes. These psalms extol God as the author of wisdom, contrasting the righteous, who acknowledge and follow God’s ways, with the wicked, who rebel against him. Likewise, wisdom psalms praise God’s special revelation of his laws and promises. The psalmists commend the virtue of pursuing God’s truth and teaching. Marlowe and Savelle explore these psalms’ original significance for their ancient audience and use this knowledge to reveal where and how God continues to speak through the wisdom psalms today. Readers will be empowered to teach and preach the Psalms with a renewed perspective.

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The Manifold Beauty of Genesis One

A different way to look at Genesis 1 . . . several different ways, actually. . . .

The Manifold Beauty of Genesis One

Gregg Davidson and Kenneth J. Turner. The Manifold Beauty of Genesis One: A Multi-Layered Approach. 224p., $22.99, Kregel Academic.

The first chapter of the Bible’s first book lays the foundation for all that follows about who God is and what God is like. Our technology-age fascination with the science of origins, however, can blind us to issues of great importance that don’t address our culturally conditioned questions. Instead, Genesis One itself suggests the questions and answers that are most significant to human faith and flourishing.

Geologist Gregg Davidson and theologian Ken Turner shine a spotlight on Genesis One as theologically rich literature first and foremost, exploring the layers of meaning that showcase various aspects of God’s character:

  • Song
  • Analogy
  • Polemic
  • Covenant
  • Temple
  • Calendar
  • Land

Our very knowledge of God suffers when we fail to appreciate the Bible’s ability to convey multilayered truth simultaneously. The Manifold Beauty of Genesis One offers readers the chance to cultivate an openness to Scripture’s richness and a deeper faith in the Creator.

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The Prophets of Israel

You can’t say they weren’t warned . . . or that this isn’t illustrated. . . .

The Prophets of Israel

James K. Hoffmeier. The Prophets of Israel: Walking the Ancient Paths. 400p., $44.99, Kregel Academic.

In The Prophets of Israel, Old Testament scholar and longtime field archaeologist James K. Hoffmeier explores the biblical prophets through their ancient settings. Readers gain a more accurate and comprehensive understanding through many practical components:

  • Full-color photos and images of historical and cultural importance
  • Focus on the geopolitical contexts of the prophets
  • Clear explanations of the prophets’ provoking messages
  • Discussion questions for Bible students or instructor use

These features and photos vividly illustrate the biblical narratives and the prophets’ concerns, helping readers better comprehend each text’s message and make informed theological applications.

The biblical prophetic tradition extends far before and far after the Major and Minor Prophets. Yet all biblical prophets—including recognizable figures like Moses and Elijah, lesser-known prophets like Huldah and Micaiah, and the New Testament prophets—ministered in distinctive cultural and historical circumstances. Hoffmeier draws on his extensive knowledge of ancient Near Eastern culture, geography, political realities, and the Old Testament message to locate the prophets in their worlds. This approach illuminates prophetic messages and ministries with a theological clarity that basic history and literary interpretation cannot achieve.

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The Church as a Culture of Care

People struggle. The church shouldn’t be a place that adds to that struggle. . . .

The Church as a Culture of Care Finding Hope in Biblical Community T Dale Johnson Jr

T. Dale Johnson, Jr. The Church as a Culture of Care: Finding Hope in Biblical Community. 176p., $17.99, New Growth Press.

We all know people in our world are struggling—eating disorders, addictions, depression, sexual issues, marital problems—the list goes on and on. Can the church help or is that an outdated concept that no longer fits modern problems? In The Church as a Culture of Care, biblical counselor Dale Johnson explains that the church is still the primary place where those who struggle can receive lasting hope and healing.  

Pastors and lay leaders in the church often feel inadequate to address certain needs and are unsure of how to help. This book is designed to help erase the stigma of “mental health issues” in the church and to present the church as the primary haven for answers to deep-seated human problems. Readers will learn that God has designed every function of the church to be an integral part of soul care. God has provided the church with the necessary resources for us to care well for one another. Prayer, the Word, the work of the Holy Spirit, and Christian community are God’s provisions to lead all of us to Christ—even those with the deepest struggles.  

Counselors, ministers, and lay leaders will be empowered to have confidence in God’s purpose for the church, the power of his Spirit, and the sufficiency of his Word for soul care. 

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Making Sense of Forgiveness

Forgiveness is hard. This book can help make it easier. . . .

Making Sense of Forgiveness Moving from Hurt toward Hope eBook Brad Hambrick

Brad Hambrick. Making Sense of Forgiveness: Moving from Hurt Toward Hope. 160p., $15.99, New Growth Press.

Clichés, glib answers, and quick solutions are shared all too often with those who are struggling to forgive or embrace forgiveness. We know Jesus calls us to forgive, but it can be hard to know what that looks like in complicated, messy relationships. Pastor and counselor Brad Hambrick helps readers to understand that forgiveness is the start of a journey that doesn’t erase the past, but honestly confronts hurt and clears the way for a hope-filled discussion on how to move toward healing. 

Too often forgiveness is viewed as the culmination of a journey, but when someone says, “I forgive you,” they are not saying, “Things are all better now.” They are saying, “I have decided to relate to your offense towards me differently.” Hambrick helps readers make sense of forgiveness biblically and relationally by addressing a variety of common questions that arise when we have been hurt: Does forgiveness mean restoration of trust? Am I supposed to “forgive and forget”? What is the role of biblical wisdom and boundaries on the road to forgiveness?   

Making Sense of Forgiveness speaks to those who are struggling by acknowledging the seriousness of their pain, explaining the difference between forgiveness and reconciliation, and helping readers understand the relationship between forgiveness and emotional freedom. The author explores the characteristics of God’s forgiveness toward us and how that shapes our own forgiveness.  

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The Gospel

Teaching the good news out of experience. . . .

Michael O’Dowd. The Gospel: A Redemption and Restoration Story. 272p., $16.99, Deep River Books.

All great stories have certain elements that resonate within. These are echoes of the ultimate story, the greatest story ever told—the Gospel, which is our story through faith. The Apostle Paul says: “I am eager to preach the gospel to you… It is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes” (Romans 1:15-16). Author Michael O’Dowd uses the power of story to lead us through the epic message of good news beginning in Genesis where it all started, continuing all the way to Revelation, where this amazing story ends and all things become new.

Packed full of scripture and depth yet made understandable through the author’s own experience and explanation, The Gospel: A Redemption and Restoration Story describes doctrinal truth in story form, where God is the hero, and we are being saved. This book will help pastors and congregants alike understand the biblical details of the gospel that saves us—and keeps saving us.

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40 Questions about Roman Catholicism

Separating genuine disagreement from assumption, and maybe starting a dialogue in the process. . . .

Gregg R. Allison. 40 Questions about Roman Catholicism. 336p., $23.99, Kregel Academic.

The Roman Catholic faith is one of the world’s most widespread religious traditions, yet the unique aspects of Roman Catholicism elicit perennial questions from adherents and outsiders alike. Such questions tend to fall into three major categories: historical backgrounds, theological matters, and personal relationships. Using Catholic Church documents and the writings of Catholic scholars, Baptist systematic theologian Gregg R. Allison distills the teachings of Catholicism around forty common questions about Catholic foundations, beliefs, and practices. The accessible question-and-answer format guides readers to the areas of interest, including:

  • Where do Roman Catholic and Protestant beliefs differ?
  • What happens during a Roman Catholic Mass?
  • How does Roman Catholicism understand the biblical teaching about Mary?
  • Who are the saints and what is their role?
  • How can my Roman Catholic loved ones and I talk about the gospel?

40 Questions About Roman Catholicism explores theology and practice, doctrine and liturgy, sacraments and Mariology, contributions and scandals, and many other things, clarifying both real and perceived differences and similarities with other Christian traditions.

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