Big Greek Idea: James

An in-depth look at one of the most practical books of the Bible. . . .

Herbert W. Bateman IV and William C. Varner. James: An Exegetical Guide for Preaching and Teaching. Big Greek Idea series. 336p., $33.99, Kregel Academic.

To read the Greek text of James is to face a rugged style and brief phrasing that match the fervency of the letter’s meaning. The book of James powerfully exhorts the earliest Christian believers to faithful living. Biblical Greek experts Herbert W. Bateman IV and William C. Varner lay out the linguistic and grammatical features unique to James—such as his specialized vocabulary and prolific use of imperatives—to show how the book’s many strong statements connect to one another in this masterwork on living according to the teachings of Jesus.

The Big Greek Idea series provides all the relevant information from the Greek text for preaching and teaching the New Testament. Each New Testament book is divided into units of thought, revealing a big Greek idea (the author’s main idea in the passage), and individual clauses are displayed visually to illustrate their relationships, portraying the biblical author’s logical flow. Greek clauses are accompanied by an original English translation.

Each volume in this series contains many practical features:

  • Helpful charts, tables, and diagrams illustrate key points
  • Numerous callouts provide deeper insights into word meanings and theological issues
  • Visual cues highlight important information
  • An introduction to each biblical book summarizes the grammar, style, and vocabulary, including reminders and explanations of key terms
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Christian Coaching Excellence

Bringing your coaching and mentoring to the next level. . . .

Robert E. Logan and Gary B. Reinecke. Christian Coaching Excellence: Pursuing the Journey of Ongoing Growth. 253p., $24.99, Logan Leadership.

A must-have resource for advanced coach development! Backed by decades of research and practice, Dr. Robert E. Logan and Dr. Gary B. Reinecke share a proven pathway to grow your coaching skills and offer you steps for targeted growth.

Christian Coaching Excellence is the most comprehensive and in-depth source for Christian coaching skills, exercises, and insights. This book unpacks the full cycle of coach development—meeting you where you are at and leading you to develop your skills to mastery. Use it as a tool to zoom in with a laser focus on just the areas and skills that apply most directly to you right now. The practical wealth of knowledge gathered here provides you with a stockpile of just-in-time resources you can take and use right now.

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Finding Our Way

Finding biblical ways to deal with the modern world. . . .

Tom Greener. Finding Our Way: How Ancient Practices Help Us Navigate through Stress, Anxiety, and Alienation. 158p., $12.99, self-published.

The French philosopher famously declared, “the more things change, the more they stay the same.” There is a sense in which the tension of modern life seems unique and yet, somehow it is eternal its experience. Finding Our Way seeks to root our present experience in the universal experience of humanity. It brings the perspective of the grand scope of time to our present struggles and seeks to provide a framework to enable serious minded followers of Christ a way to navigate the modern challenges. From this framework, a way of life can emerge, unique in its expression but timeless in its pattern.

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A Contemporary Handbook for Weddings & Funerals

It is what it says it is. . . .

Aubrey Malphurs, Keith Willhite, and Dennis Hillman, eds. A Contemporary Handbook for Weddings & Funerals. Revised and updated edition. 456p., $23.99, Kregel Academic.

Weddings and funerals are some of the most meaningful events in people’s lives, and also some of the most challenging for the pastor to perform. Written with the needs of the busy pastor in mind, this popular and newly updated handbook includes everything necessary to conduct a variety of weddings and funerals, along with other common events such as communion, baptisms, dedications, and ordinations.

Helpful aids for weddings include services, vow renewals, messages, prayers, guidelines for vows, information on marriage laws, and, new in this edition, a service and message for second marriages. Guidance for funerals covers orders of service, quotations and reflections, and eulogies for a variety of circumstances, incorporating those with evangelistic appeal, untimely deaths, and suicide. New to this edition are funerals for service members, victims of violence, accidental deaths, cancer, and community tragedies.

Additional new resources include blessing services for a home or special event and guidance for speaking at fraternal organizations.

Pastors of all denominations will benefit from the services, advice, and resources in this sought-after handbook.

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Reprobation and God’s Sovereignty

Everything you wanted to know about probably the most controversial aspect of Calvinism but was afraid to ask. . . .

Peter Sammons. Reprobation and God’s Sovereignty: Recovering a Biblical Doctrine. 320p.., $25.99, Kregel Academic.

The doctrine of reprobation—that is, the eternal, unconditional decree of God for the non-elect—is frequently misconstrued in both pastoral and theological literature. In Reprobation and God’s Sovereignty, Peter Sammons reintroduces this oft-misunderstood doctrine, revealing its relationship to divine sovereignty. With Romans 9 as a guiding text, Sammons presents a thoroughly researched defense of reprobation as an essential part in a Reformed theology that magnifies God and encourages believers to trust in him.

Reprobation and God’s Sovereignty clearly defines and demonstrates from Scripture the foundational terms and doctrines required for properly understanding reprobation, such as:

  • God’s justice
  • Election
  • Compatibilism
  • Secondary causality
  • Preterition
  • Predamnation

Understanding these theological ideas proves vital to answering life’s all-important question, “Who is God?” Sammons shows how the doctrine of reprobation leads to a greater admiration for God, eliciting higher praise, reverence, and belief in him.

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Kerux: Colossians/Philemon

Another day, another commentary :). . . .

Colossians and Philemon

Adam Copenhaver and Jeffrey D. Arthurs. Colossians and Philemon: A Commentary for Biblical Preaching and Teaching. Kerux Commentaries. 368p., $30.99 (hardcover), Kregel Academic.

Kerux Commentaries enable pastors and teachers to understand and effectively present the main message in a biblical text.

Each volume uniquely combines the insights of an experienced Bible exegete (trained in interpretation) and a homiletician (trained in preaching). These two authors work together to explain the essential message for the original listeners or readers, unpack its timeless truth, and then provide a contemporary restatement and communication insights for the key biblical concept. Every book is a resource designed and written with the real needs of the pastor and teacher always in sight, providing many ways to creatively express the principal thought in a biblical passage.

Based on the Big Idea preaching model, Kerux enhances the reader’s ability to deliver a message that is biblical, cohesive, and dynamic.

Colossians and Philemon were penned at roughly the same time to an overlapping set of recipients. Paul, writing out of great concern, urges his fellow believers to make Jesus Christ the foundation of their lives. By expounding on the divine person, finished work, and exalted position of Christ, the apostle entreats his readers to stand against false teaching, pursue reconciliation, and be united with Christ. In Colossians and Philemon, Copenhaver and Arthurs combine exegetical precision with homiletical care, helping preachers and Bible teachers take Paul’s message–a plea for walking together in a manner worthy of Christ–to the church today.

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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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