Category Archives: Commentary

eBook Special – Why Everything Matters by Philip G. Ryken

Today we feature an ebook special from our friends at Gospel eBooks. Why Everything Matters by Philip G. Ryken is available for $2.99. Found out more about this powerful book below.

Why Everything Matters

Ecclesiastes is for people who have their doubts about God, but can’t stop thinking about him. The author of Ecclesiastes had his doubts, too, and these have enabled him to speak to skeptics as well as believers down through the centuries.

Ecclesiastes is a book rich in literary artistry and multi-layered depths of spiritual meaning. Philip G. Ryken explores this wonderful Old Testament book, and reminds us again of the need to trust God with the questions, even when we do not have all the answers.

Why Everything Matters is a remarkable read that will inform and elevate every heart with essential wisdom for living a life that matters.

R. Kent Hughes, Senior Pastor Emeritus, College Church, Wheaton, Illinois

… a wonderful treatment of the book of Ecclesiastes. In his study of the text the author beautifully blends the mind of a scholar with the heart of a pastor. It is a faithful exposition of a book that is troubling to many.

Daniel L. Akin, President, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Wake Forest, North Carolina

Philip Ryken has provided another crisp, lively and faithful exposition that will serve both Bible reader and Bible teacher alike. This book will be a great help in opening up the wonderful and unique world of Ecclesiastes. Highly recommended.

Sam Allberry, Assistant Pastor, St Marys, Maidenhead and Author of Is God Anti-Gay?

About the Author:

Philip G. Ryken became President of Wheaton College in July 2010. Prior to that he was Senior Minister of Tenth Presbyterian Church, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He is also a prolific author and a member of the council of The Gospel Coalition.

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New in the Focus on the Bible Series: Joel & Obadiah by Iwan Rhys Jones

Joel & Obadiah: Disaster And Deliverance by Iwan Rhys JonesDisaster and Deliverance, these two words sum up something of the message of both Joel and Obadiah. In Joel, the prophet begins by announcing a disaster in terms of a locust invasion, which has affected Judah. This, however, is but the pretext for warning of an even greater disaster on the horizon for Judah. Nevertheless, the prophet holds out the prospect of deliverance. In the case of Obadiah, the focus is on Edom. Edom’s pride and longstanding hostility against the people of God has led her to be party to an attack upon them, and as a result, she is threatened with disaster. The people of God, meanwhile, are assured of better things at the hand of the LORD.

These two prophets and their message of disaster and deliverance will both challenge and reassure all who have ears to hear.

Praise for Joel & Obadiah:

“Writing in an accessible and succinct style, Jones introduces us to grand theological themes that run throughout the prophetic writing of Joel and Obadiah. His ear is attuned to the linguistic and literary features found in both books, and he explains them in a way that will benefit both the pastor and the layperson. As with many commentaries in this series, Jones’s treatment is fitting for both sermon preparation and small group Bible study.”
-John Scott Redd, Jr., President and Associate Professor of Old Testament, Reformed Theological Seminary, Washington, D.C.

“Sometimes it is difficult to understand the writings of the Old Testament, especially those writings that come from the minor prophets. It is sometimes even more difficult to see their relevance to people today. It is for this reason Rhys-Jones’ work on Joel and Obadiah is such a welcome contribution. It provides meaningful material for historical background and theological interpretation along with a clear message of the application and relevance of these prophets to the 21st century church.”
-T. J. Betts, Associate Professor of Old Testament Interpretation, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky.

About the Author:
Iwan Rhys Jones is Director of Postgraduate Studies and Lecturer in Hebrew and Old Testament Studies at Wales Evangelical School of Theology in Bridgend, Wales. He is an elder at Freeschool Court Evangelical Church and he and his wife Julie have two grown-up children.

Additional Resources:

  • Table of Contents: PDF
  • Sample Pages: PDF
  • A full list of volumes in the Focus on the Bible commentary series is available at ChristianFocus.com.

Where to Buy:
Joel & Obadiah: Disaster And Deliverance is available at any good Christian bookstore. If you don’t have a Christian bookstore near you, you may want to consider purchasing a copy from one of the online book retailers listed below:

Joel & Obadiah: Disaster And Deliverance by Iwan Rhys Jones Buy Now:

 

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Why You Need to Preach the Song of Songs – Dr. Jim Hamilton

hamilton-header
Dr. Hamilton serves as Professor of Biblical Theology at SBTS and as Preaching Pastor at Kenwood Baptist Church in Louisville, KY. He’s also the author of the new book, Song of Songs: A Biblical-Theological, Allegorical, Christological Interpretation. Connect with Dr. Hamilton online at jimhamilton.info.

Song of Songs by Jim HamiltonThe smut is everywhere. On billboards, on TV screens, and eye-level in the checkout line at the grocery store, to say nothing of what is one click away on the device in your pocket or the screen on your desk. Beyond the superficial temptation of all the eye-catchers, the smut comes with a story. These sirens aren’t just singing an isolated hypnotizing song, they are selling a vision of the good life, appealing to your ideas about what pleasure is, about how you can have it now, and trying to convince you there won’t be a reckoning later. As though no one has ever foundered on the rocks trying to get to that shore.

These advertisements—from the billboards to the commercials to the mannequins—are all presenting themselves as icons that symbolize a wider story. They whisper in your ear: this is who you can be. This is how you can live. This is what you can look like. This is who you can have. And this life will satisfy all your longings.

But will it?

And if we’re convinced that there are longings deeper than the ones they’re stroking, how do we counter the intrusive message that saturates our surroundings? How do we convince other people that what they’re seeing is the harlot Babylon posing with that girl next door look? Can we woo them with something better, something that will entice them away from the lust that looses disaster?

Can I suggest to you that this is exactly why the Song of Songs is in the Bible?

What if there was something so beautiful it could break the spell of all that eye-candy? What if there was something so satisfying it would empower us to hear the siren song for what it is—an invitation to ruin and misery with the smoke of your destruction going up forever and ever?

Would God be so good to us that he would give us a book that could describe the lost intimacy of Eden? Not only describing it: holding it out as a possibility, offering it to us, inviting us to partake, inspiring us to imitate.

The Song of Songs, Solomon’s most sublime Song, is no more an isolated statement than those Viagra commercials are. The Song of Songs has to be read in the context of the story of the whole Bible.

That story starts with a couple in a garden, naked and without shame, in perfect harmony and bliss. Sin ruins their safety and shatters their intimacy, and they hide themselves from God and one another. God searches them out, and he promises a redeemer who will defeat the one who tempted them to sin. That redeemer’s line of descent is carefully traced, and eventually God promises that a descendant of David will rise up to redeem. When the prophets speak of what life will be like when he comes, it sounds like things will be better than they were in Eden before sin.

When God put that couple in the Garden in the beginning, he gave them to each other in marriage. Then when God made a covenant with the nation of Israel, he spoke of the relationship as a though it were a marriage. The unfaithfulness of Israel to the Lord was illustrated in the book of Hosea. The Lord commanded Hosea to marry a prostitute, and faithful Hosea stood for the Lord himself, while his wife’s promiscuity and unfaithfulness stood for Israel’s spiritual adultery.

The book of Hosea communicates the failure of the covenant between the Lord and Israel, leading to the “divorce” of the exile of the people from the land. There are plenty of indications in Hosea, however, that the Lord intends to make a new marital covenant with his people, after he has disciplined them for their sin (see esp. Hos 2:16–23).

If the book of Hosea presents a failed marriage, the Song of Songs presents a poetic success. The Song of Solomon depicts an idealized Solomon, scion of David, king in Jerusalem, who overcomes every barrier to intimacy between himself and his bride. This picture provides the wider backdrop that explains the way that carpenter’s kid from Nazareth came hailed as “the bridegroom.”

Once that Galilean had shown himself to be the long awaited Redeemer, the apostle Paul explained in Ephesians 5 that marriage exists so that the world will understand the relationship between him and his people: the new covenant between Christ and his Bride, the church. Then in Revelation 19 we read that the great celebration of his conquering kingdom is going to be a marriage feast.

The good life isn’t the lie of a non-stop, no-consequence orgy with the whore of Babylon. The good life is a permanent, exclusive, comprehensive union of one man and one woman in procreative marriage. In such marriages, husband and wife follow in the footsteps of the one who has made it so that the gates to the Garden of Eden stand open to those who keep his word.

Whatever those billboards say, your life is not about your looks and your identity and your pleasure. Your life is about God, in whose image you were made, and every marriage —including yours—is about Jesus and the church.

The Song of Songs is one movement in the Bible’s grand symphony. Heard in the context of the whole orchestral production, its movements, harmonies, and developments will ravish and purify, enrich and sanctify, deepen and delight. We need to listen closely. You need to preach it. So the Bride will be pure.

This article originally appeared at LifeWayPastors.com.

Where to Buy:
Song of Songs is available at any good Christian bookstore. If you don’t have a Christian bookstore near you, you may want to consider purchasing a copy from one of the online book retailers listed below:

Song of Songs by Jim Hamilton  Buy Now:

 

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Get Amos: A Mentor Commentary Free on Logos Bible Software

Get Amos Free on Logos Bible Software
During the month of September, Amos: A Mentor Commentary by Gary V. Smith is free on Logos Bible Software. Get your free download at logos.com.

Don’t miss out on a special bonus opportunity to get the Joel & Obadiah volume by Irvin A. Busenitz for only $1.99. Find out more at logos.com.

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New in the ‘Focus on the Bible’ Series: Song of Songs: A Biblical-Theological, Allegorical, Christological Interpretation by James M. Hamilton Jr.

Song of Songs by Jim HamiltonIn the Song of Songs the son of David, King in Jerusalem, overcomes hostility and alienation to renew intimacy between himself and his Bride. This most sublime Song sings of a love sure as the seal of Yahweh, a flashing flame of fire many waters could never quench. James M. Hamilton Jr, in this latest addition to the popular Focus on the Bible series, pours fresh light on this inspiring and uplifting book.

Praise for Song of Songs:

“This beautifully written book of sound Christ-centered biblical exposition and skillful personal application, will not only strengthen and heal many marriages, but will also draw many Christians into a deeper appreciation and enjoyment of their marriage to Christ. Unlike most books on the Song of Songs, this one will make you sing!”
-David Murray, Professor of Old Testament & Practical Theology, Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary, Grand Rapids, Michigan

“…a fresh, biblically-theologically informed approach to the Song of Solomon. This is a commentary pastors should regularly turn to when preaching through this important but difficult book of Scripture. And make no mistake-reading this commentary will make you want to preach this book.”
-R. Albert Mohler, President, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky

About James M. Hamilton Jr.:
James M. Hamilton Jr. is Professor of Biblical Theology at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and Preaching Pastor at Kenwood Baptist Church in Louisville, Kentucky.

Other books by James M. Hamilton Jr.:
The Bible's Big Story Salvation History for Kids by James M Hamilton Jr

Where to Buy:
Song of Songs is available at any good Christian bookstore. If you don’t have a Christian bookstore near you, you may want to consider purchasing a copy from one of the online book retailers listed below:

Song of Songs by Jim Hamilton  Buy Now:

 

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New in the Focus on the Bible series: Hosea: The Passion of God by Tim Chester

Hosea: The Passion of God by Tim ChesterIn the message of Hosea we see the passion of God. We see the jealousy of God, the commitment of God, the heartbreak of God, the enthusiasm of God, the love of God. People often talk about what they feel about God. Hosea tells us what God feels about us. It is the author’s prayer that as we explore the message of Hosea the Spirit of God would reveal God’s passion so that He stirs our passion: our jealousy for God, our commitment to God, our heartbreak at sin, our enthusiasm to serve, our love for the lost.

See the full range of commentaries in the Focus on the Bible series at ChristianFocus.com.

Praise for Hosea: The Passion of God:

“In his commentary Tim Chester has left few scholarly stones unturned yet we are not invited to behave as academic spectators on the text …difficult issues are not avoided and the prophet’s ministry is unerringly allowed to lead us to Christ …The prayer that accompanies this commentary is that it might stir our passion for God and his ways and to that we add our ‘amen’.”
-Ken Armstrong ~ Pastor, Bessacarr Evangelical Church, Doncaster, England

“This is an excellent commentary on an under-preached part of God’s word. It is exegetically faithful so that there is a clear sense of what this would have meant to Hosea and his contemporaries. Moreover, it treats Hosea as Christian Scripture, and each part of the commentary takes us clearly to the Lord Jesus. This book has deepened my love for the One who first loved me, and I think it is a valuable addition to the existing commentaries on Hosea.”
-Robin Weekes ~ Minister, Emmanuel Church, Wimbledon, London

“This fresh, readable, insightful commentary will lead you to worship a God who is jealous for our affections, and loves us too much to leave us sitting comfortably in apathy! Christians cannot fail to profit from this sound and exciting read.”
-Jeremy McQuoid ~ Teaching Pastor, Deeside Christian Fellowship, Aberdeen, Scotland

Tim ChesterAbout the Author:
Tim Chester is an author, Pastor of The Crowded House, Sheffield and a leader of The Crowded House church planting network. He is married with two daughters.

Connect with Tim at:

Other books by Tim Chester:
The Ascension: Humanity in the Presence of God by Jonny Woodrow & Tim Chester

Where to Buy:
Hosea: The Passion of God by Tim Chester is available at any good  Christian bookstore. If you don’t have a Christian bookstore near you, you may want to consider purchasing a copy from one of the online book retailers listed below:

Hosea: The Passion of God by Tim Chester  Buy Now:

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Genesis: The Beginning of God’s Plan of Salvation by Richard P. Belcher, Jr.

Genesis: The Beginning of God's Plan of Salvation (Focus on the Bible) by Richard P. Belcher, Jr.Genesis provides us with a foundation for correctly understanding the world. Within Genesis, the character and the role of human beings within the world God has created is revealed. In reading Genesis we find on every occasion, in his dealings with mankind, God steps in by his grace and demonstrates that he is in control.

Commentaries in the Focus on the Bible series are popular level commentaries especially useful for pastors and small group leaders. They are useful for personal devotions and spiritual growth. Many of the authors of the commentaries are leading expositors of God’s Word on their speciality subjects. The series holds to the inerrancy of scripture and the uniqueness of Christ in salvation.

Richard P. Belcher, Jr.About the Author:
Richard Belcher, Jr. is the Professor of Old Testament and academic dean at Reformed Theological Seminary, Charlotte, NC. His previous books include The Messiah and the Psalms.

Praise for Genesis: The Beginning of God’s Plan of Salvation:

“The meaning of creation (and/or evolution) has taken its place at the front of the intellectual/cultural stage for over a century and a half, and shows no sign of moving from the center of discussion and debate. Secularists and Christians – both liberal and conservative – instinctively understand the high significance of the issue, and hence, the intensity of the continuing debate. Whether God is real and Scripture is true are both tied up in the foundational text of the Bible: Genesis chapters one to three. Richard Belcher’s Genesis is a clearly written and judiciously researched guide to the entire question of the meaning of the book of Genesis (not just to its first three chapters, pivotal though these are).”
Douglas F. Kelly ~ Richard Jordan Professor of Theology, Reformed Theological Seminary, Charlotte, North Carolina

“It is hard to think that more material was ever packed into a brief compass, or with greater clarity, helpfulness and ease of reading than Dr. Belcher has managed in this commentary. The words ‘thoroughness’, ‘fairness’ and ‘lucidity’ spring to mind to describe the whole work. Indeed, I cannot think of an important ‘stone left unturned’! The treatment, for example, of the creation narrative ranks among the fullest and fairest I have ever read, but, without exaggeration every page has its quota of good things, problems solved, and truths illuminated. In a word, I enjoyed this book from beginning to end and warmly commend it.”
Alec Motyer ~ Well known Bible expositor and commentary writer

“Richard Belcher’s commentary focuses on the big picture of Genesis, tracing God’s story of redemption through the biblical narrative. His careful exposition shows how Genesis reveals God’s intentions for his creation and his unstoppable purpose to bless his people and redeem them out of slavery, bringing good out of evil. God’s people can live with confidence that God will be faithful to his promises to redeem and restore the broken and the suffering. He is able to take what people mean for evil and turn it into good. This commentary deserves a wide appreciation, as it will help pastors, leaders, and Christians see how Genesis proclaims the deepest message of the Bible: the grace of God for sinners and those who suffer.”
Justin Holcomb ~ Executive director of the Resurgence, lead pastor of Mars Hill Church | U-District, Seattle, Washington, & adjunct professor at Reformed Theological Seminary

Where to Buy:
 Genesis: The Beginning of God’s Plan of Salvation is available at any good  Christian bookstore. If you don’t have a Christian bookstore near you, you may want to consider purchasing a copy from one of the online book retailers listed below:

Genesis: The Beginning of God's Plan of Salvation (Focus on the Bible) by Richard P. Belcher, Jr. Buy Now:

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A Great Resource For Sermon Preparation and Self-Study – The Mentor Expository Commentary Series

 

Mentor Expository Commentary SeriesThe Mentor Expository Commentary Series is for pastors and Bible teachers who want to draw on Christ-centered expository teaching and for the lay reader who wants to delve more deeply into the riches of the Word of God. Volumes currently available include Galatians by Terry L. Johnson and Revelation by Douglas F. Kelly.

Praise For The Mentor Expository Commentary Series:

“What a great blessing it is for the church to regain clarity about the message of Revelation! Kelly’s commentary will prove invaluable in restoring this vital message to the pulpits of our churches and the lives of suffering believers.”
-Richard D Phillips ~ Senior Minister, Second Presbyterian Church, Greenville, South Carolina

“The church, including the Western church and the global South in the global Eastern Church, need to read the book of Revelation now more than ever. Let Douglas Kelly be your guide. I commend the book and I commend the publisher for such a time as this.”
-Michael Milton ~ President and Professor of Practical Theology, Reformed Theological Seminary, Charlotte, North Carolina

“Johnson’s commentary is essential reading for preachers and lay folk alike.”
-Derek Thomas ~ Minister of Preaching and Teaching, First Presbyterian Church, Columbia, South Carolina

“Johnson clearly explains some of the most difficult passages in Scripture, stalwartly defends evangelical doctrines such “justification by faith alone,”
-Greg Gilbert ~ Senior Pastor, Third Avenue Baptist Church, Louisville, Kentucky, Author of What is the Gospel?

“Johnson’s volume is very much, though, worth reading and consulting; particularly by those wishing to consult a reliable guide to a fascinating biblical book.”
-Jim West, Quartz Hill School of Theology

Where to Buy:

The Mentor Expository Commentary Series is available at any good Christian bookstore. If you don’t have a Christian bookstore near you, you may want to consider purchasing a copy from one of the online book retailers listed below:

Revelation: A Mentor Expository Commentary by Douglas F. Kelly Buy Now:

Galatians: A Mentor Expository Commentary by Terry Johnson Buy Now:

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