Light And Truth—Revelation (book review)

light-and-truth-revelationI love looking at the Scripture through wiser eyes. I have just completed my journey through the New Testament with Horatius Bonar pointing out things I may have otherwise missed. The fourth in his series of commentaries on the New Testament is Light And Truth—Revelation.

In reviewing the first three books in this series, I mentioned that Bonar seldom presents a verse-by-verse commentary on the Scriptures, but more of an overall theme on select passages. In Revelation he departs from this pattern. Frequently there are extensive passages which he dissects word-by-word, going deep into the implication for Christians. This was unexpected, but greatly welcomed.

Since the Bible is inspired by the Holy Spirit, He is the best source of illumination when reading Scripture. But Horatius Bonar is clearly a man immersed in the overall message of the Bible, and guided by the Holy Spirit in his writings. This is an excellent set of commentaries to enhance your study of the New Testament.

Be sure to check out my reviews of Horatius Bonar’s other Light And Truth commentaries on the New Testament:

11 More Quotes From “Culture”

cultureA.W. Tozer wrote almost 50 years ago, but his words to the church still ring true today. Check out my review of Culture, and then enjoy some additional quotes from this book.

“To preserve life the physician and the druggist use words of fixed meaning common to both. How much more should the pulpit and the pew have a clear understanding about the words of eternal life. The modern effort to popularize the Christian faith has been extremely damaging to that faith. The purpose has been to simplify truth for the masses by using the language of the masses instead of the language of the church. It has not succeeded, but has added to rather than diminished religious confusion.”

“The hope of the church yet lies in the purity of her theology, that is, her beliefs about God and man and the relation to each other. These beliefs have been revealed to her by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit in the sacred Scriptures. Everything there is clear-cut and accurate. We dare not be less than accurate in our treatment of anything so precious.”

“I think we make two mistakes in our attitude toward our Christian leaders, one is not being sufficiently grateful to them and the other in following them too slavishly.”

“Today we evangelicals are showing signs that we are becoming too rich and too prominent for our own good. With a curious disregard for the lessons of history we are busy fighting for recognition by the world and acceptance by society.”

“That terrible zone of confusion so evident in the whole life of the Christian community could be cleared up in one day if the followers of Christ would begin to follow Christ instead of each other.”

“The difficulty we modern Christians face is not misunderstanding the Bible, but persuading our untamed hearts to accept its plain instructions.”

“Our churches these days are filled (or one-quarter filled) with a soft breed of Christian that must be fed on a diet of harmless fun to keep them interested. About theology they know little. Scarcely any of them have read even one of the great Christian classics, but most of them are familiar with religious fiction and spine-tingling films. No wonder their moral and spiritual constitution is so frail.”

“To accept the call of Christ changes the returning sinner indeed, but it does not change the world. The wind still blows toward hell, and the man who is walking in the opposite direction will have the wind in his face. And we had better take this into account when we ponder on spiritual things.”

“Christianity’s scramble for popularity today is an unconscious acknowledgment of spiritual decline.”

“The desire to stand well with our fellow man is a natural one, and quite harmless up to a point, but when that desire becomes so all-consuming that we cannot be happy apart from the praises of man, it is no longer harmless, it is sinful in itself and injurious in its effects.”

“A Christian’s standing before God does not depend upon his standing before men. A high reputation does not make a man dearer to God, nor does the tongue of the slanderer influence God’s attitude toward His people in anyway.”

To read some additional quotes I shared from Culture, click here. You may also follow me on Twitter and Tumblr to read quotes which I share daily from Tozer and other notable thinkers.

The Qur’an And The Bible

Answering JihadIn his outstanding book Answering Jihad, Nabeel Qureshi gives us an understanding of the beliefs which support the Islamic faith. One thing that is key for Muslims is their reliance on multiple sources for definitive answers to their faith. Nabeel explains it this way…

“The Qur’an that was the first Arabic book ever put into writing, and the Arabic script of the seventh century remained too deficient to capture the richness and complexities of its text. … Muslim biographers begin to write about Muhammad’s life around 770 A.D.” 

“By the middle of the ninth century, there were more than 500,000 traditions of Muhammad’s life in written and oral circulation, and Muslim scholars decided to undertake the effort of sifting through them and distilling the most authentic accounts.” 

“Since there are thousands of verses in the Qur’an and hundreds of thousands of hadith, it is expected that only trained Muslim jurists can engage in determining what sharia teachers. The jurist must give primacy to the Qur’an, then consider the actions (sunnah) and sayings (hadith) of Muhammad, followed by reviewing the consensus of Islamic scholars, or ijma, before using his own reasoning (qiyas). By following these four steps, a Muslim jurist can make a decision, or fatwa, about what sharia teaches on a given matter. The ultimate goal is to apply the teachings of sharia to Muslim life, and that is called fiqh.” 

“As is probably clear by now, at no point was the average Muslim expected to read the Qur’an to decide upon correct Islamic practices by himself or herself. Not only is Islam not a faith that upholds the sufficiency of scripture alone, the complexity of its foundations virtually necessitates a reliance on jurists and scholars for proper practice.” 

I prefer to pattern my life after the Bible, a book which I am free to read on my own. It’s authenticity has been well-established, and it doesn’t require me to find an “expert” in the texts and traditions to explain to me how to live my life.

I would highly recommend you read two books by Nabeel Qureshi: Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus and Answering Jihad. If you are curious about the claims of the Bible, you can check out God-Breathed and Questions Christians Hope No One Will Ask. And if you want to dig any deeper, search this website for the quotes I have posted from all four of these books.

Archeological Study Bible (book review—part 2)

Archeological Study BibleI wrote a review on the Archeological Study Bible when I was roughly halfway through the Bible, but as I have now finished, I thought another review was in order.

Zondervan did an amazing job on this project! I love reading the Bible, and I love studying history, and this study Bible helped me to do both of those things without getting lost on too many “rabbit trails.” Some study Bibles I have read require a lot of page flipping to follow a thought or do a little research. But the ABS kept the historical articles, maps, and graphics close at hand to the biblical text I was reading, so page flipping was kept to a minimum.

At over 2300 pages, there is so much history that came alive as I read through the Bible. I also read through the Bible in chronological order, so I really felt like the ABS was helping me move seamlessly along the timeline of history.

Purchasing this Bible gives you access to an online gallery of many of the photos and other study materials. I also purchased the Kindle version of this Bible, to make searching for content much easier.

If you are looking for a fresh way to study the history surrounding the Scripture, I highly recommend the Archeological Study Bible to you.

Thursdays With Oswald—The Harmony Of Health

Oswald ChambersThis is a weekly series with things I’m reading and pondering from Oswald Chambers. You can read the original seed thought here, or type “Thursdays With Oswald” in the search box to read more entries.

The Harmony Of Health

     Health, or physical harmony, is a perfect balance between our organism and the outer world. … The great error of the healthy-minded cult is that it ignores a man’s moral and spiritual life. … The attitude to sickness in the Bible is totally different from the attitude of people who believe in faith-healing. The Bible attitude is not that God sends sickness or that sickness is of the devil, but that sickness is a fact usable by both God and the devil. 

   Happiness or moral harmony is a perfect balance between our inclination and our environment. … The Bible reveals that a man can have physical health at the cost of his moral welfare, and happiness at the cost of spiritual welfare. 

   Holiness, or spiritual harmony, is a perfect balance between our disposition and the law of God. … 

   The devil tries to make us think that when we have entered into the sanctified life, all is done; it is only begun. We have entered into Jesus Christ’s finished work, but remember, says Paul, you have attained to nothing yet; everything is perfectly adjusted, now began to attain and to “grow up into him in all things. These three things develop slowly together: first, the basis of spiritual holiness; second, the building of moral happiness; and third, the decoration of physical health. A full-grown man in Christ Jesus is one who has become exactly like Christ Jesus. “Till we all come…unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:13). 

From The Philosophy Of Sin

Quite simply Oswald Chambers identifies health as a perfect balance:

  • Physical health balances outside germs against inside defenses.
  • Emotional health balances outside circumstances with inside coping mechanisms.
  • Spiritual health balances God’s law (outside) with our obedience to that law (inside).

Furthermore, Chambers says that Jesus Christ is our measuring stick. We must study God’s Word, and watch Jesus closely to see how He lived out the perfect balance of the Scriptural principles so that we can attain “unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.”

Thursdays With Oswald—Stay True To The Word

Oswald ChambersThis is a weekly series with things I’m reading and pondering from Oswald Chambers. You can read the original seed thought here, or type “Thursdays With Oswald” in the search box to read more entries.

Stay True To The Word

     We must disabuse our minds of the idea that God sits like a Judge on a throne and batters humanity into shape. …

     We have to remember that an enthusiasm for humanity which ignores the Bible is sure to end in disaster. … 

     It is quite possible for the human mind to blot God out of its thinking entirely, and to work along the line of the elements which are the same in every man, and to band the whole of the human race into a solid atheistic community. … 

     When men depart from the Bible they call humanity “God” in differing terms; the use of the term “God” means nothing to them, God is simply the name given to the general tendencies which further men’s interests. This spirit is honeycombing everything, we find it coming into the way we talk of Christian experience; there is creeping in the idea that God and Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost are simply meant to bless us, to further our interests. … 

     Watch the tendency abroad today; people want to get rid of Jesus Christ, they cannot prove that He did not live, or that He was not a remarkable Man; but they set to work to dissolve Him by analysis, to say He was not really God Incarnate. Jesus Christ always upsets the calculations of humanity; that is what made Voltaire say “Crucify the wretch, stamp Him and His crazy tale out,” because He was the stumbling block to all the reasonings of men. You cannot work Jesus Christ into any system of thinking. If you could keep Him out, everything could be explained. The world could be explained by evolution, but you cannot fit Jesus Christ into the theory of evolution. Jesus Christ is an annoyance to satan, a thorn in the side of the world at large, an absolute distress to sin in the individual.

From The Philosophy Of Sin

Oswald Chambers always penned wise words, but what makes his words so wise is that they are solidly rooted in Scripture.

In the above passages, Chambers warns us what happens when we forget the word of God as given to us in the Bible:

  • We see God as harsh and unloving
  • We make short-sighted decisions
  • We build a community in our image
  • We all have a different idea of who God is
  • We make “God” fit into our own molds
  • We water down who Jesus is
  • We create new worldviews not consistent with God’s design

Bottom line: Stay in the Word. Make Bible reading a regular part of your life, so that you don’t get caught up in the churning waves of “popular” culture.

8 Quotes From “Culture”

cultureIn Culture, you will find a collection of chapters from various A.W. Tozer books all addressing the theme of how a Christian should behave in worldly culture. If you are concerned about influencing the culture for Christ (instead of being influenced by it), I urge you to read my review of this book, and then pick up a copy for yourself. Below are a few quotes from Culture that caught my attention.

“The sacred-secular antithesis has no foundation in the New Testament. … The Lord Jesus Christ Himself is our perfect example, and He knew no divided life. In the presence of His Father He lived on earth without strain from babyhood to His death on the Cross. God accepted the offering of His total life, and made no distinction between act and act. ‘I do always those things that please Him,’ was His brief summary of His own life as it related to the Father (John 8:29). As He moved among men, He was poised and restful.”

“A Christian is now living according to the will of God as he understands it from the written Word. Of such a one it may be said that every act of his life is or can be as truly sacred as prayer or baptism or the Lord’s Supper. To say this is not to bring all acts down to one dead level; it is rather to lift every act up into a living kingdom and turn the whole life into a sacrament.”

“Keep reminding God in our times of private prayer that we mean every act for His glory; then supplement those times by a thousand thought-prayers as we go about the job of living. Let us practice the fine art of making every work a priestly ministration. Let us believe that God is in all our simple deeds and learn to find Him there.”

“You cannot get miracles as you would get a chemical reaction. You cannot get a miracle as you get a wonderful act on stage by a magician. God does not sell Himself into the hands of religious magicians. I do not believe in that kind of miracles. I believe in the kind of miracles that God gives to His people who live so close to Him that answers to prayer are common and these miracles are not uncommon.”

“Our trouble is not that we refuse to believe right doctrine, but we refuse to practice it. We have the peculiar contradiction of believing the right thing and living the wrong way.”

“It seems that the average person spends more time and intellectual labor each year filling out income tax forms then he or she spends in a lifetime trying to learn from the Scriptures and from the light of the Spirit what the church is and what he or she ought to do about it.”

“I would also have in our body the power of the Spirit of Christ. I have said that the average gospel church could get along without the Holy Spirit—and many do. We are praying for revival. What is revival? It is when the Holy Spirit takes over the work that is His, instead of being pushed aside into the benediction. He now becomes the Chief Executive of the church, running it. ‘But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you’ (Acts 1:8). That means that the Spirit of Heaven should come to a company on earth with His all-prevailing gifts, power, and grace, with His life, His illumination, and His discernment. This is not fanaticism; this is not any weird religion. This is just what the Bible teaches.”

“Did you read the Bible or watch TV more this week? Think of the time you have spent. How many half-hour periods did you spend with your Bible, and how many did you spend with amusements? We do not take our faith seriously enough.”

I will be sharing other quotes from Culture soon. If you will enter your email address in the “Subscribe” box to on the right side of the page, you will be notified as soon as new quotes are posted. You can also read Tozer’s quotes from this book, as well as other empowering quotes that I share daily in Twitter and Tumblr.

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