Archives: Reviews

Complete Vocabulary Guide to the Greek New Testament

Covering the entire vocabulary of the Greek New Testament, this revision of The Student’s Complete Vocabulary Guide to the Greek New Testament contains changes that make it more useful as a benchmark vocabulary study book and reference tool. Goodrick / Kohlenberger numbers in the index, allow for fast cross-referencing to the NIV Exhaustive Concordance and the Greek-English Concordance. The section on Principal Parts of Verbs, showing all the verbs used in the New Testament, includes column headings on each page for greater ease of use. The Frequency List of Words is marked with a gray edge for easy location and to define preceding and ensuing sections. Introductions are included for each section and a hardcover binding offers sturdy construction and protection.

Zondervan Handbook to the Bible

Discover fascinating, thorough, and enriching insights into the Bible with the bestselling and internationally acclaimed fifth edition of the Zondervan Handbook to the Bible. From the history and design of the temple to God’s relationship to the universe, you’ll find it here. The land and cultures, battles and feast days, heroes and villains of Scripture all come alive through entries of meticulous clarity and detail, and through breathtaking, full-color images. It contains over 120 articles by an international team of experts, with over 700 color photographs, 68 maps, 20 charts, a complete Rapid Factfinder, and lots more. This is perfect for church libraries and an excellent resource for individual Scripture studies.

Faithlife Study Bible

Why Do We Recommend This Book?

The Faithlife Study Bible is claimed to be the world’s largest study Bible. It is designed for digital usage and includes thousands of notes, high resolution, full color infographics, videos, tables, timelines and over a hundred articles written by scholars and pastors across the world. Three layers of notes allow you to dig deeper in the text as you find answers to your biblical questions. Based on the original languages of the Bible, it is translation independent, with seven supported English translations in the notes.

The paper version costs more than $50, but the original Logos edition is available for free, which makes purchasing the book an absolute no-brainer.

Watch this video for more information:


Devotions on the Greek New Testament

Why Do We Recommend This Book?

The ultimate goal of Greek language learning, of course, is to be able to make this Greek knowledge fruitful for both your personal life and your ministry. Too often students of Greek New Testament only remember their tough journey of learning the language, without benefitting its fruit. Devotions on the Greek New Testament fills a need for both students, pastors and teachers as it helps them apply their Greek knowledge in a way that is inspiring and encouraging. This book is all about making the biblical languages relevant for today’s studying, preaching and ministering God’s Word.

Devotions on the Greek New Testament offers 52 devotions on Greek aspects of the Biblical text of the Greek New Testament, one per week if you want to use it as a weekly devotional. All books of the New Testament are covered by at least one chapter, while some (especially the bigger) books get more attention.

Whether you are a teacher of Biblical languages, a preacher, a student of New Testament Greek, or just a devoted Christian, you may want to know and share what the Bible tells you in its original language. Devotions on the Greek New Testament helps you to appreciate your knowledge of Greek for the sake of understanding and applying the Greek text of the New Testament.

131 Christians Everyone Should Know

Why Do We Recommend This Book? 

After reading this book you will never find (church) history boring, if you ever had that thought. The editors of Christian History magazine have put together a great list of sketches about a very diverse range of Christians who made a difference one way or another. History isn’t just dates, statistics, and grand social movements. It’s people—people from many callings:

  • Theologians — e.g. Athanasius and Jonathan Edwards
  • Evangelists and Apologists — e.g. Justyn Martyr and Billy Graham
  • Pastors and Preachers — e.g. John Chrysostom and Richard Baxter
  • Musicians — e.g. Johann Sebastian Bach and George Frederic Handel
  • Artists and Writers — e.g. Rembrandt and C. S. Lewis
  • Poets — e.g. Dante and Fanny Crosby
  • Denominational Founders — e.g. Richard Allen and Aimee Semple McPherson
  • Movers and Shakers — e.g. Dominic and John Wycliffe
  • Missionaries — e.g. Patrick and David Livingstone
  • Inner Travelers — e.g. Brother Lawrence and Oswald Chambers
  • Activists — e.g. Sojourner Truth and Lord Shaftesbury
  • Rulers — e.g. Charlemagne and Henry VII
  • Scholars and Scientists — e.g. Eusebius of Caesarea and Nicolas Copernicus
  • Martyrs — e.g. Perpetua and Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Reading this book not only reminded me of these wonderful Christian brothers and sisters, it also inspired me greatly to see how so many Christians made a difference in the lives of other people through their faith and perseverance, and in all areas of life.

You will be inspired by this wide variety of Christians who went before us and who influenced the world in one way or another.

Lexham Geographic Commentary on the Gospels

Why Do We Recommend This Book? 

Why again publish another commentary, as there are thousands of them already? Sometimes that is a valid question, as many commentaries do not really add new insights. However, this is not the case with the Lexham Geographic Commentary on the Gospels, which fills an interesting gap with its focus on the geographical details of the biblical texts. The Gospels are full of references to real places in Palestine, and since most modern readers are not familiar with the geography of the Holy Land, this commentary shares a welcome perspective. Insightful, for example, is the chapter on the location and the function of Gehenna or the Valley of Hinnom. In other cases, geographical observations can help us better understand certain details in the text. For example, John (4:4) tells us that Jesus ‘had to go through Samaria’. From a geographical standpoint, though, this is not the case as there were two major roads to travel from the south to the north and vice versa. This fact supports the view that the necessity of Jesus’ travel through Samaria had to do with his plan to meet this Samaritan woman in Sychar.

The commentary is chronologically organized, following the life and events of Jesus. The Logos edition marks the chapters with the Bible references so that it can be used as a real commentary. The book is full of maps, (full color) images and (in the Logos edition) even videos as well as references to other tools in Logos (such as Atlas, Factbook, Topic Guide, etc.). Each chapter is presented as a journal article and has a decent bibliography for further studies.

While its focus is on the geographical context of the Gospel narratives, it also dives into historical, cultural, archaeological, and social matters. And as such the Lexham Geographic Commentary on the Gospels gives us a full immersion into the cultural setting of the Gospels. It is as if you are in a virtual reality walking the ancient paths alongside Jesus’ disciples.

See also other volumes in the Lexham Geographic Commentary Series.

I Dare You Not to Bore Me with The Bible

Why Do We Recommend This Book? 

I Dare You Not to Bore Me with The Bible is one of the best books I recently read. Do you also sometimes come across passages in the Bible that you think are just too obscure, too odd, too perplexing, maybe even too frightening? What would you do about those passages? Ignore them, skip them? Michael S. Heiser describes his experience as a teacher at a Bible college, where his students were all grown up in church and all came to class with that outlook on their faces that scream: ‘I dare you not to bore me with the Bible.’ For people that have grown up with God’s Word, the Bible can simply be too familiar. You have heard all those stories so many times since childhood, can they really spark anything in you anymore? The answer is an absolute: ‘Yes!’ and this book gives evidence of it.

The book is divided into two main sections: the first section deals with the Old Testament. Each chapter offers a short discussion of a curious detail from the Scriptures. And the author does not shy away from the difficult bits and pieces. You will read about the bloody event in which God wanted to kill Moses because his son was not circumcised. You will learn why the word ‘scapegoat’ is not the best translation in the context of the Day of Atonement ritual as described in Leviticus 16:8-10. The author discusses a range of topics, from the love potion from Numbers 5, through the relevance of the Dead Sea Scrolls, to the most horrific story in the Bible (Judges 19-20).

The second part of the book contains chapters on the New Testament. Have you ever considered that the rock in Matthew 16:18 is not Peter, nor his confession, but the foot of Mount Hermon which is the demonic headquarters of the Old Testament and the Greek world? They were standing right besides the ‘gates of hell’ and hell will be buried under the church. I bet this does not sound boring, does it? Does the New Testament authors make mistakes when they quote from the Old Testament? When did Satan fall like lightning? Why does Paul tell the Corinthians to deliver one of their people to Satan? These and similar questions as well as the author’s answers to them guarantee that you will not be bored a moment while reading this book about the Bible.

Heiser is very familiar with the ancient cultural background of the Bible and this knowledge often helps him better understand difficult passages that we often find just too obscure to be relevant.

Fresh Eyes on Jesus’ Parables: Discovering New Insights in Familiar Passages

Why Do We Recommend This Book?

Does it sometimes happen to you, that you find yourself so familiar with a certain Bible passage that it hardly touches your heart anymore? Then Fresh Eyes on Jesus’ Parables is one book to start reading! The book contains ten short chapters which can be read independently, about ten very familiar parables taught by our Lord Jesus.

The author, Doug Newton, is a pastor who has ministered for forty years and describes himself as having ‘an unchosen but unwavering passion: to help people see the Bible with fresh eyes and expectancy’ (from the Acknowledgements). He does not necessarily come with new insights about the parables’ original meaning, although he does occasionally share some fresh insights here and there, but his mission is ‘to reveal specific techniques that will allow you to make new discoveries about familiar passages that can revive your love for the infinite Word and transform your work in teaching and testimony’ (from the section ‘About the Fresh Eyes Series’). As a reader I believe the author was quite successful in his mission. From parables of just one verse (e.g. Matthew 13:44 – the parable of the hidden treasure) to parables that can almost be considered a full chapter (e.g. Luke 15:11-32 – the parable of the Prodigal Son), pastor Newton engagingly leads us to a refreshing understanding and application of these wonderful old stories.

The parables that are discussed are:

  • Chapter 1: Matthew 13:44 (the hidden treasure)
  • Chapter 2: Matthew 20:1-15 (the vineyard workers)
  • Chapter 3: Luke 15:11-32 (the lost son)
  • Chapter 4: Luke 11:5-9 (the friend in need)
  • Chapter 5: Matthew 18:23-35 (the unmerciful servant)
  • Chapter 6: Matthew 7:24-27 (the wise and foolish builders)
  • Chapter 7: Matthew 25:14-30 (the five talents)
  • Chapter 8: Luke 16:1-9 (the shrewd manager)
  • Chapter 9: Matthew 18:10-14, Luke 15:1-7 (the lost sheep)
  • Chapter 10: Luke 10:30-37 (the good Samaritan)

Each chapter is accompanied by a number of good questions for personal reflection or group discussion.

If you are interested in similar books by Doug Newton, check out:

The Septuagint: What It Is and Why It Matters

Why Do We Recommend This Book? 

The Septuagint: What It Is and Why It Matters is one of the best introductions to the Septuagint that I have seen. The main reason for this qualification is that in 216 pages the authors are able not only to introduce the readers to the Septuagint in a very accessible way, but also to argue for its relevance for today’s study of the Bible. The introduction is clear enough to serve as a first encounter with the Septuagint, while the 255 footnotes throughout the book provide sufficient food for further study for those who want more.

The book has two main sections, which the title already suggests: 1) What is the Septuagint? and 2) Why does the Septuagint matter? The first part consists of four chapters that are devoted to describing the Septuagint from different angles:

  • the first two chapters deal with the origin of the Septuagint and how people came to speak about the Septuagint, while they also explain that there is no such thing as the Septuagint;
  • the third chapter gives an overview of the characteristics of the Greek Old Testament by discussing the underlying translation philosophy and methods as well as its style and register;
  • the fourth chapter describes how the Septuagint developed through revisions and recensions.

Many readers will find the second section the most interesting part of the book: why does the Septuagint matter? Does the Septuagint still have any significance for today? And only for scholars or also for pastors and laypeople? Therefore the authors discuss three topics in this section:

  • chapter five discusses the relevance of the Septuagint for Old Testament Studies. One aspect is the fact that the Septuagint contains more texts than the Hebrew Old Testament, while from another perspective the Septuagint can be seen as an early interpretation of the Hebrew Old Testament;
  • chapter six deals with the same question for the New Testament. The Septuagint has undeniably influenced the New Testament in many ways, but should it be considered as ‘the Old Testament Bible’ for New Testament authors and the early church?
  • chapter seven finally answers the question what kind of authority the Septuagint has. In order to do so, the authors make a helpful distinction between 1) normative authority, 2) derivative authority, and 3) interpretative authority.

The book is interspersed with interesting examples that show the relevance of the study of the Septuagint for today. For laypeople I especially like the Appendix with ‘Ten Key Questions about the Septuagint’ which serves as a concise summary (8 pages) of the most important aspects of the Septuagint and study thereof. This section also provides a small bibliography (13 titles) of recommended resources for further exploring the topics which are discussed in the book.

The only aspect that I find missing in this introduction is a discussion about how the source text of the Septuagint compares to the Masoretic Text of the Hebrew Old Testament, also in comparison to what we find in the Dead Sea Scrolls. Did the Septuagint translators have access to a much older Hebrew text than the MT? This question significantly impacts how people assess the authority of the Septuagint.

The New Manners & Customs of Bible Times

Why Do We Recommend This Book? 

Our time and culture is in many ways so different from biblical times and cultures, that it is often hard to get a clear picture of what life in Biblical times actually looked like. The New Manners & Customs of Bible Times helps filling the gaps in our knowledge and experience by providing us a ton of cultural background information.

Topics are arranged in two sections. The first part focuses on family life and includes the following topics:

  • Clothing
  • Dwellings
  • Domestic activities
  • Food and meals
  • The family
  • Education
  • Agriculture
  • Collecting food
  • Shepherding
  • Craftsmen and traders

Part two focuses on institutions and customs and includes the following topics:

  • Towns and villages
  • Journeys and travel
  • Hospitality
  • Social and political groupings
  • Government and society
  • Warfare
  • Leisure
  • Religion

You can read the book from cover to cover, or choose to use it as a reference book. For the purpose of the latter the book has a topical index and a Scripture index at the back. The book is rich of full color pictures, photos, maps and illustrations, that helps bring to life this ancient culture of Biblical times.

Note: the Logos edition is a previous version of the one offered on Amazon and