Subject: New Testament

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.

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:

A Week in the Life of a Roman Centurion

Why Do We Recommend This Book? 

A Week in the Life of a Roman Centurion is a well written story of historical fiction with an engaging plot, following the life of a Jewish slave in the household of a Roman centurion in the first century AD. While entertaining the modern reader with an interesting story, as a New Testament scholar Gary M. Burge exposes the reader to a lot of historical background of New Testament times. Throughout the story the reader learns a great deal about the Roman army, Roman and Jewish values, Jewish life, certain biblical places, the relationship between Jews and Gentiles and much more. All this background information helps place the Gospel narratives in their original cultural setting. Moreover, the Logos edition has many full-color images that trigger our imaginations about ancient life in New Testament times. 

As a matter of course choices have to be made in fictional stories and as such this book gives perspective on ancient life in biblical times. Read this book as a snapshot of what the life of a Jewish slave and a Roman centurion could have looked like, allowing for other perspectives as well.

Below is a video interview with professor Burge:

If you are interested in similar historical fiction, see also from the same series: