New & Notable Books (May 2015)

I am in the enjoyable position of receiving copies of most of the latest and greatest Christian books, and every few weeks I like to provide a round-up of what is new and particularly notable. It has been a full month since my last update, and an awful lot of books have shown up since then. I will start with new additions to several excellent commentary series, and then move to a few general interest books.

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Edwards LukeThe Gospel According to Luke by James Edwards (Pillar New Testament Commentary). It is always noteworthy when a major commentary series receives a new volume, and that is the case with the PNTC, which is widely regarded as one of the most consistently excellent series. Here is the publisher’s description: “Though Luke is often thought to have a primarily Gentile focus, Edwards counterbalances that perspective by citing numerous evidences of Luke’s overarching interest in depicting Jesus as the fulfillment of God’s providential work in the history of Israel, and he even considers the possibility that Luke himself was a Jew. In several excursuses Edwards discusses particular topics, including Luke’s infancy narratives, the mission of Jesus as the way of salvation, and Luke’s depiction of the universal scope of the gospel. While fully conversant with all the latest scholarship, Edwards writes in a lively, fluent style that will commend this commentary to ministers, students, scholars, and many other serious Bible readers.” (Learn more or buy it at Amazon or Westminster Books)

Hebrews HughesHebrews by Kent Hughes (Preaching the Word). Previously published in two volumes, Kent Hughes’ excellent commentary on Hebrews is now one volume and updated with the ESV text. “In this insightful commentary, readers will find a gold mine of helpful discussion related to a book of the Bible that is easily misunderstood and often overlooked. Written by a pastor with decades of ministry and preaching experience, this volume abounds with wise insights into the book of Hebrews. With divisions and outlines that are never forced but flow naturally from the Biblical text, this commentary will be a great resource for anyone studying or teaching the book of Hebrews.” (Learn more or buy it at Amazon or Westminster Books)

Song of Songs DuguidThe Song of Songs by Iain Duguid (Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries). Here is yet another series being updated with a volume written by a trusted author. “This Old Testament book, ‘the best of songs,’ has fascinated and perplexed interpreters for centuries. We hear the passionate melody of romantic love, and are confronted by erotic imagery—but whose love is described? Is it a couple’s love for each other, God’s love for his people, or a poem that speaks to love in all its dimensions? Iain Duguid’s commentary explains how the Song is designed to show us an idealized picture of married love, in the context of a fallen and broken world. It also convicts us of how far short of this perfection we fall, both as humans and as lovers, and drives us repeatedly into the arms of our true heavenly husband, Jesus Christ.” (Buy it or learn more at Amazon or Westminster Books)

Theological FitnessTheological Fitness: Why We Need a Fighting Faith by Aimee Byrd. “Your spiritual life should be a battle! The writer of Hebrews tells us to “hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering” (10:23 ESV). What (and whom) do we need to meet this challenge? How does simply “holding fast” turn into such a workout of faith? Author and blogger Aimee Byrd invites us to join her in some ‘theological fitness’ training as she unpacks our call to perseverance and explores the great metaphor that physical fitness lends to theology. Learn about the ‘fighting grace’ God has given us, and discover how we are equipped to live lives of obedience even amidst the suffering and irritations of ordinary life.” It comes endorsed by Tom Schreiner, Nancy Guthrie, Phil Johnson, and Fred Zaspel. (Learn more or buy it at Amazon or Westminster Books)

Pocket GuideA Christian’s Pocket Guide to the Papacy by Leonardo de Chrico & A Christian’s Pocket Guide to Loving the Old Testament by Alec Motyer. I appreciate this series of pocket guides from Christian Focus. Each one is just about 100 pages, and each one deals with a single issue. The series has just been updated with a look at the Roman Catholic Church and the Papacy, and with a look at how to love and appreciate the Old Testament. Here are the descriptions: “Who are the Popes and how does the Roman Catholic Church define their role? What about the present day Popes? What is the ecumenical significance of the Papacy and what are its prospects in the global world? These and other questions are tackled as Leonardo De Chirico explores the Biblical, historical, and theological fabric of the Papacy.” And, “Many of us know and love the stories and characters of the Old Testament such as Joseph, Moses and Jonah. But how do we view its importance in relation to New Testament teaching and our 21st century experiences? This accessible yet powerful addition to the Pocket Guide series draw together the threads of Scripture to help us understand the power of God’s word when viewed in its completeness.” Notably, Motyer’s volume carries a foreward written by Tim Keller and an afterword written by D.A. Carson. (Learn more or buy them here: Loving the Old Testament: Amazon or Westminster Books; The Papacy: Amazon or Westminster Books)