Category Archives: Book Reviews

Honoring the Son: Jesus as God

Honoring the Son When did Christians begin to worship Jesus as God? Some scholars believe that the ascription of divinity to Jesus only happened in the latter part of the first century or in the beginning of the second. Honoring the Son: Jesus in Earliest Christian Devotional Practice is the latest offering by Larry Hurtado, in which he argues that worshipping Jesus as God was an early Christian practice. Honoring the Son is, in fact, a brief synopsis (95 pages including indexes) of Hurtado’s work over…

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Geographic Commentary on the Gospels

Geographic Commentary on the Gospels I have frequently heard it said that a tour of the land of Israel is worth two years of Bible College.  My experience of visiting the land of Israel on a number of occasions has confirmed to me the validity of this statement. Geography may not be everyone’s forte, but becoming familiar with the “lay of the land” is an eye-opening experience when it comes to studying the Bible. Learning about the hills and valleys, the ancient cities and climate…

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Mark Through Old Testament Eyes

Mark Through Old Testament Eyes Because of the plethora of commentaries available today, each series seeks for legitimate reasons to be written. One can at times see the tortuous twists and turns an editor makes in the series Preface to substantiate their reason for yet another commentary series. No such twists and turns are necessary, however, for this new commentary series. Mark Through Old Testament Eyes is the first commentary in a series whose main focus is how each New Testament (NT) book reflects the…

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The Structure of Romans

The Structure of Romans Romans: Letter or Letter-Essay? Once in awhile a book comes along that revolutionizes your understanding of a particular subject. Such is the case with The Structure of Romans by Paul B. Fowler. Fowler’s thesis is that Romans is a letter, not a letter-essay as is commonly assumed. The difference lies in the interactive nature of the correspondence. Simply put, a letter-essay is an essay framed as a letter. While the outer material may interact with the readers circumstances (chs. 1 and…

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Evangelical Exegetical Commentary: 1&2 Samuel

Evangelical Exegetical Commentary: 1&2 Samuel The 1&2 Samuel Evangelical Exegetical Commentary (EEC) is the final work of beloved and renowned scholar Harry A. Hoffner Jr. Hoffner, before his recent death in March 2015, was John A. Wilson Professor of Hittitology Emeritus at the University of Chicago. He was an expert on the ancient Near East and, as the above title suggests, specialized in the language, history and civilization of the Hittite empire. One of his greatest achievements was co-editing The Hittite Dictionary of the Oriental Institute of…

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Are the Seven Days of Creation Literal?

Are the Seven Days of Creation Literal? The more I study Genesis, the more I am convinced that we often come to the Creation story (and other biblical texts) with the wrong questions. How one answers the question, “Are the seven days of Creation literal?”, can determine in some people’s minds whether a person is orthodox or not. To some it is a question of believing or not believing in the authority of the Bible. Perhaps “wrong” is too strong a word in my above…

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Symbolic Numbers in the Old Testament

Symbolic Numbers in the Bible Does the number 3 represent the Trinity whenever it is found in Scripture? How about the number 40? Does it represent judgment because it conjures up images of the Flood (40 days and nights) or the Wilderness Wanderings (40 years)? Where do we get the notion that the number 7 represents completeness or perfection? These are important questions because we sometimes hear Bible teachers and preachers speak about biblical numbers with the assumption that particular numbers carry certain inherent ideas…

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Large Numbers in the Old Testament

Large Numbers in the Old Testament The use of numbers in the Bible is both fascinating and problematical. In the first post of this series “Biblical Numbers or Numerology,” we examined John J. Davis’s book Biblical Numerology and learned how biblical numbers were written and what can be learned from this observation. Another important issue concerns the use of large numbers in the Old Testament. For some, the numbers found in the account of the Exodus, or certain battle accounts or census figures, seem impossibly…

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God’s First King: The Story of Saul

God’s First King: The Story of Saul In God’s First King: The Story of Saul, author Shaul Bar, seeks to “rediscover Saul,” and “to have a better understanding of his achievements and failures as the first king of Israel” (p. xvii). Being a professor of Judaic Studies at the University of Memphis, one of the unique features of Bar’s approach is “to look at the subject from additional perspectives including those of the Talmud and the Midrashim [ancient Jewish commentaries] and the Jewish medieval commentators”…

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Biblical Numbers or Numerology

Biblical Numbers or Numerology Does the Bible contain a secret code using numbers? If we count up numbers of words in a sentence, or add together the numerical values of a word or sentence, is there a hidden message contained in it? No doubt you have heard a pastor or Bible teacher say that the number 7 represents completion or perfection, or perhaps that the number 40 represents judgment (e.g., the Flood, the Wilderness wanderings). Where do such interpretations come from? Do biblical numbers such…

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