Book Review: The Unwavering Resolve of Jonathan Edwards

The Unwavering Resolve of Jonathan Edwards (A Long Line of Godly Men Profile) – Steven Lawson

My Rating – Put it on the list

Level – Easy, Medium length

Summary
The first chapter is a short biographical stretch of the man many consider to be the greatest American Theologian of all time. The rest of the chapters are devoted to Edwards’ construction of his ‘Resolution.’ Unfortunately, as Edwards didn’t order or systematize his Resolutions, the book seems to jump around a bit as Lawson attempts to categorize the list. However, the book does an excellent job of spelling many of the resolutions and giving us the story or reasons behind them. Many of the most interesting parts of the chapters has to do with how the Resolutions affected Edwards’ life.

In the appendix of the book, you can read the entire Resolutions.

My Thoughts
The best use of this book is to view it not as a biography, but as a commentary on Edwards’ Resolutions. The strength of the book isn’t so much it’s info on the life of Edwards, but instead it’s interaction with the Resolutions and different points of his life, or how his resolutions affected his life.

I personally found some of his attempts overwhelming, bordering on unnecessary. Obviously, Edwards is much more pious and disciplined than me and most people. However, his limited the amount of food he’d eat so as not to waste time or enjoy food too much just seemed extreme and unhealthy.

This book is well written and will challenge you. Lawson does a good job of posing questions at the end of each chapter. Anyone interested in spiritual disciplines or Jonathan Edwards needs to put this book on their reading list.

 

*I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a review (see more in my about page).

Book Review: How to Read Genesis

How to Read Genesis by Tremper Longman, III

My Rating – Must Read

Level – Easy, short

Summary
This book is exactly what the title says it is a guidebook to understanding and reading Genesis. Longman explains what the book (Genesis) is, who wrote it, whom it was written to as well as its place among other ancient literature. He breaks down the structure of the book into three parts: primeval history, which is verses 1-11; patriarchal narratives, 12-36; and Joseph’s story, 37-50. He then wraps up with notes on how we as Christians should read it, paying particular attention to our view after the cross. That is, with our knowledge of Christ, looking back at the Genesis story and reading it looking at how it points to Christ.

Longman does not take a view of young earth nor does he give much attention to evolution. This makes sense in that it is not an exposition of Genesis, but rather a guide to reading it.

My Thoughts
This should be the starting point for anyone curious about anything in Genesis 1-11 – age of the earth, historical Adam, the flood, giants, people living hundreds of years, even evolution. A broad understanding of what Genesis is and is supposed to be will help you to understand these issues, even those he doesn’t delve too much into.

For those that aren’t as concerned with these issues, it is still a very important book in helping you understand literature that nearly defies genre or categorization. Genesis is literally the foundation of the Bible. Far too many people are quick to either throw the book out or bury their heads in the sand and just say ‘its literal’.

Every Christian should read this book to help them grow in understanding and knowledge of the Word.

Reader’s Guide to Amos (1:3-2:5)

Editor – I posted the wrong section last week. This goes first, obviously. Read through these oracles and then read my previous post, it will make that post seem more coherent. I’ve updated links in this post to reflect the screw up.

 

Three weeks ago, I outlined how to read the first oracles of Amos. Today, I want to point out some notes that are helpful in understanding what is going on as you read. This covers Amos 1:3-2:5 and contains the seven oracles against other nations. The best way to use this would be to go read my previous post about the structure of the oracles, then read through verses themselves while using these notes when words, phrases, or places are unfamiliar. Hope it helps.

Aram (1:3-5)
Damascus is the capital of Aram.
Modern version read “threshed Gilead” older manuscripts such as those at Qumran or the LXX inserts ‘the pregnant women.” Threshing was/is the process of removing seed from stalk. So, if this accusation is literal, it is quite heinous. Threshing spikes were used to increase the efficacy in the threshing.
Hazael was king of Aram. He assumed the throne by killing Ben-Hadad (son of Hadad, a storm god). Interestingly, Hazael’s son, once king, assumed the name Ben-Hadad. It’s unclear which Amos is referring to, but points to more than a single person or event, but rather a geo-political group.
“Gate-bar” in movies after the hero comes ridding in through the gates of the fortress after escaping the (following, attacking, pursuing) foe, they shut the giant wooden gates and then lay are large wood/iron bar across to prevent the doors from being opened. Yahweh will destroy this bar, which not only shows his power, but leaves them unable to protect themselves by shutting the gate again.
Valley of Aven and Beth Eden are places in the region of Aram. The one ‘sitting’ and one who ‘holds the scepter’ are the rulers of the area. The message is, all of Aram, not just Damascus and all those in charge, so that no other family takes over rule.
Kir is unknown, but is possibly the place the Arameans came from. Either way, they are exiled and no longer have a land their own.

Philistia (1:6-8)
Gaza was the most prominent and powerful city in the region. Ashdod, Ashkelon and Ekron are all areas of Philistia.
“Exiled a whole people” not just the soldiers/prisoners of war. Instead, they took whole towns communities, men women and children and sold them into slavery.

Phoenicia (1:9-10)
Tyure was the strongest Phoenician City.
“Forgot the covenant of brotherhood” the broke the treaty with someone, we do not know whom.
Same crime and punishment as to Philisia. Continue reading