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HISTORICAL BACKGROUND MATERIALS FOR THE HISTORY AND PROPHETICAL BOOKS OF THE OLD TESTAMENT

08/13/2015

I am looking for a book or series of volumes that puts the Old Testament within its Historical / Social context. For example, an understanding of the greater political situation with the Assyrians, Babylonians and Egyptians during the time of Hezekiah would seem to shine light on his decision to show the envoys the wealth/strenght of Judah.
Though some commentaries do provide a glimpse behind the curtain I have not seen anyone systematically lay this out in a way that puts the historical and prophetical books of the bible within their greater context. This historical context is a gap for most people that seems to hinder a fuller understanding of the the message of much of the Old Testament.
Interested to hear of any recommendations.

Jeremy



Jeremy,

Thank you for your good question! There is help for you.
There are Bible background helps available as well as commentaries which do an better than average job showing the background material.

Let me recommend the following:

Walton & Matthews, IVP BIBLE BACKGROUND
COMMENTARY: OLD TESTAMENT--shows the secular history and background issues that should lead to greater clarity of our understanding of the biblical text.

Walton, ZONDERVAN ILLUSTRATED BIBLE
BACKGROUNDS--OLD TESTAMENT; 5 volumes--given the fact it is five volumes rather than one (see above) it stands to reason that much more is included.

Arnold & Wiliamson, IVP DICTIONARY OF THE OLD
TESTAMENT: HISTORICAL BOOKS--1000 pages of
good stuff

Boda & McGonville, IVP DICTIONARY OF THE OLD TESTAMENT: PROPHETS--Ditto above

COMMENTARIES WITH HELPFUL HISTORICAL BACKGROUNDS:

Dale Ralph Davis, JOSHUA; Christian Focus
Dale Ralph Davis, JUDGES, Christian Focus
Dale Ralph Davis, 1ST SAMUEL; Christian Focus
Dale Ralph Davis, 2ND SAMUEL; Christian Focus
Dale Ralph Davis; 1ST KINGS; Christian Focus
Dale Ralph Davis, 2ND KINGS; Christian Focus

Robert Hubbard, ed.; NEW INTERNATIONAL
COMMENTARIES ON THE OLD TESTAMENT; Eerdmans
multi-volume set covering the complete O.T.

Two other resources are very useful.

NIV ARCHEOLOGICAL STUDY BIBLE; Zondervan--the faculty of Gordon-Conwell Seminary gives archeological and historical backgrounds for the whole Bible, aiding our understanding immensely.

James Hoffmeier and Dennis Magary, eds.; DO HISTORICAL MATTERS MATTER TO FAITH ?; Crossway--scholars from around the world show how the Bible is historical and it matters. Eight chapters are on the Old Testament.

These should get you started and provide much help.

Your Book Servant,

Pastor Steve Martin
WWW.THELOGCOLLEGE.WORDPRESS.COM

Posted: 05:19:00 AM :: permalink


1st CORINTHIANS 13

08/03/2015

Steve,
I am an elder in a PCA church and am looking for a good book on the treatment of love, covered in 1 Corinthians 13, vs 4-7, and particularly as they apply to love in marriage. I seem to remember seeing some really good verse by verse discussions in book(s) some years ago, but I don't seem to find books on it now as I browse through the internet. Are there any books along this line you would recommend. Thanks so much.
In Christ,
Bill Brownfield


Bill,

Thank you for your important question. I believe there are at least two resources that will help.

CHARITY AND ITS FRUITS (Living in the Light of God's
Love) by Jonathan Edwards and Kyle Strobel;
Crossway Books--Edwards classic treatment with
explanatory notes to update the application by Kyle
Strobel.

CHARITY AND ITS FRUITS by Jonthan Edwards; Banner
of Truth

I will keep my eyes open for other resources.

Your Book Servant,

Pastor Steve Martin

Posted: 01:42:00 PM :: permalink


BOOKS FOR MY BROTHER AND HIS FAMILY FOR FAMILY DEVOTIONS

Recently I visited my brother and his family. He has two girls (6 and 8) and because of them he has started going to church. He expressed to me that he would like to teach them about God.

What resources would you recommend?

Enrique

Enrique,

Thank you for your important question. I can recommend three excellent resources to help your brother and his family. See the three books below:


Biblia para nińos, Historias de Jesús / The Jesús Storybook Bible
Jesus Storybook Bible
by Lloyd-Jones, Sally
16.99 / 11.99


Big Book of Bible Truths
Volume One
By: Ferguson, Sinclair
You can never have too many stories! Children love them: We all do! And who better to hear about in a story than the great storyteller himself, Jesus. Through the stories in this book you will find out about him, his life, how he wants to get to know you. Sinclair tells twenty-seven stories that will teach you about what it means to be a Christian. Nick-names, moth burgers – there are many interesting stories that teach you things you didn’t know before – and loads of cool stuff about Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

Big Book of Bible Truths
Volume Two
By: Ferguson, Sinclair
We all love stories - can you ever have too many? There is no one better to hear about in a story than the greatest storyteller himself, Jesus. These stories will help you discover even more about him, his life – how he wants to get to know you. Here are another twenty-seven stories that will teach you about what it means to belong to God’s family. There are lots of different people to discover, including an architect and a master craftsman. You will also be able to work out what a revival is and if Jesus’ mum ever got in a tizzy? Sinclair tells many interesting stories that will teach you things you didn’t know before. God, Jesus and You – what a team! Now that’s a winning combination (no doubt about it)!

May they serve your brother and his family well and introduce them all to Christ.

Your Book Servant,

Pastor Steve Martin

Posted: 09:40:48 AM :: permalink


MATERIALS FOR A SUNDAY MORNING BIBLE STUDY ON SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY

03/31/2015

Steve,

I am an elder in a PCA church. During my three year term, I have been assigned the duty of finding topics and teachers for the adult Christian education class which is conducted each Sunday morning before the worship service. I am concerned that our adult Bible class is not being taught in any planned sequence or topic. I will ask one of our experienced teachers to teacher a certain quarter of the year. Most of these men like to pick their own topics or books of the Bible for the study. The teachers and the topics are excellent and are all taught from a reformed perspective.

However, the students are not getting a systematic study of theology. I would like to have the adult bible study class taught systematically starting with Theology and then proceeding through anthropology, Christology, soteriology,pneumatology, ecclesiology, and then finishing with eschatology. What materials and books do you recommend as I prepare a formal presentation to the elder board with my proposal for a systematic study of theology in our adult Christian education class.

Thank you and may God richly bless you,

David Davis



David,

Thank you for your very good question! Too many Sunday School classes or Bible study classes may be individually good but not organized in such a way as to give the saints a structured and coherent introduction to the faith. I have seen your situation played out too many times.

I suggest you try EVERYONE IS A THEOLOGIAN by R. C. Sproul, an updating of his earlier book, ESSENTIALS OF THE FAITH. Sproul, as I am sure you know, is a good theologian and communicator. He covers all the areas you mentioned in your introductory paragraph. And he is a good Presbyterian. May I suggest that each class member have his/her own copy and the teacher cover each chapter in order with extra material.

Should some want to go deeper, let me recommend his 3 volume exposition of the WESTMINSTER CONFESSION. Both should ground your people well.

May the Lord give you wisdom and the Spirit give you His grace as His truth is taught.

Your Book Servant,

Pastor Steve Martin

Posted: 09:25:00 AM :: permalink


GOOD DOCTRINE BOOKS FOR CHRISTIAN FOLKS OVERSEAS JUST LEARNING ENGLISH

02/15/2015

What is a good basic doctrinal book to send to Christian folks overseas who want resources, but don't read complicated English very well? I'm thinking of a children's book, or something very simple. Thanks for your help.
Meg VH


Meg,

Thank you for your good question. Here are my suggestions for good basic doctrine books that are not too difficult or complex.

John Benton, GOD'S RICHES--workbook on the doctrines
of grace

Helen Tenney, MARK'S SKETCHBOOK OF CHRIST--a
workbook on the gospel of Mark. NOTE: These are
the only two workbooks that Banner of Truth
publishes.

James Beeke, BIBLE DOCTRINE FOR YOUNGER
CHILDREN; 2 volumes
James Beeke, BIBLE DOCTRINE FOR OLDER CHILDREN;
2 volumes
James Beeke, BIBLE DOCTRINE FOR TEENS AND YOUNG
ADULTS
These are excellent ways for adults to learn doctrine
as they teach their children

Sinclair Ferguson, BIG BOOK OF BIBLE TRUTHS; 2 vols.
Sinclair Ferguson, BIG BOOK OF QUESTIONS &
ANSWERS; 2 vols.
I have used these and these workbooks are
excellent.

Simonetta Carr, ATHANASIUS
, AUGUSTINE
, JOHN CALVIN
, JOHN OWEN
, JONATHAN EDWARDS
Excellent ways to learn biography, church history and doctrine by the celebrated author/artist.

Two other volumes pitched at adults but not too difficult. You might try them and see how they are received.

Jerry Bridges, THE GOSPEL FOR REAL LIFE (all that
Christ did for us on the Cross)

Jerry Bridges, TRUSTING GOD--EVEN WHEN LIFE
HURTS--on the doctrine of the sovereignty of God
and His providence!
These two books are gems for any and every Christian to master and apply and rejoice in.

Your Book Servant,

Pastor Steve Martin
WWW.THELOGCOLLEGE.WORDPRESS.COM

Posted: 09:44:00 PM :: permalink


WORKS ON THE "ACTIVE OBEDIENCE OF CHRIST"

01/25/2015

Pastor Steve,
I'm looking for some books that teach the "Active Obedience of Christ" displaying the necessity for His perfect sinless life. Too often the focus is on His death and resurrection (certainly a good thing) but ignoring His life of active obedience to His Father while living in this sin filled world, yet without sin. Thank you.

Carolyn


Sister Carolyn,

Thank you for your good question. Let me recommend the following:

Robert Peterson, SALVATION ACCOMPLISHED BY THE
SON (The Work of Christ); Crossway; Chapter 2--
"Christ's Sinless Life"; pp. 41-60

Brian Vickers, JUSTIFICATION BY GRACE THROUGH
FAITH (Finding Freedom From Legalism,
Lawlessness, Pride and Despair); P & R

These two books are great and can lead you to many other resources.

I hope you enjoy them immensely!

Your Book Servant,

Pastor Steve Martin

Posted: 03:31:00 PM :: permalink


SHORT BOOKS ON WITNESSING TO MUSLIMS ?

01/13/2015

i wonder could you recommend some short books on the matter of witnessing to muslims?
Terry




Terry,

Thank you for your good question. Let me recommend three good books to witness to Muslims.

Malcolm Steer, CHRISTIAN EVANGELISTIC POCKET GUIDE TO ISLAM; Christian Focus Publications--the author seeks to explain Islam in such a way that the Christian reader has handles to witness with.

Malcolm Steer, A MUSLIM'S POCKET GUIDE TO CHRISTIANITY; Christian Focus Publications--the author writes to explain basic Christianity to Muslims in a way they will understand.

Patrick Sookhdeo, CHRISTIAN POCKET GUIDE TO ISLAM; Christian Focus Publications

A bit longer but written by a former Muslim who is now a Reformed pastor:

Thabiti Anyabwile THE GOSPEL FOR MUSLIMS (An Encouragement to Share Christ With Confidence); Moody Press

May the Lord encourage and help you in your witness.

Your Book Servant,

Pastor Steve Martin
WWW.THELOGCOLLEGE.WORDPRESS.COM

Posted: 08:58:00 PM :: permalink


BIOGRAPHIES OF HISTORICAL CHRISTIANS AND MISSIONARIES FOR GIRLS 5TH-7TH GRADES

01/04/2015

Dear Pastor Steve,

Thank you for acquiring and sharing the knowledge about the many books you are able to recommend. I have reviewed some past entries, but have a further question about biographies of historical Christians and missionaries. Can you recommend some for a young reader on the 5th -7th grade level?

Ed Marsh


Dear Brother,

Thank you for your good question. May I recommend the following series for girls, dramatized accounts of famous historical women Christians. The first volume I note is about a young woman who would not deny Christ when
tied to a stake out from shore and told to relent before the tide came in.

And they can lead you to other sources.

Your Book Servant,

Pastor Steve Martin
WWW.THELOGCOLLEGE.WORDPRESS.COM


SEE BELOW:
===================================
AGAINST THE TIDE (The Valor of Margaret Wilson) by Hope Marston; P & R

Dr. OMA by Ethel Herr; P & R

WEIGHT OF A FLAME (The Passion of Olympia Morata)
by Carr, Simonetta

CUP OF COLD WATER by Christine Farenhorst; P & R

WINGS OF A DOVE by Christine Farenhorst; P & R

CHRISTIAN HEROINES (Just Like You?); Catherine MacKinzie; Christian Focus Publications

TEN GIRLS WHO DIDN'T GIVE IN by Irene Howat; Christian Focus Publications

Posted: 03:52:00 PM :: permalink


MATERIAL ON 'THE PRIESTHOOD OF THE BELIEVER' ?

11/10/2014

Steve,
Brother, could you recommend any Calvinistic/Reformed books in the subject of the priesthood of the believer? thank you. blessings. Tony.

Tony,

I have been very disappointed to find very little in print.
I have found no books exclusively on that subject and
I have searched systematic theology texts and find little there.

HOWEVER, sources at P & R tells me that Dr. Craig Troxel has a booklet in a series on the basics of the Reformed faith coming out in the first half of 2015. Check back sometime after the first of the year and help should be available.

Seeking to be your faithful Book Servant,

Pastor Steve Martin

Posted: 07:41:00 PM :: permalink


MATTERS REGARDING WORSHIP AND ITS HISTORY, ETC.

09/18/2014

Any suggestions on the topic of history of Worship (Liturgical vs. informal); Regulative & Normative Principles; also any books or titles on the history of The Second London Baptist Confession of Faith 1689 or Baptist Confessions.
Sincerely,
Bill



Bill, thank you for your good questions. i recommend:

1. Worship related matters
Hart & Muether, WITH REVERENCE & AWE; P & R
Philip Ryken, ed. GIVE PRAISE TO GOD; P & R
Terry Johnson, ed.; THE WORSHIP OF GOD;
Christian Focus
Terry Johnson, LEADING IN WORSHIP; Tolle Lege
T. David Gordeon, WHY JOHNNY CAN'T SING
HYMNS; P & R

2. Professor Jim Renihan is finishing an historical study
of he 1689 Baptist Confession in context. It should
go to print latter in the year, Lord willing, and be
available in 2015. I am afraid that not much else is
currently available.

Your Book Servant,

Pastor Steve Martin

Posted: 09:03:00 PM :: permalink


MATERIAL ON CREATION/EVOLUTION/GENESIS 1-3 FOR KIDS AND PRE-TEENS

09/11/2014

What are the top books you would recommend for addressing creation/evolution/the reliability of the first chapters of Genesis for an elementary school teacher or a parent of young and preteen children?
Dorothy


Dorothy,

Thank you so much for your good question!

Let me recommend the following:

ANSWERS BOOK FOR KIDS, VOL. 1-2-3 (Answers From Genesis)

NEW ANSWERS BOOK (VOLUMES 2-4); helpful for parents and teachers answering questions

A IS FOR ADAM; NEW LEAF PRESS

D IS FOR DINOSAUR; NEW LEAF PRESS

N IS FOR NOAH; NEW LEAF PRESS

These should get you started and provide much help.

Your Book Servant,

Pastor Steve Martin

Posted: 04:57:00 PM :: permalink


THE TEN COMMANDMENTS, THEN AND NOW

09/01/2014

Dear Pastor Steve,
Thank you for having a service like this available to CVBBS readers. Can you recommend a book that would be helpful on studying The 10 Commandments? The study would be directed to a small group of old(er) women with different Protestant backgrounds and long histories of Sunday School education. I appreciated Tim Black's paper (from www.alwaysreformed),but felt that it was a little too in depth for my needs. Is there something more brief, with a clear understanding of the role of The 10 Commandments BEFORE Christ and AFTER Christ? What role does the Commandments play in the heart of the believer? Does the born-again believer "need" The 10 Commandments for rightful living if the Holy Spirit "reveals to us all things"? I am in no way negating the usefulness of the law (I am familiar with the book of Romans), but who needs "the directions" (please excuse my flippancy) if Jesus is "doing the driving"..."Christ in us"? As you can see, I have my own questions regarding the topic. I would appreciate any of your thoughts and study recommendations. Thank you.
Lesia


Lesia,

Thank you for your important questions. Let me recommend three books to you--one for the group; two
for you, the leader.

FOR YOU, THE LEADER (to learn and to loan):

Philip Graham Ryken, WRITTEN IN STONE; P & R--
excellent study of how to understand and apply
the Ten Commandments for believers then and now

Ed Clowney, HOW JESUS TRANSFORMS THE TEN
COMMANDMENTS; P & R --excellent study


FOR THE WHOLE GROUP:

James Packer, THE TEN COMMANDMENTS; Tyndale
Excellent study with study questions by an
acknowledged 'Master in Israel' of evangelical and
Reformed theology. Highly recommended.

May our Lord bless you and your study group.

Your Book Servant,

PASTOR STEVE MARTIN

Posted: 05:40:00 AM :: permalink


BIOGRAPHY OF A RUSSIAN CHRISTIAN OR THE HISTORY OF THE CHURCH IN RUSSIA

07/15/2014

Dear Pastor Steve,
You have supplied me with so many good missionary biography titles - thank you!

I am searching for a book about the Christian church in Russia. I know that there is very little written about these believers - both past and present. If you could recommend a good biography of a Russian Christian or the history of the church in Russia, I would be so very grateful.

Thank you for the wonderful ministry you have with CVBBS - you are a blessing to many!!
Kelli



Kelli,

Thank you for your kind encouragements!

I have copied below one very good book about Russian believers that you might find helpful.

MY BELOVED RUSSIA (A Story of God's Love for a
Persecuted People) by Dimitry Mustafin with
Irene Howat; CHRISTIAN FOCUS PUBLICATIONS

It should get you started. May the Lord encourage you and yours through this study.

Your Book Servant,

Pastor Steve Martin

Posted: 05:46:00 PM :: permalink


HELPS FOR BATTLE WEARY PASTORS

07/02/2014

Pastor,
Could you recommend a book or two, to encourage a minister who after many years in the ministry has become a little battle weary?
Thanks,
Dan


Dan,

Thank you for an important question. The following books speaks to the issue in more than one way and are all worthy of purchase and mastery.

Maurice Roberts, "The Danger of Becoming Battle
Weary", in THE CHRISTIAN'S HIGH CALLING;
Banner of Truth. To the point and a good
Chapter to photocopy and distribute among
the office bearers.

Francis Schaeffer, NO LITTLE PEOPLE; Crossway--
the first chapter, "No Little People". is an all time
gem that should be read annually. Similarly, this
chapter should be photocopied and mastered by
local church officers.

Kent Hughes, LIBERATING MINISTRY FROM THE
SUCCESS SYNDROME; Tyndale--speaks to one
huge underlying cause and is very liberating.

Matt Redmund, THE GOD OF THE MUNDANE;
Kalos Press--addresses the false idea that we must
be "radical" and be doing daring things and thereby
become significant Christians. Biblically it provides
a breath of fresh air in a stuffy elevator going
down!

Martyn Lloyd-Jones, AUTHORITY; Banner of Truth
Addresses the issues of authority in the Bible and
the authority given to a preacher and a church
and why authority is lost and men try to make
bricks without straw.

May the Lord encourage the battle weary Himself.

Your Book Servant,

Pastor Steve Martin

Posted: 04:44:00 PM :: permalink


BOOKS FOR ELDERS WIVES ?

06/23/2014


I need some help in finding the best suggestion for a book for elders wives to study together. I am an elders wife and our pastor suggested I research a book for elders wives. What our role as a wife? How I minister to & how I shouldn't minister to other women and families. Thank you for your input.

Sue



Sue,

Thank you for your important question. I have compiled a list of books that complement each other and address the issues you are concerned about.

Martha Peace, BECOMING A TITUS 2 WOMAN; Focus
Christian Publishing--an Elder's wife and leading
NANC counselor, Martha shows the older women
in the churches how to lead and mentor the
younger women according to Paul's mandate in
Titus 2.

Brian and Cara Croft, THE PASTOR'S FAMILY;
Zondervan--your husbands help the pastors and
you help your husbands, so this book indirectly
relates to you too. And it will help you appreciate
your pastor, his wife and their issues.

Catherine Steward, ed.; LETTERS TO A PASTOR'S
WIFE; P & R--fifteen women contributed chapters
on aspects of being a pastor's wife. For the same
reasons listed above, you can apply various aspects
of this book to Elders wives. Very good.

Mark Chanski, WOMANLY DOMINION (More Than a
Gentle and Quiet Spirit); Calvary Press--If the
man is the head of his home (see Chanski's earlier
work, MANLY DOMINION, also from Calvary Press.
then his wife has more to do that sit with her
hands folded looking serene and pious. Lots of
good food for thought.

May the Lord direct your study and grow each of you in His grace during the study.

Your Book Servant,

Pastor Steve Martin

Posted: 01:07:00 PM :: permalink