"Must Reading" for Christian Leaders

I sent this out to our elders, but thought I would post it here as well. Tolle Lege!



Hey brothers,

Happy New Year! Seems weird to say 2018 . . . . Time is flying. Let’s ensure we are redeeming the time for His glory. One way to do that is by becoming well-read, which is part of what it means to be “able to teach." Readers are leaders and leaders are readers. Scripture must always be our main fount, but I want to encourage you to read some other books that will help you see Scripture more clearly. I have attached that document of key books to use for discipling men in our church, but here are nine from that list I want to strongly challenge you to read this year. I consider them “must reading” for modern day elders of local churches. They are not easy reading, but we grow by stretching ourselves and not much worth doing is easy:
  •  Knowing God by JI Packer (279 pgs) – modern day classic. Devotional theology.  
  • The Cross-Centered Life by CJ Mahaney (85 pgs) – helps us keep the main thing the main thing.
  • Desiring God by John Piper (288 pgs) – another modern classic on God’s glory and our joy.
  •  Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God by JI Packer (126 pgs) – gospel, character of God, evangelism.
  • The Discipline of Grace by Jerry Bridges (242 pgs) – Devotional book on the centrality of grace.
  • Humility by CJ Mahaney (170 pgs) – practical theology with a view to enlarging God and minimizing us.
  • Chosen by God by RC Sproul (213 pgs) – excellent handling of a crucial doctrine (with implications for many other doctrines)
  • The Holiness of God by RC Sproul (216 pgs) – Modern classic on the key attribute of our great God.
  • The Walk by Stephen Stallman (197 pgs) – one of the most helpful books for believers, new and old.


That is 1816 pages. If you read just 20 minutes a day, it will add up to around 4,000 pages a year. Easy money!



40 Hymns You Should Know, Teach Your Kids, or Your Grandkids

I love hymns that connect generations. Unlike the vast majority of stuff written lately, these either have been around for a hundred years or will be for the next 100. Here are 40 I think all families should know and love:


  • And Can it Be. Link.
  • All Glory Be to Christ. Link.
  • All Hail the Power of Jesus' Name. Link.
  • All I Have is Christ. Link.
  • Amazing Grace. Link.
  • Arise, My Soul, Arise Link.
  • Be Thou My Vision. Link.
  • Because He Lives. Link.
  • Before the Throne of God Above. Link.
  • Behold Our God. Link.
  • Come Ye Sinners. Link.
  • Great is Thy Faithfulness. Link.
  • His Mercy is More. Link.
  • Holy Holy Holy. Link
  • How Deep the Father's Love for Us. Link.
  • How Great Thou Art. Link.
  • I Need Thee Every Hour. Link
  • I Will Glory in My Redeemer. Link.
  • I Will Sing of My Redeemer. Link.
  • In Christ Alone. Link.
  • Jesus Paid It All. Link.
  • Oh For a Thousand Tongues to Sing. Link.
  • Oh the Deep Deep Love of Jesus. Link.
  • Old Rugged Cross. Link.
  • Praise to the Lord, the Almighty. Link.
  • There is A Fountain. Link.
  • There is Power in the Blood. Link.
  • This is My Father's World. Link.
  • What Can Wash Away My Sin (Nothing but the Blood). Link.
  • When I Survey the Wondrous Cross. Link.

Top Ten Reads of 2017

Another year, more books. It should go without saying, but in today's weirdness I need you to know that I don't agree with everything in all these books. In no particular order, here were my favorite reads this year:
  • The Spirituality of the Cross by Gene Veith - In good Lutheran form, Veith grounds our spirituality in the objective finished work of Christ.
  • Calvinism in a Las Vegas Airport by Richard Mouw - I love Richard Mouw. Will eventually read everything he has written. His is a broader gentler Calvinism that seeks to get to work in the world.
  • The Message of Ephesians by John Stott - Stott + Ephesians = cash money. What a gift to the church the letter to the Ephesians is. What a gift to pastors John Stott is. Powerful combo.
  • The Crucified King by Jeremy Treat - Let not man separate what God has joined together. Great example of biblical theology informing systematic theology.
  • You Are What You Love by Jamie Smith - This was my first entry to Smith. I already want to reread this one, then buy the trilogy and drink deeper from his project.
  • Rock Solid by Archer and Thornborough - Short, accessible works on theology are hard to come by but this one's a gem. A group of UK scholars cover twelve gospel truths in 12 chapters at about 10 pages a pop, with a Bible study, historical sketch, and application sections too! Really good for discipleship.
  • Greek for Life by Merkle and Plummer - Motivating and helpful strategies for learning, retaining, and reviving your Greek.
  • Covenant by Thomas Schreiner - Really good and short overview of the covenants by one of my favorite NT scholars. After reading his Galatians commentary, it did seem like he had a broad Crossway (read: not all Baptists) audience in mind.
  • The Mission of God's People by Christ Wright - Wright's Mission of God is one of my favorite books. I love his emphasis on the OT. Though he defines the church's mission a bit broader than I would, this is a great example of biblical theology for life.
  • Letters to a Young Calvinist by Jamie Smith - Smith made my list twice this year! What a fun read. As a disciple of Mouw, and therefore Kuyper, you'll notice the tone and broadness. I really appreciated his emphasis on the worldview of Reformed theology.

I can't stop without mentioning a couple that I have read before but re-read this year. I took our pastors through Nine Marks of a Healthy Church by Mark Dever this year and it was even more refreshing the second time. Would that every pastor in America would read this book! Also, I took our staff through CJ Mahaney's Living the Cross-Centered Life, a great devotional look at the centrality of the cross for the Christian life. Both are worthy of reading and rereading.


Archives:

The ESV, NIV, & CSB Compared

A Comparison of the CSB, ESV, & NIV (2011)[1]
ESV Genesis 29:10 Now as soon as Jacob saw Rachel the daughter of Laban his mother's brother, and the sheep of Laban his mother's brother, Jacob came near and rolled the stone from the well's mouth and watered the flock of Laban his mother's brother.
NIV Genesis 29:10 When Jacob saw Rachel daughter of his uncle Laban, and Laban’s sheep, he went over and rolled the stone away from the mouth of the well and watered his uncle’s sheep.
CSB Genesis 29:10 As soon as Jacob saw his uncle Laban's daughter Rachel with his sheep, he went up and rolled the stone from the opening and watered his uncle Laban's sheep.
Comment: Uncle > mother’s brother.

ESV Exodus 4:14 and when he sees you, he will be glad in his heart.
NIV Exodus 4:14 and he will be glad to see you.
CSB Exodus 4:14 He will rejoice when he sees you.
Comment: “He will be glad in his heart” is a Semitic idiom which simply means “he will be glad.”

ESV Job 1:2 There were born to him seven sons and three daughters.
NIV Job 1:2 He had seven sons and three daughters.
CSB Job 1:2 He had seven sons and three daughters.

ESV Job 1:5 Thus Job did continually.
NIV Job 1:5 This was Job’s regular custom.
CSB Job 1:5 This was Job's regular practice.

ESV 2 Samuel 7:19 this is instruction for mankind, O Lord GOD!"
NIV 2 Samuel 7:19 this decree, Sovereign LORD, is for a mere human!"
CSB 2 Samuel 7:19 this is a revelation for mankind, Lord GOD.

ESV Psalm 1:1 Blessed is the man
NIV Psalm 1:1 Blessed is the one
CSB Psalm 1:1 How happy is the one

ESV Psalm 20:7 Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God. 
NIV Psalm 20:7 Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.
CSB Psalm 20:7 Some take pride in chariots, and others in horses, but we take pride in the name of the LORD our God.


ESV Psalm 23:1 The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
NIV Psalm 23:1 The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
CSB Psalm 23:1 The LORD is my shepherd; I have what I need.
Comment: Though the old language is familiar and cherished by some, it does not communicate well today. “Want” means something different in our day than it did a couple hundred years ago.

ESV Psalm 23:4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
NIV Psalm 23:4 Even though I walk through the darkest valley,
CSB Psalm 23:4 Even when I go through the darkest valley,
Comment: The NIV, CSB, NET, NRSV, and NLT have clarified this verse with “darkest valley.”

ESV Psalm 37:1 Fret not yourself because of evildoers; be not envious of wrongdoers!
NIV Psalm 37:1 Do not fret because of those who are evil or be envious of those who do wrong;
CSB Psalm 37:1 Do not be agitated by evildoers; do not envy those who do wrong

ESV Psalm 71:7 I have been as a portent to many
NIV Psalm 71:7 I have become a sign to many
CSB Psalm 71:7 I am like a miraculous sign to many

ESV Psalm 76:2 His abode has been established
NIV Psalm 76:2 His tent is
CSB Psalm 76:2 His tent is

ESV Isaiah 34:6 it is sated with blood
NIV Isaiah 34:6 is bathed in blood
CSB Isaiah 34:6 is covered with blood

ESV Isaiah 53:4 smitten by God
NIV Isaiah 53:4 stricken by him
CSB Isaiah 53:4 struck down by God

ESV Amos 4:6 I gave you cleanness of teeth in all your cities
NIV Amos 4:6 I gave you empty stomachs in every city
CSB Amos 4:6 I gave you absolutely nothing to eat in all your cities
Comment: NIV and CSB have clarified this Hebrew idiom.

ESV Zechariah 1:3 Thus declares the LORD of hosts:
NIV Zechariah 1:3 This is what the LORD Almighty says:
CSB Zechariah 1:3 This is what the LORD of Armies says:

ESV Matthew 1:18 she was found to be with child
NIV Matthew 1:18 she was found to be pregnant
CSB Matthew 1:18 it was discovered before they came together that she was pregnant

ESV Matthew 1:25 but knew her not until she had given birth to a son.
NIV Matthew 1:25 But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son.
CSB Matthew 1:25 but did not have sexual relations with her until she gave birth to a son.

ESV Matthew 5:2 And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying:
NIV Matthew 5:2 and he began to teach them.
CSB Matthew 5:2 Then he began to teach them, saying:

ESV Matthew 6:34 Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
NIV Matthew 6:34 Each day has enough trouble of its own.
CSB Matthew 6:34 Each day has enough trouble of its own.

ESV Mark 1:1 The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ
NIV Mark 1:1 The beginning of the good news about Jesus the Messiah
CSB Mark 1:1 The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
Comment: Christ (Christos) is a title, not a last name.

ESV Mark 1:2 Behold, I send my messenger before your face
NIV Mark 1:2 I will send my messenger ahead of you
CSB Mark 1:2 See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you
Comment: “Before your face” is an idiom meaning “ahead of you.”

ESV Mark 3:28 Truly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the children of man, and whatever blasphemies they utter
NIV Mark 3:28 Truly I tell you, people can be forgiven all their sins and every slander they utter
CSB Mark 3:28 Truly I tell you, people will be forgiven for all sins and whatever blasphemies they utter.

ESV Mark 8:36 For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?
NIV Mark 8:36 What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?
CSB Mark 8:36 For what does it benefit someone to gain the whole world and yet lose his life?
Comment:
Extensive research has shown that the singular “they,” “their,” and “them” has a venerable place in common English idiom and has quickly become established in speaking and writing. Those troubled by translating singulars to plurals should note that Paul did this: See Rom 10:15b (those) quoting Isa 52:7 (him), Rom 3:10 (their) quoting Ps 36:1b (his), and Rom 4:6-7 (they) quoting Ps 32:1 (he).[2]

ESV Luke 2:12 wrapped in swaddling cloths
NIV Luke 2:12 wrapped in cloths
CSB Luke 2:12 wrapped tightly in cloth

ESV Luke 5:12 While he was in one of the cities, there came a man full of leprosy.
NIV Luke 5:12 While Jesus was in one of the towns, a man came along who was covered with leprosy.
CSB Luke 5:12 While he was in one of the towns, a man was there who had leprosy all over him.
Comment: Full of leprosy?

ESV Luke 11:41 But give as alms those things that are within
NIV Luke 11:41 But now as for what is inside you – be generous to the poor
CSB Luke 11:41 But give from what is within to the poor

ESV Luke 17:35 There will be two women grinding together
NIV Luke 17:35 Two women will be grinding grain together
CSB Luke 17:35 Two women will be grinding grain together

ESV Luke 22:47 there came a crowd
NIV Luke 22:47 a crowd came up
CSB Luke 22:47 suddenly a mob came

ESV John 1:16 And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.
NIV John 1:16 Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given.
CSB John 1:16 Indeed, we have all received grace upon grace from his fullness
Comment: If John wanted to say “upon,” he would have used the preposition epi, not anti. The most common use of anti is “instead of” or “in place of.”[3]

ESV  John 3:16 "For God so loved the world
NIV  John 3:16 For God so loved the world
CSB John 3:16 "For God loved the world in this way
Comment: The word houtōs means “in this way,” or “in this manner.” CSB is to be applauded for breaking with tradition when it muddles the meaning of Scripture.

ESV John 9:22 anyone should confess Jesus to be Christ
NIV John 9:22 anyone who acknowledged that Jesus was the Messiah
CSB John 9:22 anyone confessed him as the Messiah

ESV  Acts 2:33 Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God
NIV  Acts 2:33 Exalted to the right hand of God,
CSB  Acts 2:33 Therefore, since he has been exalted to the right hand of God
Comment: The NIV does not translate oun (therefore).

ESV Acts 2:43 And awe came upon every soul
NIV Acts 2:43 Everyone was filled with awe
CSB Acts 2:43 Everyone was filled with awe

ESV Acts 3:11 While he clung to Peter and John, all the people, utterly astounded, ran together to them in the portico called Solomon's.
NIV Acts 3:11 While the man held on to Peter and John, all the people were astonished and came running to them in the place called Solomon’s Colonade.
CSB Acts 3:11 While he was holding on to Peter and John, all the people, utterly astonished, ran toward them in what is called Solomon's Colonnade.

ESV Acts 4:34 There was not a needy person among them
NIV Acts 4:34 that there were no needy persons among them
CSB Acts 4:34 For there was not a needy person among them
Comment: Here the ESV leaves out the “for” (gar) that begins the sentence.

ESV Acts 8:23 For I see that you are in the gall of bitterness and in the bond of iniquity.
NIV Acts 8:23 For I see that you are full of bitterness and captive to sin.
CSB Acts 8:23 For I see you are poisoned by bitterness and bound by wickedness.

ESV Acts 19:13 I adjure you by the Jesus
NIV Acts 19:13 In the name of Jesus . . I command you
CSB Acts 19:13 I command you by the Jesus

ESV Acts 20:12 And they took the youth away alive, and were not a little comforted.
NIV Acts 20:12 The people took the young man home alive and were greatly comforted.
CSB Acts 20:12 They brought the boy home alive and were greatly comforted.

ESV Romans 1:4 was declared to be the Son of God in power
NIV Romans 1:4 was appointed the Son of God in power
CSB Romans 1:4 and was appointed to be the powerful Son of God
Comment: “Declared” is an incorrect translation of horizō. It never means “declared” in the NT or LXX. In its seven other occurrences, it means “determine, appoint, or fix.[4]

ESV Romans 1:5 through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about (eis) the obedience of faith
NIV Romans 1:5 Through him we received grace and apostleship to call all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith
CSB Romans 1:5 Through him we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith

ESV Romans 2:14 For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. 
NIV Romans 2:14 (Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law.
CSB Romans 2:14 So, when Gentiles, who do not by nature have the law, do what the law demands, they are a law to themselves even though they do not have the law.
Comment: Here I think the CSB nails it by modifying “do not have the law” with the phrase “by nature.” As Gentiles, they are without the Mosaic law.

ESV Romans 6:12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal bodies
NIV Romans 6:12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body
CSB Romans 6:12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body

ESV  Romans 7:14 For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin.
NIV  Romans 7:14 We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin.
CSB Romans 7:14 For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold as a slave to sin.
Comment: The NIV often omits the key word “for” (gar). So also Romans 1:18, 8:5, and 8:7.

ESV Romans 9:5 To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ who is God over all
NIV Romans 9:5 Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of the Messiah, who is God over all
CSB Romans 9:5 The ancestors are theirs, and from them, by physical descent, came the Christ, who is God over all

ESV Romans 10:4 For Christ is the end of the law.
NIV Romans 10:4 Christ is the culmination of the law
CSB Romans 10:4 For Christ is the end of the law
Comment: The NIV is on point here, since telos can mean end or goal. Culmination nicely captures both, though they should’ve left the “for.”

ESV Romans 13:8 Owe no one anything
NIV Romans 13:8 Let no debt remain outstanding
CSB Romans 13:8 Do not owe anyone anything
Comment: The NIV softens the imperative here.

ESV Romans 15:3 For Christ did not please himself
NIV Romans 15:3 For even Christ did not please himself
CSB Romans 15:3 For even Christ did not please himself
Comment: The text says ho Christos = the Messiah. It should be translated as such. Wish the CSB would have stuck with HCSB on this one.

ESV Romans 15:7 Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you
NIV Romans 15:7 Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you
CSB Romans 15:7 Therefore accept one another, just as Christ also accepted you
Comment: The text says ho Christos = the Messiah. HCSB was best on this one.

ESV Romans 16:1 Phoebe, a servant
NIV Romans 16:1 Phoebe, a deacon
CSB Romans 16:1 Phoebe, who is a servant

ESV Romans 16:7 Greet Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen and my fellow prisoners. They are well known to the apostles
NIV Romans 16:7 Greet Andronicus and Junia, my fellow Jews who have been in prison with me. They are outstanding among the apostles
CSB Romans 16:7 Greet Andronicus and Junia, my fellow Jews and fellow prisoners. They are noteworthy in the eyes of the apostles
Comment: This is a very controversial passage due to its implications for gender, but the consensus view is that episēmoi en tois apostolois means “distinguished among the apostles.”[5]

ESV 1 Corinthians 6:8-9 But you yourselves wrong and defraud--even your own brothers! Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God?
NIV 1 Corinthians 6:8-9 Instead, you yourselves cheat and do wrong, and you do this to your brothers and sisters. Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God?
CSB 1 Corinthians 6:8-9 Instead, you yourselves do wrong and cheat - and you do this to brothers and sisters! Don't you know that the unrighteous will not inherit God's kingdom?
Comment: By being inconsistent in translating this verse, the ESV and CSB misses the word play Paul is using. He is warning them, “You do wrong (adikeite) . . . don’t you know that wrongdoers (adikoi) will not inherit the kingdom.

ESV 1 Corinthians 10:26 For “the earth is the Lord's, and the fullness thereof.”
NIV 1 Corinthians 10:26 for, “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it.”
CSB 1 Corinthians 10:26 since the earth is the Lord's, and all that is in it.

ESV 2 Corinthians 5:16 we regard him thus no longer.
NIV 2 Corinthians 5:16 we do so no longer.
CSB 2 Corinthians 5:16 we no longer know him in this way.

ESV 2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation
NIV 2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come
CSB 2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation
Comment: The Greek literally says, “If anyone is in Christ, new creation.” The NIV is more accurate here though, for Paul never uses the noun “creation” (ktisis) for individuals.
ESV 2 Corinthians 12:10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities.
NIV 2 Corinthians 12:10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties.
CSB 2 Corinthians 12:10 So I take pleasure in weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and in difficulties, because of Christ.
Comment: The ESV softens the verb eudokeō. It is much stronger than “I am content.”
ESV Galatians 1:8 let him be accursed
NIV Galatians 1:8 let them be under God’s curse

CSB Galatians 1:8 a curse be on him
ESV Galatians 4:3 In the same way we also, when we were children, were enslaved to the elementary principles of the world.
NIV Galatians 4:3 So also, when we were underage, we were in slavery under the elemental spiritual forces of the world.
CSB Galatians 4:3 In the same way we also, when we were children, were in slavery under the elements of the world.
Comment: There are a couple of problems with the ESV here. First, the ESV leaves out the word “under” (hypo), which is very important theologically for Paul. In Galatians he equates being under the law with under the elemental spiritual forces, under the control of sin, and under a guardian.[6] The NIV and CSB include the word, “under.” Also, the ESV translates stoichea tou cosmou as “elementary principles of the world.” This is strange since the ESV translates the exact same phrase as “elemental spirits of the world” in Colossians 2:8 and 2:20. I think the ESV has it right in Colossians but wrong in Galatians. The NIV and CSB are accurate in both places and do not leave out any words.[7]

ESV Galatians 5:3, 14 I testify again to every man who accepts circumcision that he is obligated to keep the whole law. . . . 5:14 For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself."
NIV Galatians 5:3, 14 Again I declare to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obligated to obey the whole law. . . . 5:14 For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’
CSB Galatians 5:3, 14 Again I testify to every man who gets himself circumcised that he is obligated to do the entire law. . . . 5:14 For the whole law is fulfilled in one statement: Love your neighbor as yourself."
Comment: In these verses, Paul uses two different verbs and two different adjectives in relation to the law in these two verses. In verse 3, he says that a person who is circumcised is obligated to obey or do (poiēō) the whole (holos) law. In verse 14, he says the entire (pas) law is fulfilled (plēroō) in keeping this one command. NIV has “obey and whole” in v. 3 and “entire and fulfilled” in v. 14 while the ESV has “keep and whole” in v. 3 and “whole and fulfilled” in v. 14.

ESV Galatians 5:6 but only faith working through love.
NIV Galatians 5:6 The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.
CSB Galatians 5:6 what matters is faith working through love.
Comment: The NIV misses the word play on “works.” Works of the law do not justify but faith “works” (energēō) through love.

ESV Galatians 5:7 You were running well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth?
NIV Galatians 5:7 You were running a good race. Who cut in on you to keep you from obeying the truth?
CSB Galatians 5:7 You were running well. Who prevented you from being persuaded regarding the truth?
Comment: The NIV is better here. Paul is alluding to the Judaizers who were trying to force the Galatians to be “cut” (i.e. circumcised).

ESV Galatians 6:10 So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.
NIV Galatians 6:10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.
 CSB Galatians 6:10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us work for the good of all, especially for those who belong to the household of faith.
Comment: The NIV and ESV miss another important word play here in Paul. Paul has been showing how “works of the law” (ergōn nomou) do not justify. This does not imply that Christians do not “work.” No, we “work” (ergaōmetha) good to all, especially to fellow Christians.

ESV Galatians 6:15 For neither circumcision counts for anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation.
NIV Galatians 6:15 Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is the new creation.
CSB Galatians 6:15 For both circumcision and uncircumcision mean nothing; what matters instead is a new creation.

ESV Galatians 6:16 And as for all who walk by this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God.
NIV Galatians 6:16 Peace and mercy to all who follow this rule – to the Israel of God.
CSB Galatians 6:16 May peace come to all those who follow this standard, and mercy even to the Israel of God!
Comment: Although this is a disputed point, in taking the teaching of the letter as a whole, the NIV rightly translates “and” as an explicative kai.
ESV Ephesians 1:3 Blessed be the God
NIV Ephesians 1:3 Praise be to the God
CSB Ephesians 1:3 Blessed is the God
ESV Ephesians 1:4-5 In love he predestined us
NIV Ephesians 1:4-5 In love he predestined us
CSB Ephesians 1:4-5 blameless in love before him. He predestined . .
Comment: “In love” is best seen as the beginning of verse 5.
ESV Ephesians 1:8-9 . . in all wisdom and insight, making known to us
NIV Ephesians 1:8-9 With all wisdom and understanding he made known to us
CSB Ephesians 1:8-9 . . .with all wisdom and understanding. He made known to us
Comment: I think the NIV gets the punctuation right here.
ESV Ephesians 2:3 we were by nature children of wrath
NIV Ephesians 2:3 we were by nature deserving of wrath
CSB Ephesians 2:3 we were by nature children under wrath
ESV Ephesians 2:10 For we are his workmanship
NIV Ephesians 2:10 For we are God’s handiwork
CSB Ephesians 2:10 For we are his workmanship
ESV Ephesians 2:15 that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two
NIV Ephesians 2:15 His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity, out of the two
CSB Ephesians 2:15 so that he might create in himself one new man from the two
ESV Ephesians 4:20 But that is not the way you learned Christ!
NIV Ephesians 4:20 That, however, is not the way of life you learned
CSB Ephesians 4:20 But that is not how you came to know Christ
Comment: NIV leaves out Christ in this verse.
ESV Ephesians 5:18 but be filled with the Spirit
NIV Ephesians 5:18 Instead, be filled with the Spirit
CSB Ephesians 5:18 but be filled by the Spirit
Comment: I think the CSB is on point here, translating en with by rather than with.
ESV Ephesians 5:21 submitting to one another
NIV Ephesians 5:21 Submit to one another
CSB Ephesians 5:21 submitting to one another
Comment: ESV and CSB show that submitting is a participle rather than a new command or section.
ESV Philippians 2:5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus
NIV Philippians 2:5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus
CSB Philippians 2:5 Adopt the same attitude as that of Christ Jesus
Comment: NIV and CSB > ESV here.

ESV Philippians 2:6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped
NIV Philippians 2:6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage
CSB Philippians 2:6 who, existing in the form of God, did not consider equality with God as something to be exploited
Comment: Progress in biblical scholarship has shown that this word (harpagmos) refers to something a person has in their possession but chooses not to use it to their own advantage.[8] The NIV and CSB are more accurate here.

ESV Philippians 2:27 Indeed he was ill, near to death. But God had mercy on him, and not only on him but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow.
NIV Philippians 2:27 Indeed he was ill, and almost died. But God had mercy on him, and not on him only but also on me, to spare me sorrow upon sorrow.
CSB Philippians 2:27 Indeed, he was so sick that he nearly died. However, God had mercy on him, and not only on him but also on me, so that I would not have sorrow upon sorrow.

ESV Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
NIV Philippians 4:13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
CSB Philippians 4:13 I am able to do all things through him who strengthens me.
Comment:
This verse is ripped out of context all the time to slap on coffee mugs. The NIV’s more accurate translation will make it harder for people to do this. The Greek simply says, “I can do all.” “Things” or “this” must be added. By adding “this” rather than “things,” the NIV points us back to what Paul had just said, namely, being content in any circumstance. While it is true that Christ gives us strength to do all things, in this verse Paul is saying Christ gives him strength to be content in any and every situation (Phil 4:12).

ESV Colossians 1:2 To the saints and faithful brothers in Christ at Colossae
NIV Colossians 1:2 To God’s holy people in Colossae, the faithful brothers and sisters in Christ
CSB Colossians 1:2 To the saints in Christ at Colossae
Comment: Only the NIV translates en as “in” showing they are both in Christ and in Colossae.

ESV Colossians 1:5 because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. Of this you have heard before in the word of the truth, the gospel
NIV Colossians 1:5 the faith and love that spring from the hope stored up for you in heaven and about which you have already heard in the true message of the gospel
CSB Colossians 1:5 because of the hope reserved for you in heaven. You have already heard about this hope in the word of truth, the gospel 

ESV Colossians 2:8  See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit,
NIV Colossians 2:8 See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy
CSB Colossians 2:8 Be careful that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deceit
Comment: Paul is not denouncing all philosophy, only deceptive philosophy that is not according to Christ. NIV clarifies.

ESV Colossians 2:11 by the circumcision of Christ
NIV Colossians 2:11 when you were circumcised by Christ
CSB Colossians 2:11 in the circumcision of Christ

ESV Colossians 2:15 by triumphing over them in him
NIV Colossians 2:15 triumphing over them by the cross
CSB Colossians 2:15 he triumphed over them in him
Comment: Context shows that it is the cross that triumphs.

ESV Colossians 3:9 seeing that you have put off the old self
NIV Colossians 3:9 since you have taken off your old self
CSB Colossians 3:9 since you have put off the old self

ESV Colossians 4:2 Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. 
NIV Colossians 4:2 Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.
CSB Colossians 4:2 Devote yourselves to prayer; stay alert in it with thanksgiving.

ESV 1 Thessalonians 1:3 remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.
NIV 1 Thessalonians 1:3 We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.
CSB 1 Thessalonians 1:3 We recall, in the presence of our God and Father, your work produced by faith, your labor motivated by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ
Comment
: Genitives are tricky for translaters. The writers of the NT had a certain relationship concerning the words in mind. As Moises Silva writes, “It would be naive to think that the average believer in the pew immediately recognizes the ambiguities inherent in the Greek genitive—let alone that he or she has the means to reach an informed opinion regarding the meaning without at least consulting other translations. But if in either case (with the NIV or the ESV) it is necessary to consult something or someone, then what harm has been done by providing a more intelligible rendering that represents, at the very least, a defensible understanding of the text?”[9]

ESV  1 Thessalonians 2:8 So, being affectionately desirous of you
NIV 1 Thessalonians 2:8 so we cared for you. Because we loved you so much
CSB 1 Thessalonians 2:8 We cared so much for you

ESV 1 Timothy 2:5 one mediator between God and men
NIV 1 Timothy 2:5 one mediator between God and mankind
CSB 1 Timothy 2:5 one mediator between God and humanity

ESV 1 Timothy 2:12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet.
NIV 1 Timothy 2:12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet.
 CSB 1 Timothy 2:12 I do not allow a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; instead, she is to remain quiet.
Comment: This is a very controversial and important verse, but many NT scholars agree that “have” or “exercise” authority is the correct translation.[10] The NIV has said it hopes to satisfy both egalitarians and complementarians. Unfortunately, their “assume” will not satisfy many complementarians. Here the NIV should have stuck with their 1984 rendering “have authority.”[11]

ESV 1 Timothy 3:11 Their wives likewise must
NIV 1 Timothy 3:11 In the same way, the women are to be
CSB 1 Timothy 3:11 Wives, too, must be
Comment: ESV adds “their” to the Text. The word gunē means women unless context clearly indicates wife.

ESV 1 Timothy 5:17 Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching.
NIV 1 Timothy 5:17 The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching.
CSB 1 Timothy 5:17 The elders who are good leaders are to be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching. 
Comment: CSB seems to have a Baptist audience in mind with this one.

ESV 1 Timothy 6:10 have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.
NIV 1 Timothy 6:10 have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
CSB 1 Timothy 6:10 have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
Comment: Pangs?

ESV 2 Timothy 3:17 that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.
NIV 2 Timothy 3:17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
CSB 2 Timothy 3:17 so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

ESV 2 Timothy 4:8 Henceforth
NIV 2 Timothy 4:8 Now
CSB 2 Timothy 4:8 [Left untranslated]

ESV Titus 2:5 workers at home
NIV Titus 2:5 to be busy at home
CSB Titus 2:5 working at home

ESV Titus 2:10 not pilfering, but showing all good faith, so that in everything they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior.
NIV Titus 2:10 and not to steal from them, but to show that they can be fully trusted, so that in every way they will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive.
CSB Titus 2:10 or stealing, but demonstrating utter faithfulness, so that they may adorn the teaching of God our Savior in everything.

ESV Titus 3:14 And let our people learn to devote themselves to good works, so as to help cases of urgent need, and not be unfruitful.
NIV Titus 3:14 Our people must learn to devote themselves to doing what is good, in order to provide for urgent needs and not live unproductive lives.
CSB Titus 3:14 Let our people learn to devote themselves to good works for pressing needs, so that they will not be unfruitful.

ESV  Hebrews 2:6 It has been testified somewhere, "What is man, that you are mindful of him, or the son of man, that you care for him?
 NIV  Hebrews 2:6 But there is a place where someone has testified: "What is mankind that you are mindful of them, a son of man that you care for him?
 CSB Hebrews 2:6 But someone somewhere testified: What is man that you remember him, or the son of man that you care for him?
Comment: I think Hebrews 2 is referring to Christ, but the NIV misses this by translating “man” (anthrōpos) as “mankind.” What is even stranger is that the NIV translates Psalm 8:4 as "what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them?" So in the Psalm they have “human beings” but in Hebrews 2 they have the Psalm saying “son of man.”

ESV  Hebrews 4:1 Therefore, while the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us fear lest any of you should seem to have failed to reach it.
NIV  Hebrews 4:1 Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it.
CSB Hebrews 4:1 Therefore, since the promise to enter his rest remains, let us beware that none of you should be found to have fallen short.
Comment: The NIV and CSB softens the warning by translating “fear” (phobēōmai) as “be careful” and “beware.”

ESV Hebrews 7:12 For when there is a change in the priesthood, there is necessarily a change in the law as well.
NIV Hebrews 7:12 For when the priesthood is changed, the law must be changed also.
CSB Hebrews 7:12 For when there is a change of the priesthood, there must be a change of law as well.
Comment:
The ESV misses it here. It is not a change in the priesthood or in the law (dative), but of priesthood (tēs hierōsunēs) and of law (nomou) (gentive).

ESV Hebrews 9:6 These preparations having thus been made
NIV Hebrews 9:6 When everything had been arranged like this
CSB Hebrews 9:6 With these things prepared like this

ESV James 2:24 You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone.
NIV James 2:24 You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone.
CSB James 2:24 You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone.

ESV 1 Peter 4:8 Above all, keep loving one another earnestly
NIV 1 Peter 4:8 Above all, love each other deeply
CSB 1 Peter 4:8 Above all, maintain an intense love for each other

ESV 1 Peter 4:18 And "If the righteous is scarcely saved
NIV 1 Peter 4:18 If it is hard for the righteous to be saved
CSB 1 Peter 4:18 And if a righteous person is saved with difficulty

ESV 2 Peter 1:3, 5 through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence. . . . . 5 For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue
NIV 2 Peter 1:3, 5 through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. . . . For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness
CSB 2 Peter 1:3, 5 through the knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness. . . . For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with goodness
Comment:
Again, the ESV misses Peter’s word play. Peter uses the same word in these verses (aretē), but you would not know it in the ESV since it translates the same Greek word as “excellence” in verse 3 and “virtue” in verse 5. The NIV and CSB rightly translate it “goodness” both times.

ESV 1 John 2:16 and pride of life
NIV 1 John 2:16 and the pride of life
CSB 1 John 2:16 and the pride in one’s possessions

ESV 1 John 4:11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
NIV 1 John 4:11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
CSB 1 John 4:11 Dear friends, if God loved us in this way, we also must love one another.
Comment: As with John 3:16, the CSB is better than the NIV and ESV with the modal meaning of houtōs.

ESV Revelation 3:20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.
 NIV Revelation 3:20 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.
 CSB Revelation 3:20 See! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.
Comment: The NIV reads awkwardly here due to plural pronouns.[12]

ESV Revelation 18:20 Rejoice over her, O heaven
NIV Revelation 18:20 Rejoice over her, you heavens
CSB Revelation 18:20 Rejoice over her, heaven






[1] See Mark L. Strauss, “Why the English Standard Version (ESV): Should not become the Standard English Version”: http://zondervan.typepad.com/files/improvingesv2.pdf. Accessed March 28, 2011. I first noticed several of these in his article.
[2] Fee and Strauss, How to Choose a Translation, 105. The KJV does this at Phil 2:3.
[3] See D.A. Carson, John, PNTC (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1991), 131-32.
[4] Douglas Moo, Romans, NICNT (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1996), 47; Thomas R. Schreiner, Romans, BECNT (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 1998), 42.
[5] Schreiner, Romans, 796; Moo, Romans, 923; See also Linda Belleville, “Women Leaders in the Bible,” in Discovering Biblical Equality (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2005), 116-20.
[6] See my Galatians: A Theological Interpretation (Frederick, MD: New Covenant Media, 2011), 81.
[7] See my The Law of Christ (Frederick, MD: New Covenant Media, 2010), 61-66.
[8] For a defense of this view, see Frank Thielman, Philippians, NIVAC (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1995), 116.
[9] Silva “Are Translators Traitors? Some Personal Reflections;” See also the whole chapter dedicated to the genitive case in Fee and Strauss, How to Choose a Translation, 77-87.
[10] See Andreas J. Köstenberger and Thomas R. Schreiner, Women in the Church: An Analysis and Application of 1 Timothy 2:9-15 (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2005).
[11] See Al Wolters, “An Early Parallel of authentein in 1 Tim 2:12″ JETS 54.4 (2011): 673-684.
[12] See Vern Poythress, “Gender Neutral Issues in the New International Version of 2011,” WTJ 73 (2011): 79-96.

Walking with Jesus

What does it mean to walk with the Lord? Many things could be said, but I want to highlight one key ingredient from Colossians 1-2. In 1:9-12, he prays that we'd be filled with the knowledge of his will so that we would walk (peripatēō) in a manner worthy of the Lord. "Walk" is the main verb, then there are four participles modifying "walk:"


Walk in a manner worthy of the Lord

  1) bearing fruit in every good work
  2) increasing in the knowledge of God
  3) being strengthened by His power
  4) giving joyful thanks (eucharistēō)

Skip ahead to chapter 2:6-7 and Paul gives us the first imperative of the letter. As we received the Christ the Lord, so walk (peripatēō) in Him. Then, again, he unpacks what it means to walk in Christ with four participles:

Walk in Him

  1) being rooted
  2) and built up in Him
  3) established in the faith
  4) abounding in thanksgiving (eucharistia)

Much could be said, but note that in both passages, part of walking with the Lord is being thankful. Flip side: where there is ingratitude, we are no longer walking with the Lord! When we know God, ourselves, and the work of Christ on our behalf, we have every reason to be a thankful people. Lord, help us!

The Pastor and Counseling by Pierre and Reju

I recently finished this book and found it helpful. Here is a brief outline/summary:


INTRODUCTION: Jesus Christ is the means and goal of change.

PART 1: CONCEPT

Ch. 1 – Laboring for Your People: Ministry is suffering and personal (identifying with weakness and sin, speaking to people on God’s behalf). You will improve with practice and keeping your confidence in Christ.

Ch. 2 – Where Do We Begin?: Initial goals are addressing the presenting problem, displaying the relevance of the Gospel, and helping people grow in Christlikeness. In the initial contact, preview (use Personal Background Form), prioritize, and pursue.

Ch. 3 – Your Method: How You Do Counseling: Listen to problem, consider heart responses, speak truth in love. Consider circumstances, other people, self, God. Help them have an accurate view of God.

PART 2: PROCESS

Ch. 4 – The Initial Meeting: Establish a relational connection (listen, build trust, ask how you can help today),  explore the concern, display hope, set expectations (assign prep work, trace out parameters, calendar, pray).

Ch. 5 – Laboring for Change: Get an update, ask about prep work (understand Text?, see implications, how those implications relate to Christ), continue to explore the concern (don’t be hasty or simplistic and don’t assume they are fully conscious of their motivations), offer redemptive remedies (your goal is to promote faith that results in heart-felt, Christ-exalting worship regardless of the circumstances) by using a variety of angles: reintroduce God, depsychologize, deprogram performance, contrast functional and confessional assumptions, reframe, uncover underlying dynamics, show consequences, confront and reorient, and suggest short-term and long-term goals.

Ch. 6 – The Final Meeting: Review major themes, entrust them to the regular ministries and care of the church.

PART 3 CONTEXT

Ch. 7 – Never Laboring Alone: Toward a Culture of Discipleship: "A culture of discipleship means that members don't have to sign up for anything or get permission to love one another. It is a church culture where it is normal for the members to take initiative to love one another and do each other spiritual good. This church culture is not a program, but something that flows in the lifeblood of the church."


Ch. 8 – Laboring Wisely: Using Resources Well

"All Crossed Up" by Horton



Piercing article by Micheal Horton. Here are some excerpts:


"It used to be that the pastor had an office and worked in his study, but today the pastor has a job and works in his office."

"Open up the average issue of Christianity Today to advertisements for pastoral positions and you’ll find descriptions like “team builder,” “warm and personal style,” “outgoing,” “contagious personality,” and “effective communicator.” (Catholic friends tell me that something like this affects Catholicism, too.)"

"I think they’re looking for a Director of Sales and Marketing, whom they may (or may not) call “Pastor.” I’m not against directors of sales and marketing; I just don’t think that this is what we should be looking for in the way of shepherds."

"Perhaps, like the immature and sectarian Corinthians (1 Cor. 3:5–9), we celebrate the extraordinary minister more than the ordinary ministryof the gospel."

"When pastors feel the burden of saving people, selling the gospel, or cornering the market through their own cleverness, methods, creativity, or charisma, they eventually burn out. So, too, do the sheep who are submitted to perpetual exhortations to imitate their restless “authenticity.”

"Should we not begin with Paul’s list of qualifications for our pastors rather than the average job description in circulation today, and abide by the habits of disciplined growth that we find in the New Testament rather than the consumer habits of the marketplace?"


Read the whole piece.

My New Book on Israel and the Church


I am really excited to announce the release of my new book, God's Chosen People. As you probably know, the relationship between Israel and the church is a debated one. It is also extremely important. In some ways, most of the NT is dealing with this issue. It certainly looms large in the Gospels, Acts, Romans, and Galatians. We all come to these passages with certain lenses and this book is meant to help us examine those assumptions in light of Scripture, especially the NT view of the OT. We want and need to have an apostolic hermeneutic as we approach these passages.

In many ways, this book is an exegetical handbook on the key passages. I hope it is accessible and helpful. Coming in at just under 200 pages, it should meet a need. Being such an important topic, I was surprised at how few shorter, accessible resources there are on the church and Israel.

Grab a copy from Amazon or Cross to Crown.

Outline of Ephesians

Short Outline of Ephesians[1]

1.     New Life 1:1-2:10
2.     New Humanity 2:11-3:21
3.     New Ethics 4:1-5:21
4.     New Relationships 5:22-6:24


Expanded Outline of Ephesians


I. The Creation of the New Humanity 1-3

1.     Greeting 1:1-2
2.     Praise God for Spiritual Blessings in Christ 1:3-14
a.     Election 1:4
b.    Adoption 1:5
c.     Redemption 1:7
d.     Forgiveness 1:7
e.     Revealed His Purpose 1:8-10
f.      Inheritance 1:11-12
g.     Sealed by the Spirit 1:13-14
3.     Prayer for Deeper Understanding of those Blessings 1:15-23
4.     Graciously Transformed from Death to Life 2:1-10
a.     What We Were by Nature 2:1-3
b.    What We Are by Grace 2:4-10
5.     Transformed from Disunity to Unity 2:11-22
a.     Where We Were before Christ 2:11-12
b.    Where We Are because of Christ 2:13-22
6.     The Mystery of God’s Plan  & Paul’s Ministry 3:1-13
7.     Prayer for Strength and the Comprehension of the love of Christ 3:14-21

II. The Conduct of the New Humanity 4-6

1.     Living Worthy of the Calling 4:1-5:21
a.     Unity 4:1-6
b.    Christ’s Gifts for the Growth of the Body 4:7-16
c.     Put Off the Old; Put on the New 4:17-32
d.     Pure Living 5:1-21
2.     Countercultural Relationships 5:22-6:9
a.     Wives 5:22-24
b.    Husbands 5:25-33
c.     Children 6:1-4
d.     Slaves 6:5-8
e.     Masters 6:9
3.     Standing Firm in the Spiritual Battle 6:10-20
4.     Final Greetings 6:21-24



[1] Adapted from Stott, Ephesians, 25.

Top Ten Reads of 2016

Time for the bibliophiles to post their favorite reads of the year. Here is my Goodreads Year of Books. Here are the 10 books that benefitted me most this year:
  • The Story of Israel by Pate and Duvall - This is a dense but rich biblical theology that uses "sin/exile/restoration" as the key motif. I think this is extremely helpful, especially for a biblical theology of the Gospels. Jesus came to bring about the restoration of Israel, in His first coming.
  • Galatians for You by Tim Keller - Galatians + Keller = Gospeliciousness. I love this series. Theological but practical and gospel-centered as well.
  • Center Church by Tim Keller - What a treasure this is. I will refer back to it again and again. Its a gospel-driven manual for most things ecclesiology. Parts 1 & 2 are worth the price of the book (which you can buy separately here).
  • Progressive Covenantalism by Wellum and Parker - Fantastic collection of essays on biblical-theological themes such as offspring, Sabbath, Israel, law, circumcision, land, and ethics pertinent to this "third way."
  • The Whole Story of the Bible in 16 Verses by Chris Bruno - I took a couple men's groups through this book this summer. Meets a real need. Biblical Theology for the normal Christian. Was great seeing light bulbs come on for several dudes. I love how it covers the forest by means of the trees.
  • Thirty Years that Changed the World by Michael Green - This was probably my favorite read of the year. Combining rigorous biblical scholarship with a passion for Christ and the church results in my favorite kind of book. Green is a beast.
  • Prodigal Church by Jared Wilson - This one stings at times. It is a critique of the attractional church model and a plea to return to old-school, gospel-centered ministry.
  • Counterfeit Gods by Tim Keller - Keller on idolatry. Enough said. I only realized as I combed my reading log for the year that Keller would nail three of the ten. Not surprising. The man is a great combination of things that result in great books. Glad he waited so long to write a book a month.
  • The Pastor by Eugene Peterson - Believe it or not, this was my first EP read. Of many. Always on guard against the pragmatization of the pastorate, his voice is a breath of fresh air. Cool to learn of his story in this one.
  • Parenting by Paul Tripp - This is a "reorienting" book. Really good reminders. I took some young Dads through this one, and found myself wishing I would have started with his brother's book, Shepherding a Child's Heart, since it is a little more practical. But this is a great philosophy of God-centered parenting. Only wished he'd mentioned the place of spanking.

A few books I am most excited about reading in 2017:
  • God at Work by Veith
  • Mere Christianity by Lewis
  • The Book of Isaiah & God's Kingdom by Abernathy
  • Newton on Xn Life by Reinke
  • Making Sense of God by Keller
  • The Legacy of Luther by Sproul and Nichols

New Covenant Theology (NCT) Resources and Links

The Most Urgent Need of the Church

“The most urgent need in the Church today, even that part of it which is evangelical, is the recovery of the Gospel as the Bible reveals it to us. This is often quite different from the ways in which we have reconstructed it through psychology, the fashions of this culture, or our commercial life. The Church needs to recover some old habits now much discarded, like learning to think of sin as moral failure before God and the self as needing to be restrained, displaced, and forgotten, and seeing God not for his value to us as consumers but for the value he has in himself. His glory should be a matter of more profound interest to the Church than its self-satisfaction. The emancipation that the Gospel offers, after all, is not only from the judgment of God but from the tyranny of self as well. Its freedom is, in part, the freedom to be forgetful of the self in its imperious demands and its insatiable appetite for attention, the freedom to think that God is important in and of himself and not simply in relation to what he can do for us."

 -David Wells, Losing Our Virtue, 204