Tag Archives | study

Blame the Spirit | Craig S. Keener

Craig KeenerThe Spirit gets blamed for too much of our indiscipline with study, sometimes substituting imagination for hearing God instead of submitting our imagination to God (Jer 23:16; Ezek 13:2, 17).

—Keener, Spirit Hermeneutics, 109.

Galatians for You | Timothy Keller

The cover of Keller's Galatians for YouGalatians is a powerful letter that has inspired many responses. Luther’s Commentary on St. Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians was one of his most important works. In it he fleshed out what it meant to be justified by Christ’s merits alone. Eugene Peterson was so driven to communicate the truth of Galatians to his church, he translated it into modern language—the birth of The Message. Now Timothy Keller launches a new study guide series: Galatians for You. (I wonder: is For You a comment on N. T. Wright’s For Everyone series?)

Having read this letter and many of its chief commentators in the past, I wanted a fresh take on it to inspire a weekly Bible Study and Prayer meeting at my church. Timothy Keller’s work fit the bill.

Keller is that unique person who is able to marry deep theological truth to practical reflection. On page after page, you are led to reflect on the meaning of the passage as well as how it can change your life. This is one of the few study guides where I’ve actually used many of the discussion questions at the end of each section.

I do have a few issues with Keller, largely resulting from the theological disconnect between my Wesleyan-Arminian roots and his Calvinism. I also was disappointed by his lack of interaction with the New Perspective on Paul (although he does offer a short appendix on his rationale).

That said, these issues are minor. Like the cover says, this is an excellent book for you to read, feed, and lead others with.

—Timothy Keller, Galatians for You (Surrey, UK: The Good Book Company, 2013).

Evangelical Theology | Karl Barth

Here’s my first encounter with Karl Barth: I was asked to present a three minute profile of the man to my class in Bible College. I went to the library’s theological dictionary, thinking to find a one or two column profile I could regurgitate in class. It was then that I knew I was out of my league.

Since then I’ve always wanted to read him. He’s touted (for good reason) as one of if not the most influential theologian of the twentieth century. Still, every time I think about buying his Church Dogmatics, I get a nervous flutter in my stomach. 9,000 pages is a serious commitment. Enter: Evangelical Theology.

Near the end of his career, Karl Barth toured the United States and offered a series of seventeen lectures on what constitutes true Evangelical Theology. This book is the text of those lectures. It provided me with a good grasp of the way he thinks without having to wade through the details of theological battles fought in the mid-1900s.

Barth is everything I hoped he would be. His passion shines through on every page. His writing is full of pithy quotable sentences worth spending time thinking about. Most of all, he views theology as a high calling—an important science.

For years I’ve encouraged anyone entering theological study to read Hulmut Thielike’s A Little Exercise for Young Theologians. I now have two books to recommend.

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