Sunday, June 30, 2013

Review: NIV Leadership Bible: Leading by the Book from Zondervan Publishing

Review: NIV Leadership Bible: Leading by the Book
Zondervan 2013

This review will not comment on the biblical text, but only on the portions that make this the Leadership Bible and maybe a few other things.  With that said, what impressed me first off was the look and feel of this book.  I received an Italian DuoTone™ with ribbon.  Gilt edge, of course.  The general feel of the book is good, and the type clear and decent sized, like maybe 10-12 point for the biblical text.  I am very grateful to have received such a nice volume for this review.  Thank you, Zondervan and BookSneeze.

Beyond the outward appearance though is the content that falls under the leadership emphasis.  For the general reader there are comments and notes throughout the text labeled as INSIGHTS.  Short, helpful and related to a few verses in the immediate vicinity.  For those that purchase this Bible for the leadership study there is a 52 week series available.  Each week (sometimes two weeks) the focus is on a particular quality necessary for leadership like character, integrity, values and more.  For this emphasis please read the introductory pages on how it is organized and where to find week one. 
I read through a couple of the weekly studies and was impressed as to their content.  I think the person wishing to become a leader or a better leader will benefit from what is offered in those discussions.  Would make a nice group study, too.  If you want to work on a particular quality there is a topical index and you may start there.  Additionally, the reader will find several character studies available from the Old Testament and the New Testament.   (As a total aside, if you like this kind of setup, the Open Bible offers an array of studies that are helpful.)

What is not in this book is a concordance or set of maps.  There are footnotes that help with some material though.  Does anyone really look at maps anymore, or do they do a quick online search for information?  I didn’t miss either of those items.  

I do recommend this version of the NIV.  The qualities of leadership are not exclusive to leadership and applicable to anyone, I think.  So maybe when you shop a look at this version would be helpful.

I received this book in return for this review.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Review: The World of Jesus: Making Sense of the People and the Places of Jesus’ Day by Dr. William H. Marty

Review: The World of Jesus: Making Sense of the People and the Places of Jesus’ Day
Dr. William H. Marty
Bethany House Publishers

If you have ever tried to keep track of who is who during the period that is the between the testaments time and afterward you will have a good appreciation for what Dr. Marty has done with this short book.  It’s still like reading a soap opera plot but at least this help keep the characters sorted out.  The political and social changes came fast and frequently back then with the land of the Jews right in the midst of it all.  For me this is a reminder that it was not any easier back then in that region than it is today.  

So if you are looking for a place to start an exploration of that period this might be a good overview to pick up first.  

This book was provided in exchange for a review by the publisher.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Review: The Lifestyle of a Prophet by James W. Goll

Review:  The Lifestyle of a Prophet
James W. Goll
Chosen Books
2001, 2013

Lifestyle of a Prophet?  Isn’t that like eating grasshoppers while dressed in a camel hair robe?  Or hiding out in the desert so a king won’t kill you?  Not in this book, and there isn’t anything even close to those examples mentioned.  So what has this author written about?

For those of us from a non-charismatic or Pentecostal tradition the title is at least peculiar.  So let’s stretch a little and see what the other side of the aisle is talking about here.   That’s where I started with this book.  A prophet in Goll’s tradition speaks a word of wisdom or discernment that concerns those around him.  He mentions that dreams may reveal the information or revelation as well.  In either case, the prophet senses that he speaks the truth of God.  So to avoid some of the less useful forms of that have been known to occur Goll has penned this book.  His major emphasis is humility before God.  You could read this as a gentler version of Paul’s admonishment of the Corinthian church.

This book would be very helpful in the conservative believer’s life too.  What Goll has included here is not some wild-eyed version of life.  It is a gently worded guide to anyone wanting to live a good and holy Christian life.   As such, even if your tradition does not allow for a prophet in their midst, it is a valuable book.  I would hope that the publishers and the author would reissue the bulk of the text with that in mind and under a different title to find a wider audience for his writing.  Whether this book will help those from the Pentecostal or Charismatic tradition, I will leave for their decision.  

This book was provided by the publisher in return for a review.