Book Review: How to Read the Bible by Charles Spurgeon

Book Review: How to Read the Bible by Charles Spurgeon
The cover image for this title was taken from its Audible buy page for review purposes under Fair Use doctrine.

In this case, I need to provide some context. Spurgeon is an often quoted pastor in my church. I’d been meaning ot read some of his work, so I scanned Audible until I found something by him I was especially interested in. Then I got in the car the next day and hit play, only to find out it was a transcript of a 40-minute sermon.

I’m not in any way against sermons. I actually love them. The issue is I was looking for a deep-dive, Biblically driven book, and I inattentively found this instead. So I’d advise anyone considering works by Spurgeon to pay close attention to what they find just to be sure it’s what they’re looking for in the moment.

The other thing that saddened me a bit was where I wanted more of a how, Spurgeon invested most of his sermon to the question of, “What mindset should one have while reading.”

This image was taken from the Christian Hall of Fame of Canton Baptist Temple website in an attempt to represent Spurgeon. This caption is a credit to where the image came from but does not necessarily endorse the site or its teaching as I haven’t studied their site much.

That’s a very important question to address. While I believe that even scanning the words of the page the way one reads a newspaper is of value, if one wishes to study the Bible, that individual must come to it with a desire to be taught, rebuked, corrected, and trained in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16).

This sermon is a powerful motivating tool for those who either may need some guidance as to the mindset one should have while reading the Bible and the value that mindset gives a reader. I think I (vaguely) remember one tidbit, but I struggle to recall it specifically because it was already on my list of things to try.

I’ve since picked up another (actual) book by Spurgeon to study his perspective more deeply, and I’m enjoying it thus far.

What I did appreciate was the chance to listen to a sermon and hear a perspective from a man my church (as well as others) deeply respects (an inference I make by how often he’s quoted in my own pastor’s sermons). As nice as that was, I’m much more excited to dig a little more deeply into his theology and teaching than a single sermon can possibly account for.

Thanks for reading,

Matt

Book Review: The Parables of Jesus by John MacArthur

Book Review: The Parables of Jesus by John MacArthur

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Image taken from the book’s buy page on Amazon for review purposes under Fair Use doctrine. 

The Parables of Jesus by John MacArthur looks at several parables of Christ and breaks them down.

It’s been a bit since I listened to this on Audible, so it’s hard to pick out details.

What I do remember is that MacArthur spent the beginning expressing the value of parables but cautioning that it isn’t the only form of teaching. It certainly wasn’t the only method Christ used, and when he started using them, there was a specific reason.

I think this was the biggest take away for me. The reason that’s so is that I own a MacArthur study Bible, so many of his comments and thoughts are already in the notes of the study Bible. That’s not to say that his detailed analysis full of historical context isn’t great; it’s my favorite part of any of his books. I simply value new information more than information I’ve already consumed.

I do think this would make a great companion piece to one reading the Gospels though. It’s like a study guide or Cliffs Notes for a few specific parables.

This is also a good book to read for someone who wants to focus specifically on the parables. Again, one shouldn’t only obsess on the parables, but a period of study devoted to them is beneficial for anyone.

John-MacArthur-Primary-2As is usual for books by MacArthur, I always enjoy the simple, literal approach  he takes.  Even in parables, he pays close attention to what each figure or subject represented.

My favorite might be the story of Lazarus and the rich man. He provides some interesting insight I found thought provoking. Reading MacArthur’s work is always motivating. I like Biblical books that challenge me to dig back into the Bible, and his books always do that.

Thanks for reading,

Matt

Book Review: The Heart of Anger by Lou Priolo

Book Review: The Heart of Anger by Lou Priolo

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Cover for the book taken from its Amazon buy page for review purposes under Fair Use doctrine.

The Heart of Anger by Lou Priolo is a Biblical perspective on raising children who are troubled by anger.

The thing that stuck with me the most about this book was the distinction between righteous and unholy anger. It also provided a means to put God front-and-center in any interaction with another person (not just a child).

The book also gives tools and procedures for corrective action. Oddly, it doesn’t have any information on punishment. It speaks a lot about discipline, but only in the context of its original meaning (to place one’s self under control). I would have liked some perspective on the topic of punishment.

One reason may be that this book focus most on discipline in terms of teaching, which should always be the priority in any interaction between a parent and his (in my case) children.

I found this book taught me far more about my anger and my perspective than it did about my son (who I read this book hoping to help). Don’t get me wrong; this book helped me find alternative ways to reach my son. However, I found this book helped me personally (if in a convicting way).

Lou
Image of Mr. Priolo taken from his website for review purposes under Fair Use doctrine.

I don’t just recommend this for believing parents; I recommend this book for any believers who feel they might struggle with frustration and anger.

Thanks for reading,

Matt

Book Review: Twelve Unlikely Heroes by John MacArthur

Book Review: Twelve Unlikely Heroes by John MacArthur

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Image taken from book’s Goodreads page for review purposes under Fair Use doctrine.

Twelve Unlikely Heroes by John MacArthur is another book in the vein of Twelve Ordinary Men.

This story talks about 12 heroes from the Bible, but they may not all be the heroes you’re thinking of.

This didn’t have the staying power or resonance that 12 Ordinary Men had on me, but it was nice to read. Most of the stories show how people pass from fear to faith, so people who are struggling with spiritual issues of courage would certainly benefit from reading it.

The book also does a great job of showing how it is God who equips men who can then serve Him to do His will.

I think what I liked most about this book was the insight it gave regarding God’s grace and patience when calling people to action. This book talks about a few judges (from the book of Judges), and each of them had moments of extreme doubt. Honest, humble prayer always yielded results. That is an encouraging thought.

John-MacArthur-Primary-2I don’t know if there are more books from MacArthur of this sort, but I still think Ordinary Heroes was the strongest of the batch. However, this book is still a nice look into characters of the Bible. It lets us study those characters and glean insights about how God works (or can work) in our lives.

Thanks for reading,

Matt