I recently found a great study tool created by one of my favorite authors, John MacArthur. I wasn’t quite certain what I was getting when I received my copy of One Perfect Life in the mail, but I was pleasantly surprised.
The concept of the book is a blending of all the Scriptures concerning the life of Christ. It is part Bible, part commentary with an interesting twist. MacArthur has compiled relating Scriptures chronologically to tell the Gospel story with blended strokes. The short chapters are arranged by events in the life of Christ and pull from every book of the Bible that tells that portion of the story or contains supporting material. It layers the four Gospels on top on each other to see a more complete picture.
This book will be a regularly used tool in my study library. Any time I am preaching or teaching from a specific event in the life of Christ, I will certainly use this study tool to understand the event from the viewpoint of each Scripture in which it is told.
I would highly recommend this book to any preacher, Bible teacher, or anyone who wants a fresh, Bible-based look at the life of Jesus Christ. Thank you, Mr. MacArthur for creating this wonderful tool!
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
Gene Edwards has, for a long time, been one of my favorite authors. If you have never read A Tale of Three Kings or The Prisoner in the Third Cell, do yourself a favor and move them to the top of your reading list. Both books are quick reads that will deeply impact your life.
In Living Close to God, Edwards writes of his personal struggle with feeling like a failure at personal devotions and the solution he found. Hint: it wasn’t to try harder to pray and read the Bible. If you have struggled to have a consistent time with the Lord or found that your mind is constantly wandering during prayer and Bible reading, you will benefit from the insights in this book.
Edwards points out the complexity we often bring into our relationship with God when it is really much more simple. He reminds us that, “From the day Jesus was baptized until today, the majority of believers have been illiterate. They could not read. So the solution must be simple.” He asks, “Does a Christian with a college degree stand a better chance of having a meaningful spiritual life than the Christian who cannot read?”
Jesus’ audience was 98 percent illiterate, and He gave no indication that He was planning on a future church filled with an intellectual, spiritually elite group of followers. Jesus’ teachings were consistently simple no matter who was in the audience.
The one thing about this book that I struggled with was Edwards’ view on the spiritual disciplines of prayer and Bible study. It seems to me that (on some level) Edwards has dismissed these disciplines as unimportant in the Christian life. I disagree. While I do believe that it is important that we are mindful of the Lord throughout the day, as Edwards encourages, I also believe in the need for dedicated times of focused prayer and Bible study.
I received “Living Close To God: When You’re Not Good At It” by Gene Edwards from Blogging for Books / WaterBrookMultnomah Press in exchange for my review, of which there was no pressure one way or the other regarding how I reviewed it.
I am currently reading a great book on Bible study titled Living By the Book by Dr. Howard Hendricks. Dr. Hendricks offers practical advice for Bible study regardless of your level of familiarity with Scripture. I highly recommend this book.
Today I want to share a brief study that Dr. Hendricks provides on the word translated “perfecting” in Galatians 4:12.* What does “perfecting” mean in this Scripture? One way to get a better understanding is to look up other uses of the same greek word in the New Testament.
“And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:” Galatians 4:11-12
This word is also used to describe the mending of broken nets. Fisherman had to repair their nets at the end of a long day of fishing. This is a beautiful picture of the purpose of the five-fold ministry; it is for the repairing of the saints.
The same word is also used to describe the setting of broken bones. When someone breaks a bone, a doctor must set the bone, or bring it back into alignment so that it can heal properly. Once again, we have a picture of the purpose of the five-fold ministry; it helps to bring healing to the saints.
Finally, this word is used to describe the preparing of a ship for its journey. When a ship sets our for a long journey, the crew must board everything that will be needed to get them safely to their destination. That is the purpose of the five-fold ministry; it equips the saints with everything they need to make the journey.
Dr. Hendricks’ book is packed full of these types of nuggets. If you have a desire to better understand the Word of God, this book will help tremendously.
*Dr. Hendricks uses the NASB version of the Bible which translates this word “equipping.” See numbers 2675 and 2677 in a Strong’s Concordance.