Category Archives: Book Review

The Annual Meetings # 1

Each year in November professional meetings pertaining to the field of biblical studies are held in a major U.S. city. The largest meeting is the SBL/AAR meeting. That is the Society of Biblical Literature and the American Academy of Religion. Together these organizations attract maybe eight thousand persons who are involved in teaching and researching in the fields of Biblical Studies and Religious Studies.

ASOR, the American Schools of Oriental Research, meets separately a few days ahead of the other meeting. This organization attracts those who are teaching and active in the field of Near Eastern archaeology.

The Evangelical Theological Society (ETS) currently meets at the same time as ASOR. I think in some recent years as many as 2000 members attend ETS. This organization attracts scholars who are admittedly conservative in their approach toward the Scriptures. Most of them teach in seminaries or religious schools.

Some international scholars attend each of these meetings.

From time to time I have someone ask me why I attend. I will suggest a couple of reasons based on the current ETS meeting, and these reasons will be true of both meetings.

Books, Books, Books. I do not buy as many books as I once did, but I still like to see what is being published. The ETS book exhibit has grown from a few tables several years back to a large exhibit hall this year. Many of the major religious publishers offer deep discounts to the members. They know that these teachers may use their books, or at least recommend them, in their classes. Only members with the proper ID are allowed in the exhibit hall.

The Crossway display. Crossway is the publisher of the ESV bible.

The Crossway display. Crossway is the publisher of the ESV bible.

The books on display are mainly the current publications along with a few of the previous best sellers.

A portion of the B&H display.

A small portion of the B&H display.

Friends. Another reason I attend the meetings to to see old friends and make new ones. Jack is now a freelance representative. This week he was working for Moody Press.

Promoting Moody Press books at the ETS meeting.

Promoting Moody Press books at the ETS meeting.

For the first time, Todd Bolen had a display of his Pictorial Library of the Bible Lands. We have written about this series here.

Todd Bolen, Bible, talks with a customer.

Todd Bolen (right), Bible, talks with a customer.

A. D. Riddle made new maps for the revised PLBL. He was helping at the booth. A customer is on the right. Bolen is in the background. This was my first time to meet A. D., he has been helpful to me several times via correspondence.

A.D. Riddle, who supplied new maps for the revised series.

A.D. Riddle (right), who supplied new maps for the revised series, takes a break from talking with an ETS member about the PLBL series.

I ran across Mark Wilson, author of Biblical Turkey: A Guide to the Jewish and Christian Sites of Asia Minor. Mark lives in Turkey part of each year, and has spoken to one of my groups. Everyone who plans a trip to Turkey, or who just wants to know more about the Biblical places in Turkey, should have this book.

Mark Wilson mans the Tutku Travel booth.

Mark Wilson mans the Tutku Travel booth.

Other friends I saw included Steve Wolfgang, former students Rusty Taylor and Randy Murphy.

In another post I will mention some of the papers I heard.

Reformation Day

October 31 is known as Reformation Day because it was on this day in 1517 that Martin Luther posted Ninety-Five Theses on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany. The Ninety-Five Theses were issues that Luther thought should be debated by the theologians. These questions were brought about due to the sale of indulgences and general corruption within the Roman Catholic Church.

The term Protestant was not used to describe those who aligned themselves with Luther for another 12 years, but the Protestant movement can be dated the the event at Wittenberg.

There are many issues on which I would differ with Luther, but I admit that I admire the man and the stand that he took against practices of his day which were departures from the Apostolic doctrine.

This statue of Luther stands in the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany. The official name of the town is Lutherstadt Wittenberg.

Statue of Martin Luther in the Wittenberg Castle Church. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Statue of Martin Luther in the Wittenberg Castle Church. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The original door of the church was destroyed by fire in 1760. Doors covered with bronze plaques with the Ninety-Five Theses on them were installed in 1858. The door of the church is pictured below.

Door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Free Book. Those who use Logos Bible Software may download a copy of the Ninety-Five Theses under the title Disputation of Doctor Martin Luther on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences. For information click here.

Interested in the Reformation? If you have interest in Church History and the place of the Reformation within it, you might enjoy this post on “The background of the Protestant Reformation,” or posts on Zwingli, Tyndale and Knox (and here), Heinrich Bullinger, St. Andrews, and Savonarola.


Max McLean in C. S. Lewis The Screwtape Letters

During World War II when Great Britain was dealing with the threat of extinction,  C. S. Lewis wrote The Screwtape Letters. These letters of unknown provenance are from the senior devil Screwtape to a junior tempter named Wormwood.

Saturday afternoon I saw actor Max McLean in a Broadway-type production, C. S. Lewis The Screwtape Letters. The production begins with Screwtape giving the graduation address at the Tempters’ Training College for Young Devils. After that, everything else takes place in Screwtape’s Office in Hell.

C. S. Lewis The Screwtape Letters

Screwtape writes a series of letters to his nephew Wormwood to help him in working with one of his “patients” – a young Christian man on earth. Wormwood is supposed to keep the patient distracted from serving the Enemy (God), and to deliver him to “our Father below” (the Devil).

In addition to McLean’s superb acting, Toadpipe is a delightful addition to the stage production. She is Screwtape’s secretary in his office in Hell.

Max McLean as Screwtape and his secretary Toadpipe.

Max McLean as Screwtape and his secretary Toadpipe in The Screwtape Letters.

If you have never read The Screwtape Letters, you should do so. The book is available from Amazon in both print and Ebook.

This little except from Letter XII shows us how easily it is for the Devil to distract one from genuine service to the Enemy (God).

You will say that these are very small sins; and doubtless, like all young tempters, you are anxious to be able to report spectacular wickedness. But do remember, the only thing that matters is the extent to which you separate the man from the Enemy. It does not matter how small the sins are provided that their cumulative effect is to edge the man away from the Light and out into the Nothing. Murder is no better than cards if cards can do the trick. Indeed the safest road to Hell is the gradual one—the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.

C. S. Lewis The Screwtape Letters is scheduled for several other cities. Take a look at the for details.

If you are interested in C. S. Lewis, take a look at this photo essay about Lewis here.

Two references from Paul’s second letter to the church at Corinth are appropriate here.

And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. (2 Corinthians 11:14 ESV)

so that we would not be outwitted by Satan; for we are not ignorant of his designs. (2 Corinthians 2:11 ESV)

Thomson’s “The Land and the Book” on Logos community pricing

William Thomson’s 3-volume set, The Land and the Book, is now on community pricing at Logos.

Thomson - The Land and the Book

The Land and the Book

This set of books was published by Harper & Brothers between 1880 and 1886.

Thomson spend many years living in Beirut and traveling throughout the region. This is one of the excellent books telling of travel in those days, and of the then-current understanding of the location of various sites.

I am delighted that this book is now on community pricing for $18. If enough people place a bid the price could be lower. Place your bid today.

HT: Brooks Cochran

Logos Book of the Month — Psalms and Hymns of Isaac Watts

Pick up almost any book of hymns and you will note several songs by Isaac Watts (1674-1748), a native of Southhampton, England. The Dictionary of the Christian Church says,

Watts deservedly holds a very high place among English hymn-writers. His hymns reflect his strong and serene faith and did much to make hymn-singing a powerful devotional force, especially in Nonconformity… [especially nonconformity to the Church of England at the time, but used of nonconformity to any Established Church]

Logos is offering The Psalms and Hymns of Isaac Watts free to Logos users for the month of September. See details here.

A 1775 edition of a book by Isaac Watts. U. of Otago.

I have Logos Bible Software 4 open now to a hymn based on Galatians 6:14. The title is “Crucifixion to the world by the cross of Christ.” We probably know this song by the first words, “When I survey the wondrous cross.”

Crucifixion to the world by the cross of Christ.
(Gal. 6:14)

 When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.

Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,
Save in the death of Christ my God!
All the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them to his blood.

See from his head, his hands, his feet,
Sorrow and love flow mingled down!
Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,
Or thorns compose so rich a crown!

[His dying crimson, like a robe,
Spreads o’er his body on the tree:
Then am I dead to all the globe,
And all the globe is dead to me.]

Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.

Watts, I. (1998). The Psalms and hymns of Isaac Watts. Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

Don’t expect modern shaped notes. And if you know nothing of the Meters that were used in Watts’ time, you may simply use the book for devotional readings.

Notice the vivid fourth stanza describing the dying Christ which is often left out of modern hymn books.

Free Kindle book on the Sermon on the Mount

DeWard Publishing Company is offering a free Father’s Day Kindle download for a limited time.

Invitation to a Spiritual Revolution (Studies in the Sermon on the Mount) by Paul Earnhart is available for free download from this link.

Paul Earnhart has served as minister at the Douglass Hills Church of Christ, Louisville, Kentucky, for many years. He is recognized for both his scholarly and practical approach to Biblical subjects.

The Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) is the seminal announcement of the teaching of Jesus.

This is a great book for any father, or anyone else interested in spiritual matters.

Thanks to DeWard Publishing Company for this gracious gift. Take a look at their other publications.

Major revision of the Pictorial Library of the Bible Lands

Todd Bolen announces the release of a total revision of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands. This revised and expanded edition is the culmination of 9 years of work. The previous version contained 6000 photographs in 10 volumes. According to the announcement,

This new edition consists of 18 volumes with nearly 18,000 photographs, adding hundreds of new sites and re-visiting the old favorites.

Here are just a few features of the new edition of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands.

  • Eight new volumes: (Lebanon, Eastern and Central Turkey, The Greek Islands, and more. New subjects include Cultural Images, Signs, and Trees, Plants, and Flowers.
  • New Photos: For example, more than 1000 new photos have been added to the Jerusalem volume.
  • New Photographers. In addition to the photos by Todd Bolen, the work of more than 40 photographers are included in this new set.
  • New Maps. New, original maps have been created to identify the sites.
  • New Indexes. Every photograph is indexed in a list of more than 400 pages.
  • You get the hi-res photos and the photos already in PowerPoint. You can use the presentation as it is or include individual slides in your own lesson.
  • And more…
Pictorial Library Complete Collection. BiblePlaces.Com.

Front cover of the new Pictorial Library Complete Collection.

For those who already own the previous collection, Bible Places is offering the new 18-volume set for the upgrade price of $179. The entire set for new purchasers is $389.

Would you prefer to make your own photos? Try buying a good digital SLR camera starting at about $1500, flying to Israel (not to mention Lebanon, Egypt, Turkey, Greece, the Greek Islands, Italy, et al.), renting a car for a few weeks, buying the gas. Oh, and don’t forget to hire a private plane for a few hours so you can get some good aerial photos. That might cost at least $389. :-) And what if the lighting conditions were not right for a good photos the day you were at a site? What if you don’t have time to get your photos organized and write a description of each one? Need I go on to make a point? Did I mention that living and teaching in Israel for a decade helps?

Every church should have a set of this material for the teachers to use in their teaching. Over the years I have found that some short-sighted groups (churches) will not make such an expenditure. The other choice is to buy the set for yourself.

I hear several lessons a week, and every one of them could be improved by the use of photos from this wonderful collection.

Learn more about the new Pictorial Library of Bible Lands in the following places:

Charles Savelle has a good interview with Todd Bolen at the BibleX blog here.

I have profited much from the work of Todd Bolen and am delighted to count him as a friend and to recommend this collection of photographs to every teacher of the Bible.

Follow the Blog here.

The Man of Galilee available in Kindle format for 99¢

DeWard Publishing Company announces today that Atticus G. Haygood’s The Man of Galilee in available in Kindle format for 99¢. This, in my judgment, is one of the finest books written, apart from the Bible, to direct people to a proper understanding of Jesus..

The Man of Galilee by Atticus G. Haygood.
I don’t know how long it will be available for this incredibly low price, but I suggest you get it now from this link.

Cambridge Greek Testament closes at Logos Friday noon

We have called attention to Logos community pricing before, especially when there is a publication we think ministers and other Bible students would find helpful.

Cambridge Greek Testament for illustration. The Logos product is a download.

The Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges is such a set. These 21 volumes were written by 15 well-known scholars from the late 19th and early 20th centuries.Barber describes the set this way,

Dated, but still valuable for their brief exegetical comments. (The Minister’s Library)

Logos indicates that the retail price for this set is $389.95. I would not consider paying that price even if I did not already have it on my shelves. But, until noon Friday (PST) Logos has the set in digital format (download) for $26.00. It could go lower. If you use Logos, don’t let this one pass you by. Here is the link.

My bid was placed Nov. 4, 2010. Using Logos teaches patience.

Florida College Lectures on Logos Pre-pub

Yesterday I explained a little about Logos Bible Software and their Community Pricing and Pre-publication Specials. Today I want to tell you about a set of Pre-pub books that are of special interest to me.

Florida College is an accredited (by the Southern Association) private liberal arts college that for decades has offered four years of Bible. The college does not accept funds from churches, but the board, administration and faculty are members of Churches of Christ that are often designated as non-instiutional.

Accreditation as a junior college was granted to Florida College in the mid-1950s, but the college continued to offer four years of Bible studies. Biblical Studies was the first accredited Bachelor’s degree to be offered in 1997.

Since its beginning in 1946, Florida College (earlier named Florida Christian College) conducted an annual Bible lecture program. Beginning in 1974 the main lessons in these lectureships were published in book form from the manuscripts of invited speakers. The speakers were teachers and ministers associated with Churches of Christ.

Melvin Curry followed Homer Hailey as chair of the Bible department after Hailey’s retirement in 1973. Nineteen of the volumes were edited by Curry. After that, it came my turn to edit ten volumes while I served as chair of Biblical Studies. Since my retirement in 2001, Daniel Petty has served as department chair and edited the annual lecture book.

FC Lectures 1996

One of the volumes in the Logos digital set.

There are a total of 38 volumes (1974–2011) in the series. Some of these volumes have been out of print for several years.

The Logos web site offers the following overview of the lecture books:

The Florida College Annual Lectures (1974–2011) brings you thirty-eight years of the college’s annual lectures series in complete written form. Prior to the first published lecture series in 1974, only content outlines were available.

Each volume includes fifteen or more lectures from contributors from various biblical fields, and focus on a specific theme. These themes deal with modern issues and are supported by recent scholarship. Learn what true worship entails. Discover how God can restore your life. Challenge yourself to share the gospel message. The Florida College Annual Lectures (1974–2011) (38 vols.) contains both informative and stimulating topics that allow you to apply the biblical principles found in its lectures to your daily walk with Christ.

With Logos, every word is essentially a link! Scripture references are linked directly to the Bibles in your library—both the original language texts and English translations. Logos Bible Software allows you to quickly move from the table of contents to your desired content and search entire volumes and collections by topic, title, or Scripture reference, making Logos the perfect software to expand your understanding of the Word.

How Pre-publication works. Books on Pre-pub will not be produced until Logos sees that there are enough orders to make the publication feasible. Interested customers lock in the pre-pub price. You must set up an account with Logos, but your card is not charged until the book or set is ready to deliver. You will be notified when the book is ready. At that time you have a choice to continue or cancel. You may have to wait 6 months or more until the work is ready.

The deal is great. This 38 volume set of Florida College Lectures is available on Pre-pub for $74.95. This set is scheduled to sell for $174 when it is published. Even that is a bargain.

Think about these 38 volumes for $75. There are more than 600 lectures. That’s about 12 cents per lecture. Even mine are worth that. The entire collection is searchable, along with all other works you have in your Logos collection. When a Scripture reference appears, simply mouse over it and the Scripture is visible in your preferred version of the Bible.

In a previous post here I have explained that you must have a Logos base package, or already have Logos on your computer. During the recent Florida College lectures, Logos offered a 15% discount on any base package. Just use the coupon code LECTURE2012.

Logos Bible Software is the premier digital publishing format for books dealing with Biblical Studies. If you are serious about Bible study, you need to investigate Logos.

In a future post, hopefully soon, I plan to explain why those not associated with Churches of Christ should find this set of books useful.

Meanwhile. Go to the Logos web site and place your Pre-pub order NOW. The sooner Logos publishes, the sooner we can begin to utilize the search features in this entire set. You can always get to the information by going to Look under Products for the Pre-publication Specials. The direct link to info about the Florida College Annual Lectures, with a list of every lecture, is here.