Reid's Recommendations – January '14


J.C. Ryle’s Expository Thoughts On The Gospels


I am not an Anglican. Truth be told however, apart from some issues with the articles on the sacraments (baptism in particular) and a tendency toward apostolic succession in the priesthood – I’m a very big fan of the “39 Articles” which comprise the core of The Anglican tradition. The Articles are thoroughly Reformational and champion the authority of Scripture, the wonder of the Trinity, Christ’s substitutionary death at Calvary, justification by faith alone, and a host of other necessary doctrines central to orthodox evangelical Christianity.
It is a small wonder then that some of the true giants of the Faith have been found within The Anglican (Church of England) communion. In older times there were stalwarts like Bishop Lancelot Andrewes (Chief overseer of the King James translation of the Bible), Bishop Ussher, J. B. Lightfoot, poet and preacher John Donne, William Gurnall, John Newton (of Amazing Grace fame) and many other heros of mine. In more modern times we have the likes of John R.W. Stott, J.I. Packer, J. Alec Motyer and Vaughn Roberts.
Among this august host is one of my personal favorites, John Charles Ryle (1816-1900), or J.C. Ryle as he is known to most. The first Anglican Bishop of Liverpool, Ryle was a preacher, teacher, writer and Biblical commentator. To me he is one of the clearest and most useful expositors in the Church of any age. He is a giant.
It is in that light that I wish to commend to you his superlative works on the Gospels. In a set titled “Expository Thoughts on the Gospels” Ryle is at his finest. These are no mere commentaries filled with dry dust and arcane minutiae. These are vibrant, cogent, practical expositions of the Scriptures written with warmth and a clarity seldom found in any other. And I want to urge you to seek these out as particularly useful in 3 ways.
1. Devotionally.
It may sound odd to recommend commentaries as devotional material, but I am being very deliberate in setting this use before you first. Ryle’s style is to take a basic unit of the narrative – seldom more than 10 or 15 verses (if that) and then to give you just 3 or 4 crucial considerations to be drawn from them. These observations are seldom long, and always practical and Christ exalting. In the process, he also gives sound approaches to difficult passages, without it seeming academic or stuffy. They breathe wonderfully. I’ve used them in my own devotions for years, and never come away without something sweet for my soul, as well as useful in simply understanding the Word better. Try them. You won’t be disappointed, especially if your catalog of daily devotional material has grown too familiar or worn.
2. Small Groups.
If you lead or participate in a small group and are looking for something different to work through – these are truly choice picks. Once again, the portions are short enough to be read aloud by one or several participants, and then the key points or observations can each be truly useful topics of discussion. You will be amazed at how concise the comments are, and how easily they will lend themselves to deeper reflections by a group. You will not exhaust them easily. Time will fly. And you’ll be going through the Gospels together in a very meaningful way. Even if you do not have a leader who is strong in opening the Word, these short pieces will keep you on solid ground, and moving at a very pleasurable pace.
3. Bible Study.
As really reliable resources in your own Bible study, for personal use or as a preparation aid for teaching and preaching, these are invaluable. The clarity and Christ-centered focus of the applications are truly rich. And this is most especially true in the expanded volumes on the Gospel of John. In these, Ryle not only keeps to the style he used in the previous 3 Gospels, but augments each section by a collection of pertinent quotes from 20 or more other expositors – most of whom are out of print and unavailable. This is a tremendous resource on discussions of doctrinal and interpretive controversy as well as full of practical application. I run to Ryle first when working through any passage in John’s Gospel because of the depth available, while being so accessibly readable.
Recently, I found that Barnes and Noble has the complete* set available for download to your Nook reader, or the free Nook app for your phone or iPad, for $.99. Yep, less than a dollar for all four. Unbelievable.
Here’s the link: Expository Thoughts On The Gospels
(CMC’s note: Copies derived from Google’s Digital copying service of early printings were found here at no cost.)
However, if you prefer a paper copy in your hands, Banner of Truth publishes them all and they can be had through most book sellers for around $10-$12 a copy.
Buy them and read them, you will NOT be sorry.
*NOTE – I have not found any electronic edition which has the full text of the John set which comprises 3 volumes alone when complete. However, if you do not need the additional portion with the quotes from the other commentators, any of the electronic editions are fine, either from Barnes and Noble or the $.99 per volume Kindle editions from Amazon.

Reid Ferguson / Kuyperian Abnormalist.
Dulcius Ex Asperis
. | Making disciples of all nations
Comments invited over at Reid’s Responsive Reiding Blog.
[author]Reid A. Ferguson[author_image timthumb=’on’][/author_image] [author_info] Reid is the Senior Pastor and primary Preaching-Teaching Elder at Evangelical Church of Fairport. A native of Rochester, N.Y., Reid has served in various ministry areas during his life, including: a founding member of the former Mark IV Quartet, Youth Pastor at ECF, former board member of the Fellowship of Independent Reformed Evangelicals (F.I.R.E.), and author of The Little Book of Things You Should Know About Ministry (Christian Focus Publications, 2002). Reid blogs regularly at Responsive Reiding.[/author_info] [/author]

Delighting in the Trinity


Delighting in the Trinity: An Introduction to the Christian Faith


Dr Peter Mead
A Review by contributor
Dr Peter Mead
Whatever else we may be or do, we present God to others.  We present God in our preaching of the Bible, and we present God as we live our lives.  A critical question, then, has to be this: which God do we present?
Mike Reeves’ new book, The Good God, from Paternoster, is exactly what the doctor ordered for the church today.  And not one of those miserable doctors that prescribes some yucky fluid in a plastic bottle.  I mean one of those doctors that suggests a break in the sun and a feast of good food to help you feel better from all that ails you.  The church today needs to bask in the sun and feast on the truth offered so gloriously and accessibly in this little book.
Mike introduces the reader to the God who is loving, giving, overflowing, relational.  With his light and accessible manner, Mike shares a profound taster of just how good God is.  Clearly Mike loves God and it shows throughout.  Some books on the Trinity can come across as a technical manual of heresies to avoid.  Others as an exercise in premeditated obfuscation.  This little book sizzles with energy, addresses the issues with clear insight rather than excessive technicality, and stirs the reader’s heart to worship, to delight, and sometimes even to laugh in sheer joy.
Mike’s biblical references scattered throughout don’t come across as a defensive attempt to prove a point, nor as a theological citation method that distracts the reader.  Rather they subconsciously stir the reader to want to get back into the Bible and see this good God afresh.  As you’d expect from a Reeves book, there are also enjoyable windows into church history as key voices from folks famous, and not so, pop up to share a thought along the way.
The book is shaped, well, um, trinitarianly.  An introductory chapter invites the reader into the pre-creation love relationship that is the Trinity.  Then the book looks at creation, redemption and the Christian life (as in, Father, Son, Spirit, although brick walls can’t be built between the roles of each in each chapter).  The book closes with a chapter that asks who among the gods is like you, O LORD?  I won’t give away the end of the book by sharing Mike’s answer, but I know if you start, you’ll want to read to the end anyway!
I will say this though, the advance of anti-theist “new atheism” gets a clear response in the final chapter.  Oh, and for one final twist, just when you feel like there’s nothing left to add, he also addresses three of the big issues that Christians sometimes throw out in opposition to an emphasis on God’s loving relationality. Superb.
This book is a must read and a must share.  As you read it you will think of others you wish would read it – from atheists to strident single-author-reading Christians. But most of all, I think you will be thankful that you read it. I am genuinely excited about how God will use this book in the years ahead!
To order your copy in the UK, click here. In the US click here. Note – the book is released in the USA by IVP under the title, Delighting in the Trinity: An Introduction to the Christian Faith.
~ Peter
You are invited to comment on Peter’s article at Cor Deo
~ Peter
[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’][/author_image] [author_info]Dr Peter Mead is a Bible teacher and ministry trainer, based in southern England. His main ministry is as co-director and mentor of Cor Deo, a full-time mentored study and ministry training program.  Peter leads the Advanced Bible Teachers Network at the European Leadership Forum.  He holds degrees from Multnomah Biblical Seminary (MDiv/MA), and the Doctor of Ministry degree in homiletics from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, where Dr Haddon Robinson was his mentor.  For more information on Cor Deo, including the weekly theological blog, please visit Peter also authors the website for preachers.[/author_info] [/author] [button link=”” newwindow=”yes”] Visit Biblical Preaching[/button] [button link=”” newwindow=”yes”] Visit Cor Deo[/button]