Know the Word Study Bible (NKJV)

This Bible is designed to help one study the Bible. Each book of the Bible starts with an introduction summary and a “how to study” section for that particular book. There are brief notes like in any study Bible throughout each book, and also highlight sections to provide more insight into some of the chapters. For those just getting started in the study of God’s Word, this Bible can help them to not feel so intimidated by taking their hand so to speak and walking through the study with them.

There are also topical articles sprinkled throughout the Bible if one wanted to study a particular topic. Some of the topics include: God the Father, covenant, sanctification, salvation, and church. There is also a brief “what happened” between the Testaments. A concordance and some maps are included in the back.

Overall, this is a good Bible for someone who wants to get started with Bible study and isn’t sure where to start. It is in the New King James version, which is a reliable translation that is more word-for-word.

*I was sent a copy of this Bible free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers program in exchange for my review.

Parenting by Paul Tripp

Parenting: 14 Gospel Principles That Can Radically Change Your FamilyParenting: 14 Gospel Principles That Can Radically Change Your Family by Paul David Tripp

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow! Once again Paul Tripp hits it out of the park! This book has similar principles to his brother Tedd Tripp’s book Shepherding a Child’s Heart. It all points back to the heart. In raising and disciplining children, we are to not just focus on behavior change but heart change. Not that we are able to change a child’s heart (only God can do that), but we look beyond the behavior to see the heart of what is causing the behavior.

This book outlines 14 principles to keep in mind in the midst of parenting. I am not a parent myself, but have several close friends that are and they are in the trenches. Parenting is unbelievably hard and incredibly selfless. The first principle in the book points to this: “Nothing is more important in your life than being one of God’s tools to form a human soul.” Parenting is not meant to be done on our own, in our own wisdom and strength. God calls us to be parents with His help. He will not call us to do something that He doesn’t also help us to accomplish. “God never calls you to a task without giving you what you need to do it. He never sends you without going with you.”

I found this book encouraging, yet not holding back any punches. Since I’m not a parent, I can’t actually put these principles into practice for myself with my own children. But I would like to encourage parents to read this book and use it as a tool. We have been given mercy by God as Christians that we can now pour out on others, especially our own families. I think parents will find this book to be worthwhile and a help as they pour their lives into their kids and teach them about God.

Other quotes:
“There is nothing more important to consistent, faithful, patient, loving, and effective parenting than to understand what God has given you in the grace of his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.”

“God calls unable people to do important things because ultimately what he’s working on is not your immediate success, but that you would come to know him, to love him, to rest in his grace, and to live for his glory.”

“What you’re always dealing with is the need for heart change, and we simply have no power at all to change another person’s heart.”

“As a parent you’re not dealing just with bad behavior, but a condition that causes bad behavior.”

“Your children don’t so much need character management as they need worship realignment. They don’t first have a character problem; they have a worship problem that produces a character problem.”

“You are parenting a worshiper, so it’s important to remember that what rules your child’s heart will control his behavior.”

“So your hope as a parent is not found in your power, your wisdom, your character, your experience, or your success, but in this one thing alone: the presence of your Lord.”

“Parenting is about being God’s ambassadors in the lives of our children. It is about faithfully representing his message, his methods, and his character to our children.”

*I received a copy of this ebook from the publisher Crossway in exchange for my review.

NKJV Word Study Bible

NKJV Word Study Bible: 1,700 Key Words that Unlock the Meaning of the BibleNKJV Word Study Bible: 1,700 Key Words that Unlock the Meaning of the Bible by Thomas Nelson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Doing word studies can open up a whole new world in Bible study. Word studies also make it possible for those of us who don’t know Greek or Hebrew to be able to better understand what the original authors were saying. This Bible provides word studies right in with the text, rather than having multiple volumes to reference the different numbers and words. While not every word is given in this Bible, key words are given to provide the original language meaning. If you’ve been intimidated in the past with having multiple places to look up words to understand the original meaning, this Bible can provide a great start to doing word studies and learning what the word meant in the original language. And the text is in the New King James Version, which is more reliable being a word-for-word translation rather than thought-for-thought.

So if you’re looking for a way to start doing word studies, this Bible can be a great start!  The word studies in this Bible do not include all the range of meanings like you would see in a Strong’s Concordance. They do give the concordance number so you can look it up for further study. But the explanation of the word is not the multiple listing, but rather an explanation of the fuller meaning of the word. As such, this is more a beginning introduction to word studies and can be a way to get one’s feet wet before diving further using Strong’s. As a disclaimer, nowadays, word studies can be done fairly easily online on sites such as Blue Letter Bible. Also, this Bible is not a Study Bible – there are no study notes. It just includes explanations of 1,700 key words throughout the text.

*Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers 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.”

Good and Angry Blog Tour

Good and Angry: Redeeming Anger, Irritation, Complaining, and BitternessGood and Angry: Redeeming Anger, Irritation, Complaining, and Bitterness by David A. Powlison

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow! That’s my initial reaction on reading this powerful book! The author doesn’t hold back any punches when it comes to the issue of anger and often what is behind it, namely our unmet desires and expectations. This is not a self-help book on how to better control your anger. Rather, it is a dive deep into what is behind our anger, helping us to better understand our anger and then use it to turn to God for help and mercy. Each chapter ends with a “Making It Your Own” section of soul-searching questions that get to the heart of the matter.
His definition of anger boils down to “active displeasure toward something that’s important enough to care about.” And he then spends the rest of the book unpacking that. Anger is how “we react when something we think important is not the way it’s supposed to be.” Often anger is the result of our god of self being dethroned. In one of the chapters, he takes us through eight questions to determine what motive or expectation is behind our anger, so that we can deal with that directly. While anger is not necessarily a sin, there is good and bad mixed in with anger, and often the root of it is something sinful. This book addresses that in an impactful and insightful way.
I would highly recommend this book, even if you don’t think that you struggle with anger. We are all affected by anger in various ways and this book is a great read to tackle the problem of sin.

*I received a copy of this book free from the publisher as part of Cross Focused Reviews Blog Tour in exchange for my review.

Evangelical White Lies by Mike Abendroth

Evangelical White Lies
by Mike Abendroth

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It took me a little while to get into this book, but I think that was partly due to my not being familiar with the author’s writing style. The chapters are short and stand-alone, so that may have contributed as well. That being said, this book can be used for reference as it doesn’t need to be read straight-through, but each chapter addresses a different “white lie” that seems prevalent in evangelicalism. Whether it’s the “hearing God speak to me” or the “eco-friendly lifestyle”, the different subjects are tackled and addressed with Scripture to debunk them. This is a quick read with great information for discussing some of these issues with friends and family. Particularly with Scripture being used to defend the view, this gives Biblical back-up for opposing these prevalent views.

*I received a copy of this book free from the author to review.

Castles in the Sand by Carolyn Greene

It is concerning to me how widespread contemplative spirituality and spiritual formation have become. This book is a fictional story about a very real problem. Tessa goes to a Bible college and is drawn into the spiritual formation movement that has recently begun at the college. The book then goes on to describe what happens to her and the dangers that result from going down this path of ancient mystics. For those who wonder what spiritual formation is or why it is dangerous, this book will open your eyes to the reality of why this is not a Biblical practice. Easy to read and follow, it is eye-opening and scary! And it is everywhere! We need to be aware, alert, and discerning, always going back to God’s Word, the Bible, to compare what we are being taught. We need to know our Bibles.
Castles in the SandCastles in the Sand by Carolyn A. Greene

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

*I own a copy of this book.

Starter Bible by Thomas Nelson

Starter Bible

For young children, this is a colorful storybook with short Bible stories. I think the intent is to introduce them to some of the key stories in the Bible. But it is sorely lacking in what it covers. For starters, while creation of Adam and Eve is covered, there is no mention of the Fall or of sin. The story of Noah’s ark is given with no reason for why the flood happened. It is a bunch of disjointed Bible stories with no underlying theme. Jesus isn’t even mentioned until the story of His birth (which also has the first mention of sin – that Jesus is God’s only Son and would save the world from sin).

If you are looking for a storybook with short Bible stories, this provides something. But if you are looking for something to introduce children to the theme of the Bible, that is Jesus Christ, and the story of man’s fall and God’s redemption, this is not it. I would recommend instead using The Big Picture Story Bible by David Helm.

The Big Picture Story Bible

*I received a copy of this book (Starter Bible) free from the publisher in exchange for my review through Book Look Bloggers.

God’s Battle Plan for the Mind by David Saxton

God's Battle Plan for the Mind: The Puritan Practice of Biblical MeditationGod’s Battle Plan for the Mind: The Puritan Practice of Biblical Meditation by David W. Saxton
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Meditation for Christians has become a neglected discipline nowadays, often because of the connotation that it has with New Age and Eastern religions. But Biblical meditation is a necessary part of Christian growth and sanctification. In this book, the author goes through what Biblical meditation is NOT to explain how it differs from the world’s idea of meditation. He explains the benefits of meditation and how it is an essential part of a growing Christian’s walk. Using the Puritans and their writings, he gives practical advice for how to meditate and counters excuses that people use for not meditating.

“What does it mean to meditate? It means to think personally, practically, seriously, and earnestly on how the truth of God’s Word should look in life.” Meditation takes the truth of God’s Word and applies it to our lives. “…the believer fills his mind with truth so that his life becomes governed by the attitude of the Savior.”
Today, meditation has all but become non-existent. We live in a busy world filled with so many distractions and taking time to think deeply is not a regular part of most Christians’ lives. Another reason for meditation falling by the wayside is “…a lack of confidence in God’s Word to sufficiently deal with the issues, problems, and temptations that believers face.”

This was an excellent treatise on what Biblical meditation is and is not and the importance it plays for the Christian’s growth. So many gems in this book to take away (I needed to make sure I had a pen handy to underline as I was reading!). This should be required reading for any Christian who desires to grow in their relationship with God. Meditation on God’s Word would also help the growing crisis of Biblical illiteracy that is rampant in America.

Thoughts to consider:
“Whenever any notion or form of spirituality fails to be tied back to the written Word, the end result inevitably tends toward unbiblical mysticism and religious sentimentality. This eventually leads a person to greater darkness rather than light.”

“…Protestants who fail to emphasize biblical meditation because of fear of falling into mysticism are simply overreacting to unbiblical forms of meditation.” I know this is something that I need to work on.

“Because of the depravity of our hearts and tendency to self-deception, the divine testimony of Scripture must always govern our biblical spirituality and meditation.”

“…contemplative prayer is an unbiblical form of meditation that seeks a spiritual experience through some kind of existential encounter with God apart from His written revelation….The contemplative prayer movement seeks to experience God’s voice apart from His written Word. This movement is a product of a larger evangelical departure from an absolute conviction in the sufficiency of Scripture.”

“…biblical meditation does not seek to empty one’s thoughts. Rather, it seeks to fill one’s thoughts with Scripture, fastening them to the objective truths of God’s Word. Rather than seeking to arrive at a plan of self-actualization, biblical meditation seeks to think God’s thoughts after Him. It seeks to grow in appreciation that all of life is lived before a great and mighty God. Biblical meditation realizes that thoughts reveal beliefs.”

“…Christian meditation is the scriptural plan to keep from thoughts that diminish the glory of God.”

*I received a copy of this book free from the publisher Reformation Heritage Books through Cross-Focused Reviews in exchange for my review.

Living in Reverence

Several women from our church are doing the True Woman 201 study this summer, which is basically a study of Titus 2:1, 3-5. Last night’s topic was on being reverent. This is an attitude, a character trait that is not cultivated in our culture these days. Being reverent, respectful, honoring… these are traits from the past that don’t have much place in a me-first, individualistic society. The holiness of God is an attribute that isn’t much talked about. We’d rather focus on God’s love than on His holiness.

The Bible resounds with the holiness of God. Some books in particular, such as Leviticus and Isaiah, shout with His majesty and holiness. In our attempts to be personal in our relationship with God, we’ve reduced Him to a buddy, a friend, and downplayed His holy, awe-inspiring character. While it is true that through Jesus Christ we can now have a relationship with God, we must never forget that He is a holy God. He cannot tolerate sin. Like Isaiah in Isaiah 6, when shown the glory and majesty of Who God is, we should tremble and realize how sinful and wretched we are before Him. How much more beautiful is Christ’s death on our behalf in light of our sinfulness compared to God’s holiness?

This is an attribute of God that has been hitting home for me over the last couple of years. Does my lifestyle reflect holiness? What am I allowing myself to watch, to read, to listen to? Is it respectful and reverent toward God? Does it honor Him? Do my words, my actions display a reverence for God? This is a convicting subject and one we do well to ponder on. Who or what is foremost in our minds each day? What do we spend our time thinking and talking about?

This study has been good so far. And I just started the chapter on discipline/self-control. Oy! Talk about convicting! So many areas that God wants to grow us in, changing us to be more like Christ, to be His representatives in a culture that denies His existence.

Books and Multiplication

My to-be-read list is out of control. And they keep publishing interesting looking books! I think I will need to stop reviewing books, even though it’s a great way to get free books. I really need to plow through the massive pile I already have! And part of the problem is that I get interested in different subjects, so then I start looking at books on something different and ignore the ones I already have that are on different topics. Too much of a mood reader. My no-book-buy ban doesn’t seem to last very long. I would like to re-institute it but have trouble sticking to it. What will help is that now I have a budget for each month, so if I want to buy a book, I have to have enough money saved up in my hobby account. If not, I must wait. Good discipline!