Driscoll, Confessions of a Reformission Rev.

I had to buy a new copy of this book, because I gave away my last.  I wanted to read it again because it has a lot of stories in it about transitions in church sizes and dynamics and that is something that The Grove is going through right now.  So I want to lead as best I can, and other people’s stories and ideas can help.

I read it previously about 5 years ago, and put down some fun quotes on that blog post.  If you want, you can read about it there.  This time through I did not underline as much as I was reading much faster, but it was helpful in a different kind of way.  It’s helping me frame a bunch of conversations that we have to have at The Grove in order to keep up with what God seems to be doing.

Great, great book though.  Tons of fun and lots of good stories.

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N.T. Wright, The Challenge of Easter

I don’t know of any other author who can pull back my traditional and cultural assumptions and reveal the teachings of Scripture to me better than NT Wright.  This is why I picked up his little book on Easter .  It’s taken from his book, The Challenge of Jesus, which I also love.  So, just for the fun of it, here’s some lovely and encouraging quotes from the little book,

  • p.11, “Already by the time of Paul the phrase, ‘kingdom of God’ had become more or less shorthand for the early Christian movement, its way of life and its raison-d’etre.  And despite the attempts of some to suggest that this kingdom of God meant for the early Christians a new personal or spiritual experience, rather than a Jewish-style movement designed to establish the rule of God in the world, all the actual evidence we have… indicates that if Jesus’ movement was a counter-Temple movement, early Christianity was a counter-empire movement.”
  • p.46, “Our task is to announce in deed and word that the exile is over, to enact the symbols that speak of healing and forgiveness… Your task is to find the symbolic ways of doing things differently, planting flags in hostile soil, setting up signposts that day there is a different way to be human. And when people are puzzled at what you are doing, find ways – fresh ways – of telling the story of the return of the human race from its exile, and use those stories as your explanation.”
  • p.49, “There is a danger in Christians supposing that they simply have to be flaky, awkward, against the government all the time, continually doing things upside down and inside out. Some people of course seem to be born that way and use the gospel imperative as an excuse for foisting their own cussedness or arrogance on everyone else”

N.T. Wright, Acts for Everyone

part of a series of blog posts on commentaries that I used when preaching through the book of Acts @The Grove between Easter 2010 and 2011…

N.T. Wright has written a whole series of commentaries that are designed “for everyone” to be able to learn and grow from.  For the book of Acts, Wright split it into two parts, since not everyone would read a book thicker than their wallet.

Even though Wright is a genius when it comes to explaining the Scriptures, he comments on the Acts of the Apostles in a way that is accessible and relatable.  By sharing personal stories in each chapter he relates the Scriptures to real life and makes practical application easy.

If you’re never read a real live commentary, this is the series that I would suggest.  The explanation of Scripture is outstanding and the application is reliable making for a commentary that is helpful for personal and spiritual growth.

McLaren, The Dust off their Feet

part of a series of blog posts on commentaries that I used when preaching through the book of Acts @The Grove between Easter 2010 and 2011…

The Voice is a whole series of books that are a new look at Scripture and an attempt to translate them in a fresh way for today’s readers.  It isn’t an academic translation at all, but it brings a good spirit to ancient words.  The whole series is given vision by Chris Seay who is a pastor (I think in Houston?).  This particular edition on the book of Acts is written by Brian McLaren.  McLaren was a pastor in D.C., but now writes, teaches and speaks internationally.

The book itself is a retelling of the Acts of the Apostles, followed by several essays by different authors which focus on themes found in the book of Acts.  For the actual text of Scripture, McLaren writes the book like it is a script for a play.  This is such a fresh understanding and makes it so much fun to read.

To be sure, I love this book and this rewriting of the Scripture.  I would say everyone who is interested int he book of Acts should check it out and see what new insights they are given into the Scriptures.

Ogilvie, Acts, The Preacher’s Commentary

part of a series of blog posts on commentaries that I used when preaching through the book of Acts @The Grove between Easter 2010 and 2011…

Lloyd J. Ogilvie is a retired Senate chaplain and has a ministry of speaking in a variety of contexts.  I got his commentary from the Preacher’s Commentary series for only 5 bucks on clearance at a Christian outlet store.

I didn’t read the whole thing.  It wasn’t deep at all and I couldn’t figure out what on earth his angle was besides basic comments on the book of Acts.  The book would be useful for a preacher who had taken no education.  For me, and for what I was looking for, it wasn’t as helpful as I hoped.  Good, but not what I hoped for.  Worth 5 bucks, but I’d give it away for free.

Witherington, The Acts of the Apostles

part of a series of blog posts on commentaries that I used when preaching through the book of Acts @The Grove between Easter 2010 and 2011…

This is probably the largest book I have ever read.  It’s full title is “The Acts of the Apostles: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary” and it runs just short of 900 pages.  And it has small font.  And even smaller font when it examines things in the side bars.

Witherington is a professor at Asbury and has apparently written several socio-rhetorical commentaries.  Apparently socio-rhetorical criticism is a whole school of thinking when it comes to studying the Bible.  From what I can tell, Witherington examined the book of Acts through the lens of its extended speeches.  The way that these speeches functioned culturally in context drives the understanding in a socio-rhetorical commentary.

This commentary is incredibly detailed and shoots over the head of most anyone who does not have post-graduate degrees.  The information is incredibly helpful, but there is so much in here that most of it simply ends up on the cutting room floor.  I would say it’s an amazing work of commentary, but should be the fourth, not the first commentary a preacher goes to.

Fernando, Acts: NIV Application Commentary

part of a series of blog posts on commentaries that I used when preaching through the book of Acts @The Grove between Easter 2010 and 2011…

I have appreciated the NIV application series for a long time.  They have put together a concise commentary that is historically informed yet modern in application.  The whole series is set up section by section with the passage’s original meaning, a bridging of contexts and contemporary significance.  It is deeper than entry level commentary, yet very accessible  for all education levels.

In the series, each book has a commentary from a different author.  For Acts, Ajith Fernando was selected.  He studied at Asbury and Fuller and is now teaching at a couple different institutions.  What is really interesting is his international experience (in Sri Lanka) and the way that it informs his understanding of the book of Acts.  Since Acts is a book about international mission, Fernando gives unique insight into this theme.