Saturday, April 22, 2017

Reading the Bible Supernaturally

The title Reading the Bible Supernaturally intrigued me most in the list of new releases the publisher Crossway kindly offered to send me to review. Since I had not previously read any of the many, many books written by author-teacher-biblical scholar John Piper, that prospect also appealed to me. Mostly, though, I’m a lifelong lover of the Bible, who’s happy to find insights into reading God’s Word, deeply and spiritually.

When the book arrived, my first impression was, “Wow! I haven’t seen a book of this quality in years!” The book jacket, hardback cover, sturdy construction, and creamy thick paper showed the publisher’s seriousness about providing a book built to last!

The more I got into the text, the more I saw why. i.e., This book will make a fine textbook for college students and/or adult classes or seminars devoted to the Bible.

I ran into a problem, however, when the Introduction did not introduce me to this book, but to the one prior – A Peculiar Glory, also by John Piper. However, the first chapter clearly sets its theological premise in “The Proposal,” which has six points to be developed throughout the book, beginning with this word:

“Our ultimate goal in reading the Bible is that God’s infinite worth and beauty would be exalted in the everlasting, white-hot worship of the blood-bought bride of Christ from every people, language, tribe, and nation.”

What exactly does that mean? And, how do we translate that theological premise into our Bible reading?

Part 1, “Reading to See Supreme Worth and Beauty,” tells us: “The work of the Spirit in the writings of the New Testament is to reveal the glory of Christ. This glory is seen by reading.”

In “Reading to Savor His Excellence,” a subheading guides us by saying, “We Always Read in Pursuit of Passion” – passion “suitable to the truth we have seen. The range of emotions in response to reading the Bible is as broad as the kinds of truth revealed.” Therefore, “The divine fingers of Scripture are meant to pluck every string in the harp of your soul. We never read just to know.”

With scriptural references emphasizing various aspects of the book’s premise, the first chapter of 1 Peter leads us into longing for the word. Peter “wants our experience of the word to be such that we go beyond testing to tasting. Beyond knowing to loving. Beyond doctrine to delight. Beyond seeing to savoring.”

Touching on each aspect would require a book in itself! So I’ll leave you with words from the author’s “Conclusion.”

“God performed a supernatural act by inspiring natural language. We act the miracle in reverse when we trust God for supernatural help in the natural act of reading. To help you experience this supernatural encounter with God’s word has been the subordinate goal of this book.

The reason for that subordinate goal is that God’s ultimate goal depends on it.”

What is God’s goal? “…to reveal God’s infinite worth and beauty as the ultimate value and excellence in the universe, to open the eyes of his people to see that glory in the Scriptures, so that we savor the excellence of God above all created treasures, and, by beholding and being satisfied with God, be changed from glory to glory….”

Mary Harwell Sayler, © 2017, poet-writer reviewer

Reading the Bible Supernaturally, quality hardback

Friday, April 21, 2017

Bible Reviewer: more on The Message

Bible Reviewer: more on The Message:

The Message brings us a vibrant translation of the Bible by pastor Eugene Peterson, who taught Hebrew and Greek in a theological seminary for several years and, for decades, brought members of his congregation into the life and heart of the Bible.

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Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Bible Reviewer: KJV Thinline Bible, large print, hardback

Bible Reviewer: KJV Thinline Bible, large print, hardback:

The large print KJV Thinline Bible from Thomas Nelson has an attractive easy-to-read font the company specially commissioned for their King James Version of the Bible. If you don’t need another KJV yourself, this makes an ideal edition to have on hand in church groups.

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Friday, April 14, 2017

Mary Harwell Sayler - Blog

Mary Harwell Sayler - Blog:


It was finished.
There was nothing left to do
but take down Jesus' body
and hide it quickly
from mind, from view.
The terror of the tomb
closed the matter,
once for all,
for its descent
into down-falling darkness
where never light had been.
Even from the Upper Room....

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Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Why I murdered Jesus - Mary Harwell Sayler

Why I murdered Jesus - Mary Harwell Sayler:

I woke up with the title of an unwritten poem in my head: "Why I murdered Jesus." After writing that down, other lines followed into a prose poem for the last days of Lent, the week of Christ's passion. May God bless your reading.

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Tuesday, April 11, 2017

The Execution of Jesus the Christ

When BookLook Bloggers asked if I would like an extra book to review, I selected the Kindle edition of The Execution of Jesus the Christ: The Medical Cause of Our Lord’s Death During His Illegal Crucifixion by Mark J. Kubala MD.

Although very well researched and very well written, this is not an easy book to read. If you have seen graphic portrayals of Jesus’ crucifixion, a normal reaction would be to turn your head away, which is what I wanted to do, and yet….

The Execution of Jesus the Christ occurred because of me! How could I ever close my eyes to the horror He knowingly endured because of His love? And what could I possibly read this very week that would be more relevant and timely?

As you’ll see, a paperback edition of this book exists, but the Kindle edition can be downloaded immediately and read before this week of the Lord’s Passion comes to an end.

Thanks be to God and to the author, however, this book does not focus entirely on Jesus’ last days on earth. Dr. Kubala also gives a well-told, sweeping view of the reasons Christ came to us in a book that will surely draw us closer to Him.

Mary Harwell Sayler, reviewer

The Execution of Jesus the Christ, Kindle edition

The Execution of Jesus the Christ, paperback

I review for BookLook Bloggers