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Saturday, October 18, 2008

Lessons to Learn from Job's Friends

1) True theological statements can be false.

If you take many of the statements of Job's friends separately, they sound like good theology. But their application is shallow and insensitive.
Like a thorn that goes up into the hand of a drunkard is a proverb in the mouth of fools. (Proverbs 26:9)

We put a high premium on good theology. But let us be warned: it can be made false by the way it is applied, and can even be destructive in the mouth of fools.

Drink deep at the fountain of God's truth. And let love stand as a watchman at the gate of your mouth.

2) Suffering and prosperity are not distributed in proportion to the evil or good that a person does.

Job is right: the wicked are spared in the day of calamity (21:30). But the just and blameless man is a laughing stock (12:4).

Therefore let us not judge one another too quickly, or at all. Those who suffer most may be the best. And those who prosper most may be the worst among us.

3) Nevertheless God still reigns over all the affairs of men, from the greatest to the smallest.

It is amazing that the most common means used by people today to solve the mystery of suffering never occurred to Job or to his three friends—namely, the limitation of God's sovereign control over all things.
Today we limit God at the drop of a hat: He couldn't have willed that sickness, or that explosion, or the death of that child! So he must not be in control. He is a limited God.

But Job and his friends have this great common ground: God reigns. No solution to the problem of suffering that questions this will ever satisfy the heart of a saint.

4) There is wisdom behind the apparent arbitrariness of the world, but it is hidden from man.

Where shall wisdom be found?And where is the place of understanding?Man does not know the way to it,and it is not found in the land of the living . . .God understands the way to it,and he knows its place. (28:12—13, 23)

We see through a glass darkly, even from our New Testament perspective (1 Corinthians 13:12). But faith always affirms that no matter how chaotic and absurd things may seem to our limited view they are in fact the tactics of infinite wisdom.
Desiring God Blog (Author: Abraham Piper)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Tim Challies "ESV Study Bible" Review

For Tim Challies complete review click the title of this post.
I suspect that many of the people reading this review will already be owners of at least one study Bible. I feel it is important to affirm that there is nothing innately wrong with the Reformation Study Bible, The New Geneva Study Bible, the MacArthur Study Bible and many of the other similar products. If you are currently using one of these Bibles and are happy with it, there may be fewer compelling reason to rush out and purchase the ESV Study Bible. I have used the Reformation Study Bible and its predecessor for many years with great benefit. I have no doubt that I will continue to refer to it.

With that said, I think the ESV Study Bible is an incredible resource. A long list of endorsers have expressed their excitement for its theological faithfulness, its accessibility, its insight, its scholarship, its practicality and its sheer excellence. I would simply append my name to this list. I agree wholeheartedly with C.J. Mahaney who writes, “I can’t imagine a greater gift to the body of Christ than the ESV Study Bible. It is a potent combination indeed: the reliability and readability of the ESV translation, supplemented by the best of modern and faithful scholarship, packaged in an accessible and attractive format. A Christian could make no wiser investment for himself, a pastor could recommend no better resource for his congregation.” This is a powerful resource and one that can aid any reader of Scripture. It is one I recommend wholeheartedly.

Early in this review I wrote, “Today, if you drop by my home in the early morning, you are likely to see me reading from the Literary Study Bible.” I think it’s safe to say that, if you drop by my home early tomorrow morning, you are likely to see me reading from the ESV Study Bible.