Next on My Reading List

March 23, 2015 — 1 Comment

4743685974_cbc116c5a2Theodore Rex
Through a couple of articles and a documentary, I became interested in the life of Theodore Roosevelt late last year. Edmund Morris’ three volume biography has been a constant companion in 2015. The second volume, Theodore Rex, covers Roosevelt’s years as the twenty-sixth President of the United States. It begins with his train ride from Buffalo to Washington D.C. after the death of President William McKinley. Roosevelt’s work ethic, vigor, and courage provide a great example for men.

The Righteous Mind
Our culture has become increasingly polarized over the last decade and people on the opposite sides of debates tend to talk past each other. Social pyschologist Jonathan Haidt draws on his decades of research and explains how people arrive at their convictions and conclusions.

The Happy Christian
The winter months tend to be difficult for me as the lack of sunshine and early sundown lead me to a bit of melancholy every year. David Murray tackles our tendency towards negativity and shows us how the Gospel leads to lasting happiness and joy. (Hopefully I’ll have a review up on this one in the next few weeks.)

The Call of the Wild
Until last year I had not read much fiction, and now I wish I had started earlier. Reading good fiction is better than watching television because it engages our imaginations and stirs our thoughts. One of my personal goals has been to go back and reread some of the books I was assigned in middle and high school but never read. The Call of the Wild is the first stop on this tour and I hope to read The Great Gatsby and The Grapes of Wrath in the coming months.

(This is the third post in the “How to Grow as a Husband” series. You can read the first two posts here .and here.) When two people live together in the covenant of marriage, they will inevitably irritate, offend, and hurt each other. No union of two sinners, even redeemed sinners, exists where this does not happen. The husband must answer two simple questions. Will I acknowledge when I am wrong and seek forgiveness? And will I quickly forgive when I am wronged?

“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”

Be Quick to Seek Forgiveness
Men you will hurt your wives. Sometimes this happens through careless and thoughtless words, but unfortunately there will be times where the hurt happens with forethought. I spoke of this briefly in the last post about kindness, but we need to spend a little more time on it in this post. Accept responsibility for your actions, not seeking to make excuses or paint them in a different light than they deserve to be in. When you wrong your wife in word or deed the responsibility is your’s alone and you should own up to it.

The last thing I want to do is to give you a script for apologizing, but there are proper and improper ways to apologize. First of all, do not say “I’m sorry.” Too often the words “it’s okay” are spoken in response to this and dealing with the offense gets kicked down the road a little farther. Also do not say “I’m sorry if…” The responsibility for your actions does not lie in the reaction of your wife to what you said. If you were wrong, the responsibility belongs to you. (If your wife was wrong in whatever happened, she should apologize as well, but the goal of this post is not for you to figure out how to get your wife to admit her guilt. It’s about you dealing with what you did.)

“I was wrong when I _________, will you forgive me?” Your apology should look like this. Acknowledge where you were wrong and be specific since your goal is reconciliation and not smoothing over your conscience. This also reminds you that your sin is not just against your wife, but also against the Lord. Admitting your sin to your wife moves you down the path to genuine reconciliation.

Some Questions to Consider
Are you quick to admit when you are wrong?
Do you take the initiative to reconcile with your wife when you are wrong?
Do you name your sin or are you vague about it?
Do you take full responsibility for your sin against your wife or do you try to blame it on her?

Related Posts:
Why the Bible Doesn’t Have Much ‘Marriage Advice’
What Happens When Your Marriage Doesn’t Have an Eject Button

For Further Reading:
Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas
The Meaning of Marriage by Tim Keller

(This is the second post in the “How to Grow as a Husband” series. You can read the first post here.)

When I was in second grade, our teacher would have us pretend to put on what we called “Golden Rule Gloves.” We would pretend we were putting gloves on our fingers, pulling them down, and buttoning them. While we did this we said, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. God is love. Love one another.” As we learn to grow as husbands, we need to learn how to put these words into practice when it comes to how we treat our wives.

You Need to Be Reminded of Some Basic Truths
When we begin to think about working on our marriages and growing as husbands, we think we need to hear things that we have never heard before. Our tendency is to think we need some kind of expert advice and the exhortation to be kind sounds like something from second grade. When we are honest with ourselves, we must admit that we have all spoken to our wives in rude ways we would not speak to another person. All husbands need to admit a simple fact, our marriages would be better if we treated our wives the way we were taught to treat people when we were in elementary school. Sometimes we just need to be reminded about the most obvious things.

Unfortunately men like to excuse our rude and harsh words by saying we weren’t thinking when we spoke this way, but that is the problem. The Bible takes our speech seriously, and Jesus speaks tough words about our unthinking speech when he says, “I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak.” Instead of speaking rudely and carelessly, husbands need to learn to treat their wives with kindness.

Love Your Closest Neighbor
The Bible says a lot about what marriage is but doesn’t give much “marriage advice.” Simply put, the way husbands and wives should treat each other is defined by basic Christian discipleship. If husbands treated their wives the way the Bible teaches a Christian should treat all people many of our marriages would experience exponentially more joy. Think for a second about Paul’s words in Ephesians 4:29-5:2. He wrote this to the church in Ephesus, giving specific instructions governing the relationships between individual Christians. At the same time if you apply these words to the marital relationship you will end up with a strong, loving relationship that brings glory to Jesus and great joy to the husband and wife.”

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

We’ll talk about something else Paul says in this passage in another post, but for now we just want to consider the words, “be kind to one another.” Paul does not speak here about niceness. Kindness possesses a more active quality than niceness. Kindness means that show active consideration to our wives and go out of our way to do good to them.

You Need To Take Some Action Steps
Think for a second men, have you fallen into the trap of treating your wife with either rudeness or indifference? Have you stopped showing her common courtesy and begun speaking to her harshly? Or have you begun to treat her as a silent partner in a business venture? You talk because you share money, a house, a schedule, and children, but you don’t take the time to talk about life and seek to draw her out?

The biblical authors recognized this tendency in men and spoke to them about it. In Colossians 3 Paul commands men to love their wives and not to be harsh with them. In 1 Peter 3 he tells men to live with their wives in an understanding way. Then he closes this injunction with the haunting words, “so that your prayers may not be hindered.”

If you are a man who treats his wife unkindly, you need to repent to the Lord and to your wife. Before the Lord confess your sin and receive the grace he offers through Jesus. Then go to your wife and be upfront with her about where you have failed. Do not make excuses, and then ask her to forgive you. When you begin to struggle in the future, stop and reflect on the kindness and patience God has shown you. The antidote you need is not a helping of guilt or a motivational speech about trying harder. You need to remember who God has been for you in Christ and model that to your wife. This will honor your wife, bring glory to God, and bring you an unspeakable joy.

Related Posts:
Why the Bible Doesn’t Have Much ‘Marriage Advice’
What Happens When Your Marriage Doesn’t Have an Eject Button

For Further Reading:
Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas
The Meaning of Marriage by Tim Keller

A Few Good Reads

March 11, 2015 — Leave a comment
photo credit: solidether via photopin cc

photo credit: solidether via photopin cc

A Father-Daughter Bond, Page by Page
The New York Times shares the story of a father and daughter who read together every night for 3,218 straight days. This post is a few years, old, but is a great example to fathers. “In high school, I had friends who never talked to their parents. It never occurred to me not to. If someone takes care of you, you want to be with them.”

Older Men, Younger Men Need You
Noting the division between younger and old men, Paul Maxwell lists six things younger men need from older men. This insightful post should receive a wide reading. “God taught you lessons when you were young. You pray, ‘From my youth you have taught me,” and, ‘Even to old age and gray hairs, O God, do not forsake me, until I proclaim your might to another generation, your power to all those to come’ (Psalm 71:17–18). Now, for every gray hair, we want one story of God’s faithfulness, one lesson from years of learning God and his world. One ‘you’ll be okay’ for every silver lock.”

An Interview with Ray Ortlund on Creating Gospel Culture in the Church
Justin Taylor interviews Ray Ortlund about his helpful book The Gospel. Ray talks about having both Gospel doctrine and Gospel culture, particularly focusing on how Gospel doctrine creates Gospel culture.

Introducing the New Testament: A Short Guide to Its History and Message
D.A. Carson’s short introduction to the New Testament is .99 on Kindle today. This book focuses on historical questions dealing with authorship, date, sources, purpose, and destination of the New Testament books. By focusing on the essentials, the authors ensure that each book is accurately understood within its historical settings. For each New Testament document, the authors also provide a summary of that book’s content and discuss the book’s theological contribution to the overall canon. This abridgement includes questions at the end of each chapter to facilitate group discussion and personal review. It will help a new generation of students and church leaders better grasp the message of the New Testament

portwilliam_closeupFor the last year Wendell Berry’s Port William novels and short stories have been a constant companion to me. These novels reflected on life in the fictional town of Port William reflect age old wisdom and taught me a lot about follow Jesus. You can find part 1 of this series here.

Listen to the Wisdom of the Ages
For several generations, Americans acted as if they believed their forefathers were morons. We possess an uncanny ability to see their failures, and so we reject their wisdom on all manner of issues. Berry captures the foolishness of this ethos well. It is especially personified through the character of Troy Chatham in Jayber Crow. Jayber spots Troy Chatham from a distance when he is a star high school athlete and watches him into adulthood. Troy was a showoff from his earliest years and his confidence in his own abilities never fades. He inherited the land of his father-in-law Athey Keith when he marries Mattie, the apple of Jayber’s eye. Mr. Keith faithfully took care of the land entrusted to him and never demanded more of the land than it was prepared to give. He knew how to listen to his land and conserved it’s beauty. The farm ran debt-free and was poised to provide for the family for another generation.

Troy had other plans for the Keith family farm. He saw himself not as a humble farmer, but as an agribusinessman. He ran roughshod over the land by farming it without any regard to what he was doing to the health of the soil. Beautifully wooded areas logged to pay for Troy’s expanding empire. This rough treatment of the land produced little actual wealth for the family because Troy took on massive amounts of debt to finance his dreams.

In Remembering Andy Catlett speaks at an agricultural symposium. At the time he is known for his ideas that run contrary to those of everyone in the room. He speaks passionately of an “occult science,” where everyone makes decision based off statistics and numbers, but forgetting the impact on real people. The people in the room looked skeptically on the ways of the past, but he looked back and saw the real people who were affected by the foolish decisions made in rooms like the ones where he spoke.

When Berry looks illustrates the foolishness of the young in rejecting the ways of their fathers, he echoes the words of King Solomon in Proverbs. Our generation increasingly speaks as if we are the brightest generation to grace the landscape of American history, yet many metrics suggest our fathers knew things we do not. We see the blindspots and sins of the generations behind us and assume they were wrong about many other issues too. Nothing could be further from the truth. Did our forefathers blow it on many issues, especially ones related to race? Yes. Does this mean they were also wrong about the foolishness of debt, value of hard work, or the importance of community? Absolutely not.

If we see the error the people who came before us could not see about themselves, do this not suggest those who come after us will see error in us that we cannot see? The writers of Scripture warned about being wise in our own eyes. They saw the danger in having an elevated view of ourselves because trusting in our own wisdom will cause us to reject the wisdom of our elders. What if instead of constantly critiquing the lives of our grandparents’ generation, what if we let what they valued critique us? Would we find areas where we do not want to listen to them? Of course, but I think if we listened to them we would benefit in ways we could not imagine.

For Further Reading:
Hannah Coulter
Nathan Coulter
Jayber Crow
The Memory of Old Jack
Remembering

When God created the world, he saw everything he made and said “it is good.” The first time the Lord declares something to not be good is Adam standing alone in the garden. After bringing every animal to Adam for him to name and not finding a suitable helper for him, God caused Adam to fall into a deep sleep. God removed one of Adam’s ribs and fashioned it into his wife. When Adam awakes, his creator presents his wife to him and Bible translators bracket what he said as if it is a song. What comes from his mouth rings of poetry as he exclaims “This is now bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh!” He recognizes that she is what he is, but better.

The writer of Genesis inserts the important statement, “for this cause a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” The husband and wife join themselves together before God into a one flesh union. This union forms the basis for Jesus’ command to not tear apart what God has joined together. Paul appeals to this verse as he explains the union of husband and wife points to the relationship between Christ and the church.

In this union we do not merely want to just continue existing the rest of our lives. We want our union together to be happy, helping each other grow as believers in order to bring glory to God and joy to each other. This takes work, and many times men experience confusion when they think about how to grow as a husband.

I’m going to take several posts over the next few weeks and share what I’ve learned reading the Bible, eleven years of marriage, and a lifetime of watching men who are good husbands. Through this I hope to help men grow both as husbands and followers of Jesus. My original inclination was to write a quick bullet point post on how to be a terrible husband and make the point in a humorous way. After looking over it I felt like sarcasm probably wasn’t the best way to deal with this issue and what is at stake is way too serious. Here is the first way a man can grow as a husband.

Close Off All Your Escape Routes
A man never knows the depths of his sin and selfishness until he gets married. He begins to wrestle with emotions, failures, and anger in a way he never dealt with it before. Left to himself, a man will assume that any difficulty in his marriage is his wife’s fault. When the man gets honest with himself, he realizes nothing could be further from the truth. He and his wife are both the problem, but the husband needs to take the lead in repentance and growth. This means the husband needs to get on his knees in front of his Bible and plead with God to change him. He will have to repent of sin and apologize for his sins to his wife.

Then there are going to be difficulties. There will be times when family finances run low. The stress of infertility, miscarriages, raising children, losing jobs, changing jobs, moving, dealing with in-laws, and the death of parents test even the best marriages. The idea that a relationship where two people love each other will be effortless is a crock. This idea slipped into the way we think about relationships and it bears no resemblance to the truth.

What keeps a couple together through this. How does a man face his sins and grow into the likeness of Christ? How does a man not only endure though these difficulties, but do so in a way that his love for his wife and joy in her grows? This only happens when a man commits himself to his wife for the rest of his life. He closed off all of his options the moment he married her and this commitment to her anchors him through all the difficult times. It doesn’t just keep in the marriage physically, but leads him to pursue his wife’s greatest good and joy in the marriage.

This is the beauty of marriage. There are trials and difficulties, but there is increasing joy and love. The road to the high points goes through dark valleys, and when a man bails during them he never gets to go to the hilltops.

Men, love your wives and look out for her good before your own. Lock out all other options, devoting yourself to her and her joy. What happens through that brings much glory to God and unspeakable joy to you.

Related Posts:
Why the Bible Doesn’t Have Much ‘Marriage Advice’
What Happens When Your Marriage Doesn’t Have an Eject Button

For Further Reading:
Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas
The Meaning of Marriage by Tim Keller

A Few Good Reads

February 23, 2015 — Leave a comment
photo credit: solidether via photopin cc

photo credit: solidether via photopin cc

Wendell Berry, Burkean
I mentioned my appreciation for Berry’s fiction in a post last week and enjoyed reading this interview with him in The American Conservative on a range of issues. While I would disagree with Berry’s definition of the core of Christianity, I appreciate his thoughts on localism. war, and the simple life. “When neighbors replace local stories with stories from television, and when they sit in the house and watch television instead of talking on front porches, a profound disintegration has taken place.”

Your Life Depends on Little Words
I once heard John Piper say the most important words in the Bible were the connecting words. Writing for Desiring God, Dan Brendsel shows why as he works through Philippians 2:14-15. “There is big significance in the little words of Scripture. They are God’s gift to help all of us “eat this book” for our health and life. You need not be a world-class theologian, and know all the big words and technical terms, to read your Bible and understand it. In fact, it’s actually the simplest little words — the ones we’re all familiar with — that most often change everything.”

How to Keep the Urgent from Dominating the Important
Why do we feel so busy and yet seem to accomplish so little? Brian Howard reminds us about the four quadrants of work activities that we do and how we should evaluate the tasks in each of these quadrants. “The Important are things you don’t necessarily have to do right away, but are essential for long-term success. Important activities on the personal side include things such as time with God, exercise, rest, investment in your family, and investment in quality relationships. Important activities in leadership include things such as professional growth, vision and strategy, leader development, planning, and goal setting. The Important is the world that most leaders simply don’t spend enough time in, and suffer long-term consequences for failing to do so.

Three Tips for Better Bible Reading
Every person can and should invest more quality time in Bible reading. Andy Naselli offers three pieces of advice for better Bible reading. Implementing any one of the three would help your Bible reading immensely. (The chart about how long it takes to read each book of the Bible is helpful as well.) “I understand the objection: “There’s no way I could possibly find time to do this.” But aren’t there other activities you do in life for prolonged periods of time? Do you read other books for a few hours at a time? Do you ever spend an hour watching a TV show or two hours watching a movie or three hours watching a football game? Why not prioritize lengthy, undistracted time in the life-giving word?”

Crazy Busy
Speaking of busyness, Kevin DeYoung tackles the motivations and insecurities behind our hectic lives in this helpful little book. It’s only .99 on Kindle, so this would be a great time to pick it up.

portwilliam_closeupFor the last year I’ve been reading through Wendell Berry’s Port William novels. Berry, a writer and farmer from Kentucky, uses the stories of life in the fictional town of Port William from 1888 through 2008 to show the importance of responsible farming, avoiding debt, and connection to people and a place. Currently comprising eight novels and forty-four short stories, the Port William novels reflect a deep understanding of human nature, relationships, and how we are shaped by the events taking place around us.

I turned to these novels after looking over my reading lists for the last several years and seeing that I was reading from a narrow pool of authors. Reading about life in a fictional Kentucky town felt like a detour from theological reading, but what I encountered were profound truths about God, life, and community. So far I have read Hannah Coulter, Nathan Coulter, Jayber Crow, The Memory of Old Jack, Remembering, and several short stories in That Distant Land. This post shares the first of several lessons I’ve learned from spending some time in the fictional town of Port William.

Know the People Around You
Berry speaks of Port William as a “membership.” My favorite of Berry’s characters, Burley Coulter, explains membership, “The way we are, we are members of each other. All of us. Everything. The difference ain’t in who is a member and who is not, but in who knows it and who don’t.” This idea becomes clear as the reader observes the people of Port William live interconnected lives. They know each other, serve each other, and look out for each other. Whether it’s the men helping Andy Catlett with his harvest after he loses an arm or Burley Coulter letting Jayber Crow live in his place by the river, the people of Port William have a strong sense of belonging to each other and to the place where they live.

The characters in Port William know each other and know each other’s stories. Sometimes this takes the form of the town gossip, but more often then not it exists because the people genuinely know and care about each other. They speak of each other’s families, burdens, and business. This knowledge generates a community of mutual respect and concern as well as helping each other see blindspots and warning signs. Jayber Crow watches with horror as Troy Chatham mishandles his father-in-law’s farm and life’s work. Nathan and Hannah Coulter spot the deficiencies in their daughter’s marriage from a distance before disaster strikes in the form of her husband’s infidelity.

Berry’s emphasis on knowing our neighbors and belonging to a community echo the concerns of the New Testament writers. Christians can make a durable difference in this world by knowing the people in their community, hearing their stories, and making themselves available to help. Unfortunately we have erected barriers that keep us away from this kind of community. We either pack our schedules so full that we have no margin to be around people or we barricade ourselves in our homes and drone away in front of the television. Further we tend to bring a consumer mentality instead of an investment mentality to our communities.

The New Testament doesn’t leave Christians with this option though. The first century church was a family. They shared meals from house to house and gathered each day to fellowship and learn. Their love for each other told the world they were Jesus’ disciples and they lived their lives in such a way that people were asking what the reason was for the hope that was within them. They learned this from Jesus who said the greatest commandment was to love God and the second was to love our neighbors as ourselves. Nothing is more difficult than loving people we don’t know because we don’t make the time.

The Port William novels warn us about the unthinking adaptation of technology for technology’s sake. Many times, the technology we think has made us more connected has actually had the opposite effect. We stay connected to people who are distant from us while not making the time for the people who are the closest to us. It sounds like talk from a bygone era, but what if we learned to slow down and increase the margin of time we had for other people? What if our homes were not fortresses and our dinner tables knew the sound of friendship and laughter? Would followers of Jesus not make a greater impact if we learned more of how to listen, celebrate, and mourn with our friends and neighbors?

A Few Good Reads

February 19, 2015 — Leave a comment
photo credit: solidether via photopin cc

photo credit: solidether via photopin cc

Please Address Me as Mister. I Insist
Our culture tends to think of formality as inauthentic and informality as inauthentic. This has led us to jettison many of the ways we used to address each other based on our station in life. Michael Strain believes this informality hurts us and calls for a return to thinking through how we address other people. “And, ultimately, equality in all things is false. A PhD has added to the stock of human knowledge; an undergraduate hasn’t. A priest can transform bread and wine; a layman can’t. Chancellor Merkel can affect the near course of history; I can’t. My friend’s father has successfully raised four children; I haven’t. The way we address each other should reflect these differences because these differences are real and material, and obvious.”

Answering ‘No’ to One of These Questions Will Kill Your Evangelism
Those who follow Christ want to see our friends and neighbors come to faith in Jesus. We know Jesus died to save sinners and that people are in peril apart from Jesus. Trevin Wax shares six questions we must answer ‘yes’ to in order to increase our evangelistic passion. “Sometimes we talk about Jesus but never arrive at the point of inviting someone to repent of their sins and put their faith in Christ. We spend time sowing seeds but are reticent to reap the harvest. Maybe it’s because we are afraid they will say no, but maybe it’s because we are afraid they will say yes! If someone receives Christ, we now have the responsibility to bring them into the church through baptism, and “teach them to obey everything Christ has commanded.”

Death to the Chicken Finger
We have four children and often deal with picky eaters. Adam McDowell had the same kind of childhood I did where children ate what the parents ate and offers some thoughts on how parents can help their children eat healthier. “Sit with children and serve them the same meal you get. Serve them challenging foods and encourage them to eat, but don’t force them. Fighting about it can create negative associations for that food. Listen to kids’ ideas about what they want to eat, but don’t turn the menu into a point of negotiation once dinner has been decided upon. Involving children in food preparation sharpens their appetites, so involve them whenever possible in grocery shopping and gardening, and let them watch you cook.”

A Great Kindle Deal
I recommend Jared Wilson’s Gospel Wakefulness often and it is only $1.99 for Kindle right now. ” Wilson reminds us of the death-proof, fail-proof King of kings who is before all things and in all things and holding all things together, and of the Spirit’s power to quicken our hearts and captivate our imaginations. The message of Gospel Wakefulness will make numbness the exception (rather than the norm) and reawaken us to the multifaceted brilliance of the gospel.”

Romans 8-16 for You

February 16, 2015 — Leave a comment

Romans 8-16 For YouThe book of Romans holds a place of honor in the history of Christian exposition and theology. Paul’s longest letter sets forth the basic message of the Christian Gospel from beginning to end, showing both its power to save and its ability to change the lives of those who believe on this side of glory. Few bookshelves could hold all the scholarly literature written on Romans, but few resources combine exposition of the text with timely application to the life of Christians.

Tim Keller writes on Romans in the “God’s Word for You Series” and helps to fill this noticeable gap in Romans literature in Romans 8-16 for You. In this volume, Keller explains the biblical text and theology while mixing in thoughts on how the text should shape the life of the Christian.

His handling of Romans 12:1 provides a small sample of how Keller works through the text of Romans. He explains that the main point of this passage is to give the reason why Christians obey God and present their lives as sacrifices to him. He briefly unfolds the meaning of the text by focusing on several phrases such as “therefore” and “in view of God’s mercy.” These phrases remind Christians of the good news of the Gospel and provide the motivation for why we should obey God. Moving into the text’s application, he contrasts fear-based obedience with obedience motivated by the Gospel. The main point in this section is to show why fear provides an inferior motive for obedience and why the Gospel provides the motivation and power to obey God for the long haul.

After showing the motive for obedience in the beginning of the verse he transitions to the second half of the verse to show what this obedience looks like in real life. He does this by walking word by word though the rest of the verse. He explains the meaning of the words and theology behind the text. Throughout the explanation he mixes in relevant application with illustrations to illuminate the text.

Christians need to give greater attention to the book of Romans in their personal lives. The book’s rich theological vision mixed with its in depth practical application form a deep foundation on which Christians can build their lives. Tim Keller’s Romans 8-16 for You serves as an able guide for the Christian’s study. Someone working through Romans in their personal devotions could read a section from the text and follow along using Keller.

(I received a complimentary copy of Romans 8-16 for You through the Cross Focused Review program in exchange for an honest review.)