It just so happens that as I begin to write a somewhat enthusiastic post concerning Tim Keller, someone on Facebook decides to release a video of a fluffy ballet that took allegedly place in his church. The debate seems to be over whether it should take place in a church. My concern is more with just how any man can do that.
Anyways, I wrote before on why I think it is important in your morning devotions to ditch the “helps” for the “helper.” Helps are great, but I think daily, focused time alone with God and his Word, in prayer, is vital for any Christian.
On the other hand, commentaries and commentary sets are also very beneficial for the Christian to have in his or her arsenal, to aid in digging deeper into books and passages in the Bible.
But what if you seek the in-between?
Sometimes 1000 pages of Moo just won’t do……..33 MacArthurs kills my markers….to read NT Wright takes a life…. And sure study bibles are good, but they often seem so generic and sometimes a bit unsatisfying.
I’ve been looking lately for a very specific commentary set: Not too small, not too big, and not alongside God’s word (study bibles), not too deep, and not too shallow. ALSO…. one that has a drop of devotion and a steady stream of practicality.
In addition, I was looking for a book that is simply focused on the text; not 200 pages devoted to the importance of to term ‘propitiation’ and 200 more on the impotency of ‘expiation,’ or the historical evolution of thought on whether Paul is a Christian or not in Romans 7……just a book opening up the life-giving, living and active word of God to me…..just the text of Scripture.
We often read so many books about the Bible, books about great men of the Bible or great men in church history, or books about theological movements or worldviews. All of this is GREAT…..but there are times where we need to push these aside and just dig into God’s word…one on one.
That is essentially what I was looking for in a “commentary” (if you can call it that) and what I have been seeking these days.
And, I think I have found it (them).
Romans For You
God’s word is DEEP. It is also SHALLOW (in a good sense). Anyone can get it……..and anyone CAN GET IT.
Well, I picked up an exposition of Romans 1-7 by Tim Keller (Romans for You) and it turned out to be a phenomenal read/study. Why?
First, its Romans. Enough said. Well, I cant resist….. The glorious doctrine of justification by faith alone…..our Union with Christ and all of its jaw dropping implications and the certainty it brings…..credited righteousness……objective peace with God…and on and on and on….
Second, it is only about 160 pages……160 simple yet dense, practical, theological, explanatory pages.
Third, it was expositional. It was only briefly historical (what is a book on Romans without a story on Luther). There were very minimal systematics. It was the text….exegeted.
Finally, it was soul-satisfyingly devotional. Keller really does a superb job at bringing out the radical, life-changing implications of the doctrine of justification by faith, union with Christ, and the joy, certainty, and identity it brings. Think what you will about the guy. He may not be your cup of tea, but the man has had a very fruitful and blessed ministry, and his Bible exposition is ALWAYS phenomenal in my book. Well, you know…..almost always.
God’s Word For You
In addition to all the above, it seems that this book is just one in a series called God’s Word For You.
The central aim of each volume is the be “Bible centered,” “Christ glorifying,” “Relevantly applied,” and “Easily readable.”
They are not helpful if you want all the Greek possibilities or word studies. They are simple, and we all need a little simplicity sometimes. Finally, they all point to God’s word, not themselves or their authurs, to Christ, the central figure of the Bible and of history.
Grab a copy here.