Category Archives: books, scholars and study resources

Book recommendation: Redeeming Money by Paul David Tripp

Redeeming Money: How God Reveals and Reorients Our Hearts by Paul David Tripp

Over the past week, I’ve enjoyed and reflected upon Paul David Tripp’s recently published book, Redeeming Money: How God Reveals and Reorients Our Hearts. This is a book I’m happy to recommend and I hope that it reaches a wider audience.

Redeeming Money is a book for Christians about how to understand money in a Biblical context. It’s not a book about finance, so there’s nothing about how to invest wisely or how to budget appropriately. But this book is still practical albeit in a somewhat different way: the author teaches us how to think about money in way that reflects what Scripture teaches. As the author notes, Jesus talked about money a lot. How then, should Christians understand God’s intentions for our use of it?

Particularly noteworthy in this book is Tripp’s approach of looking at the bigger picture of human nature and God’s work of redemption. This is not simply a discussion on the parts of the Bible that discuss money (of which there are plenty, e.g. 1 Timothy 6:10). Instead, Tripp takes both a wider and deeper approach. For example, he begins by setting out the premise that understanding money requires thinking properly about one’s identity:

You can’t understand money if you don’t understand who you are, and money is one of the principal ways you demonstrate who you think you are. There is no better indicator of the identity you have
assigned to yourself than the way you use money. Why does one person proudly throw money around? Why does another person use her money to buy all the cultural markers of success? Why is
that neighbor of yours so proudly vocal about his charity? Why has yet another person never been able to stay out of debt? Why does that couple quietly give away such a big portion of their income? Why is your friend so gripped with money fears? Why does she struggle with envy and embarrassment whenever she is around her wealthy friends? Why does he try to hide the fact that he grew up in poverty? Why did Jesus talk about this topic more than any other? Why is money such a big deal? Why are some of us never satisfied, even though we have so much money, and why are some of us content with so little? The answer to all these questions is identity.

And from there, Trip begins a most helpful Bible study on how God wants us to see ourselves, how we so often fall short, and how God redeems us. This becomes the pattern of the book: that the way we think about money isn’t to be treated in isolation, as if money is a special category of its own, quite apart from the rest of life’s concerns. Rather, the way we think about our needs and desires, and our willingness to seek after Christ and follow his example, affects all aspects of our lives, including how we handle money. In short, financial matters always concern the heart. Focus on getting your heart right and you have the right basis to proceed.

From that essential platform, Tripp deals sensitively on matters that will be helpful to many. There are useful sections on debt and generosity, and on greed and envy. There is encouragement and advice for those with little money and those with plenty. There is a refreshing honesty in the author’s own personal examples of temptation and struggle. All of this is presented with careful and accurate exposition of Scripture, which is characteristic of the author.

I am a fan of Paul Tripp’s writings and this work, as with so many of his writings, provides both a profound understanding of human nature as well as thoroughly reliable exposition of Scripture. It would be hard to imagine any Christian who would not gain from this book. This is indeed a book to be treasured, for it points us towards Jesus while teaching us to use money for his glory. Spend your money wisely and buy this book.

Note: This book would be very helpful for individual use but would also be suitable in church small groups. There are questions at the end of each of the ten chapters for review and reflection, along with associated Bible passages for further study.

Dr Andy Cheung teaches Biblical Studies and Theology at King’s Evangelical Divinity School.

Book Review: Galatians (Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament) by Douglas Moo

Moo, Douglas J. (2013). Galatians (Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament). Grand Rapids: Baker Academic. Reviewed by Dr Andy Cheung
[Douglas Moo is Professor of New Testament at Wheaton College Graduate School.]

This is a commentary long awaited by many Biblical scholars and students, partly because of Douglas Moo’s reputation, and partly because Galatians is not well served with technical, conservative commentaries. It does not disappoint and that in itself is part of the expectation with a Moo commentary; that not only will it be well written, judicious in exegesis, and reasonable in conclusions, but also of consistently high quality. There’s an evenness in Moo’s work stretching back several decades and it is perhaps unsurprising that this commentary fulfils expectations of excellence. For many, this will be the new ‘go to’ commentary on Galatians.
Read more »

Fight the disjunction between ‘critical’ and ‘devotional’ reading of the Bible.

Here’s an excellent piece of advice from D. A. Carson. It comes from the excellent book The Pastor as Scholar & the Scholar as Pastor, available here free as a pdf download.

Fight with every fiber of your being the common disjunction between “objective study” of Scripture and “devotional reading” of Scripture, between “critical reading” of the Bible and “devotional reading” of the Bible. The place where this tension first becomes a problem is usually at seminary. Students enter with the habit of reading the Bible “devotionally” (as they see it). They enjoy reading the Bible, they feel warm and reverent as they do so, they encounter God through its pages, some have memorized many verses and some chapters, and so forth. Seminary soon teaches them the rudiments of Greek and Hebrew, principles of exegesis, hermeneutical reflection, something about textual variants, distinctions grounded in different literary genres, and more. In consequence, students learn to read the Bible “critically” or “objectively” for their assignments but still want to read the Bible “devotionally” in their quiet times.

Every year a handful of students end up at the door of assorted lecturers and professors asking how to handle this tension. They find themselves trying to have their devotions,
only to be harassed by intruding thoughts about textual variants. How should one keep such polarized forms of reading the Bible apart? This polarization, this disjunction, kept unchecked, may then characterize or even harass the biblical scholar for the rest of his or her life. That scholar may try to write a commentary on, say, Galatians, where at least part of the aim is to master the text, while preserving time for daily devotional reading.

My response, forcefully put, is to resist this disjunction, to eschew it, to do everything in your power to destroy it. Scripture remains Scripture, it is still the Word of God before which (as Isaiah reminds us) we are to tremble—the very words we are to revere, treasure, digest, meditate on, and hide in our hearts (minds?), whether we are reading the Bible at 5:30 am at the start of a day, or preparing an assignment for an exegesis class at 10:00 pm. If we try to keep apart these alleged two ways of reading, then we will be irritated and troubled when our “devotions” are interrupted by a sudden stray reflection about a textual variant or the precise force of a Greek genitive; alternatively, we may be taken off guard when we are supposed to be preparing a paper or a sermon and suddenly find ourselves distracted by a glimpse of God’s greatness that is supposed to be reserved for our “devotions.” So when you read “devotionally,” keep your mind engaged; when you read “critically” (i.e., with more diligent and focused study, deploying a panoply of “tools”), never, ever, forget whose Word this is. The aim is never to become a master of the Word, but to be mastered by it. (p. 91)

Book Review: Introducing Romans: Critical Issues in Paul’s Most Famous Letter by Richard Longenecker

At 490 pages of fairly dense text, Introducing Romans by Richard Longenecker is more than just an introduction, since it is longer than many commentaries. In this form, it serves a similar purpose to the large introductions now common in the more expansive technical commentaries on biblical books. Indeed, one wonders whether much of this material will be reproduced in Longenecker’s forthcoming Greek commentary on Romans in the New International Greek Testament series. Read more »

New Publications By Visiting KEDS Tutor

KEDS tutor Dr Derek Tidball has many books and other published works to his name (for details view his Faculty page). His most recent titles are The Message of Holiness: Restoring God’s Image(Nottingham, IVP, BST, 2010) and The Message of Women: Creation, Gender and Grace (Nottingham, IVP, BST 2012), which is due out in October.

But perhaps of special interest to students of theology at this time (considering the furore over Rob Bell’s Love Wins) would be his article; ‘Can Evangelicals be Universalists?’, published in Evangelical Quarterly 84.1 (2012).

Apart from his busy life as a writer and visiting tutor for KEDS, Derek is also visiting Scholar at Spurgeon’s College, London.

Personal Knowledge Base (PKB) Software

For those not put-off by Orwellian-sounding terms like “mind mapping,” there is new free software available  for putting into visual form one’s personal tasks and ideas. The Brain is a brainstorming, knowledge management, and personal organisation tool that allows “anytime access” from your desktop, web browser, or mobile device.