I was recently asked for a reading recommendation to supplement an introductory study of the book of Proverbs. Though I have found commentaries by David Hubbard, Tremper Longman III, Bruce Waltke, and others helpful in dealing with particular aspects of Proverbs, I have had difficulty finding an introduction that provides a helpful structure of the book and a meaty "big picture" introduction. My searches lead me to "Finding Favor in the Sight of God" by Richard P. Belcher Jr. and below I have provided an assessment of this tool.
One of the last conversations I remember having with my Papa was about the Book of Ecclesiastes. I discovered that it was his favorite book of the Bible and one that had both intrigued and puzzled him through the years. I remember him saying, "If a man could get his mind wrapped around the Book of Ecclesiastes, I believe it could really change his life."
Since that conversation I have repeatedly found myself turning to Ecclesiastes and pondering its message. I too have become intrigued with and often puzzled with Solomon's expression of wisdom.
A couple years ago Brother Ron Courter held a meeting at my home congregation and spent several nights teaching from Ecclesiastes. He printed his notes in a booklet and we are happy to offer those notes in our bookstore through the link below.
Other than Brother Ron's notes, I have never found any outstanding material that really helped to unlock the message of Ecclesiastes in a way that made it's message come to life in both a practical and preachable way. That is until I read Living Life Backwards by David Gibson.
Here is the synopsis from the back cover:
Only by keeping the end in mind can a person truly learn how to live in the here and now. Living in light of our death reorients us to our limitations as creatures and helps us see God’s good gifts right in front of us—enabling us to live wisely, freely, and generously. Drawing on wisdom from the book of Ecclesiastes, David Gibson teaches us to embrace this countercultural mind-set and live life backward: to take the one thing in the future that is certain—our death—and work backward when it comes to our priorities, goals, desires, and decisions. If we do this, we'll learn that only with a proper perspective on death can we find meaning and satisfaction in life—and see just how great God is.
I highly recommend this book and believe it to be the best introduction/overview of Ecclesiastes available. It is engaging, practical, challenging, and reflective. It will punch you in the gut with its boldness and challenge you to reconsider both your priorities in life and your purpose for living. This book is not for the faint of heart, nor is it for those who are resistant to change. Grab a copy and discover (perhaps for the first time) Solomon’s message of wisdom for modern man.
Reading Level: Moderate
Family worship is a concept foreign to most religious people and is even a rarity among members of the church. In a world where families rarely eat together, it is not surprising that few set aside time for daily devotion. A practice that was once a norm has now become the exception and in need of reintroduction; thus this book.
Helping Without Hurting In Church Benevolence by Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert - Reviewed by Nathan Battey
WHEN SHOVELS BREAK, is a book written as a sequel to MUSCLE AND A SHOVEL, both by Michael J. Shank. It is a story that takes us more personally into the journey of faith that began in MUSCLE AND A SHOVEL. The following contains my opinion and recommendations about the book.
The reader is enthralled with the struggles of Michael and John, the two main characters of the story, their downward spiral, discouragement, and depression. Mr. Shank sets forth the hard facts of how sin enters and the horrifying danger it brings. One can sense the utter hopelessness and despair as John's life spins out of control. Further one can sense the dichotomy of personalities as these two characters tread the road of shame caused by sin and rebellion. From extreme zeal to discouragement and disappointment because of fellow Christians lack of zeal, to drinking, marital unfaithfulness, drugs and greed until at the end of his rope Michael comes to himself.
To purchase a copy of this set, click HERE.
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