My family loves The Lord of the Rings.

See “Ten Resources for Enjoying Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.” For Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy (resource 7), I write,

This is one of the few cases where Jenni and I think that the films are better than the books. We probably just lost all of our literary credibility (not that I had much of it). We find Tolkien’s writing style often tedious.

artI recently read a book that has helped me more critically view films:

Paul Munson and Joshua Farris Drake. Art and Music: A Student’s Guide. Reclaiming the Christian Intellectual Tradition. Wheaton: Crossway, 2014.

Munson and Drake take a little over four pages to critically analyze the scene from Peter Jackson’s The Fellowship of the Ring in which Arwen and Frodo flee on horseback to the ford.

Here’s what Munson and Drake think (pp. 77–81): Continue Reading…

heavenJohn MacArthur. The Glory of Heaven: The Truth about Heaven, Angels, and Eternal Life; With New Material Addressing the Current Debate and Issues. 2nd ed. Wheaton: Crossway, 2013.

One of the most talked-about books of 2011 was Heaven Is for Real, by Todd Burpo with Lynn Vincent. The book recounts four-year-old Colton Burpo’s vision of heaven (as told by his father to Ms. Vincent). Colton claims he visited heaven during surgery a!er a burst appendix nearly took his life. His stories of heaven are full of fanciful features and peculiar details that bear all the earmarks of a child’s vivid imagination. There’s nothing transcendent or even particularly enlightening about Colton’s description of heaven. In fact, it is completely devoid of the breathtaking glory featured in every biblical description of the heavenly realm. That doesn’t deter Todd Burpo from singling out selective phrases and proof texts from Scripture, citing them as if they authenticated his son’s account. (p. 14) Continue Reading…

ESV Reader’s Bible

Andy Naselli —  June 5, 2014 — 2 Comments

ESVRBThis new Bible releases at the end of this month:

ESV Reader’s Bible. Wheaton: Crossway, 2014.

Bible readers should celebrate this new Bible because it strips out the verse numbers (but, unfortunately, not the chapter numbers!).* It’s the first ESV Bible to do this. Check out the format in this 10-page PDF sample.

*My friend Mark Ward’s mostly enthusiastic review of the ESV Reader’s Bible more passionately makes the same point.

How does this format benefit readers?

  1. See “Tip #3. Read without any chapter or verse references.”
  2. See thoughts #6, 9, and 10 here.
  3. See my book reviews that explain this in more detail.
  4. See Gordon Fee’s third reason for revising his commentary on 1 Corinthians.

feeComing in September:

Gordon D. Fee. The First Epistle to the Corinthians. 2nd ed. New International Commentary on the New Testament. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2014.

That’s 27 years after Fee’s first edition released in 1987.

I read the first edition cover-to-cover when I was in college. It’s brilliant. I don’t agree with all of Fee’s exegetical conclusions, but his scholarship is solid and arguments clear.

I have a galley of the manuscript, and this second edition is definitely worth adding to your library.

Here’s Fee’s preface to the second edition: Continue Reading…

I’ve listened to this debate over and over and over, and it doesn’t get old. It’s that stimulating.

Greg L. Bahnsen vs. Gordon Stein. “The Great Debate: Does God Exist?” University of California, Irvine, 1985.


  1. Collision: Christopher Hitchens vs. Douglas Wilson
  2. Carson on Presuppositional vs. Evidentialist Apologetics
  3. More Bahnsen Debates
  4. Greg Bahnsen Lectures and Debates on YouTube
  5. John M. Frame. Apologetics to the Glory of God: An Introduction. Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian & Reformed, 1994.
  6. Steven B. Cowan, ed. Five Views on Apologetics. Counterpoints. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2000.
  7. K. Scott Oliphint. Covenantal Apologetics: Principles and Practice in Defense of Our Faith. Wheaton: Crossway, 2013.

RomansJ. D. Crowley has lived in Asian cultures all his life. After 12 years of pastoring in Hawaii, he went to Cambodia in 1994 to do linguistic and mission work among the indigenous minorities there. He is the author of The Tampuan/Khmer/English Dictionary and Khmer commentaries on Matthew and (most recently) Romans:

J. D. Crowley. Commentary on the Book of Romans for Cambodia Asia. ASEAN Bible Commentary. Phnom Penh, Cambodia: Fount of Wisdom, 2014.

Four endorsements:

“There is a long and honorable history of synopsizing and condensing longer, technical commentaries. JD Crowley has not only brought his considerable skills to this tradition, but has done so in two languages simultaneously, to the enormous benefit of the church in Cambodia and, it is hoped, other East Asian countries. Those called to teach the Bible who make use of Crowley’s careful work will long thank God for this gift.”

D. A. Carson
Research Professor of New Testament, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
President, The Gospel Coalition Continue Reading…

AllisonLast semester at Bethlehem College and Seminary I taught a systematic theology course on the doctrines of the church and the end times. This is the primary text I used for the doctrine of the church, and I plan to use it again when I teach the course in the future:

Gregg R. Allison. Sojourners and Strangers: The Doctrine of the Church. Foundations of Evangelical Theology Series. Wheaton: Crossway, 2012.

I love how Allison organizes the book, and I agree with his theological method. His arguments are well-reasoned and usually persuasive. Continue Reading…