Friday, January 25, 2013

Books in Brief: January Edition

I know that you see plenty of book review posts from me, but this is a little different. While a few famous bloggers do this with books they get sent free, just to keep the free books rolling, I want to point you to some that I have either received as gifts, won in giveaways, or flat-out bought. Yes, I still buy books. Real books. And Kindle books.

Note: all links are to Amazon for convenience. I do not profit, as the Amazon Affiliate program was blocked in Arkansas because of all the things Wal-Mart owns, the State Legislature is one of them.

First up: On the Shoulders of Hobbits by Louis Markos.

On the Shoulders of Hobbits: The Road to Virtue with Tolkien and Lewis

This book runs 240 pages and takes a look at some of the classic virtues and how they can be seen in the characters of both J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis. Rather than attempting to massage the characters or even the author’s intent in these stories, Markos has presented the virtues and used situations from the book to illustrate.

Further, Markos demonstrates the power of story to transform how we see things. The bare idea of pity or friendship comes to life in Frodo, Sam, Lucy, Caspian, and more. Additionally, grab a notepad while you read this one and take note of the other literary works mentioned. It will serve as a great reading list for you.


Second: Misreading Scripture with Western Eyes by E. Randolph Richards and Brandon J. O’Brien

Misreading Scripture with Western Eyes: Removing Cultural Blinders to Better Understand the Bible

Most of us who are Christians acknowledge the understanding gap between ourselves and Biblical times. At the least, we know of its existence. Misreading gives a look at a few of the ways that our basic cultural assumptions affect our understanding of the Bible. These light areas for improvement in our study and also provide an “aha” moment or two for why someone would have said what they said.

Richards and O’Brien have also put the effort into not condemning the blind spots of our cultural situation. Or, perhaps better said, not condemning us for having them. They highlight how this affects every culture, but the emphasis is on how white, Bible-belt, Americans hit the same spots. Why? That’s what the authors are. Still, the book highlights enough variety to help anyone interested in a deeper study of the Bible.

Finally today, Devotions on the Greek New Testament, edited by J. Scott Duvall and Verlyn D.Verbrugge.

Devotions on the Greek New Testament: 52 Reflections to Inspire and Instruct

Perhaps, once upon a time, you learned a little Greek. Perhaps, once upon a time, you used that Greek. Perhaps, once upon a time, you let it rust up on you.

This text won’t bring it all back, but it will help you see why you want to work on that Greek. There are 52 devotional readings based in the Greek New Testament. Some of these are clearly highlighting points you will not get in English. Others just show how it looks in the Greek. Either way, it’s worth your time.

So, how about you? Read any good books lately?

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