Skip to main content

Book: Prepared by Grace, For Grace

Some books are for everyone. Some books are not for everyone.

Image 1Prepared by Grace, For Grace, by Joel R. Beeke and Paul M. Smalley, is a book I would argue is *not* for everyone. That being said, I am not against this book, and I have been challenged through reading it.

What is Prepared by Grace, for Grace? It is an examination of the classical Puritan doctrine of “preparatory grace.” This doctrine is examined as presented in the seventeenth century Puritan writers, and discussed among modern Reformed theology.

It is well done. Prepared by Grace, for Grace runs through a clear analysis of primary source materials as well as the secondary sources. Further, there are answers to many of the critical objections to the doctrinal idea. Finally, in an appendix, the reader is treated to an English translation of one of the primary sources considered. In all, for a theological concept that is not widely discussed (at least in my circles), this was a helpful introduction.

However, I would caution the casual reader away from Prepared by Grace, for Grace. This is no light reading, and those without a working knowledge of Reformation-era Christian History will find themselves a little lost in the flood of detail. Each section provides some of the biography of the theologian involved, but the little pictures do not fully compute without prior understanding of the big picture.

Further, the language is definitely on a more academic level in Prepared by Grace, for Grace. That hits what I think is the target market: serious students of theology, whether formal or informal, but still those with more than a passing fancy for the material.

I have no hesitation about recommending Prepared by Grace, for Grace to those who want to study theology or the Puritans. I would simply caution that this is not a quick read.

Book provided through Cross-Focused Reviews, a third-party source seeking to provide honest reviews for publishers.


Popular posts from this blog

Book Review: The Heart Mender by @andyandrews (Andy Andrews)

The Heart Mender: A Story of Second ChancesEver read a book that you just kind of wish is true?  That's my take on The Heart Mender by Andy Andrews.  It's a charming story of love and forgiveness, and it's woven into the historical setting of World War II America.  For the narrative alone, the book is worth the read, but the message it contains is well worth absorbing as well.However, let's drop back a minute.  This book was originally published under the title Island of Saints.  I read Island of Saints and enjoyed it greatly.  Now, Andrews has released it under a new title, with a few minor changes.  All of this is explained in the Author's Note at the beginning, but should be noted for purchaser's sake.  If you read Island of Saints, you're rereading when you read The Heart Mender.  Now, go ahead and reread it.  It will not hurt you one bit.Overall, the story is well-paced.  There are points where I'd like more detail, both in the history and the geog…

Curiosity and the Faithlife Study Bible

Good morning! Today I want to take a look at the NIV Faithlife Study Bible. Rather than spend the whole post on this particular Study Bible, I’m going to hit a couple of highlights and then draw you through a few questions that I think this format helps with.

First, the basics of the NIV Faithlife Study Bible (NIVFSB, please): the translation is the 2011 New International Version from Biblica. I’m not the biggest fan of that translation, but that’s for another day. It is a translation rather than a paraphrase, which is important for studying the Bible. Next, the NIVFSB is printed in color. Why does that matter? This version developed with Logos Bible Software’s technology and much of the “study” matter is transitioning from screen to typeface. The graphics, maps, timelines, and more work best with color. Finally, you’ve got the typical “below-the-line” running notes on the text. Most of these are explanations of context or highlights of parallels, drawing out the facts that we miss by …

Foolishness: 1 Corinthians 1

In Summary: 1 Corinthians opens with the standard greeting of a letter from the Apostle Paul. He tells who he is with (Sosthenes) and who he is writing to. In this case, that is the “church of God that is in Corinth.” He further specifies that this church is made up of those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be saints. 
He then expresses the blessing/greeting of “grace and peace” from God. From there, Paul reflects on his initial involvement with the Corinthian people and the beginning of the church. After that, though, there are problems to deal with and Paul is not hesitant to address them. He begins by addressing the division within the church. Apparently, the church had split into factions, some of which were drawn to various personalities who had led the church in times past. There is no firm evidence, or even a suggestion, that Paul, Cephas, Apollos, or anyone else had asked for a faction in their name. Further, the “I follow Christ” faction may not have been any le…