Todays post features a book review of the Christ-Centered Exposition Exalting Jesus in 1 & 2 Kings.
Where would I find more information about a specific biblical character? What’s going on behind the scenes in a particular Bible story? How can I supplement devotional notes, or dig deeper into Scripture references?
All good questions, but where does one begin their search for answers? The footnote section of a Bible? The Concordance? Perhaps, but because both reference sources have limited information, one may be left with unanswered questions.
What about referencing a commentary? Commentaries are great for clarifying textual concepts, researching background information, and digging deeper into Scripture.
Years ago, commentaries may have been used primarily by ministers as a companion tool for sermon preparation. That’s definitely not the case these days. Commentaries are accessible to any one and are beneficial on many fronts.
For example: I am not a pastor, just an average individual with a love for God and a thirst for biblical knowledge. A few years ago I learned the value of the commentary when I volunteered to present a devotional to my colleagues. In an effort to enhance my understanding of the devotional material, I borrowed a commentary from a friend. I found the commentary insightful, and now own 15 different volumes.
While most commentaries are similar, not all commentaries are the same. They don’t all contain the same layout, anecdotal offerings, or lingo. Nor do they all explore the same Scripture passages. Furthermore, some are more challenging to grasp due to the scholastic content.
One user-friendly version is the Christ-Centered Exposition Exalting Jesus in 1 & 2 Kings authored by Tony Merida. Perhaps this user-friendly moniker has something to do with the statement on the introduction page. “This series is not academic in nature.”
Although written primarily for busy pastors to aid in their “weekly preparation of biblically faithful and gospel-inspired sermons,” the textual content written in modern day language makes this version manageable for all walks of life.
Easy to comprehend is not the only characteristic readers will find beneficial. Tucked within the pages of this series are:
- “helpful illustrations and theologically driven applications”
- the display of exegetical accuracy
- a Christ-centered emphasis that aims “to honor the historical particularity of each biblical passage,” as well as “highlight its intrinsic connection to the Redeemer”
Furthermore, while some commentaries may only cover the easy topics, this version does not shy away from the more challenging subjects, battles, and gruesome exposes. “We’re dealing with lesser-known (and sometimes graphic) stories and trying to make sense of them.”
Many of these stories deal with God’s judgment. Ironically, “because of our soft, tolerant culture, we don’t like to hear that God punishes those who reject Him.” If that’s the case, then why include a critical explanation or bother with interpreting these passages? Why not leave them out, or strictly focus on the positive and feel-good chapters?
One reason the author gives for their inclusion: “Many of the stories in Scripture are difficult to understand and stomach, but that doesn’t mean we need to avoid them or we cannot make sense of them.” He continues his reasoning by reiterating that “All Scripture is God breathed and profitable (2 Tim 3:16), and even these puzzling stories are for our good (1 Cor 10:11). We simply need to try to understand them.”
Merida grapples with some of these difficult topics throughout the chapter titled Four Types of Hearts; a segment that covers 2 Kings 6:8-8:29. “God reveals Himself in word and deed . . . yet not everyone responds in repentance and faith.” Thankfully, Merida doesn’t sway from biblical truth as he explores the consequences of moral depravity, the rewards of obedience, and the salvation Christ offers to all mankind.
There is such an incredible amount of meat in this volume that it would be impossible to discuss every component. However, if you find yourself in need of a deeper look at a topic from the books of Kings, I recommend you check out the Christ-Centered Exposition Exalting Jesus in 1 & 2 Kings by Tony Merida. The author provides the reader with a user-friendly volume packed with many insightful nuggets.