Saturday, January 21, 2012

It Seems Appropriate

To bring to the attention of us all, on this the Lord's day, something that would greatly edify us in our relationship with the Lord.  Therefore, for your consideration I give the following review on The Gospel of mark commentary.  May you be blessed as well as encouraged.

Title:  Mark: He Taught Them as One Who Had Authority
Author:  Dr. R. C. Sproul
Pages:  400
Year:  2011
Publisher:  Reformation Trust
 
                What would you think of an author who writes the following in the Preface of this commentary?
             Very early in my tenure with St. Andrew’s, I determined that I should
adopt the ancient Christian practice of lectio continua, “continuous expositions,”
in my preaching.  This method of preaching verse by verse through
books of the Bible (rather than choosing a new topic each week) has been
attested throughout church history as the one approach that ensures believers
hear the full counsel of God. Therefore, I began preaching lengthy
series of messages at St. Andrew’s, eventually working my way through several
biblical books in a practice that continues to the present day.
Previously, I had taught through books of the Bible in various settings,
including Sunday school classes, Bible studies, and audio and video teaching
series for Ligonier Ministries.  But now I found myself appealing not so
much to the minds of my hearers as to both their minds and their hearts.” (pg. xi)
                Would you be drawn to such a commentary?  I was struck by the fact that here was a man who saw the deepest need of the Church.  Sermons can be on topics or in a series, but ask yourself, “How much can I recall from Sunday’s sermon?”  If you’re like me, you might have to honestly say, “I can’t remember.”  While there is not anything inherently wrong with teaching in a series or topics, I am learning it isn’t very effective.
                In the author’s preface, cited above, he makes an interesting declaration that verse by verse has been “attested throughout church history.”  Dr Sproul’s knowledge is quite accurate if we read other books written by John Stott or Martyn Lloyd-Jones as well as many other preachers,  who have found teaching by verse touches the “minds and hearts” of the people.  Why is that?  Well, why not look at society today? What is going on around us as well as how our lives are lived out daily?  Plain fact is we forget lots of things like phone numbers, names, addresses and more.
                Here is a pastor’s cry to learn anew the Word by approaching it verse by verse.  This book is written in a very readable style that engages the reader unlike other commentaries written in a different style.  Dr Sproul shares how these started out as sermons, and then developed into the written form.  Dr Sproul methodically takes small portions of each chapter of Mark and expounds on them with the addition of sharing his heart.
                The Word not only changes those who let it flow to their heart, but also the person who shares the Word is changed.  Dr Sproul is an example of that truth today.  In taking time to dwell in one area of Scripture, he digs out treasures that are inexpressible.  I would read and then sit and meditate on something new about the Lord Jesus Christ.  The first time Mark’s Gospel was read it impacted his readers, and it will impact you as well.  Keep your Bible open, read the passage and then by the grace of God let Dr Sproul share with you new insights that will cause you to marvel at the Lord.  I cannot recommend this book highly enough.  At the end of the Preface on page xii, we read the following:
Though I sought to at least touch on each verse, I
focused on the key themes and ideas that comprised the “big picture” of
each passage I covered. Therefore, I urge you to use this book as an overview
and introduction, but if you desire to enhance your knowledge of this
book of Scripture, you should turn to one or more of the many excellent
exegetical commentaries (see my recommendations in the back).”

                Thank you, Dr Sproul for not only sharing what the Lord revealed to you, but also your heart.

Note:  I received a complimentary copy of this book from Ligonier Ministries.