Book Review: Pass It On

The philosophy of intergenerational ministry calls for one generation to pass on to the next the truth and wisdom of God’s Word. The desire to partake in such a ministry is visible in our churches. However, the steps of implementing and practicing intergenerational ministry can be a struggle. How can one generation intentionally pass on biblical wisdom to the up and coming generation? Maybe the greatest and longest-lasting avenue is by placing words on paper to give to the next generation. This is exactly what Champ Thornton does in his new work Pass It On: A Proverbs Journal for the Next Generation.

Champ Thornton opens with a section on how to use this journal with its design in mind. The book, then, gives a bird’s-eye view of Proverbs, noting its structure and worldview, before guiding the journal’s owner through the 31 chapters found in Proverbs. Each chapter in Proverbs is introduced with an opening “Guided Tour” paragraph, noting observations of the passage and how they fit together. Following the paragraph, the “At-A-Glance” portion lists a brief and simple outline of the Proverbs chapter before having the owner read the biblical text, a particular English translation provided by Dr. Bruce Waltke. The most personal aspect of the journal follows with space for the first journal owner to write reflections of their reading, to answer questions to go deeper, to make connections to the gospel, to personalize the text into a prayer, and to share their own story as it pertains to the passage. This is all done with the intention of passing the resource on to someone in the next generation.

The vision of this journal is unique and encouraging. Thornton does not take verses of Proverbs and isolate them into their own clusters. Rather, he seeks to show the structure and outline of each chapter. To be fair, some Proverbs are more loosely connected together than others and Thornton is quick to admit that (Thornton 78). As a result, some of the journal entry questions are broader while some are more specific to the passages. Another unique feature is a section on how each chapter connects to the gospel. I found this to be one of the most encouraging elements of the journal. It is important to remember Proverbs is included in the grand narrative of Scripture, not isolated from it.

The vision goes further, though. The purpose is not to merely read Proverbs and apply it to your own life. You must do that, but that by itself is not enough. This journal is meant to be used with the intentions of giving it away and passing it on. The vision alone makes this journal commendable for any parent or grandparent. With so much to offer, one area of critique should be stated. As a pastor of youth, one of my great passions is to equip families to disciple their children to learn and grow in biblical wisdom. A resource like this would be ideal for me to journal and pass on to my youth. Yet, there are some questions throughout the journal entries that require someone twenty years my senior to answer (at least by how the question is stated). Restructuring such questions with more generality would have provided a greater range to give this resource out. Still, younger adults like myself as leaders in the church can use these journals to pass on God’s Word to students.

Pass It On: A Proverbs Journal for the Next Generation by Champ Thornton is a gospel-centered, disciple-making resource for parents and grandparents alike. If you a godly parent or grandparent whose passion is to pass on the wisdom of God’s Word to the next generation, then start with this book. Be ready to read Proverbs, grow in your understanding and application of this book of the Bible, and to pass it on to see what God will do in the life of the next generation for His glory!

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Litfuse Publicity Group for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own and are my honest review of the book.

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Book Review: Irenaeus of Lyon-Christian Biographies for Young Readers

This past month many Christians celebrated the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. Yet, in the midst of the celebration, a good number of Protestants only knew in a vague sense what the Reformation stood for. They were unable to name the 5 Solas foundational to the Reformation. While they could name Martin Luther, to discuss what his problems were with the Catholic church would lead to a stiff in the conversation. Simply put, when it comes to church history, a good number of Christians remain ignorant, not informed. For this reason, I am excited about the newest addition by Simonetta Carr to the Christian Biographies for Young Readers series: Irenaeus of Lyon.

The book is composed of six brief chapters that highlight the life of Irenaeus, one of the earlier church history figures. This is encouraging because even in discussions on church history, many times the focus is on the Reformation. Yet, church history did not begin there. Carr’s addition in this series of Irenaeus, who was born only 100 years after the death of Jesus, should not be underestimated. To find out more about Irenaeus the book concludes by listing a timeline, a list of “Did You Know?” answers, and then a piece of Irenaeus’s writing.

With a book focused on the person of Irenaeus, the reader may wonder why the first couple of chapters spend a length of time on Polycarp and Justin Martyr. It is true both lived during the time of Irenaeus, especially with Polycarp as his teacher, but the space given to them is more than one would expect. To be fair, Simonetta Carr states we do not know as much about Irenaeus as other figures in church history (Carr 63), so more details needed to be added in somewhere. Therefore, a more appropriate title might say The Times and Life of Irenaeus of Lyon.

Still, in this volume, young readers (and their parents) will learn about the time and life of Irenaeus. They will be encouraged to see his commitment to the Scriptures, his willingness to engage with false teaching of the Gnostics in order to expose lies and speak the truth of the gospel, and his heart of caring for people and preparing them for times of persecution. While not targeted for smaller children, Irenaeus of Lyon: Christian Biographies for Young Readers will encourage 7-12-year-olds (and their parents) to no longer be ignorant of church history but to be informed about it and appreciative for it!

I received this book for free from Reformation Heritage Books via Cross Focused Reviews for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own and are my honest review of the book.

Book Review: She’s Got the Wrong Guy

“Where have all the good men gone?” This song lyric echoes in the hearts and minds of many single Christian women in our churches. They long for marriage. They hear sermons which hold marriage in special honor. What are they to do? The weight of uncertainty in waiting appears too heavy. When a man shows interest in them, they reason to themselves, “He says he is a Christian so that should be good enough, right?” They justify in order to fulfill the dream they have for their lives. They settle for less than God’s best. The ruling desire for marriage wins out over the type of marriage God desires for them to have. Deepak Reju, the pastor of biblical counseling and families at Capitol Hill Baptist Church, has witnessed these instances too often. As a pastor and a counselor, he wants to shepherd these women to be wise with their lives as they wait. The result is his new book She’s Got the Wrong Guy: Why Smart Women Settle.

Unlike most books on Christian dating, Pastor Reju does not give principles or anecdotes of what Christian dating relationships ought to look like. Instead, he warns single women against the type of men many settle for. The book is divided into three sections. Part 1 explains the problem of Christian women settling for less-than-godly men, and a way forward (chapters 1–4). Part 2, which covers the bulk of the book, asks the question, “Am I Dating the Wrong Guy?” and warns the reader of ten men to not settle for: the control freak, the promiscuous guy, the unchurched guy, the new convert, the unbeliever, the angry man, the lone ranger, the commitment-phobic man, the passive man, and the unteachable guy (chapters 5–14). The book ends with part 3 posing penetrating questions on how to break up for the glory of God if with a wrong guy (chapter 15), learning to value what God values in pursuing a real Christian man (chapter 16), realizing why waiting is okay and even redemptive and good (chapter 17), and recognizing grace remains for those who have settled (chapter 18).

The book is filled with stories and vignettes which are meant to cause you “to think and pray important these important matters, and to bring God’s perspective to your dating relationships” (Reju 32). The book reveals ten portraits of men Christian women should resist settling for. As a single Christian man who cares greatly for my sisters in the faith, I found Reju’s words an exhortation for me to examine my own heart for tendencies toward a specific type of wrong guy. Likewise, I was encouraged by the counsel in part 3 on how to know when to break up and how to do it in a distinctly Christian way for the glory of God. Pastor Deepak calls for a better and biblical way of thinking, placing two questions before the reader, (1) “Do I desire Jesus more than anything else?” and (2) “Would I settle for the wrong guy?” (Reju 21). She’s Got the Wrong Guy counsels single Christian women to trust in Christ in the midst of waiting and to treasure a relationship with Christ above any other relationship. Trust in Christ means starting your pursuit with a dependence upon Him (Reju 7) and submitting to His Word (Reju 78) while treasuring Christ involves valuing and prioritizing in a man what God values and prioritizes in a person. The question every single Christian woman needs to ask is, “Is Christ enough for you?” (Reju 150). Marriage is no guarantee. But the call still is to wait. By no means is this easy. Chapter 17 deals with the truth of waiting. But if “a man who is servant-hearted, faithful, and strong in his faith” is what a single Christian woman values, the wait is worth it. She’s Got the Wrong Guy does not merely warn single Christian women about who not to marry; it counsels ladies to look to Jesus in trust and as their treasure while they worship Him and wait for what He may have in store. To all single Christian women who want to follow the wisdom of God’s word in waiting and dating, I recommend you grab this book!

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Litfuse Publicity Group for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own and are my honest review of the book.

How God Transforms Our Watches

Watches and wallets. A couple of small items which reveal much about our hearts. Watches tell how we spend our time. Wallets open up to where we spend our money. Simply put, watches and wallets make clear what we treasure. If you look at your life, evaluate what you spend your time doing and what you are willing to spend your money on, chances are you will find out what you treasure. Oftentimes, these treasures do not last and do not satisfy. That is because we are pursuing the wrong things or we are pursuing the good, but not ultimate, things too much. With our watches and our wallets, we need to pursue the ultimate thing: a relationship with our triune God. While both categories of time and money are necessary discussion points, for the scope of this article we will zoom in to see how our pursuit of the triune God transforms our watches as Christians.

Time Not Our Own

God, first, transforms our watches by reminding us our time is not our own. Psalm 24:1 says, “The earth is the LORD’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein”. Everything and everyone belongs to God. This includes our time. Ephesians 5:15–16 shares, “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.” We are stewards of the time God has entrusted to us. Therefore, Psalm 90:12 reminds us, “So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom”. We gain a heart of wisdom when we learn to humbly number our days, and this only comes as God teaches us from His Word and as we learn we belong to God and so do our days.

Our Time Reveals Our Treasure

Understanding our time as a stewardship, we do not want to become idle (laziness) nor do we want to give priority to idols (busyness, not productivity). This means we want to spend time on what matters. We want to spend time on what will last. The reality is we have failed to do that and need to repent of that. We need to look at the One who made the best use of His time, never wasted it, and lived and died so we could be forgiven. Therefore, Jesus’ words seem pertinent here, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:19–21). Jesus then goes on to counsel His followers to not spend their days worrying but to “seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness” (Matthew 6:33). A faithful steward’s time will be spent by prioritizing the kingdom of God. By prioritizing the kingdom of God in daily life, the Christian’s treasure is revealed: the God of that kingdom. He is the only treasure which will satisfy. Psalm 90, quoted earlier, continues, “Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days” (Psalm 90:14). We typically begin our time awake in the morning, and the way to find satisfaction is by meditation on and with the One who can satisfy in the morning is the One who steadfastly loves. The right understanding and application of this stewardship will lead to this great satisfaction.

Asking the Right Question

But, how does the transformation of our time actually apply to our daily lives? How does God’s ownership of our time impact how we go about our mundane days? While I cannot give you a set of particulars, for we have different callings and duties, I can share with you what I have found most productive (for more wisdom than what this article offers, see this PDF of a book by C.J. Mahaney). The most helpful nugget I’ve applied in stewarding my time is this: asking first, “Who am I?” before “What am I to do?”

We tend to view time as a to-do checklist in our narrow mindset of biblical productivity. While we cannot ignore the tasks which need to be done, we cannot begin there. Before we do, we must be. If we are going to prioritize our time correctly, we must know who we are as persons before we work on projects. It is about answering, “Who am I?” before “What am I to do?” (technically, the first question needing to be asked is “Whose am I?” but this has been answered already in that we, and our time, are not our own but belong to God). When we rightfully answer the first question, we will be headed down the right path with the second one.

To illustrate, if I understand my I am first and foremost a Christian, and that is my primary identity, then I will prioritize time in the Scriptures and prayer. But if I only consider Scripture reading and prayer as a part of a to-do list, I am not as likely to prioritize it to the place it needs to be. The same concept goes for the rest of life. Your faith is the central component of your time, not just one aspect. Search the Scriptures to see what it values as priorities. Family time should be prioritized over, but not to the neglect of, time spent with work. Yet, hobbies ought not to push out work or else the matter of the wallet will become a bigger issue. The point is how you answer the question, “Who am I?” will start to answer “What am I to do?” This is how God begins to transform our watches and our time.

Join the Conversation:
How does this view and question of how we spend our time specifically impact your daily life?

Biblical Preaching and Biblical Counseling: What’s Makes Them “Biblical”?

Note from Theron: This article is by Dr. Bob Kellemen. It was originally posted on Dr. Bob Kellemen’s site, RPM Ministries. Entrusted By God is re-posting it with Bob’s permission. The original blog post can be found here.

My friend, David Murray, wrote a piece for The Gospel Coalition in 2012 that was re-posted this past week: How Biblical Is Biblical Counseling? In it, David shares the following analogy about what makes biblical preaching “biblical.”

Take, for example, “biblical preaching.” “Biblical” here does not mean we only use the Bible in sermons. Biblical preaching expounds the Bible, but it also draws from non-biblical sources—some of them authored by unbelievers—such as syntactical, grammatical, lexical, and textual guides and commentaries. We often incorporate historical, geographical, sociological, and cultural research. We regularly draw from current scientific findings and the modern media to teach, explain, or illustrate a point. Even the form and communication style of most modern sermons has been derived largely from ancient and modern philosophical and political speech forms. However, although some of the content and form of biblical preaching is drawn from outside the Bible, we believe that God has provided a Bible that is up to the task of filtering out the false and admitting the truth of God that he has graciously placed in the world.

Related to this analogy, David writes:

For some in our family, “biblical” means “Bible only.” For them, biblical counseling could be more accurately renamed “Bible counseling.” In principle, it means they use only the Bible in counseling people; nothing else is helpful, and anything else is compromise.

The Ministry of the Word

In the spirit of friendly dialogue, I’d like to follow-up on David’s analogy. I don’t believe his analogy captures the concerns of biblical counselors. Before I make that analogy, consider a comparison: both biblical counseling and biblical preaching are ministries of the Word.

  • Biblical Preaching: The pulpit ministry of the Word, the public ministry of the Word.
  • Biblical Counseling: The private ministry of the Word, the personal ministry of the Word.

When the pastor preaches from the pulpit, he focuses on relating God’s truth to life. When the pastor shares in interactive, conversational ways in the pastoral counseling office, he focuses on relating God’s truth to life.

The question I want us to consider is, “Should extra-biblical worldviews have a role in biblical preaching or biblical counseling?”

Is It “Biblical Preaching” If the Content, Foundation, and Worldview Is 95% Secular?

Here’s the first analogy that biblical counselors would use. Some counselors say they are doing Christian counseling when they open and close in prayer and perhaps sprinkle in one verse during the 60-minute meeting. To use the preaching analogy, is it biblical preaching if the content, foundation, and communication of the message is composed of 95% secular worldview with an opening and closing prayer and one verse mentioned but never developed? If 95% of the message contains the viewpoints of 20th Century atheistic philosopher Bertrand Russell, and Gandhi, and liberal theologians, is it biblical preaching?

This is the concern of biblical counselors: is the authority basis for the Christian life built upon biblical theology? Or, is the authority basis for the Christian life built upon the theories of secular philosophy, secular psychology, and secular sociology? The key word here is theories—worldview, the source of understanding of people, problems, and solutions.

Now, some may say, “You’re using an outlier, Bob. No Christian counselor would be 95% secular.” I recently read a major Christian Integrative Counseling text. The index of sources was multiple pages—with the majority of those sources being secular. The Scripture index consisted of 3 verses—covering over 750 pages of text. I love my Christian Integrative Counseling friends, but I would humbly encourage them to consider if sometimes there is a lack of theological richness and biblical robustness.

Is It “Biblical Preaching” If the World’s Authority and Wisdom Is Placed Over the Word’s Authority and Wisdom?

But let’s assume the first analogy is an outlier. Here’s a second question: “Is it biblical preaching if the secular worldview holds sway over the Bible’s worldview?” Both are quoted in a sermon (the world’s wisdom and the Word’s wisdom), but when there’s a discrepancy, the world’s wisdom trumps the Word’s wisdom. How many of us would attend a church where an entire 12-week series placed the world’s authority over the Word’s authority?

And yet, some models of integrative counseling do that. This is where biblical counselors are concerned. The analogy is not about syntax, but about worldview and the source of authoritative wisdom for life.

Is It “Biblical Preaching” If the World’s Authority and Wisdom Are Seen as Equal to the Word’s Authority and Wisdom?

Again, David or others may say, “But the committed, well-trained Christian Integrative Counselor is not going to place the world over the Word.” So, let’s ask another question. “Is it biblical preaching if the world’s authority and wisdom are seen as equal to the Word’s authority and wisdom?” Both are quoted an equal amount. Both are seen to have areas or spheres of authority. Bertrand Russell’s secular worldview is given equal credence in matters of faith and practice as Peter, Paul, James, John, or Jesus.

How many of us would listen to sermons for 12 weeks when worldly wisdom for living is given equal footing with the wisdom of the Word? How many of us should attend 12 counseling sessions where the counselor gives worldly wisdom for living equal footing with the Word’s wisdom for living?

Is It “Biblical Preaching” If the Word’s Authority and Wisdom Are Seen As Superior to the World’s Authority and Wisdom, Yet the World’s Wisdom for Living Is Still a Major Foundation and Component of the Preaching?

Again, David and others may say, “Wait, Bob. The Christian Integrative Counselor uses God’s Word as the grid by which anything from the world is evaluated.” I would respond, “Remember, we’re not talking about syntax. We’re talking about worldview. We’re talking about whether a fallen world has comprehensive wisdom to explain people—humanity, anthropology, who we are, and how we are designed in our souls in relationship to God.”

I’d continue, “And we’re talking about whether a fallen world has comprehensive wisdom to explain sin—the fall, hamartiology, what went wrong, how our souls are in rebellion before God and lack shalom.”

And I’d keep going, “We’re talking about whether a fallen world has comprehensive wisdom to explain solutions—salvation, reconciliation, sanctification, recovery from suffering, victory over sin, who God is, who Christ is, what the gospel is and how it makes a daily difference.”

So, yes, a preacher might quote from a movie—but illustratively to help describe a biblical principle. But if that preacher, even if he talks about the authority of the Word over the world, builds the thesis of his sermon from the movie, or builds major points of his sermon from a liberal theologian’s understanding of life, or builds components of his sermon from a secular philosopher’s worldview—for 12 weeks in a row—how many of us would keep attending that church?

This moves us to the heart of the issue. Do we have confidence that God’s Word has robust, rich, relevant, relational, profound wisdom and insight for the soul issues we face every day? Or, do we believe that the fallen world, in rebellion against God, has robust, rich, relevant, relational, profound wisdom and insight for the soul issues we face every day?

Biblical Counselors and Biblical Worldviews

Biblical counselors are concerned about a biblical worldview—about building our understanding of people, problems, and solutions from a rich, robust, Christo-centric, gospel-centered, God-glorifying foundation. We are “Bible only counselors” when it comes to biblical worldviews about people, problems, and solutions—living whole, healthy, and holy lives in a fallen and broken world.

Biblical counselors are not “Bible only counselors” when it comes to understanding medical science, neurological research, or descriptive psychological research. (For a robust presentation of the biblical counseling view, see the Biblical Counseling Coalition book Scripture and Counseling, and for a summary statement see the Biblical Counseling Coalition’s Confessional Statement). A couple of examples might help—first, neuroscience. Dr. Charles Hodges, an MD and a biblical counselor, wrote the book, Good Mood Bad Mood where he quotes many neuroscience articles. They were all placed under a biblical grid. Neuroscience, when it “stays in its lane” of doing neurological research, is not a “worldview.” There’s a worldview behind it (often an evolutionary one) that must always be considered. But neither Dr. Hodges nor I would have a problem with a legitimate neurological finding being shared with a counselee. That may be more like the syntax analogy that David Murray uses.

What about psychological research? Again, even worldview perspectives creep into how one does research. Yet, biblical counselors have expressed openness to descriptive psychology—a description of what happens, not a diagnosis of why and not a prescription of what to do. When descriptive psychology “stays in its lane,” I could potentially use a finding under the authority of Scripture. For example, in God’s Healing for Life’s Losses, I briefly introduce one descriptive model of the grief process: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. It’s one way of describing how people stereotypically respond to loss in a fallen world. It is not prescriptive. In the rest of God’s Healing for Life’s Losses, I explore what the Bible’s wisdom communicates to us about a Christ-centered way of moving through grief—prescriptive, theoretical, theological biblical counseling. The description comes from research. The diagnosis and prescription comes from the Word.

The Takeaway

Biblical counselors do not want to integrate a biblical worldview with a secular worldview. Neither does a biblical preacher. That’s the central analogy. That’s the central message of Colossians 2:8:

“See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ.”

Biblical counselors do not want to integrate biblical counseling theory with secular counseling theory—ideas about people, problems, and solutions—because those are fundamentally theological issues—yes, biblical issues. In theory-building (theology-building), yes, biblical counselors are “Bible only” without apology. Just like preachers who build their messages on the exegesis of the text of Scripture and on a comprehensive biblical worldview are “Bible only” preachers—without apology.

Join the Conversation:
So, what do you think—what makes biblical preaching and biblical counseling biblical?

Note: As my post was going “live,” I noticed that David also has a more recent post on this topic: Do We Need More Than the Bible for Biblical Counseling? I think his argument in this more recent post is similar to the analogy David used in his 2012 TGC post.

Book Review: Descriptions and Prescriptions

Growing up, I remember playing on the teeter-totter at our local playground. The first few minutes were fun. However, such joy could be short-lived. With one person stuck in mid-air and the other relaxing with their side of the teeter-totter on the ground, one side weighed too heavy and the other side too light. A desire for balance was needed. Michael R. Emlet sees this need for balance in the biblical counseling realm with his new book, Descriptions and Prescriptions: A Biblical Perspective on Psychiatric Diagnoses and Medications (part of the Helping the Helpers series).

Dr. Emlet, who is a faculty member at the Christian Counseling and Educational Foundation (CCEF), is well-aware of the debate among the biblical counseling world regarding diagnoses of the psychiatric nature and the prescribing of medications to treat them. From his perspective, the two common stances toward the diagnoses and medications miss the mark. According to his analysis, we should not be too cold toward these diagnoses and medications, but we should not be too warm toward them either. With that perspective in mind, the book’s purpose is to take the reader from the extreme and move you to a middle ground, a view he proposes is “just right” (Emlet 2). The content of the book is divided into two sections. Part 1 details an understanding of psychiatric diagnoses, showing both the benefits and limitations which come with the matter. In this section, Emlet clarifies such diagnoses are descriptions and not explanations (answering the ‘what’ but not the ‘why’) and the implications that has for ministry. Part 2, then, walks the reader through understanding psychoactive medications, being cautious but not dismissive, and emphasizing this is a wisdom issue.

This book by Dr. Michael Emlet accomplishes the purpose it set out to reach. Emlet seeks to make his argument from a biblical worldview and to provide a biblical framework for understanding while also striking a balance in thinking through the subjects of psychiatric diagnoses and medications. Chapters 16–19 particularly bring a balance in understanding. The reader will appreciate the pastoral tone Dr. Emlet invokes when he shares his critique on diagnoses and medications, acknowledging the complexities and the sufferings people face. It is true this volume does not cover everything, as Emlet admits in the opening pages (Emlet 4), but he writes an introductory guide to equip helpers in the church understand and gain a biblical and balanced perspective on psychiatric diagnoses and medications. The book does not make you scientifically-ignorant but scientifically informed. Simply put, Descriptions and Prescriptions by Michael R. Emlet is a foundational resource for helpers in the church who desire to care for those they love. Whether you are a pastor, counselor, or lay leader, this book will begin to help you think through these categories. You may not concur on all of Dr. Emlet’s conclusions but this concise book will challenge you to think through them and to join in this much-needed conversation in biblical counseling.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Litfuse Publicity Group for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own and are my honest review of the book.

Book Review: The Satisfied Soul by John Piper

We live in a fast-paced culture. Busyness is the name of the game. Schedules are filled and time is packed. With little space left, things get squeezed out. Sadly, for Christians, this may include their time in God’s Word. As a matter of fact, one of the reasons some followers of Christ state they don’t read or study the Bible is because they don’t have the time. While understandable in some sense, it comes down to priority. This does not mean you are required to spend hours upon hours searching the Scriptures, although such study would prove fruitful. What it does mean is you need to get yourself into looking and meditating on God’s Word. For that, I introduce you to John Piper’s new work, The Satisfied Soul: Showing the Supremacy of God in All of Life. This third volume of 120 meditations by Piper contains readings from three of his other works, Pierced by the Word, Life as a Vapor, and A Godward Heart. In this work, Dr. John Piper seeks to point you to the supremacy of the only One who can satisfy your soul.

In this series of meditations, Piper gets to the heart of the book’s title when he meditates on Psalm 63. The problem, at least from my vantage point, is this meditation is not in the opening pages of the book but as #89 (page 301) in 120 meditations. Furthermore, one can be assured of an expected structure which mirrors his previous volumes; however, one might prefer a more organized set where meditations are grouped together into categories. Still, structural issues do not take away from the content of this book. Many of the writings from John Piper from this book will draw you into the biblical text and will serve you well in getting in the Word of God to look at and meditate upon it. One of the most impact meditations for me in The Satisfied Soul is titled “How God Teaches the Deep Things of His Word” which is a meditation on Psalm 119:65–72 (Piper 83–87). From time to time, though, the reader will come across a meditation which does not seem to fit with the rest. For example, meditation #16 (page 58) reflects on the lives of C.S. Lewis and Robert Louis Stevenson’s relationships with their fathers. While one can benefit from that particular reading, it does not seem to best capture the essence of the book’s purpose. Nevertheless, I would concur with John Piper, “full-circuited reflection is where my soul gets its best food” (Piper 107). The Satisfied Soul is at its best when it is guiding you in a meditation from Scripture. You will find your thirst quenched and your soul filled most when Piper reflects with you on the Word itself. I recommend The Satisfied Soul: Showing the Supremacy of God in All of Life as an on-the-go resource for Christians with event-packed and schedule-filled lives. Let John Piper lead you into a time of looking at and meditating on God’s Word.

I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own and are my honest review of the book.