Well, forgive my goofy-sized picture, above….it is too late at night to know what to do about it. It does give me a chance, though, to mention this remarkable book. Then I’ll describe the even more remarkable one shown in the picture on the left.
First, The Bible In Pastoral Practice: Readings in the Place and Function of Scripture in the Church is edited by Paul Ballard and Stephen R. Holmes (published by Eerdmans; $27.) One is from Wales, the other from St. Andrew’s, and together they’ve pulled together an extraordinary array of thoughtful Bible scholars and pastors to reflect on how the Bible is actually used in our churches. I would say that these are fairly rigorous, although readable–a few are truly thrilling, several I would call brillant. Important names are here (Craig Bartholomew, Walter Brueggemann, Derek Tidball, Carl Trueman, Herb Anderson; 20 in all.) The first section of this large paperback includes some pieces on church history, how the Bible has been used in different times and places, and how we can “listen to the tradition.” The next major section are essays on how modern Bible scholarship and criticism has posed a particular problem for the church. Lastly, the large final part of the book includes a wild array of papers on various ways in which the Bible is used in our time. Here, there are things on spirituality, the Bible and ethics, pastoral care, preaching, the arts, etc. It is a weighty, good collection, the exact sort that Eerdmans has been doing in recent years. For those who want such a fine resource, it is highly recommended. Not a cheap collection, and some authors raise serious questions. It is rewarding reading, though, and I look forward to spending more time with in as time permits. I thought you should know of it. Sorry the pic is so small. Go here to read about the complex research project from which the book emerged.
How about that gentleman holding the large Africa Bible Commentary? I have reason to believe (although I’m not certain) that it is Tokunboh Adeyemo, a Nigerian who is the General Editor of this amazing, “years in the making” one-volume Bible commentary. Over 70 African scholars contributed (with world-wide funding) to do this major work of solid, evangelical scholarship, with a pan-African perpsective. John Stott, as those who know him will know, has been an encouragement here, and he has a glowing forward. Not a few reviewers have called it a landmark publishing event.
Besides the interesting (if often fairly standard) explication of each book of the Bible, there are many, many articles, sidebars, and extra features, drawing connections between the ancient Biblical text and contemporary African culture. The hope, of course, is not only that African believers will be enriched (and rightfully proud) but that it will gain a worldwide following. You heard it here! The Africa Bible Commentary (Zondervan) sells at a good price for over 1500 pages, only $39.99 Go here to learn more about it.
The Reverend Doctor Adeyemo, by the way, not only has theological degrees, and has served for over 20 years as General Secretary of the Association of Evangelicals in Africa, and is currently the Executive Director of the Centre for Biblical Transformation, he has done post-doc work in philosophy at the University of Aberdeen.