A Greek guide for the book of Luke and a FREEBIE too!

How’s your Greek? I’ve got a book review as well as a freebie that might peak your interest.

Christmas will be here before you know it, and taking the effort to work through the Greek text of the birth narratives in Matthew and Luke might help kickstart a habit that will bless you and your ministry for years to come. And if you need a recommendation to get you started, look no further than the volume on Luke in the Exegetical Guide to the Greek New Testament (EGGNT) series.

In the interest of full disclosure, I asked Broadman and Holman to bring Christmas to me early this year by sending me a review copy, but that’s because I’ve already invested in a few of the other books in the series.

Luke was written by Alan J. Thompson. He’s got strong academic credentials, having studied under Eckhard Schnabel and D.A. Carson. He also has a few academic books on his resume, including an upcoming volume on Acts in the Biblical Theology for Christian Proclamation series.

Like other volumes in the EGGNT series, Luke begins with introductory materials covering authorship, date, audience, and purpose—standard commentary fare—though the extensive outline at the end of the book (five pages, single-spaced) is more of what you would expect from a much larger commentary.

Once you get past the introductory materials, the real fun begins. Because of size limitations (the book is over 400 pages), there’s no full Greek text or English translation. A Greek New Testament or an interlinear necessary to make full use of the book. Thompson works verse-by-verse through the Gospel of Luke, providing comments on grammar, syntax, textual variants, and translation options. It truly is a comprehensive guide to the Greek text of Luke.

Using this and other volumes in the EGGNT series has brought my Greek back from the brink. It had been a couple years, and I had forgotten so much, I wasn’t sure I’d be able to pick it up again. When I saw how helpful one book was, I bought another, and another…

It was a little unwieldy for me at first because of all the abbreviations, but a few visits to the section listing abbreviations, and it didn’t take long to adjust.

Now for the freebie! Rob Plummer does a daily video working through a verse in the Greek New Testament on his website Daily Dose of Greek. Starting November 6 he will begin working through Philemon. As a special incentive, you can download Philemon from the EGGNT on My Word Search Bible, a website from Broadman and Holman for FREE. Check out his post for the details here.

SBC PC: Pray for Shane Hall

The SBC Pastors’ Conference begins tomorrow evening.  I’m on the ground in Phoenix, and we’re busy making final preparations for this historic event.  I hope you are planning to join us Sunday evening and all day Monday.  We have 12 preachers from 12 average-sized Southern Baptist Churches who will be lifting up the name of Jesus as they preach expositionally through the book of Philippians.  I’ve  been posting a call to pray for one speaker each day until the day of the conference.  I hope you will take a moment to pray for these men as they finish up their sermon preparations.

Shane Hall will be the final preacher for the conference.  He will be preaching Philippians 4:10-23.  Shane is the Pastor of First Southern Baptist Church in Oklahoma City, OK.  He is a gifted preacher of the Word of God, and we are excited to hear from him as he preaches at the 2017 SBC Pastors’ Conference.

Perhaps reading through the text of Philippians 4:10-23 will help you as you pray.  The text below is from the new Christian Standard Bible published by Holman Bible Publishers.  The preachers at the conference will be preaching from the CSB.

I rejoiced in the Lord greatly because once again you renewed your care for me. You were, in fact, concerned about me but lacked the opportunity to show it. 11 I don’t say this out of need, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I find myself. 12 I know both how to make do with little, and I know how to make do with a lot. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being content—whether well fed or hungry, whether in abundance or in need. 13 I am able to do all things through him who strengthens me. 14 Still, you did well by partnering with me in my hardship. 15 And you Philippians know that in the early days of the gospel, when I left Macedonia, no church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving except you alone. 16 For even in Thessalonica you sent gifts for my need several times. 17 Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the profit that is increasing to your account. 18 But I have received everything in full, and I have an abundance. I am fully supplied, having received from Epaphroditus what you provided—a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God. 19 And my God will supply all your needs according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. 20 Now to our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen. 21 Greet every saint in Christ Jesus. The brothers who are with me send you greetings. 22 All the saints send you greetings, especially those who belong to Caesar’s household. 23 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.

You should also know that Shane is battling cancer.  We expect him to be able to preach at the conference, but his health has been a challenge for him this year.  Please pray specifically that the Lord would give him the health and strength he needs for this assignment and that the Lord would do a miracle of healing in Shane’s body.

SBC PC: Pray for Michael Allen

It’s hard to believe that the SBC Pastors’ Conference is almost here.  Social media posts are beginning to pop up with people making their way to Phoenix.  I hope you are planning to join us in Phoenix, Arizona Sunday evening and all day Monday.  We have 12 preachers from 12 average-sized Southern Baptist Churches who will be lifting up the name of Jesus as they preach expositionally through the book of Philippians.  Including today, we have only 3 days left before the conference.  I’ve  been posting a call to pray for one speaker each day until the day of the conference.  I hope you will take a moment to pray for these men as they finish up their sermon preparations.

Michael Allen will open the final session of the conference.  He will be preaching Philippians 3:17-21.  Michael is the Senior Pastor of Uptown Baptist Church in Chicago, IL.  He is a very skilled handler of the Word of God, and we are excited to hear from him as he preaches at the 2017 SBC Pastors’ Conference.

Perhaps reading through the text of Philippians 3:17-21 will help you as you pray.  The text below is from the new Christian Standard Bible published by Holman Bible Publishers.  The preachers at the conference will be preaching from the CSB.

Join in imitating me, brothers and sisters, and pay careful attention to those who live according to the example you have in us. 18 For I have often told you, and now say again with tears, that many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 Their end is destruction; their god is their stomach; their glory is in their shame. They are focused on earthly things, 20 but our citizenship is in heaven, and we eagerly wait for a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ. 21 He will transform the body of our humble condition into the likeness of his glorious body, by the power that enables him to subject everything to himself.

This video that was recorded at SWBTS and was previously published here at SBC Voices may also help you as you pray.  Michael shares some ways that we can be praying for him at the end of the video.

Michael Allen SBCPC Interview from SBCPC on Vimeo.

Thank you for praying!  We hope to see you in Phoenix!

The Lost Sermons of C. H. Spurgeon

Charles Haddon Spurgeon was one of the most influential preachers of the 19th century. At a time before automobiles, airplanes, and electricity, he regularly preached before crowds of more than 5,000 in his church in London (he once even preached before crowd of over 23,000 people). He founded a college, an orphanage, and was a strong advocate for foreign missions. He was personally acquainted with D. L. Moody and Hudson Taylor. Famous Americans like Mark Twain, John D. Rockefeller, and James Garfield (before he became the 20th president of the United States) visited his church to hear him preach. He left more published words than any other Christian in history, before or since. He has often been called the “Prince of Preachers,” and rightly so.

Despite his popularity, or perhaps because of it, Spurgeon received a lot of criticism during his lifetime. His opposition to the new theory from fellow Englishman Charles Darwin earned him mockery from cartoonists and newspapers. His condemnation of so-called Christian slaveholders in America resulted in threats and book burnings throughout the Southern United States, especially from members of the relatively new Southern Baptist denomination. Yet times have changed, and now Southern Baptists are not only among his greatest admirers, but they have begun publishing a planned twelve-volume set of his earliest sermons, never before seen in print.

LifeWay graciously provided me a review copy of The Lost Sermons of C. H. Spurgeon, Volume I. Over a few weeks I read it cover to cover. Volume I contains the 76 sermons Spurgeon recorded in the first of nine notebooks that will serve as the bases for the rest of the volumes in this series. I was immediately impressed by the aesthetic beauty of the book in my hands. The cloth over board covers, sewn binding, thick and glossy pages, and full color facsimiles of each page of the notebook showed a commitment to producing a high-quality work, and this is only the standard edition (there’s a special edition with more photographs, gilded pages, and even a slip cover, too!).

The introductory materials drew me in immediately. A 17-page timeline from 1800-1910 highlights important events from the life of Spurgeon in red and significant moments (both secular and religious) from the 19th century in black. Events of interest to Southern Baptists are included as well. The book also includes chapters looking at Spurgeon’s place in history, his relationship to Southern Baptists, and the background of this book series. Excepts are available online, which I encourage you to check out (from the ForewordEditor’s PrefaceIntroductionpdf sampler).

Each sermon includes a color facsimile, transcription, and notes. Even as a teenager, Spurgeon’s sermons were impressive for his insight and ability to connect with his listeners. He largely used outlines (he called them “skeletons”) and relied on his memory to preach extemporaneously. Because this is a critical work, the notes identify sources Spurgeon used (he was particularly fond of John Gill and John Bunyan), references to events of his day, and quotations from elsewhere in his body of work where he treated the same topics or Scriptures in more detail. The notes also discuss ink marks, corrections, and spelling, but I largely ignored these.

I wish my early sermons were as good as Spurgeon’s. By the time he was 20 he had already preached more than 700 times. If they had only published the text of his notebook, it would have been worth reading. The addition of introductory materials placing Spurgeon in his historical context and scholarly research of the notes placing his sermons in the context of his sources and later writings make the volume even more valuable.

If you’re interested in snagging a copy for yourself, you can find The Lost Sermons of C. H. Spurgeon, Volume I online and in LifeWay stores. Volume II is slated for release in September 2017.

Whether you’re interested in Spurgeon’s lost sermons or not, you can get access to a digital library of over 3,500 of his sermons by signing up for the Broadman & Holman Academic eNewsletter here. It’s free and you can cancel your email subscription anytime.