David and Goliath: 6 Lessons (1 Samuel 17 Commentary)
“The book of Samuel is one of the great literary works in human history,” writes Paul Evans in 1-2 Samuel (Story of God Bible Commentary). “Its masterfully told stories have captured the imagination of readers for millennia” (19). Chief among them is the story of David and Goliath, the quintessential underdog story.
But what does the story mean? What lessons can we draw from it to shape our lives and inform our relationship with the Lord?
Here’s a clue from Evans: “David’s faith-filled theological perspective allowed him a different vantage point on the grave situation in the valley of Elah” (194). Evans’ commentary offers a clear and compelling exposition of David’s theological perspective. Read the story from 1 Samuel 17, then consider the lessons below, and see what…
Why Did Matthew Write His Gospel? Here Are 4 Possible Reasons
Rodney Reeves thinks asking questions of the Bible is important and relevant to preaching and teaching. So he introduces his new Matthew commentary (SGBC series) by asking a number of them them—including “Why?”
Why did Matthew write his gospel, and in the way he wrote it? Consider the material the Evangelist added to his narrative:
He began with an extensive genealogy He grouped together Jesus’s teachings into a sermon He has Jesus sending the disciples first to the Jews He made a big deal about Peter’s confession He added several parables after the Olivet Discourse
Why did Matthew include all of this extra, particular material?
Scholars think it may have something to do with Matthew’s purpose.…The trick is finding a literary or theological thread that holds the fabric of Matthew together—not…
Eagerly Do Good, Readily Represent: Finding Your Story in 1 Peter 3:13–17
That’s the question Peter addresses in part in his first letter to the churches of Asia Minor. Dennis Edwards explores this same question in his new 1 Peter commentary (Story of God Bible Commentary). In his exposition of 1 Peter 3:13–17, Edwards offers this guidance:
[W]e Christians need to be eager to be agents for good, and to be prepared at all times to represent Jesus with respect toward others. If we do so, at least some of our accusers will be brought up short by the voice of their conscience. (149)
4 Major Themes in First Peter and the Story of God
Martin Luther called the letter “one of the grandest of the New Testament.” Early church fathers Clement of Rome and Polycarp of Smyrna were inspired by the letter’s consoling, hopeful words. More recently, Karen Jobes said the five-chapter General Epistle is “significant for the church,” especially the Majority World church.
I’m referring to the first letter of Peter, which has a new guide today to help its readers navigate its major themes: Dennis Edwards’ 1 Peter (The Story of God Bible Commentary series). Of this letter Edwards writes:
First Peter will assist us by affirming our Christian identity, guiding us in our relationships within and without the Christian…
The Story of God and 1 John 3:11–18
This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. (1 John 3:16)
I would imagine several sermons pivoted around this verse over the past several days celebrating Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and Resurrection Sunday. It’s also the pivot verse in a passage Constantine Campbell engages in his new 1, 2, & 3 John commentary from The Story of God Bible Commentary series.
This resource offers a clear and compelling exposition of John’s epistles, as well as a guide for everyday readers in how to creatively and faithfully live out John’s lessons contextually. (Like each volume in The Story of God Bible Commentary series, Campbell explores this passage…
6 Major Themes in the Johannine Epistles and the Story of God
A few years ago, Zondervan Academic launched a new commentary series to explain and illuminate Scripture in light of the Bible’s grand story: The Story of God Bible Commentary. Today we’re pleased to share the next volume.
Constantine Campbell’s new commentary on 1, 2, and 3 John offers a clear and compelling exposition of the Bible, as well as a guide for everyday readers in how to creatively and faithfully live it out contextually.
This commentary examines John’s teachings with an eye to the church today—the men and women who desire a deeper relationship with God, a stronger foundation for their walk, and a clearer vision for God’s working in the world beyond their immediate circle… (19)
In a few weeks we will showcase the dynamics of Campbell’s work…
The 3 Actors of Ephesians—And Why They Matter to the Story of God
“The story of God in Ephesians will change your life if you let it,” exclaims Mark D. Roberts in his new Ephesians commentary. “It will open your eyes to seeing God, your life, the church, and indeed the entire universe in a whole new way” (1)
That’s because this story isn’t only about God. Yes, he’s the primary actor. But there are two other actors that play a commanding role: “me” and “us.”
Like all commentaries in The Story of God Bible Commentary series, Roberts draws the reader into God’s Story by illuminating and explaining each passage of Scripture in light of its grand narrative—helping us live this letter in our own contexts. He begins his endeavor with a goodly introduction orienting us to this letter, particularly the actors within it.
Special Access and Endurance – An Excerpt From Romans (The Story of God Bible Commentary Series)
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Rom 5:8)
Approaching Holy Week brings our thoughts to the implications of Christ’s work on the cross. In his new commentary on Romans (The Story of God Bible Commentary Series) Michael Bird leads through the text of Romans 5 with humor and depth of insight into the great gift we are given and the hope that results.
Reflect on this excerpt of the commentary from Romans 5:1-11:
The summative nature of Paul’s language easily lends itself to application in both the ancient Roman churches and in the contemporary ones, especially in relation to the real meaning of our salvation and how it proves to be transformative for our own character…
Michael Bird on the “Gracism” of Romans 3:21–31
Aussie Michael Bird observes what many Americans often forget: “Blacks, whites, and Latinos are never more segregated than when it comes to attending worship services.” Sunday at 11:00 a.m. truly is the most segregated hour in America.
What we need is a healthy dose of “gracism.” Bird’s fresh look at Romans 3:21–31 will administer this vital antidote.
Gracism means that grace is both preached and practiced toward others. Gracism means that the most ruthless and efficient way to destroy our tribal enemies is by making them our brothers and sisters in Christ. (135)
What Bird reveals about Paul’s central passage on justification is a…
Why Do We Need Paul’s Epistolary “Stepchild”? For Its 2 Stories — An Excerpt from John Byron’s “1 & 2 Thessalonians” (SGBC)
When you think of Paul you probably don’t immediately think of 1 and 2 Thessalonians.
That’s because they are what John Byron calls “the stepchild of the Pauline corpus.” (1)
In his new commentary on the letters, Byron explains that, while they are often overlooked and neglected, we need them because of their two stories. As Byron describes in the excerpt below:
The first story is about us as much as it is about the Thessalonians, because it’s about a group of believers “struggling to understand their identity in God and the way the church functions in a world that is often hostile toward them.” (1) The other story is about God: “it is not a story that starts with Thessalonica. The Story of God begins…
How Do Paul’s Thessalonian Letters Connect to God’s Larger Story?
It isn’t too difficult to see how heavy-hitting books such as Romans and the Corinthians fit within God’s larger Story, given their theological motifs of law vs. grace, Jew vs. Gentile, circumcision vs. uncircumcision.
For books like 1 & 2 Thessalonians it’s a different story. How are they part of God’s larger Story—an ancient story that begins with Israel and has expanded to include the church?
Revealing that is part of John Byron’s goal in his new commentary on these oft overlooked letters that’s part of the unique, innovative The Story of God Commentary series.
What I love about this commentary series is how it deliberately connects each passage to God’s larger narrative movement. It helps students of Scripture do three things:
listen to the passage in concert with the wider biblical witness; explain…