Friday, November 13, 2015

Book Review: Exalting Jesus in 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus

Exalting Jesus in 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus. David Platt, Dr. Daniel L. Akin, and Tony Merida. 2013. B&H. 336 pages. [Source: Bought]

In October, I read 1 and 2 Timothy thirty times. If you haven't given John MacArthur's New Testament reading method a go, you don't know what you're missing. I'm serious. There is nothing like saturating yourself in a book, and, really getting to KNOW its contents. Since I was reading 1 and 2 Timothy, I thought it would be great to also read a Bible commentary for those two books. This book, the one I selected, also includes Titus. (For the record, I didn't read Titus thirty times, though I probably read it a dozen times.)

Exalting Jesus in 1 and 2 Timothy and Titus is one book in a much-longer commentary series. I've reviewed Exalting Jesus in Matthew and Exalting Jesus in Galatians. This series is quickly becoming a favorite of mine.

David Platt wrote the commentary for 1 Timothy. Tony Merida wrote the commentary for 2 Timothy. Daniel L. Akin wrote the commentary for Titus.

Each chapter focuses on a section of text and begins with a main idea and an outline. Each chapter concludes with discussion/reflection questions. Each chapter is structured, which I definitely appreciate. I may not have liked writing outlines back in the days when I was writing for school, but, as a reader I find them super-helpful at times.

1 Timothy's Table of Contents
  • Authority and Hope for A Pastor and His Church 1 Timothy 1:1-2
  • The Centrality of the Gospel in the Local Church 1 Timothy 1:3-20
  • Global Prayer for the Local Church 1 Timothy 2:1-7
  • What About Women, Paul 1 Timothy 2:8-15
  • The Gospel and Church Leadership 1 Timothy 3:1-13
  • The Family of Faith: Who We Are and What We Do 1 Timothy 3:14 - 4:16
  • The Family of God 1 Timothy 5:1-16
  • Caring for Elders, Caring for the Church 1 Timothy 5:17-25
  • What About Slavery, Paul? 1 Timothy 6:1-2
  • The Gospel and Materialism 1 Timothy 6:3-10
  • The Church at War 1 Timothy 6:11-21
2 Timothy's Table of Contents
  • The Making of a Gospel-Centered Leader 2 Timothy 1:1-7
  • Gospel-Centered Bravery 2 Timothy 1:8-18
  • Images of Endurance 2 Timothy 2:1-13
  • Images of a Faithful Teacher 2 Timothy 2:14-26
  • Godly Examples 2 Timothy 3:1-13
  • Faithful to the Word 2 Timothy 3:14-4:4
  • Faithful to the End 2 Timothy 4:5-22
What did I appreciate most about the commentary? I appreciated many things actually. I liked how it covered each verse in an accessible, reader-friendly way. The text is written to teach and to instruct, certainly, but not in an I-know-more-than-you-and-I'll-now-prove-it-way. It isn't intimidating or off-putting. The style, I mean! Now Paul himself may make a few enemies with contemporary readers. (I'm not one to hate Paul for having written 1 Timothy.) But the thing I liked MOST and appreciated MOST is how the author(s) clearly, easily show how very relevant the Word of God still is. It's relevant not only to pastors and elders and the like, but, to you and me and to everyone.

Favorite quotes from 1 Timothy section:
The fact that God’s Word is inspired and inerrant is not only a doctrine to be affirmed; it’s a firm foundation to stand on in a culture and a world that suppress and oppose the truth of God. When everything around us seems to be caving in, we need to hear God’s Word and submit to it, knowing that what God has said is true and good and right.
In this letter Paul told Timothy that the one thing he must hold on to in the church at all costs is the gospel of Jesus Christ. The summons is clear: Address anything and everything that pulls people away from the gospel. If we lose the gospel, we lose everything. We may think other things are more urgent or more in need of addressing in the church—things like prayer, leadership, mission, materialism, or caring for one another. Paul would get to all of these things eventually, but he began by telling Timothy to guard the gospel.
How is it that you guard the gospel, celebrate the gospel, and fight for the gospel? You start, Paul says, by praying. The church is on a life-saving mission surrounded by people who don’t know the salvation of Jesus Christ. These people are destined for an eternal hell if nothing changes. So, as a follower of Christ, what do you do? You pray. It’s the easiest thing you can do.
The progress of the gospel in the world is dependent on the prayers of God’s people in the church. While salvation ultimately belongs to God, and even our prayers are His work in us, God has chosen to use the prayers of His people to accomplish His will. We desperately need to hear this truth. We are surrounded by people—from our own city to the ends of the earth—who are lost, perishing, and on their way to everlasting suffering. But we want them to know eternal satisfaction in Christ. We’re on a life-saving mission, and the Bible is literally urging us here to pray.
Because God desires the salvation of all people, we should pray for the salvation of all people. When you pray for lost family members, friends, neighbors, enemies, and people groups who are hostile to the gospel, pray knowing that God loves them and that He desires their salvation.
Worship is the goal of world praying. We are praying night and day, week after week, for all kinds of people in the world to come to a saving knowledge of God so they might bow down and worship Him. That’s what we’re after in our praying—worldwide worship.
An elder must know the Word and spread the Word throughout the church and from the church throughout the world. He must be able to persuade people with the Word, plead with people from the Word, comfort people with the Word, encourage people from the Word, instruct people in the Word, and lead the church according to the Word. This is nonnegotiable.
Like the columns of the temple, we lift high the truth of the Word. We want this Word to shine so that the world will see and hear and know the only true God. This truth also means that, as the church, there are some things we don’t hold high—man’s opinions, man’s innovations, man’s creativity, man’s wisdom, and man’s possessions. Instead, we lift up one thing: the Word of God. Let us magnify it, amplify it, spotlight it, and spread it—in the church and all over the world.
A materialistic world will not be won by a materialistic church for two reasons. First, we will not show the world that Christ is all satisfying as long as we are on the path of materialism. How will we lead people to abandon the things of this world if we in the church are attached to the same things?
There is a God over this world who wants all people to be saved, and there is a god in this world who wants all people to burn in hell. There is a battle raging for your friends, coworkers, neighbors, and for all the peoples of the world. How we fight this battle has eternal implications. Satan does not want us to believe, live out, or spread this gospel. Is he succeeding in your life? Are you even aware that you’re at war?
Favorite quotes from 2 Timothy section:
Our strength is not in how long we have been Christians, in how much we know about the Bible, or in how long we have been in ministry. Our strength, this very moment, is in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. Our strength is derived from our union with Jesus and is supercharged by our daily communion with Jesus.
God’s presence in us supplies what we need to endure.
When you open the Bible, there is grace coming to you—through personal devotion, hearing the Word read and preached, and singing it. Meditate on the gospel daily because you never outgrow your need for it.
It is hard work to rightly understand the teaching of Scripture and then present it in a way that is clear and understandable to the hearers. Teaching is also difficult because oftentimes your product is invisible. You cannot always see results from your teaching. It is also work because you are handling material that is by its nature controversial. A teacher is not handling ideas that are mere topics for small talk but rather the Word of God that is death to some and life to others (2 Cor 2:15-17). This reality will cause the teacher to feel the burden of sermon/lesson preparation weekly, and critics will arise because of the bold truth claims that have to be made by the faithful teacher.
The Bible is a “Him Book.” The Old Testament anticipates Christ, and the New Testament explains Christ. He is promised in the beginning, He is there in the middle, and He is held up at the end as our object of worship for all eternity.
We must preach truth because there is an absence of it in every generation.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

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