Monday, June 6, 2016

Book Review: Exalting Jesus in Philippians

 Exalting Jesus in Philippians. Tony Merida and Francis Chan. 2016. B&H. 209 pages. [Source: Review copy]

Favorite quote: "Apart from knowledge of God and His Word, we will not love in a way that glorifies God and blesses others." (p. 41)

Exalting Jesus in Philippians is one of the commentaries in the Christ-Centered Exposition commentary series published by B&H. I have reviewed several of the commentaries in this series now, and I must say that I really am pleased with this series.

Thirteen chapters cover every verse in the book of Philippians. There are six chapters focusing on Philippians 1. (One of those chapters also deals with the first four verses of Philippians 2). There are three chapters focusing on Philippians 2. (Not counting the one that also covers some of Philippians 1.) There are two chapters focusing on Philippians 3. There are two chapters focusing on Philippians 4.

Each chapter contains a main idea, and an outline. I loved both features. The main idea because it summarizes and condenses. It will also be great for future reference. The outline because it provides a logical, organized way of approaching both the Scripture text and the chapter itself.

The main idea for Philippians 2:5-11:
In this amazing passage, Paul magnifies the humility and exaltation of Jesus, which should lead us to emulate Jesus' example and adore Him as Lord of all. (89)
The outline for Philippians 2:5-11
I. The Mind of Christ (Philippians 2:5)
II. The Humility of Christ (Philippians 2:6-8)
A. His humble renunciation (Philippians 2:6)
B. His humble incarnation (Philippians 2:7)
C. His humble crucifixion (Philippians 2:8)
III. The Exaltation of Christ (Philippians 2:9-11)
A. His exalted position (Philippians 2:9)
B. Everyone's adoration and confession (Philippians 2:10-11) 
Each chapter concludes with reflection or discussion questions. Here are three example discussion questions from the chapter on Philippians 2:5-11. (These questions are found on page 104).

  • How is Jesus' model of leadership different from a worldly view of leadership? How can you put this type of life in practice today?
  • What would happen in our relationships if we lived out Philippians 2:5-11? How can you go from being a "grasper" to a "giver"?
  • Why should we be overwhelmed by the fact that we (Christians) know Christ and that He knows us?

Occasionally charts and other visual aids were used as well. Here is one I loved, loved, loved from page 96. I recreated it so I could share it with you in the review.

I also loved how the authors pulled in quotes and ideas from others--both past and present. Here is a D.A. Carson quote I really found incredibly useful.
D.A. Carson points out that the cross can be viewed from five perspectives. From God's perspective, Jesus died as a propitiation for our sins (1 John 2:2). He absorbed God's wrath and turned away God's anger from us. From Christ's perspective, Jesus obeyed His Father perfectly, saying "Not My will, but Yours, be done" (Luke 22:42). He carried out His assignment to "give His life--a ransom for many" (Mark 10:45). This text in Philippians highlights Christ's perfect obedience (also a major theme in John's Gospel). He became "obedient to the point of death--even to death on a cross" (Philippians 2:8). From Satan's perspective, the cross means the accuser's defeat (see Rev. 12:11). From sin's perspective, the cross is the means by which our debt is paid. Finally, from our perspective, while acknowledging all of these truths, treasuring the love and justice of God as well as the substitutionary life and death of Jesus--His victory over Satan and sin--we must also note that the cross serves "as the supreme standard of behavior." It's the primary point that Paul makes here in Philippians 2:5. (90)
I would definitely recommend this one! It is clearly written, well-organized, practical, rich in insights.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

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