Monday, October 31, 2016

Book Review: Be Basic

Be Basic (Genesis 1-11) Warren W. Wiersbe. 2010. David C. Cook. 192 pages. [Source: Bought]

Be Basic is a commentary by Warren W. Wiersbe that focuses on the first eleven chapters of Genesis. Though I own a lot of his "Be" series of commentaries, this was the first that I've actually read.

This commentary doesn't just cover the basics of Genesis, this commentary covers the basics of the Christian faith. In part, that is his argument. Genesis 1-11 provides the FOUNDATION for everything that comes next.

He writes, "To know Genesis is to know the fundamental truths—the basics—about God, the world, yourself and other people, law, sin, salvation, marriage, faith, and spiritual fulfillment."

He continues, "Genesis is the foundational book of the Bible, and the rest of Scripture is built on what Moses wrote. Genesis is quoted or referred to more than two hundred times in the New Testament, which means it’s important for the New Testament Christian to understand its message."

I LOVED how he doesn't start with Genesis 1:1! I love that instead he starts with what God was doing BEFORE Genesis 1:1. 
God existed in sublime glory. God is eternal; He has neither beginning nor ending. Therefore, He is totally self-sufficient and needs nothing more than Himself in order to exist or to act.
The divine Trinity planned redemption. The wonderful plan of redemption wasn’t a divine afterthought, for God’s people were chosen in Christ “before the foundation of the world” (Eph. 1:4; see Rev. 17:8) and given by the Father to the Son both to belong to His kingdom (Matt. 25:34) and to share His glory (John 17:2, 6, 9, 11–12, 24). The sacrificial death of the Son wasn’t an accident, it was an appointment (Acts 2:23; 4:27–28), for He was “slain from the foundation of the world” (Rev. 13:8).
Wiersbe then moves on to looking closely at Genesis 1-11. I wasn't expecting this one to be so MEATY and thought-provoking. I don't know why I had a notion Wiersbe was on the fluffier side of theology. But I think I was wrong! (It's nice to be proven wrong.)
If you read long enough and honestly enough, you will meet yourself in the Bible.

In other words, from beginning to end, Genesis is the story of God’s sovereign will and electing grace.
When we speak about spiritual things, it’s important that we use God’s dictionary as well as His vocabulary. Words carry meanings and giving the wrong meaning to a word could lead to serious trouble.
The Bible explains and illustrates words like sin, grace, forgiveness, justification, and faith, and to change their meanings is to replace God’s truth with lies. “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter” (Isa. 5:20).
The Lord has a divine purpose for each of us to fulfill, and we discover that purpose by reading His Word and obeying it.
If Genesis 3 were not in the Bible, there would be no Bible as we know it. Why? Because the rest of Scripture documents the sad consequences of Adam’s sin and explains what God in His grace has done to rescue us.

The record in Genesis 3 is not a myth. If the fall of man didn’t actually occur, then the Christian faith is built on fables, not fact, and Jesus Christ suffered needlessly on the cross. From Genesis 3 to Revelation 22, the Bible records the conflict between God and Satan, sin and righteousness, and pleads with sinners to repent to trust God.
Once we start to question God’s Word, we’re prepared to deny His Word and believe Satan’s lies.
In His mercy, God doesn’t give us what we do deserve, and in His grace, He gives us what we don’t deserve. That’s the nature of God. God spared Cain’s life, but that wasn’t the end of the story. Eventually Cain died and “after this the judgment” (Heb. 9:27). The entire civilization that he built was destroyed in the flood, and the record of his life is left in Holy Scripture as a warning to anybody who pretends to worship, plays with sin, and doesn’t take temptation seriously. “The way of Cain” (Jude 11) is not the narrow way that leads to life (Matt. 7:13–14).
In Bible history, very often the birth of a baby has made the difference between defeat and victory for God’s people. During the Jews’ difficult years in Egypt, Moses was born and became the liberator of his people (Ex. 2:1–10). When the lamp of prophecy was burning very low, Samuel was born to bring Israel back to God’s Word (1 Sam. 1—3), and when the kingdom was disintegrating under Saul, God sent a son to Jesse whom he named David, the man God had chosen to be the next king (Ruth 4:18–22; 1 Sam. 16).
God’s promise in Genesis 3:15 could never have been fulfilled were it not for the faithfulness of many undistinguished people who to us are only strange names in an ancient genealogy.
One of Satan’s most successful devices is compromise. If he can delude God’s people into abandoning their privileged position of separation from sin and communion with God, then he can corrupt them and lead them into sin.
When anxious believers are searching the Bible for something encouraging to read, they’re more likely to turn to Romans 8 than to Genesis 8. After all, Romans 8 is one of the most heartening chapters in Scripture, while Genesis 8 describes God’s “mop-up” operation after the flood.
But the next time you find yourself in a storm, Genesis 8 can give you new hope and encouragement, because the major theme of the chapter is renewal and rest after tribulation. The chapter records the end of a storm and the beginning of new life and hope for God’s people and God’s creation.
It didn't take me long to realize that this book was making me want to clap my hands and shout AMEN!

Essentially, I loved his writing because it was rich in insights, concise and accessible, and very thought-provoking!!!!

From the introduction by Ken Baugh:
God is love. God is the source and standard of love, and everything God does is motivated by love. He cannot act in any way that is not loving. God loves because God is love. And God’s love affair with men and women is the “Big Idea” that runs throughout the first eleven chapters of Genesis. As you read these chapters, you will discover the three dimensions of God’s love for people.
Sin is not without its consequences, but it is also not without God’s willingness to forgive and restore fallen, rebellious, sinful humans back into relationship with Him.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

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