God's blessings on you this Christmas.
For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of his government and of peace
there will be no end...
I always look forward to the editorial in the National Post on Christmas Eve. This year's editorial points to the news that you don't usually find in the papers:
The WikiLeaks cables told us something of the hidden world of the great capitals. What are the insiders saying in London and Paris and Rome and Moscow and Tokyo and Beijing? What are they writing back to Washington?
The Christian understanding is that there is another history, a sometimes-hidden history that reveals the true story of the world, told in its proper depth. It unfolds in the Sinai desert, in a stable in Bethlehem, on a cross in Jerusalem, in the work of martyrs and saints in places far away from the chancelleries and parliaments. This hidden story of God's love breaks into history even as a flickering flame banishes the darkness...
Is the story of this world only the one told in newspapers and history books? Or is there another realm, another source of good news, another history, which tells the truth about this world and our place in it? We know the darkness. Is it true that there is still a light?
We tell the stories of our time as best as we can here at the National Post. We report much darkness, for it is real. But at Christmas, many of us find it important to remember the light as well. In this spirit, we wish everyone a Merry Christmas.
If all goes well, as you're reading this, Charlene and I are in Jamaica right now celebrating our wedding anniversary. Twenty years ago today, we got married. I've never gotten over the fact that she said "I do."
No, this picture isn't from our wedding, and no, that's not how we dressed back then - even though my daughter thought we were old enough to look like that back when we were single. But I came across it lately and thought it was worth a laugh.
I'm looking forward to spending the rest of my days with my amazing wife. Happy anniversary, Charlene.
I'm pretty picky with my commentaries. I want them to have substance without being unnecessarily technical. I want them to take the text apart, but I also want them to grasp the sweep of a text. I'm just asking for a deep but readable exploration of the text that gets the whole as well as the parts. That's all.
I snagged a review copy of Galatians by Thomas Schreiner. How does it measure up to my demands? The best thing I can say about it is that makes me want to preach Galatians. It hits the sweet spot: it provides just the right type of information to be useful for a preacher trying to work through a passage in the process of crafting a sermon.
This series has some great features. It gives a concise statement of the main idea of each passage, which is a great help to preachers. Why can't more commentaries do that? Discerning the big idea is one of the most challenging and exciting parts of sermon preparation and is crucial to big-idea preaching. Of course, a commentary shouldn't replace the preacher's own work, but this is a nice help if it's used properly. Not many commentaries grapple with the big idea of the passage.
Each chapter works through a passage, and contains the following sections:
- insights on the literary context
- a graphical outline of the text
- the main idea
- notes on the structure
- an exegetical outline
- an explanation of the text
- a section that applies the theology of the passage
As expected, Schreiner does a very capable job of handling the text. It strikes me as a good commentary to use as you get a handle on the text. It doesn't go as deep as some of the commentaries, but you sure can't say that it's shallow.
This is a commentary I plan on using. If you're a student of Scripture, or especially a preacher who believes in preaching the big idea of the passage, then this series is definitely worth checking out.