Mark G. Johnston
Banner of Truth Trust
Star Rating: 4
This book is in the Banner’s ‘Let’s study…’ series. The aim is to help the reader in the pew, rather than the theologian and preacher, in reading the New Testament. Even so, you will not find much practical application or ‘devotional reading’. The emphasis is on the meaning and sense of the biblical text. This is, no doubt, the correct approach to reading and studying Scripture.
The author begins well by stating: ‘Bible study is not a luxury. It is a necessity!’ None of us should say what was once said to me: ‘I don’t need what other men have said; I just need the Bible’. Apart from the arrogance of this attitude, it is not true and has no biblical basis. God has given ‘pastors and teachers’ to his church and, it so happens, some of them write books!
The linking of Colossians with Philemon in a one-volume book is helpful, as there is a clear connection between these epistles. The author has the unenviable task of writing on the two within a limited space. However, he succeeds well and gives an evenly balanced treatment.
Both epistles are given a brief introduction. We are taken through them section by section. Given the limited size of the book, you will not find an exhaustive treatment of the passages, and that includes the controversial ones!
However, it would have been helpful to have at least mentioned the oft disputed meanings of ‘psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs’ — there is not even a hint of varied meanings associated with these terms. But he does tell us ‘that the use of psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs is one of the greatest didactic tools the church has’, and none can disagree with that!
There is a group study guide at the end, for further thought and discussion. This book — and others in this series — is highly recommended.