"A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver." Proverbs 25:11

Monday, May 21, 2012

PRAYING WITH THE GRAIN by Dr. Pablo Martinez

Why do so many struggle to pray? Dr. Pablo Martinez, a medical doctor and psychotherapist, suggests that our basic personality type strongly affects both how we pray and what we pray about. Extroverts may struggle to develop a regular prayer life; introverts will be more likely to set time apart. Thinking types find prayer more satisfactory if accompanied by pen and paper; feeling types may long for intimacy with God; intuitive types tend to be innovators and visionaries, and may have a more mystical bent; sensation types often have a particular capacity for spontaneous prayer; and so on. The purpose of this book is to help us understand, and work with, our own spiritual path.

Here's a little information about Dr. Pablo Martinez:

Dr. Pablo Martinez is a medical doctor and psychriatrist working currently at a private practice in Barcelona. He has also developed a wide ministry as a lecturer, counselor, and itinerant speaker. He has been a plenary Bible teacher in more than thirty countries in Europe and both North and South America. 

He developed his pastoral gifts serving as an elder in his local church for almost twenty-five years. He is currently chairman of the European Leadership Forum, where Dr. Martinez serves as a member of the steering committee.

Pablo is married to Marta, who is also a medical doctor. He enjoys bird-watching and reading.

My Review:

Let me begin by quoting one of my favorite people, Dr. John Stott, "Profound, practical and personal... I cannot imagine any reader failing to be helped by it, as I have been myself." (This was in his forward for Praying with the Grain.)

I found this book to be most helpful in my own struggles with prayer and knowing that it's not because I am a colossal failure, but rather due to my personality and temperament has helped me greatly.

He provides solid and factual information tempered with a strong desire to see God's children enjoy a personal relationship with their Lord through prayer.

Dr. Martinez reveals to us how our personalities, temperaments and even emotional problems can and do affect our relationship with others as well as our relationship with God. And that affects our prayer life. 

I found myself in Praying with the Grain and I found ways to help me obtain a more satisfying prayer life.   

Dr. Martinez writes in a manner that easy for anyone to understand and he writes from the heart, the heart of prayer.   

Praying with the Grain is a book that should be in every home of every Christian who struggles with prayer and an intimate relationship with God our Father.

I want to thank Kregel Publications for providing me with this free review copy and making it possible for me to review this book.  



Tuesday, May 1, 2012

A COMMENTARY ON THE PSALMS: Vol 1 (1-41) by Allen P Ross


For thousands of years, the Book of Psalms has been one of God's people's richest resources for expression of worship and development of the spiritual life. At the same time it is one of the more complex and challenging sections of the Bible for expositors. Pastors, teachers, and all serious students of the Bible will find this commentary invaluable for developing their understanding of the Psalms and for improving their ability to expound it with precision and depth.
  For each psalm, Dr. Allen Ross guides the reader through a detailed exegetical outline, proposes a homiletical outline, and offers a summary expository idea of the message of the whole psalm.

The commentary includes discussion throughout of three primary challenges to understanding the Psalms:
  • Textual issues: Every major textual difficulty is addressed in order to help the expositor understand the interpretive issues and make decisions when there are multiple available readings.
  • Poetic language: The Psalms are full of poetic imagery, devices and structures. Ross discusses this "language" of Hebrew poetry in its context with each psalm, specifying the precise devices being used and how they work in the psalm.
  • The Psalms' Hebrew grammar and syntax pose a challenge to many expositors, whether they are familiar with Hebrew or not. This commentary illuminates Hebrew constructions word meanings in a way that is helpful both to readers who are comfortable with Hebrew and those who are not.
 I was very excited to receive this commentary from Kregel Publications for reviewing purposes. Why? you may ask. I love the Psalms, as I am sure most people do. I also have many commentaries on the Psalms and I wanted to read one that really would help me better understand them. I was not disappointed with this commentary.
Ross begins this commentary on the first 41 Psalms by explaining the Value of the Psalms (beginning on page 25) and then flows into Text and Ancient Versions of the Psalms, Titles and Headings of the Psalms, History of the Interpretation of the Psalms, Interpreting Biblical Poetry, Literary Forms and Functions in the Psalms, Psalms in Worship, Theology of the Psalms, and Exposition of the Psalms. 
This may seem like a lot of extra reading or you may not think you need this background information, but it is important to read these sections first, especially if you have never really studied the Psalms. It's easy to read and very helpful once you get into the Psalms, themselves.
Heading straight to my favorite psalm, Psalm 23 (of course), I found the Text and Textual Variants informative and that they gave me a better understanding of the psalm. From this starting position, Ross took me through the Composition and Context to the Exegetical Analysis then to the meat or perhaps to us students of the Psalms, the dessert, his Commentary in Expository Form
Well written in an easy to read format, Ross provides the perfect commentary for anyone who desires to better understand the Psalms. I would say this commentary would be a cherished edition to any bible student's library, whether they are just starting to study the Psalms or a theologian. I know I will put this one next to my copy of The Treasury of David

Many thanks to Kregel Publications for freely providing me with this review copy. It was a pleasure to review and read such an excellent commentary. I look forward to reading more of Allen Ross's work.