on new books for Christmas

So many books, so little time…

I must say that I am pleased with some recent additions to my library. One is the new book by Thurman Wisdom, A Royal Destiny. Dr. Wisdom was the dean of BJU’s School of Relgion during most of my years as a student there. He is writing about the theme of the Kingdom through the Scriptures. The subject is interesting enough in itself, but Dr. Wisdom’s style adds a little spice to the topic. Here is a little gem from the introduction, concerning the number one law of language, Context.

The magistrate who keeps order in the world of language is Context. No word can live – really live – without Context, and those that try have to spend their lives incarcerated in dictionaries. [p. xiv]

The note is witty, but the point is profound, no?

I also picked up Gordon Fee’s commentary on 1 Corinthians. I should say his “massive” commentary, it runs 840 pages. [And it has footnotes!! Have I ever mentioned how much I hate endnotes?] Fee has some serious issues, however. He is a feminist, so he gets 1 Cor 11 wrong. I read somewhere that he is Assemblies of God, so I am sure he gets 1 Cor 12-14 wrong as well.

Mainly, I bought the book because Fee proposes a unique interpretation of 1 Cor 8-10 that Tom Constable largely follows in his Expository Notes. Since Constable got it from Fee, I wanted to read Fee. Fee goes on for 134 pages on these three chapters! Although I am wary of those with unique interpretations, I am quite interested in Fee’s view of meat offered to idols. I think his argument makes a lot of sense and I plan to blog on it some in the future.

My friend Chris Anderson blogged about Dever’s book, The Deliberate Church, a while back. I decided to buy it as well. I am still trying to figure out why some are so enamoured with Dever. Some of his other work has been somewhat underwhelming to me. So far, however, although there are things that I criticize in this book, there are some solid practical ideas for biblical pastoral leadership and ministry. I am looking forward to reading more in the next few weeks.

Don Johnson
Jer 33.3


  1. aefting says:


    I have held off on buying Fee on 1 Corinthians for the very reasons you listed. One of these days I will probably break down and get it, though. It’s just hard to pull the trigger when you KNOW that large sections are going to be a waste. And I agree with you about the endnote/footnote deal — I can’t stand endnotes.

    Did you happen to listen to Minnick’s series on 1Cor 8-10 that he did a year or so ago? I thought that was a very helpful series on those chapters.

  2. Chris Anderson says:

    “…there are some solid practical ideas for biblical pastoral leadership and ministry. I am looking forward to reading more in the next few weeks.”

    What an astounding admission, Don. :-)

  3. Don Johnson says:

    Hi Andy and Chris

    Yes, I had been holding off on Fee as well. I have to say I have never seen a more thorough commentary though. It really is massive, I have read all of chapter 8 (on the ferry I have had a good deal of time lately!) and it is impressive. It is especially impressive since Fee agrees with me on ch 8-10. Dr. Charles Smith who used to teach at BJU [and ended up at Masters] once said in a class that the definition of a scholar is “somebody who agrees with me.”

    I don’t think I have heard Minnick on 1 cor 8-10 in its entirety. I missed it somehow, but did manage to download five of the messages from Ch 10. In some ways, I think there is no more critical set of chapters (plus perhaps Rm 14) for us to understand in relating to our culture. I want to do some more writing in this area.

    And, yes, Chris, I was pleasantly surprised myself. I am about a third of the way through the 9 marks book, but have not really been impressed. I didn’t really like the introduction of the Deliberate Church either, a few of my pet peeves were stirred up. But I noted some excellent suggestions for ministry in the first few chapters, including the one about praying through the church directory that you had mentioned earlier. I hope to note here a few of these as we go, when I have some time.

    This is our last time having all the kids home as single people. It’s a life changing moment, so we are trying to cram as much time as possible into the experience. Of course, we do have to sleep and we do have to keep up with ministry responsibilities, but after this week, life will change forever for us.

    Don Johnson
    Jer 33.3

  4. Andy Efting says:

    Speaking of thoroughness, Thiselton’s treatment of 1 Corinthians is 1446 pages, of which 190 are devoted to chapters 8-10. I have not read it enough to know if it is hekpful, but it is exhaustive!

  5. Don Johnson says:

    Andy, thanks for the tip on Thiselton. Do you have it? When I get going on Fee’s view of 8-10, I hope you can chime in on his points.

    Don Johnson
    Jer 33.3

  6. Andy Efting says:

    Yes, I have him as well as a few others, including Garland’s commentary in the BECNT series. I’ll try to chime in if I can.