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Judges For You: For Reading, For Feeding,…

Judges For You: For Reading, For Feeding, For Leading (God's Word for…

by Timothy Keller

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Judges has always been on of those books I wondered why was in the Bible at all. Some of the most horrible and violent events in the Bible or imaginable take place. It shows a culture in a downward spiral. It shows what a society not centered on God looks like: worship something other than the true God; deciding what seems right, logical and reasonable in their own eyes; wondering why things never seem to get better; and, finally, deciding that if God exists, He cannot much care for people. Keller not only shows why it is a very worthwhile book, but how it points to Jesus and the need for a perfect King. It shows how God worked through weak, sinful people and how God offered grace to people who didn't deserve it. Thankfully, that hasn't changed! You'll enjoy Judges after reading this book. I even found a new favorite character in the Bible, Ehud. ( )
  Luke_Brown | Sep 10, 2016 |
Judges is a devastating book. It begins with disobedience and ends with utter chaos. Whether you read it as a court-polemic against life without kingly leadership or as merely a collection of stories about flawed heroes, you can't escape the central thesis: Life, without God, becomes hell.

Timothy Keller does a good job at connecting the overall narrative of Judges. Rather that viewing the biographies of Israel's heroes (anti-heroes?) in isolation, he demonstrates the progression of life when lived without God. Each judge is more morally corrupt and less effective than the former. The final two stories have no redeeming qualities. They are included to demonstrate the final effects of the repeated refrain which stands as the last sentence in the book:
In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes. (Judges 21:25)

I was raised in the church—a child of the Sunday School era. As a child, Gideon and Samson were presented as heroes. Just look what God can do when you give your life to him! The true story (as with most childhood memories) is darker and far more complex. Keller will help you through the darkness of Judges with his unwavering Christological focus. ( )
1 vote StephenBarkley | Mar 28, 2015 |
This book worked wonderfully as a couples' devotional for my wife and I. While it would be beneficial to read on your own, it is formatted perfectly for small group study. Questions can be found at the end of every chapter. ( )
  JVS2 | Aug 17, 2014 |
When it comes to Bible study, the English speaking church is truly blessed with a glut of materials. And Bible study helps come in almost every shape and size: simple books with application for laymen, heavy tomes with detailed exegesis of the Greek for scholars, and everything in between. In the "God’s Word For You" series from The Good Book Company, we find a unique balance. Each book in the series is attractively designed and emphasizes that the book aims to unveil God’s Word for the ordinary reader. The books aim to help believers read the Biblical text, grow in grace as they learn to feed on God’s Word, and also to equip Bible study leaders and various church teachers with a helpful analysis of the text with an eye to application.

Timothy Keller, one of my favorite authors, gives us a gospel-centered look at the book of Judges, in "Judges For You." I was repeatedly struck by how applicable the stories in Judges are to the church today. Keller avoids an allegorical reading of the text just as much as he shuns a scholastic handling of it. He sees the Messiah in the types found in Judges, and points out how Judges always leaves us looking for a better king, a better judge, a more complete savior. There is a transition from the entire tribe of Judah fighting for Israel in the first chapters, to the solitary savior, Samson at the end. In every way Christ is the greater David, who fulfills Judges expectation in ways that David, whose story follows on the heels of Judges, never could.

Keller has an eye to challenging aspects of the text for today’s readers. He provides an appendix for how to handle the concept of “holy war” in Scripture. And he purposefully points out how Israel’s common sin of idolatry relates to similar idolatrous sins we find in today’s culture and even in the church. Each chapter includes two sets of discussion questions, and can be broken into two lessons if needed.

I listened to the christianaudio version of this book, and it worked well as a devotional read on the way to and from work each day. The chapters build on each other but can be read individually. The narration at first was hard to adjust to. The reader, Maurice England, has a strong southern drawl, and his accent was distracting at first. Perhaps it was more distracting because it contrasts so sharply with Tim Keller’s voice which I was imagining in my head when listening to the book. In time, the narration grew on me and I warmed up to England’s voice. I also own the hardback book, and notice that there are only a few things you miss out on with the audio-book. There is one big map in the appendix, as well as a couple diagrams which are not in the audio-book. Additionally, the audio-book does not attempt to include the glossary feature of the book (words in gray font in the text are defined in the glossary at the back of the book).

I highly recommend this series, and am looking forward to picking up additional titles. If each is as gospel-focused as this title, the series will be a boon to the church.

Disclaimer: This book was provided by christianaudio as part of the christianaudio Reviewers Program. The reviewer was under no obligation to offer a positive review. ( )
  bobhayton | Feb 13, 2014 |
Tim Keller's, Judges for You is his second installment in a series written with the average Christian in mind. The entire series has been written in such a way as to serve the reader as a book, as a devotional book, or as a teaching resource completely dependent upon the desire of the reader.

Judges is a difficult book of preach or teach. It tells stories of God's work in spite of Israel's infidelity through sinful judges, lustful priests, and warring nations. Judges is a book that ends with less hope than it begins because in it we see the deterioration of Israel's worship of their covenant God and their increased infatuation with and incorporation of the pagan religions and cultures surrounding them. What, then, can be learned from such a book?

Keller introduces the reader to the book of Judges by demonstrating the similarity between our day and the days described in the book. "Our era can be characterized by the phrase which sums up the book of Judges: `Everyone did what was right in his own yes" (Judges 21:25 ESV)." (p. 9)." Concluding the book, Keller quotes Daniel Block:

"No other book in the Old Testament offers the modern church as telling a mirror as this book. This book is a wake-up call for a church moribund in its own selfish pursuits. Instead of heeding the call of truly godly leaders and letting Jesus Christ be Lord of the church, everywhere congregations and their leaders do what is right in their own eyes" (195).

Keller works systematically through the text with great skill and insight. As a a masterful expositor, Keller helps the reader draw the connections between Israel's sin and the reader's own, doing so in such a way as to teach the reader to anticipate the connections and begin "discovering" them without his guiding hand. The author takes great pains to stop when needed and work through more difficult subjects such as Deborah's actions as prophetess in light of the Biblical restriction of the teaching and authority office in the church to men.

Though one might disagree with his conclusion (that in 1 Tim 2, Paul is referring to "disciplinary authority" rather than teaching and/or authority in the church), he does not shy away from commenting on a sensitive subject. It is also notable that those with disagreements on the matter must discover a manner of cooperation as brothers and sisters in Christ. We may disagree, but we must do so in a Christian manner that testifies to the grace of Christ.

And as one might expect, Keller's exposition through Judges is intensely Christ-centered. Keller - who has been quoted as saying, "Until you get to Jesus, it's not a sermon. It's just a Sunday School lesson." - masterfully ties the text to the hope of Christ at every turn. They are shadows, to be certain, but shadows that direct the reader to Christ. Ehud was an unexpected deliverer. Deborah was a ruling judge who was not a warrior at all. God showed his power through Gideon's weakness. Jephthah refused to save unless he was given authority to rule as well. Samson was the promised deliverer, devoted to God from the womb despite the reality that Israel did not even ask for who crushed his enemy upon his death. Keller takes great pains to help the reader grasp the scarlet threads woven into the text of Judges and follow them to the person and work of Christ.

In our day's resurgence of Christ-centered preaching, little books like Tim Keller's, Judges for You are tremendous resources that serve pastors by coaching them to faithfully teach God's Word, and to help them uncover some of the typological treasures that are so often left just beneath the stories.

I received this book free from the publisher through the Cross Focused Reviews book review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. ( )
  David_Norman | Aug 8, 2013 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 190876290X, Hardcover)

Second in a new series of expository guides to the Bible, Timothy Keller's Judges For You walks you through the book of Judges, showing how the flawless God is at work in the most flawed situations and the most failing people.
Combining a close attention to the detail of the text with Timothy Keller's trademark gift for clear explanation and compelling insights, this resource will both engage your mind and stir your heart.
"Judges has only one hero God. And as we read this as an account of how he works in history, it comes alive. This book is not an easy read. But living in the times we do, it is an essential one." - Timothy Keller
Judges for You is a uniquely flexible resource. It can simply be read as a book; used as a daily devotional, complete with reflection questions; or utilised by anyone who has a teaching ministry, to help small-group leaders understand and apply the text, and to give preachers helpful ways of connecting timeless Bible truths to today's world.
Judges for You is part of a curriculum and is designed to work alongside The flawed and the flawless, Timothy Keller's Bible study resource for small groups and individuals.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:12:11 -0400)

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