1 and 2 Samuel—a book with questions. A book in a historical context far different from ours. What does it have to do with us? King David, a good example, someone we want to be like but often feel like we’ll never measure up. He was the great-great-something of Jesus, right? A king, right? Chosen. Anointed. And the rest of the book? King Saul, evil spirits, battle deaths, no-honey oaths, usurpation of the thrones, a royal history of a land we can’t quite picture…
But the authors of Exalting Jesus in 1 and 2 Samuel (Thomas & Greear) make a stunning claim:
“First and Second Samuel expose for careful readers the horrors and hope of the real world” (7).
And the authors do a good job at proving that thesis. Not all questions are answered. Not all things are explained. But strengths are numerous:
– Accessible to the average church attender, not just teachers or preachers
– Great guides for preaching – it is definitely expository in nature, so reads less like a textbook than a collection of sermons
– Reaches the heart, revealing sin, ministering grace, encouragement, hope
– Gospel-infused with sin to grace
– God-centered, making God the hero rather than a mere moral-example book, but yet not undermining that aspect either
– Christ-centered, following Christ’s own interpretation in Luke 24:47
– Bridges the contexts and touches our contemporary world well
You will not find an in-depth exploration of Hebrew, the text, structure, etc. In fact, one weakness may be that it does too much of the work! Yet, Thomas and Greear do draw out some relevant Hebrew words, terms, and implications. They do bring forth some different dimensions of the text that would be available only to a student of the original text or a more careful scholar. A multifarious range of cited materials show they have done their research, both culturally and theologically. If you are familiar with J. D. Greear’s preaching, you’ll be familiar with the tone of the book.
All in all, definitely a great resource for personal devotional reading or teaching/preaching preparation.
Disclosure: I received this book free from B&H Publishing through the B&H/Lifeway Bloggers program. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review.