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A Distant Presence: The Story Behind Paul's Letter to the Philippians (Narrative Commentary Series) Paperback – January 25, 2002
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From the Inside Flap
Not all commentaries are created equal.
A commentary is a useful toolit can help you live God's way by increasing your understanding of His Word and work in the lives of others.
Now, with the introduction of A Distant Presence: The Story Behind Paul's Letter to the Philippians, NavPress has combined the insights of a commentary with the power of story to create an exciting new learning experience.
Part unfolding drama and part study tool, the NARRATIVE COMMENTARY SERIES draws upon vivid storytelling and the most widely accepted scholarship to provide compelling insight into the biblical book of Philippians. The characters, context, setting, and situations that prompted Paul to write his most loving letter are painted with remarkable detail and historical accuracy. Whether you're reading the rich narrative or using the question-and-answer end notes for reference, A Distant Presence will leave you feeling as though you've personally experienced this brief, but formative, chapter of church history.
In the commentary section you'll find historical and cultural information about Paul, other key characters, and the city of Philippi, as well as information on problems in the early church, a portrait of daily life in ancient times, and more. There is help for understanding the themes in the Philippian letter, how the letter "works," and for reading the letter itself with fresh eyes. This section is topically arranged and cross-referenced throughout the narrative to help you find information easily.
The narrative section, on the other hand, weaves together the content and background of Paul's letter to the Philippians into a memorable drama with flesh-and-blood characters and historically authentic scenes. As you read, you'll find yourself taking Paul's words to heart, just as his original readers did almost two thousand years ago.
From the Back Cover
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I bristle at those who say that the Bible has no application for their lives today- or those who teach that the Bible of old no longer applies to people the way it did back then. I would challenge anyone to read this book and try to convince me that people in the first century are any different than people in the 21st century. Same problems, same worries, same "issues" that we deal with today.
Get this book. It's a real jewel.
The novel itself is about 2/3 of the book; the remaining pages are an explanation of why the author made the choices he did in his retelling of the historical events. For an exegetically minded preacher like myself; I found this most helpful. I understand that this book was to be the first of a series called the Narrative Commentary Series. Unfortunately, there does not appear to be a market for such books. Such is a disappointment for me. I guess some people like commentaries and others like historical novels; but people don't want their novels and commentaries mixed together! Today you can buy Woodroof's wonderful novel (minus the commentary) in a work entitled, The Messenger.
This book made Paul very real and very human to me. Paul deserves that. The people in the fictionalized story really come to life in this book. I wish Mr. Woodroof would write more books in this style. I feel a deep connection with Philippians that I did not previously feel.
Warning, though: if you loan out your copy, expect to have trouble getting it back. It's a hard book to let go off.