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The Incarnation in the Gospels (Reformed Expository Commentary) Hardcover – October 15, 2008
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"The Incarnation in the Gospels brings together in one delightful volume the teaching of the Gospels on the incarnation of Christ. All who read this book should experience a deeper devotion to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ." --Jerry Bridges, The Navigators Collegiate Ministry
"The authors are Reformed in their theology, reliable in their understanding of the passages, and all fascinating writers. This book will be a great help to pastors preparing series of Christmas sermons and to lay believers trying to distinguish the real biblical teaching from all the Christmas fluff." --John M. Frame, Reformed Theological Seminary
"Here is exposition modeled by pastors with scholarly gifts and by scholars with pastors' hearts. . . . May it serve as a model to encourage and enthuse a new generation to love the Word of God and to rediscover the life-transforming power of expository preaching!" --Sinclair Ferguson, First Presbyterian Church, Columbia, SC
About the Author
Richard D. Phillips (MDiv, Westminster Theological Seminary) is the senior minister of Second Presbyterian Church of Greenville, South Carolina. He is a council member of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals, chairman of the Philadelphia Conference on Reformed Theology, and coeditor of the Reformed Expository Commentary series.
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The REC series in general, and this work in particular, aims to be biblical in its exposition of the Text, unashamedly doctrinal in explaining and defending the Christian faith, focused on the unified redemptive-historical message of Christ that runs through Scripture, and practical in its application.
In this work, the editor collected four sermons each from Daniel Doriani, Philip Ryken, and Richard Phillips from the opening chapters of Matthew, Luke, and John respectively.
In Part 1, Daniel Doriani shares four sermons focused on Christ as the Hope for Israel. His sermons present an excellent balance of showing Jesus as the fulfillment of OT prophecy, his identity as the eternal Son of God, his worthiness to be praised, and God's protection of him as the Promised Seed.
In Part 2, Philip Ryken shares four sermons from the 'Christmas hymns', if you will, of Luke. I appreciated this unique approach to share the birth of our Lord from the first songs of praise sung to him: the Magnificant, the Benedictus, the Gloria in Excelsis Deo, and the Nuc Dimittis. These four sermons were profoundly worshipful.
In Part 3, Richard Phillips shares from John 1 on Christ as the coming of the Light. These four sermons were my favorite, looking at the incarnation from an eternal, spiritual point-of-view.
In addition to theses, this work offers four appendices which are helpful. In the first, the editor argues for a Gospel-centered approach to worship. I found his comments reminiscent of Bryan Chapell's "Christ-Centered Worship" and absolutely on point.
In Appendix two the editor shares a sample Christmas Eve Service. Appendix three shares five recent and very wonderful Christmas hymns. And finally, Appendix four offers a brief evaluation of, and meditation on, Christmas Customs.
All-in-all, this collection is wonderful, helpful, and comes highly recommended.
1) To be biblical - that is to pay careful attention to the text and exposit the Scriptures. There is less focus on the original language and structure and more focus on the story that the passage is telling.
2) Unashamedly Doctrinal - this series approaches the text from a Reformed perspective, as found in the Bible.
3) Redemptive-Historical - this means that they believe in the unity and continuity of the Bible, and interpret it in a Christ centered approach for all of Scripture.
4) Practical - by applying the truths found in the Scriptures to contemporary challenges in life.
The Incarnation of the Gospels is an edition in this commentary series that is focused on the accounts of the Incarnation of Christ presented in the gospels of Matthew, Luke and John. The chapters in this volume are actually excerpts from the authors ( Daniel Doriani, Philip Graham Ryken, and Richard Phillips) commentaries in this series. So, the reader gets expositional sermons for advent from three different pastors/authors in one volume. This is especially helpful for pastors who may not have preached expositionally though these books of the Bible and/or may not have an extensive commentary collection. Instead of having to buy multiple commentaries, P&R Publishing has made this volume available for preaching/studying during advent. Another benefit to this edition is that Phillips' volume on John has not yet been released, so the reader gets his commentary on John 1:1-18 before the complete commentary on John is available. This commentary continues along the same lines of what I have come to expect from the Reformed Expository Commentary series: sound theology, very readable, helpful insight and application. Since these separate writings on the Incarnation have been pulled together in one volume there is an overall continuity throughout the commentary. The layout is also helpful in that each section (Matthew, Luke and John) is divided into 4 chapters/sermons. This would be helpful for a pastor in sermon preparation, either preaching one chapter at a time or multiple chapters, depending on how many weeks he may spend preaching Christmas themed sermons. It also serves well for personal devotions, with clear divisions making it easy to make a reading plan.
The exposition in itself makes this a worthwhile purchase, but there is so much more to this volume. There is an appendix on Gospel-Centered worship connected to Christ's Nativity. This is helpful in planning the different elements of an advent worship service, such as Scripture reading, prayers, music, testimonies, etc. Many resources are also listed and prove to be very helpful. The second appendix is titled: A Christmas Eve Service of Lessons and Carols. This is actually a worship service from Second Presbyterian Church in Greenville, South Carolina. This is helpful in that is provides the pastor with a sample service to model their service by. It is always helpful to see new and different ideas to see where we can worship God better and more fully. The third appendix contains 5 newer advent carols for churches to use. These are wonderful for personal/family singing as well as congregational. The last appendix is meditations on Christmas customs for private reflection of a Christmas Eve service. These reflections could also be used for mid-week services during the Christmas time. These four sections really flesh out what Christmas services can and should look like in the local church as well as provide helpful resources for planning these services. These would make a worthwhile pamphlet on their own, but instead they are nicely incorporated into this commentary.
If you enjoy studying the Word of God and are looking for a solid commentary that is readable and will profit you greatly during the advent season, then do yourself a favor and purchase this commentary. It is well worth it and would make a wonderful commentary for sermon/service preparation as well as personal devotions.
I received a free copy of this commentary from P&R Publishing in exchange for an honest review.
The writers assist the reader in gaining a better understanding of:
- Jesus Christ as the Key to the whole Bible
- The glory of the Nativity
- The necessary connection between the incarnation and the Gospel
- God-centered worship
- Redemptive-historical interpretational method.
This is an outstanding resource for the busy pastor and makes an excellent devotional volume for the believer who yearns for a greater understanding and passion for the Lord Jesus Christ.
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