As I’ve thought about the books I’ve read over the past year, one stands out as being remarkable for its depth and relevance. It has a shrewd understanding of what it means to be a Christian and a church living increasingly on the edge of society. And its author understands the temptations we face, whether it is to withdraw into a self affirming huddle, or to compromise with an increasingly complex culture. He’s faced them, come through them, and lays out the lessons for all of us, leaders and members. This is no ivory tower book, because the author knows what the bottom of the abyss of personal compromise looks like, and while he wants to challenge us not to fail as he did, still knows that there is no pit so deep that forgiveness and restoration can’t happen. So this is no cheap, slick, how-to book – it is soaked in scripture, and I defy any reader not to finish it more thoughtful, and more prayerful.
What’s my Book of the Year?
1 Peter. Seriously. I’d listened to talks on it, and then been asked to give some studies on it and so did some deeper work it and it seems to me that if we are right to think that we are going to be first marginalised, then removed from public life, and then possibly deliberately penalised for our views, the biblical book that best understand our times is one written to those who are spiritually members of God’s people, but socially and politically powerless.
So I’ve decided to make it the biblical book I most need to understand, and my challenge to you is to read it a couple of times, and if you agree with me, to prepare the people in your care for the coming changes, by carefully, and continually, teaching on it.
In my studies, I am mostly using:
Karen Jobes, 1 Peter (Baker Exegetical Commentary on the Testament. Grand Rapids: Baker, 2005)
Tom Schreiner (1, 2 Peter, Jude (The New American Commentary. Nashville: Broadman and Holman, 2003)