Hosea: An Introduction

thoughts, prayers & songs: my journey from self-absorption to doxology

Jeroboam II was king in Israel. His  purpose as leader was to “Make The Northern Kingdom Great Again!™” His own name hearkened back to Jeroboam, the leader who had wrested control of the ten tribes from the oppression from Solomon’s son, Rehoboam  (1 Kings 12).  Like all the northern leaders, the book of Kings describes Jeroboam II as evil. Listen to his-reign-adapted-refrain, “He did evil in the sight of the LORD; he did not depart from the sins of Jeroboam, the son of Nebat, which he made Israel sin” (2 Kings 14:24). But in terms of his aim at Making Israel Great Again™ he was a great success. It is too bad his restoration project never took him beyond the flawed leadership of his nation’s past.

Jeroboam II reigned for 41 years (though some of his reign may be a co-regency with his father Joash). He was able…

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Review: The Epistles of 2 Corinthians and 1 Peter

Sojourner Theology

30010088The Epistles of 2 Corinthians and 1 Peter: Newly Discovered Commentaries edited by Ben Witherington III and Todd D. Still is the final installment in the highly anticipated Lightfoot Legacy Set. Witherington and Still have brought together previously unpublished material on two important New Testament epistles, and included an onslaught of essays and lectures on related topics. The completion of the Lightfoot Legacy Set marks an exciting moment for New Testament scholarship and Lightfoot enthusiasts alike.

Similar to the previous two volumes, the commentary opens with a brief recounting of the story behind the discovery of the Lightfoot manuscripts, as well as an editors’ introduction to the person of Lightfoot as a biblical commentator. The commentary is brief and largely incomplete. There is no formal introduction to the epistle of 2 Corinthians, although the editors have included a 20-page essay on the chronology of Paul. The commentary on 2 Corinthians…

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Biblical Studies Carnival – December 2016


For most of us 2017 probably could not come soon enough. From Trump to Aleppo, to the stream of beloved celebrities passing, a constant refrain in the latter half of 2016 was “I’m done with 2016.” Hosting the December Biblical Studies Carnival has a bit of an “inaugurated eschatology” feel – by the time you read this it will already be 2017, the new year we’ve all been eagerly waiting for; but the period of time this post covers is in the “not yet,” under the shadow of a difficult and tense year.

In Memoriam

It seems like many celebrities passed away in 2016; at one point I noticed that when a new passing was announced, many people posted the news with the note “2016 took another.” Death is always sad, but I wasn’t familiar with any of the celebrities who passed away. However, December “took” someone from “my” world…

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Top 16 Biblical Counseling Books of 2016

Pastor Kevin's Blog

blog-top-16-biblical-counseling-books-of-2016By Bob Kellemen

If you are a counselor, pastor, student, one-another minister, small group leader, or spiritual friend, you want to know the most helpful books about the personal ministry of the Word— using God’s Word for helping hurting people.

Here, in alphabetical order, are the top 16 books published in 2016 about biblical counseling or important to biblical counselors.

I’ve selected these books on the basis of their biblical depth, relevance to life, practicality for one-another ministry, faithfulness to the sufficiency of Scripture, application to progressive sanctification, and by surveying what leaders in the biblical counseling world are saying about them.

Biblical Church Revitalization: Solutions for Dying and Divided Churches, by Brian Croft, Christian Focus

Biblical counseling is a discipleship ministry of the local church with a mission not simply to be a church with biblical counseling, but a church of biblical counseling. The biblical counseling vision is…

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Consejería Bíblica: Manual de Consulta Sobre la Sexualidad y las Relaciones

descargaPor años la sexualidad ha sido un tema tabú en iglesias y en hogares cristianos. A medida que la sociedad ha ido ganando terreno en el campo de la educación sexual, también se ha visto incrementada la necesidad de tratar esos asuntos en los círculos cristianos. La consejería cristiana no es un área ajena a la sexualidad. De hecho, muchos de los problemas que surgen en los conflictos matrimoniales tiene su origen en al área sexual.

Hoy contamos con una cantidad considerable de libros cristianos que abordan el tema de la sexualidad, pero pocos lo hacen desde el punto de vista de la consejería. El libro Consejería Bíblica: Manual de Consulta Sobre la Sexualidad y las Relaciones, es el quinto tomo de la serie Consejería Bíblica publicada por Editorial Portavoz. El autor principal es, al igual que en el resto de volúmenes en esta serie, el Dr. Tim Clinton. En esta ocasión el coautor es el Dr. Mark Laaser, un reconocido autor y conferenciante sobre sexualidad y relaciones.

El libro está dividido en 5 partes. La parte 1 (capítulos 1-7) está enfocada en la sexualidad y las relaciones, y cubre temas como la intimidad de la pareja y el placer sexual, el estrés y las relaciones sexuales, o la infertilidad. La parte 2 (capítulos 8-20) trata el tema de problemas sexuales  y retos que plantean las relaciones. Asuntos como la infidelidad y las aventuras amorosas, o el perdón y la restauración de la confianza son algunos de los temas que Clinton y Laaser desarrollan en esta sección. La parte 3 (capítulos 21-31) está dedicada a la adicción y las perversiones sexuales. La parte 4 (capítulos 32-34) presenta cómo tratar los problemas de identidad sexual. Por último, la parte 5 (capítulos 35-40) aborda temas de cuestiones sexuales en la crianza de los hijos y la vida familiar.

Como en el resto de volúmenes de esta excelente colección, las definiciones e ideas clave son de gran ayuda a todo lector, especialmente si se trata de lectores iniciados en el campo de la consejería. Esta sección es particularmente útil para familiarizarse con términos e ideas que pueden ser desconocidos para el lector. El apartado de ejemplos bíblicos nos ayudará a obtener una perspectiva bíblica del asunto bajo estudio, y podremos ver cómo, una vez más, la Palabra de Dios tiene respuestas para cualquier asunto de la vida de las personas.

Este libro es total y absolutamente recomendable para cualquier pastor y cualquier persona que trabaje en el ministerio de la consejería bíblica. Tal vez ya tenga otros libros que aborden el tema de la sexualidad, pero este libro será una adición gratificante y enriquecedora.

Puede adquirir el libro aquí.

Puede consultar más reseñas sobre libros de consejería aquí 

I received a copy of this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255

Book Review: Andrew T. Abernethy, The Book of Isaiah and God’s Kingdom

Reading Acts

Abernethy, Andrew T. The Book of Isaiah and God’s Kingdom: A Thematic-Theological Approach. NSBT 40; Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity, 2016. 245 pp. Pb; $25.  Link to IVP

This new contribution to the New Studies in Biblical Theology series focuses on the theme of Kingdom in the book of Isaiah. The topic of kingdom in the whole canon of Scripture is too large for a short monograph, but by limiting the discussion to Isaiah Abernethy is able to provide a reasonable foundation for understanding the book of Isaiah and its foundational role in a Christian understanding of Jesus. Abernethy’s previous book on Isaiah focused on the theme of food in Isaiah (Eating in Isaiah: Approaching the Role of Food and Drink in Isaiah’s Structure and Message. Leiden: Brill 2014, reviewed here).

abernety-isaiahIn his introduction, Abernethy describes his approach in this book as synchronic since he is interpreting…

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A Syntax Guide for Readers of the Greek New Testament, by Charles Lee Irons

descargaThe study of the New Testament Greek has become an accessible area of study for both pastors and seminary students. There are multitude of NT Greek literature in the market, and many more to come. The book A Syntax Guide for Readers of the Greek New Testament written by Charles Lee Irons (Kregel, 2016) is one of the most recently released books for the study of the NT Greek. This volume has the purpose of helping NT Greek readers to have a better understanding of terms and clauses found in the NT Greek Text.

The author has produced a syntax guide that goes verse by verse covering the whole NT, though he does not follow a word by word method. The explanation for that can be found in the preface of the book. There, Irons states his main purpose in writing this guide was to provide readers with a syntax guide that can help them to read the NT Greek in a fluent manner. It can be said he accomplished his purpose. NT Greek readers can use this syntax guide without fearing to be interrupted when consulting this syntax guide.

Irons follows the critical editions of the Greek New Testament 27th and 28th Editions of the Nestle-Aland Novum Testamentum Graece, though he uses other textual variants. The most used English translations are the NASB, ESV, and the NIV.

Who can benefit from this syntax guide? Pastors, beginners or advanced students of NT Greek, and anyone interested in reading the NT Greek. This can be your perfect companion if you are part of any of the group aforementioned.

Buy it from Kregel or buy it from Amazon

I received a copy of this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255

Best Books of 2016 (Gupta)

Crux Sola

Well folks, it is that time of the year! Best biblical studies books of 2016.


Overall Best Book: The Crosses of Pompeii (Bruce Longenecker)


What an incredibly interesting book! This is how you build an argument and topple a specious consensus. You can find an interview I conducted previously with Longenecker about this book HERE. Several years ago, when my family and I were visiting Rome, we chose to visit Ostia Antica instead of Pompeii. Now I am regretting our laziness!

Longenecker is not done talking about Pompeii. Head over to Fortress Press’ website and check out some of his other projects.

Best Gospels Book: Echoes of Scripture in the Gospels


This award deservedly goes to Richard Hays for his much anticipated Echoes of Scripture in the Gospels. Hays is such a creative theologian, and is able to bring fresh insight to so many Gospel texts through his famous…

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Book Review: J. B. Lightfoot, The Epistles of 2 Corinthians and 1 Peter: A Newly Discovered Commentary

Reading Acts

Lightfoot, J. B. The Epistles of 2 Corinthians and 1 Peter: A Newly Discovered Commentary. Edited by Ben Witherington III and Todd D. Still. The Lightfoot Legacy Set 3; Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity, 2016. 317 pp Hb; $40.00.   Link to IVP

In the last two years IVP published the first two volumes of newly discovered commentaries by the late nineteenth century scholar J. B. Lightfoot. In the forward to that volume Ben Witherington recounted how he discovered hand-written manuscripts several long-forgotten commentaries J. B. Lightfoot in the spring of 2013. With this commentary on 2 Corinthians and 1 Peter all of manuscripts discovered by Witherington have been published.

lightfoot-corinthainsCompared to the other two volumes in this series, the commentaries on 2 Corinthians or 2 Peter are brief and fragmentary, 2 Corinthians runs about seventy pages and 1 Peter has a twenty page introduction with a mere nineteen pages of…

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Ryrie’s Bibles and Manuscripts Auctioned off

Daniel B. Wallace

On 5 December 2016, Sotheby’s had an auction of one of the world’s largest private collections of Bibles and manuscripts. The collection was Charles Ryrie’s, former professor of Systematic Theology at Dallas Seminary. For many years I would take my students to visit his home and see the treasures in his collection. Every year he would bring out new marvels that astonished me. I never saw the whole collection, but he was always generous in bringing out scores of volumes.

Ryrie died earlier this year. He was just a month shy of his 92nd birthday. I had been keeping a close eye on his collection and had discussed it with him many times over the years. Among other things, he owned three Greek New Testament manuscripts, one of only eleven vellum Luther Bibles in the world, and the finest copy of the 1611 King James Bible anywhere. He also owned…

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Visual Theology

Biblias y sus diseños

Who said Theology is a bored thing? Publishers are in the business of printing huge volumes on Theology with seminary students, researchers and scholars in mind. But what about those thousands of young people who never will attend a Christian Seminary and want to study the Bible with accuracy? It’s true we live in a visual culture. It’s also true a picture speaks a thousand words. Tim Challies and Josh Byers are aware of it and this is the result: Visual Theology. Pictures, infographies, graphics… everything helps to understand those concepts reserved to scholars.

This is not the case for theoretical theology, but for practical one. Four sections, ten chapters:

Section One: Grow close to Christ or cultivating a relationship with Christ. Gospel, Identity and Relationship.

Section Two: Understand the work of Christ or the contents of Christian faith: Drama and Doctrine.

Section Three: Become like Christ or conforming to…

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Tablets, móviles y niños


La presencia en nuestras vidas de dispositivos electrónicos que utilizan internet (teléfonos móviles y tablets) es, a todas luces, inevitable – lo cual no es malo – pero su uso está rápidamente alcanzando dosis que nadie puede negar que constituyen un abuso.

Me gustaría compartir con ustedes las observaciones que a lo largo de los últimos años he podido hacer desde el privilegiado sillón de neuropsicólogo infantil (y por tanto terapeuta de familia).

Siempre me he mostrado muy crítico del abuso que se ha estado haciendo de la televisión. Sus efectos han sido marcadamente nocivos y son numerosísimos los estudios que lo demuestran. Inocentemente durante mucho tiempo pensaba que la televisión y los móviles o las tablets eran equivalentes, que sus efectos eran comparables. Desgraciadamente los efectos de éstos últimos son mucho más nocivos.

De la televisión siempre he dicho que es nociva en un doble sentido:

  1. Por el efecto…

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Biblias y sus diseños

The perfect Journal

I love writing. I also love Bibles. And I love Jot Bible as it is the perfect combination of Bible and room for writing notes. I’m in the habit of taking notes when reading the Bible or hearing a preacher and I’m sure this JOT Bible will help me keeping my notes in order.

You can buy a journal and taking notes. Or simply you can take notes on your own Bible… but doing it in a 45 GSM acid free and highly opaque paper is another thing.  It is a thrilling experience having a handwritten Bible journal full of notes, thoughts, blessings… and leaving them as a legacy to your children. And the editor of Jot Bible Life-Notes has found the way of gathering quality, personality and spirituality in a sole book.


Of course, this is not a Journaling Bible or a wide margin Bible, even it…

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Terapia de Solución de Problemas: Manual de Tratamiento

descargaLa consejería se ha convertido en un elemento indispensable en el ministerio pastoral. Cada vez son más los pastores que cursan estudios de consejería paralelamente a su ministerio pastoral. Uno de los inconvenientes de la integración de la consejería en el ministerio pastoral es el tiempo. Es difícil poder incluir sesiones de consejería dentro de la apretada agenda de un pastor, y más teniendo en cuenta que un plan de consejería podría alargarse por quince o veinte semanas. En este caso, la terapia de solución de problemas se puede convertir en el mejor aliado de un pastor. Los detractores de dicha modalidad argumentan que no es efectiva porque el foco de la terapia no es el cliente sino la solución del problema, lo cual no es totalmente cierto.

En su libro Terapia de Solución de Problemas: Manual de Tratamiento, Nezu, Nezu, y D’Zurilla (Desclée De Brouwer, 2014), presentan un detallo manual sobre cómo desarrollar de manera exitosa un tratamiento basado en la terapia de solución de problemas.

El libro está dividido en tres secciones. La primera sección (capítulos 1-3) introduce al lector en el área de la terapia de solución de problemas proveyendo datos empíricos sobre la efectividad de esta modalidad terapéutica. Los autores proveen una información generosa sobre estudios que han arrojado resultados positivos en clientes que han sido tratados con dicha modalidad. Los autores proveen al mismo tiempo definiciones clave para la familiarización con términos que más adelante aparecerán en el libro. Esta sección es especialmente útil para iniciados o noveles en la terapia de solución de problemas.

La segunda sección (capítulos 4-5) está enfocada en los primeros pasos de un tratamiento basado en la terapia de solución de problemas, a saber: Evaluación, planificación del tratamiento y consideraciones clínicas generales. El concepto de avaluación no se enfoca tanto en cómo evaluar a un cliente, sino en dilucidar si la terapia de solución de problemas es apropiada para un cliente en concreto. Esta sección aborda también elementos indispensables como es la relación terapéutica. Asuntos como las características personales del terapeuta o las expectativas de participación del cliente son desarrollados en esta sección.

La tercera y última sección (capítulos 6-11) ocupa la mayor parte del cuerpo de esta obra. En dicha sección se presentan las directrices a seguir en la aplicación de la terapia de solución de problemas. También se presentan casos prácticos por medio de los cuales el lector puede aplicar mentalmente los conceptos e ideas presentados por los autores. Los capítulos 7-10 presentan kits de herramientas útiles en la aplicación de la terapia de solución de problemas. Estos kits son de valiosa utilidad, ya que son como herramientas que el terapeuta necesitará en el día a día si quiere permanecer en el plan de tratamiento trazado en las primeras sesiones con el cliente.

De especial ayuda pueden resultar los tres apéndices que aparecen al final del libro. En ellos el lector podrá encontrar instrucciones para la puntuación del test de solución de problemas, folletos para el paciente con figuras, formularios, hijas de trabajo y folletos educativos.


Nezu, Nezu, D’Zurilla ofrecen, posiblemente, una de las obras más completas y accesibles en el área de la terapia de solución de problemas. Este libro es altamente recomendable para consejeros, psicólogos, pastores, y todos aquellos que trabajan ayudando a personas con sus problemas emocionales y del día a día.

Puede adquirir el libro diractamente de la editorial en este enlace 

I received a copy of this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255

Comentario Exegético Práctico del Nuevo Testamento. Efesios.

Biblias y sus diseños

De mano de la Editorial Andamio, nos llega un comentario traducido de la serie en inglés publicada por Zondervan.

Este primer volumen promete, y anticipa toda una serie digna de confianza. Les dejamos con este “video review” sobre este libro. Disfrútenlo:

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Discipline That Connects With Your Child’s Heart: Building Faith, Wisdom, and Character in the Messes of Daily Life

descargaParenting can be both a blessing and a challenge at the same time. While in the past rudeness and physical discipline were the two predominant ways for parent to discipline and educate their children, today many other alternative ways of discipline children are available and taught by family specialists.

The book Discipline That Connects With Your Child’s Heart: Building Faith, Wisdom, and Character in the Messes of Daily Life (Jim and Lynne Jackson, Bethany House, 2016) is one of those books that brings hope for both parents and children concerning discipline. This book offers tools and concepts parents can easily impalement in their role as parents. The focus is on disciplining children in a way we can orient to change in their hearts through discipline. The authors advocate for an alternative for ineffective way of punishing children. Instead they offer a way parents can touch their children´s heart so children can change their negative behaviors and attitudes.

The first section (chapters 2-6) deals with the parents’ issues first as there are things parents need to change first so they can be able to discipline their children in a way their hearts will be touched.

Section two (chapters 7-9) address unconditional love from parents to their children. The idea in these three chapters is that parents have to accomplish the objective of transmitting the idea they love their children no matter what they have done; that love rules home environment and relationships.

Section three (chapters 10-13) is mainly focused on promoting strengths in our children.  They have great potential, things they can do and actually do great, and our mission is to encourage them in their lives.

Section four (chapters 14-16) promotes the concept of accountability for our own actions. The concept is that parents are entitled to teach their children to take responsibility for their own actions instead of blaming someone else. Biblical discipline is the cornerstone in these three chapters.

Section five (chapter 17-18) serves as the closing section. These two chapters address the issues of rebuilding and reconciling. If we intend to promote a change in our children’s hearts then we need to learn how to restore them into communion and how to rebuild what has been broken.

This book also offers a generous appendix section with answers and questions related to parenting issues.

I highly recommend this book to parents or even those working with children in any setting, as this book promotes discipline that connect with your child’s heart.

I received a copy of this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255

The new about the project of building Dallas Theological Sminary

I found this column from a newspaper inside one of the used books (Salvation, by Lewis Sperry Chafer, 1922) I purchased during my undergraduate years at Baptist University of the Americas. Unfortunately the date is not shown but can be stimated. 

Walter Brueggemann on Money and Possessions

Dr. Claude Mariottini - Professor of Old Testament

Walter Brueggemann is one of my favorite Old Testament scholars. I had the privilege of meeting him personally when I interviewed him in preparation to write a short biography of his life and work [1].

What makes Brueggemann’s writing so compelling is the wide scope of his scholarship. In every book Brueggemann writes he brings his vast reading to support his presentation. Readers are challenged to look at the text from different perspectives because his reading of the text provides new insights and applications to the life and work of the church in the world.


Walter Brueggemann’s most recent book is Money and Possessions, published in November 2016 by Westminster John Knox Press as a supplement to Interpretation: A Bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching. Interpretation is an outstanding series of commentaries to which Brueggemann has contributed the volumes on Genesis and 1 and 2 Samuel.

In Money and…

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Book Review – New Testament Theology: Exploring Diversity and Unity (Frank Matera)

Frank J. Matera. New Testament Theology: Exploring Diversity and Unity. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2007. 520 pp. $55.00.

matera-nttFrank Matera is a prolific Roman Catholic New Testament scholar who had published books on NT ethics and Christology prior to this New Testament theology (hereafter “NTT”). He conceives of NTT as a specifically theological task and feels that history of Christian religion should be a separate discipline. Matera further contends that for those who see the NT as inspired Scripture, the presupposed internal coherence should be seen in how we carry out the task of NTT – that is, NTT should display the unity of the writings while doing justice to the diversity. This is a primary aim of Matera’s NTT, as made plain by the book’s subtitle and throughout the introduction. His method of achieving this aim is by taking into account the implied narrative of Scripture.

Matera’s NTT takes an…

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NIV Application Commentary: Hardcover Giveaway and ebook Sale


From now until the coming Sunday, every NIV Application Commentary eBook is on sale for just $4.99, with even bigger discounts when you buy bundles (I highly recommend the Pentateuch one! I bought each of those volumes individually the last time the series is on sale). Click here to see all the volumes and deals.

The NIVAC series helps you understand the Bible’s ancient message and see how it speaks powerfully today. When I am preparing a Bible study or sermon, I always turn to this series for help in crafting applications. I’m pretty good at the nerdy stuff like exegesis, but I need help connecting what the text meant to what it means.

Notable volumes in this series include:

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