William Perkins, Richard Sibbes, Samuel Rutherford, Anthony Burgess, John Owen, John Bunyan, John Flavel–these are some of the greatest names in Christian literature. I have spent a lifetime reading the theological, devotional, and practical writings of sixteenth and seventeenth-century Puritans. Why is it worthwhile to do so? To find out, listen to the recent podcast: The Value of Reading the Puritans.
Hiking the trails of our national parks can be an experience of exhilarating beauty, or utter frustration when you get lost in the woods. A good guide can make all the difference. In the same way, the Family Worship Bible Guide will lead your family down the trails of the Bible to see the glory of the Lord—and avoiding getting frustrated. Who among us has not known what it is like to read a chapter of the Bible to our children or for our devotions, and have no idea what it has to do with our lives today? Here is help.
This book offers brief, major takeaway thoughts for personal application for every chapter of the Bible. Whereas most devotional books address only select parts of God’s Word, this book is unique in that it walks you through the whole Word of God and shows how to apply it to your life, one chapter at a time. Yet its emphasis on application is not man-centered, but God-centered, for it builds upon the foundational truth that all the Scriptures testify to the glory of God in the grace of Jesus Christ.
Whether you are looking for help with your personal devotions, or desire to lead family worship in the home, are reading the Bible with a friend, or need wisdom as you prepare to teach or preach in church, this is a great tool, regardless of what Bible translation you read.
The Family Worship Bible Guide also includes an eight-page introductory essay on how to do family worship, an excellent starter course for those who have never done it before, and a helpful refresher for the experienced Christian parent.
An exciting day for RHB in Grand Rapids—we just received our shipment from the Netherlands of 10,000+ copies of the Family Worship Bible Guide, which presents rich devotional thoughts for private and family worship on all 1,189 chapters in the Bible, including searching questions to promote conversation in your family. I thank Michael Barrett, Jerry Bilkes, Paul Smalley, and others who joined me in producing this book. Pray that the Holy Spirit will mightily bless the daily use of this book, offered both in leather and in hardback, so that families will be more richly informed, reformed, and transformed by daily family worship.
I’m very excited that, with the help of the Dutch Reformed Translation Society, we at Reformation Heritage Books can finally bring into English print in 2 volumes Theodore VanderGroe’s (1705–1784) classic Heidelberg Catechism sermons, which were nearly as famous in his day for their doctrinal soundness and experiential warmth as Wilhelmus à Brakel’s The Christian’s Reasonable Service (4 vols.). Brakel excepted, this is the most major work ever translated from the Dutch Further Reformation.
Steeped in Scripture and pastoral in nature, these sermons promote a healthy form of spirituality; they contain both great comforts for believers and powerful warnings to unbelievers. Bartel Elshout has provided an excellent translation and I thoroughly enjoyed editing it.
If you or someone you know enjoys Brakel, or appreciates the Heidelberg Catechism, this would make a perfect year-end gift—a beautiful set of books for only $45.00 which now reads in English like it was written yesterday. You will love this renowned classic exposition of the Heidelberg Catechism written for lay people. Buy, read, and be edified.
To read and view pictures about my ministry trips from September through November, 2016, including visits to Mexico and Brazil, please download my pastoral letter here.
God has been very merciful to me over the summer of 2016 in various opportunities to preach and teach. If you would like to read about my travels in Europe and Africa, with pictures of many dear friends I saw there, you may download my pastoral newsletter by clicking here.
Old friends can be full of surprises. Have you ever visited with a dear friend whom you have known for years, only to discover something new about him that makes you admire him all the more? I grew up with John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress, and though of course I never met Bunyan, I count him a dear friend whose writings have long nourished my soul. Yet after co-authoring a book with Paul Smalley on Bunyan and the fear of God, my admiration and gratitude for the tinker-theologian has deepened.
As a seminary professor, I never cease to be astounded by Bunyan. He had little formal education, but he received a Ph.D. from the School of Suffering with Christ. His persecutors thought they had confined this preacher to jail, but in reality Bunyan lived in the Bible—and the word of God cannot be bound. To read Bunyan’s voluminous writings is to be immersed in the text of Holy Scripture.
That’s why I find Bunyan’s perspective on the fear of God so valuable. This topic is clouded with much confusion today. It seems that most people think that the fear of God annihilates faith in God’s grace, and vice versa. Some preachers distort the love of God in a manner that would take God off His throne and make Him our spiritual buddy. Other preachers fixate on God’s law and wrath to the neglect of the gospel so that people cower in degradation or run away from the Lord.
Bunyan, however, discovered in the Bible that God’s grace ignites the fear of God in us. God puts His fear in those whom He loves and intends to bless forever. Many of God’s best promises are to the people who fear Him and hope in His faithful love. While it is true that some fear is bad, Bunyan teaches us how to discern between healthy and unhealthy fear toward God. We need not fear the true fear of God, for it is our best friend as we travel by grace along our pilgrimage toward His glory. In fact, God’s very grace is fearful, for it is the grace of God. Our distaste for the fear of the Lord shows how poorly we know God.
So I commend the book to you in the hope that, by learning from Bunyan, you will learn more about God and will delight to fear His name.