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4 Stars Out Of 5
First impression: I was looking for a gentler approach to the subject of Charity/Love.
February 24, 2015
I find the editor's notes useful. Production quality for the paperback is very good: nice typography and off-white paper for readability. I jumped into the middle to read the sermon, 'A Christian Spirit Is A Humble Spirit.' I am finding Edward's writing in this case overly harsh, not inspiring. Here is where the editor's notes become helpful to learning, as Strobel helps to clarify what is and what is not humility in practice.
Crossway Books recently published a good-looking new version of Jonathan Edwards book: "Charity and It's Fruits" edited by Kyle Strobel.
To help you get a feel for this book allow me answer the following questions for you:
1. What is `Charity and It's Fruits' about?
In 1738 Jonathan Edwards preached a series of fifteen sermons expositing 1 Corinthians 13. These sermons provided a "theological account of love and virtue" and were never published in Edwards lifetime. It is a work that takes a long look at the glorious love passage in 1 Corinthians 13 and examines and exposits each verse with each sermon ending with words of application.
2. Why should I read `Charity and It's Fruits'?
First, to have your soul refreshed in the love of God towards you and His power for you to now live a life of love in light of His love.
Second, as this work is, according to the editor, "one of the best entry points into Jonathan Edward's theology... an intricate tapestry of Edwards's spiritual, theological, and exegetical insights, exposing readers to a much broader picture of his work." It is a great opportunity to read one of America's preeminent theologians and wrestle with his theological and practical reflections.
3. Why should I read this version of `Charity and It's Fruits'?
First, according to the editor: "It was not until 1852, nearly one hundred years after Edwards's death, that the sermons were first published. The 1852 edition of the sermons was edited by Tyron Edwards, Edwards's great-great-grandson, and was the standard version used in every other edition of Charity and It's Fruits until Yale published a new edition in 1989. This new edition went back to sermons copied directly from Edwards's own sermon booklets. When they are compared with the Tyron Edwards edition, it becomes clear that Tyron took much liberty in editing Edwards's material. Unfortunately, this new edition is still often unread by the general public because it is bound together with Edwards's other ethical writings in a volume that is nearly eight hundred pages long. For the first time, I provide those interested in Edwards the unedited version of this work in its own volume."
Second, this particular version of `Charity and It's Fruits' is far more than a pamphlet of photo-copies of the original manuscripts and it is certainly not any type of abridgment or restatement. It includes a detailed introduction giving an overview of Jonathan Edwards theology to help the reader grasp the larger body of thought behind this work. Then it ends with a conclusion considering how one might appropriate this work.
It also includes over 150 explanatory notes within the text addressing difficult concepts throughout the text as well as definitions to arcane terminology to help the modern reader. It even will list relevant quotes from Edward's other writings as well as appropriate.
All in all this is a great new version of an old classic. For a sampling of quotes from the book I have and will continue to post them at my blog: The Old Guys.
Pick this book up and embark on a meditation of that most glorious theme of God's disposition toward us in Jesus Christ and the most essential element of our lives as Christians: Love.
Disclosure: This book was received for free as part of a blog reviewer program, however I was in no way obligated to review it either positively or negatively.
There have been many classic books as of late written by authors who have gone before us, that have been re-released by an editor who updated the language of the book for today's audience. Kyle Strobel is one of those editors who took upon himself to update a masterpiece by Jonathan Edwards called Charity and Its Fruits. This book "comprises fifteen sermons preached to (Edwards') congregation in 1738. These sermons exposit 1 Corinthians 13 and provide a theological account of love and virtue" (pg 15).
The word "charity" was translated from the original Greek word for love, agape. Edwards says that love is the better translation of agape than charity. He also said that "charity in the New Testament is the very same as Christian love." This book contains great theological statements as Edwards preaches on the famous love chapter of the Bible. What made this book more interesting was Strobel's notes throughout the book that explains "difficult concepts throughout the text" (Back Cover).
Earlier this year, I set out to read more books from dead guys like Edwards as well as Martin Lloyd-Jones and several others. It was a treat for me to not only to review this book but to read it as well. I am also thankful that I am accomplishing my goal of reading more dead author's books.
This book is a must for all lovers of theology and fans of Edwards. This is also a good book for Pastors to have when they are going to preach through 1 Corinthians 13.