The Message of the Twelve: Hearing the Voice of the Minor Prophets - eBook
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Publication Date: 2016
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Angelo5 Stars Out Of 5Great encouragement/challenge to study the Minor ProphetsDecember 5, 2016AngeloQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5Reading this book made me more interested in reading and studying the Minor Prophets. I have been interested in these prophetic books for some time. It is good to have a handy resource to help in this regard. The book is only 358 pages, not big and bulky but great enough content written in understandable and yet still very scholarly. The retail price of $34.99 (a good price of $23.99) seems pricey (and less appealing) for its size but if content is the gauge, it is not only a good investment but worth it.
The authors wrote this book with the conviction that the message of the Minor Prophets is relevant for the church today. The target readers (and users) of the book are pastors, students and all who seek to study this neglected portion of the scriptures. They have taught these books (at Liberty University?). I believe the target readers will be challenged to read and study and teach these books. This book is a good introductory and helpful guide in informing and encouraging readers to not neglect and pay attention to these biblical books.
It has two main sections, the first section is introductory with four chapters and the next section is the exposition of the message (not the book) of each of the 12 Minor Prophets in 12 chapters.
The first chapter covered the historical back ground that covers 770 to 430 BC in a concise yet helpful way. The second chapter discussed the role of prophets with being forth-tellers as their primary role and foretellers as secondary. They briefly discussed the prophets role as authors with the suggestion that they may not have written these books as preserved in scriptures buy they still consider that these books carried the authority of the prophets and have the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
The third chapter discussed the literary features of these prophetic books. It is a short but loaded and informative chapter. It is a chapter that should be reread and serve as a reference in studying any book of the Minor Prophets. The authors observed that the prophets communicated Gods message through vivid and at times shocking rhetoric that gets the peoples attention. The fourth chapter explained the themes, motifs and patterns of these prophetic books as a unit. They think that these books were not a collection of 12 individual works but rather as a single work with unifying themes.
The discussion of each book is not simply a survey nor is it a commentary that you can look at what phrases mean. These chapters each have introduction, structure, exposition and theological message and application. A few of the books have extra information or discussion. It discussing the book of Joel, it discussed whether locusts were literal or figurative. In the book of Jonah, its historicity was discussed. There are also charts and maps and other information that are relevant and helpful in understanding the message of each book.
It concluded the book with 4 specific ways which these books speak to the church today. This short chapter is their plea to the readers how helpful and relevant these boos are to the present. I believe this book will spur pastors and teachers to preach and teach from these neglected books of our Holy Word.
The end of the book showed about 7 pages of bibliography cited. There are commentaries listed as well as general works on the Minor Prophets. I think maybe some suggested commentaries for English readers and some for those who know some Hebrew at the end of the discussion/exposition of each book of the 12 would have been great to help in what other books to buy.
It has three indexes, a name, a subject and a Scripture. The first two are quite short but the latter is quite exhaustive that covers Genesis to Revelation with 38 books of the OT cited and 17 NT cited with most if the citations from the 12 Minor prophets with a few books with one citation only. This is a good resource to track down and review to what parts of this book a certain passage was mentioned.
I have two minor concerns. First, their suggestion of the possibility of inspired editorial activity in the composition of these books. Second, though they consider an historical reading of the book of Jonah, they do not consider the belief in the historicity of Jonah as a litmus test of orthodoxy. With the endorsements of Chisholm, Grisanti and Hildebrandt, I would not make a big deal out of these, besides, this books discussions of the content of the Minor Prophets are text based (with some Hebrew words here and there).
With that said, this book is a must have general resource for benefitting much from the Minor Prophets.
I have received this book from B & H to provide an honest review.
lcjohnson1988IndianaAge: 45-54Gender: female5 Stars Out Of 5excellentOctober 8, 2016lcjohnson1988IndianaAge: 45-54Gender: femaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5Title: The Message of the Twelve (Hearing the Voice of the Minor Prophets)
Author: Richard Alan Fuhr, Jr. & Gary E. Yates
Publisher: B & H
My rating is 5 stars.
A timely commentary if there ever was one! Why? So many focus on the New Testament to the exclusion of the Old Testament; some dont understand the Old Testament and there are those who struggle through reading let alone studying it. The reason I wanted to read this book was twofold: one is because, All Scripture is God- breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness. (2 Timothy 3:16 NIV). The second reason is that being curious I wanted to read, learn and hoped to use what the authors said as a means of growing in my walk with the Lord.
Right from the Preface readers will be able to glean nuggets of truth in the easy manner of the presentation of the material. I would recommend reading the sections that they are teaching from in the Bible before reading the commentary. I found it really encouraging when reading the Preface to learn the authors purpose in writing The Message of the Twelve, which was We have written this overview of the Book of the Twelve for students, Pastors, and all who seek to understand this neglected segment of Gods Word.Yet, the message of the Twelve is extremely relevant, and its material, while challenging is quite approachable with a little direction. (pg. XIV-XV).
Here is commentary that is written with the academic community in mind, but more for the everyday person seeking to understand what the Word of God is saying and what it speaks to their hearts today. I found that making time to read and study the Word with such aids as this book really helped me grasp the message of the Word. We dont have to have doctorates to read or understand the Word, God used ordinary, and in many cases, unlearned men to be His vessels to speak the Word and then to write the Word.
Thankfully, we now have another tool to help us see that while these twelve books are in the Old Testament they are just as chock full of meaning today as they were way back when. I appreciated the purpose and hard work the authors put into the message the commentary contains so I can expand my understanding. Plus, above all, with The Holy Spirit indwelling believers we have the best Teacher of all to lead us into all truth. I cant recommend this commentary enough. In the coming year (2017), perhaps you can gift this book to someone you know or ask for it when people want to know what you want to see under the tree!
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255. Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.
pastor2519West Point, UTAge: 55-65Gender: male5 Stars Out Of 5More than 12 books by 12 different writersSeptember 11, 2016pastor2519West Point, UTAge: 55-65Gender: maleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5For so many years Ive heard that the Bible is a collection of 66 books written by over 40 authors over a period of 1500 years. Yes we talk about the two TestamentsOld and New, and yes sometimes there is a reference to the different genres: the law, the writings, the gospels and the epistles, but something is still lacking. Even when there is a reference to the Prophets, they are quite frequently divided into two groups, The Major Prophets such as Jeremiah and Isaiah; or the Minor Prophets, Malachi, Haggai, Zephaniah, and others.
And when we talk about the Prophets, so often most of the information we get about them is under whose reign they served, and whether they were prophesying to the Northern or the Southern kingdom. They all have different messages, and that seems to be what most authors focus on, the differences rather than the similarities.
So I was excited that a new book about the Minor Prophets was about to be published, A book that promised to talk about some of the similarities. I was not disappointed with The Message of the Twelve: Hearing the Voice of the Minor Prophets by Richard Alan Fuhr, Jr. & Gary E. Yates (B&H Academic, 2016). In this Book, Fuhr and Yates look at the twelve individual books bearing the names of the prophets as one book. In doing so they are able to compare how they proclaim God's Word in a number of ways but its still God's Word.
Part I offers background on the prophets and their times. It consists of four chapters covering a number of important concepts that are crucial to understanding the Twelve as individuals, and as a whole. The first chapter offers insight into the prophets within their historical context. This chapter contains information of the two kingdoms and on the issues with the Babylonian and Assyrian kingdoms, and the fears, the challenges, and the hopes of the exiles.
Chapter 2, The Role of the Twelve, explains the role of the prophets as God's messengers. Although this may seem to be unnecessary, there are so many people who see prophets not so much as God's messengers, but rather as seers, as people with ESP, or people with a gift for divining, or telling the future: think tarot cards or OUIJA Boards. In the preface the authors remark that this chapter offers a theological context for understanding the prophetic books. They also remark that the prophets role was not an innovative condemnation of Israels idolatry, or to bring about social justice (both things that they did) but to call people to obey the Mosaic Law and learn to love God and love others.
Chapter 3, the Words of the Prophets, helps the modern day reader interpret the words, after all most of them are nothing like we typically hear today. How many of us would get the nuances of the condemnations of Egypt. One problem that most people have today is that we tend to look at the biblical texts through a 21st century lens, not through the lens of the chosen people several centuries before Christ.
And finally in chapter 4, the authors examine themes that are found throughout each of the twelve books. Common themes, which makes it easier to justify suggesting that the twelve books can easily be considered as one larger opus. They point out that repentance is not often found in these booksa documentation of Israels unbelieving response to God. In fact one of the few examples of repentance comes not from the people of Israel of Judah, but rather from the Ninevites in response to Jonahs preaching. Other unifying themes include the Day of the Lord, the broken, and restored, covenant, and the promise of a New David. There are Messianic prophecies to be found here, and an overarching theme is that God remains committed to his covenantal promises, even though the chosen people have repeatedly broken their side of the bargain. Judgement is an important part of who God is, but even more important to remember is that salvation is also a major of component of God's desire for the nations.
Most of the remainder of the book, chapters 13-16, deals with the individual prophets. Each has a dedicated chapter which follow a similar format. First is an introduction to the book, not just a recap of the themes, and the story line of each book but something that brings it into todays world, that makes it contemporary for todays readers. For example, as I write this today, the 15th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, and review some notes, I see that in introducing the book of Joel, the authors comment that in the aftermath of that attack Church attendance went up considerably. Joel tells of a turning to God after a different type of national calamity: a severe locust plague. How different things would have been for Israel, how different they would be for us, if that turning to God had remained a constant.
Following the introduction is a section devoted to the structure of the book in which the authors break the book down for the reader. Major breaks in the writing are identified, common themes within the sections are enumerated. For example in the book of Jonah, the 2 sections are chapters 1 and 2 in which Jonah flees rather than obey God, and ends up in the belly of a fish from which the Lord delivers him. Section 2, chapters 3 & 4, details how Jonah obeys the Lord and goes to preach to the people of Ninevehthey repent and God spares them. Chiastic structures and other literary techniques are identified.
The next section of each of these chapters is an exposition of the text. As in expository preaching, the story is recounted with explanatory details included. When terms are used metaphorically, the authors explain what they stand for in the context of the book. Hebrew terms are often defined, and explained, and throughout there are footnotes explaining how passages fit into the culture and context of the day.
Each of the twelve chapters ends with a theological message and application For example Micah is a reminder to the covenant people that being in covenant with the Lord, involves both a blessing and an obligation. Its not an entitlement philosophy, nor prosperity gospel. Covenant is two-sided, and in order to reap the benefits, were expected to fulfill our side of the bargain.
Although its brief, I want to stress the importance of reading the conclusion. The authors point out how much the reader of scripture misses out on by skimming over or skipping completely these twelve books, or as they prefer, the Book of the Twelve. They write that there are four specific ways in which these twelve authors continue to bless Jesus church today. The Book of the Twelve enriches, challenges, informs and comforts the church. And in our tumultuous world, the church certainly needs comfort.
Granted when entire volumes are dedicated to each of the Minor Prophets so much more can be said, but those books have been written and are available for those who need more information that was provided here. But even as more information can be provided, in most of those commentaries, the focus is on the individual books, not the entirety of the twelve books. Parallels are missed, and the reader is left thinking that there are twelve different messages relayed by twelve different prophets at twelve distinct periods in the history of Israel.
I would recommend this book as a text for a class on the Minor Prophets in Seminary, or as a resource for the pastor, Sunday school teacher, or bible study leader in preparing a class, or even a sermon series. The information provided in this book is a stark reminder that God calls His people to respond to Him, and that the church today should be seeking to join God where he is, and seeking the relationship for which God created us.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. The thoughts are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review.
Jimmy ReaganLeesville, SCAge: 45-54Gender: male5 Stars Out Of 5Outstanding!September 8, 2016Jimmy ReaganLeesville, SCAge: 45-54Gender: maleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5Perhaps you especially enjoy the Minor Prophets as I do, then you are really going to savor this volume by Richard Alan Fuhr, Jr. and Gary E. Yates. The Minor Prophets make up one of the least well-known sections of the Bible, so the help this type of volume can provide is greatly needed.
The authors begin the volume proving the books worth immediately with a chapter on the historical background of the tumultuous times of these prophets. Though I might quibble on some details, the chapter was outstanding at putting these twelve prophets into perspective. The next two chapters discussed what the prophets were accomplishing in their writings and the literary genres and rhetorical devices involved. Finding ten literary subgenres might be stretching it a bit, but that would match modern scholarly opinion.
Chapter 4 was one of my favorites as it made a case for canonical unity of these twelve Minor Prophets. While they all stand quite well individually, I believe looking at them as a unit also yields tremendous insights.
As you might imagine, chapters 5-16 cover the Twelve individually. I appreciate the way the authors present these individual evaluations. Background, structure, overview, and theological leave you with a good idea of whats going on in each of these books. Only some comments on Jonahs historicity were subpar.
A few helpful charts, maps, and pictures round out this useful volume. Still, unlike some modern volumes, this book aims at providing its help by words rather than just a visual presentation.
This book is 5-star all the way.
I received 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 Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255.
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