The Message of the Twelve: Hearing the Voice of the Minor Prophets  -     By: Richard Al Fuhr, Gary E. Yates
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The Message of the Twelve: Hearing the Voice of the Minor Prophets

B&H Academic / 2016 / Paperback

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Although they ministered for more than three centuries during some of Israel's most tumultuous days, the Minor Prophets remain a mystery to many Christians in the 21st century.

Old Testament scholars Richard Alan Fuhr, Jr. and Gary E. Yates believe that the message of the twelve Minor Prophets is relevant for the church today, and they re-introduce these important books of the Bible to contemporary Christians.

Ideal for use as a textbook as well as for personal study,The Message of the Twelve surveys the historical background of each prophetic book, the prophet's message and themes, as well as the book's place in the biblical canon. The authors also provide in-depth exposition of each book-from Hosea's metaphor of Israel's infidelity and Nahum's warnings of foreign judgments, to Haggai's postexilic call and Malachi's vision of future restoration. The Message of the Twelve goes beyond typical biblical surveys to examine the key interpretive issues in each book, including important literary insights from the Hebrew text.

Drawing on the prophets' proclamations to ancient Israel and Judah, the authors emphasize that the church today must heed the call to reject apathy and return to a vibrant relationship with the living God.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 352
Vendor: B&H Academic
Publication Date: 2016
Dimensions: 9 X 6 X 0.70 (inches)
ISBN: 1433683768
ISBN-13: 9781433683763

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Author Bio

 Richard Alan Fuhr Jr. is associate professor of biblical studies at Liberty University School of Divinity in Lynchburg, VA.
Gary E. Yates is professor of Old Testament studies at Liberty University School of Divinity in Lynchburg, VA.

Editorial Reviews

"In The Message of the Twelve Fuhr and Yates invite students of the Bible into the world of the Old Testament prophets. Conversant with the best of scholarship, they orient readers to the historical and literary intricacies of the shorter prophetic books, without losing sight of their theological riches. This is essential reading for those who want to understand the message of the prophets and relay it to a new generation." 
-Mark J. Boda, professor of Old Testament, McMaster Divinity College and professor, faculty of theology, McMaster University

"The twelve relatively short books known as the Minor Prophets give us a vision of God that pierces the darkness of our world and should evoke both healthy fear of, and humble submission to, this sovereign King of the world. Yet because these books were written in a much different time and place, they prove to be challenging to modern readers. Professors Fuhr and Yates are to be commended for producing a reliable guide to these books that will enable modern readers to grasp their profound message and to gain a greater appreciation for the God who is the central character therein. They explain with clarity and insight the message of these prophets in their ancient setting and then show us how that message is relevant in our modern context. This book will serve as an ideal introductory textbook for courses on the Minor Prophets."
-Robert B. Chisholm Jr., department chair and senior professor of Old Testament studies, Dallas Theological Seminary     

"Some parts of the Old Testament desperately need helpful resources to assist students of the Word to grow in their understanding of God and his expectations for his people. The prophetic books, and the Minor Prophets in particular, offer the interpreter of Scripture unique challenges, but also tremendous blessings. Fuhr and Yates have provided a superb resource that explains the text of each book, includes clear visuals that facilitate a reader’s understanding of key features, and connects expositional details with the theological message of those books. I look forward to having this book in my personal library and making it available to my students."
-Michael A. Grisanti, professor of Old Testament, director of Th.M. studies, and director of TMS Israel Study Trip, The Master's Seminary

Product Reviews

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  1. Indiana
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    October 8, 2016
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    Title: The Message of the Twelve (Hearing the Voice of the Minor Prophets)

    Author: Richard Alan Fuhr, Jr. & Gary E. Yates

    Pages: 384

    Year: 2016

    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.
  2. West Point, UT
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: male
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    More than 12 books by 12 different writers
    September 11, 2016
    West Point, UT
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: male
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    For 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.
  3. West Union, OH
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: male
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    September 8, 2016
    Jimmy Reagan
    West Union, OH
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: male
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    Perhaps 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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