The Good Shepherd: A Thousand-Year Journey from Psalm 23 to the New Testament  -     By: Kenneth E. Bailey
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The Good Shepherd: A Thousand-Year Journey from Psalm 23 to the New Testament

IVP Academic / 2014 / Paperback

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"The Lord is my shepherd."

Thus begins the most beloved of all Psalms - and thus begins a thousand-year journey through the Bible. Prophets, apostles and Jesus himself took up this image from David, reshaping it, developing it and applying it to their own situations and needs. Kenneth Bailey uses his celebrated insights into Middle Eastern culture and especially his familiarity with Middle Eastern shepherding customs to bring new light and life to our understanding of this central image of the Christian faith.

With each of nine major Old and New Testament passages, Bailey reveals the literary artistry of the Biblical writers and summarizes their key theological features. His work is also enriched by his unique access to very early Middle Eastern commentaries on these passages, bringing fresh understanding from within the mindset of these ancient worlds. The Good Shepherd invites us to experience a rich, biblical feast of ethical, theological and artistic delights.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 288
Vendor: IVP Academic
Publication Date: 2014
Dimensions: 9.00 X 6.00 (inches)
ISBN: 083084063X
ISBN-13: 9780830840632

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Endorsements

'You prepare a table before me . . . my cup overflows.' What a feast Ken Bailey has prepared for us in this book, and what an overflowing cupful of insights and illumination. If you ever thought there was nothing more you could ever learn or preach about the biblical image of the good shepherd, this book has an abundance of surprises. Again and again I thought, 'Why have I never seen that before?' - as Ken draws on his rich lifetime's experience of Middle Eastern culture to explore biblical texts, and particularly when he shows eye-opening connections between Old and New Testament texts around the shepherd theme. This is a book that simultaneously brings the Bible to life, and exalts the Lord Jesus Christ by deeply enriching our understanding of his mission and claims as the Good Shepherd.
-Christopher J. H. Wright,
International Ministries Director, Langham Partnership

Kenneth Bailey refreshes the souls of readers with deep textual insights and helpful contextual background to safely shepherd readers through the thousand-year story of Psalm 23. He makes several stops along the way in the Prophets, before settling into the Gospels where he deftly introduces us to a fresh understanding of the Good Shepherd. Anyone who loves the 23rd Psalm will love this book.
-David Lamb,
Biblical Theological Seminary

'The Lord is my shepherd.' There is no more beloved picture of God's relationship with his people. Jesus' declaration that he is 'the good shepherd' has comforted Christians for centuries. Using his impressive knowledge of Scripture and his experience living for many years in the Middle East, Bailey deepens and enriches our understanding of what it means to be members of God's flock.
-Tremper Longman III,
Westmont College

Ken Bailey is the consummate expert on the cultural context of first-century life. And here he applies these skills to one motif - the shepherd - illustrating how it is employed in a variety of biblical stories and parables. His interpretations use a variety of tools unknown to many of us: ancient versions, original languages, cultural anthropology, ancient Middle Eastern writers who shared this ancient culture, and his own personal career embedded in a crosscultural life in the Middle East. Always insightful, always fresh, consistently surprising, Bailey has produced yet another book that will get many of us rethinking beloved passages of Scripture in completely new ways.
-Gary Burge,
Wheaton College

Deftly wielding the tools of biblical scholarship, story-telling and cultural exegesis, Ken Bailey has restored to its full color and brilliance one of the most magnificent images of Scripture - the character and work of the Good Shepherd. This book is a treasure trove of useable insights for preachers and teachers and a devotional classic for daily disciples alike.
-Daniel Meyer,
Christ Church, Oakbrook, Illinois

Editorial Reviews

"Psalm 23 and its theme of the Good Shepherd have long captivated the minds of Christian authors. In this book Bailey demonstrates that there is a close connection between the theme of God's Shepherd as depicted in Psalm 23 and other texts in the Bible. Bailey's approach is accessible, avoiding technical and overly specialized language. The fact that Bailey draws attention to the Arabic heritage of Christian literature on this topic is most welcome. The volume will prove to be stimulating devotional reading and a useful tool for preaching."
"Bailey presents a cumulative comparison of these passages as he progresses, drawing insights from books and articles written by Middle Eastern shepherds and from commentaries and Bible translations in Arabic, Syriac, and Armenian. The Good Shepherd is appropriate for pastors, seminary students, and other serious students of the Bible."
"Kenneth Bailey refreshes the souls of readers with deep textual insights and helpful contextual background to safely shepherd readers through the thousand-year story of Psalm 23. He makes several stops along the way in the Prophets, before settling into the Gospels where he deftly introduces us to a fresh understanding of the Good Shepherd. Anyone who loves the 23rd Psalm will love this book."
"'The Lord is my shepherd.' There is no more beloved picture of God's relationship with his people. Jesus' declaration that he is 'the good shepherd' has comforted Christians for centuries. Using his impressive knowledge of Scripture and his experience living for many years in the Middle East, Bailey deepens and enriches our understanding of what it means to be members of God´s flock."
"The balance of literary analysis and sociohistorical insight provides readers with new eyes to see; what was familiar becomes novel. This is a valuable addition to seminary and personal libraries alike."
"This book will work for a variety of audiences, from undergraduate students to professional scholars. Its clear organization and lucid prose make it readable all through, and its repetition (in the good sense) also makes it usable as a reference book."
"Bailey has written up a whole range of fascinating studies for wider consumption, and now in this series we have this fine book on the imagery of the 'good shepherd.' . . . The result is a clear example of thoughtful study of a theme through the whole canon. It will benefit those interested in the nature of Christian leadership, in the relevance of the much-loved but perhaps over-familiar Psalm 23, and those keen to reflect on Jesus' ministry in wider biblical terms. As always, it is written with a gentle firmness, and a strong sense of the pressing relevance of biblical texts for pastoral ministry. I hope it will be widely read."
"Among the most beloved of all Scripture is the 23rd Psalm. Countless books, studies and sermons have been based on this text. Yet Kenneth Bailey offers a new perspective through which to view this cherished psalm. Using Psalm 23 as a foundation and guide, Bailey shows how Old and New Testament texts develop the Good Shepherd motif. Further, he explains what this motif teaches about God, about Jesus, and about our being part of the flock."

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  1. Wallace, Idaho
    Age: Over 65
    Gender: male
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    Good Review Of The Shepherd Motif In The Bible
    September 6, 2016
    smokeybear
    Wallace, Idaho
    Age: Over 65
    Gender: male
    Quality: 4
    Value: 4
    Meets Expectations: 3
    A slow start but builds interest if you wade through the early chapters. The chapters on Luke and John are worth the effort and the price.
  2. Age: 35-44
    Gender: male
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    An Excellent Study
    September 2, 2015
    Jason Gardner
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: male
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    When I took the OT backgrounds seminar a couple of years ago, one of the most interesting discussions concerned shepherds in ancient Israel. Our prof was not only well versed in the Hebrew Bibles language and story, but also in raising farm animals, particularly sheep. I remember being completely enthralled by his lectureit brought psalm 23 to life like Ive never experienced before. When I cracked open Baileys book on the good shepherd motif in the Bible, I had high hopes. Because the bar had already been set fairly high, I was quite hopeful that Baileys experiences in the Middle East would bring the texts to life the same way that happened in my OT seminar. I am pleased to say that while Baileys book did not necessarily exceed my expectations, he sufficiently met them.

    As the subtitle indicates, Bailey traces the theme of the good shepherd from its most prominent and popular occurrence, in Psalm 23, to the NT book of 1 Peter. Whats interesting about Baileys discussion of these passages is the way he shows the connection between Psalm 23 and the other texts in which the good shepherd motif is used. The connections are not always plainly obvious, but through his careful exegesis, Bailey demonstrates that the twenty-third psalm, at least thematically speaking, was prevalent throughout the history of Israel, particularly during times of hardship. Bailey does not present Psalm 23 as paradigmatic necessarily so that all subsequent references to Yahweh (and later Jesus) as the good shepherd are stringently dependent on it, but again, that the psalm portrayed Yahweh in such a way that later voices employed its themes to speak words of comfort to different contexts.

    While the whole of the book is enriching and informative, by far the most enjoyable parts (for me) were the preliminary sectionsthe preface, intro, and first chapter. Its here that Bailey digs down into the well of his own experiences as well as that of others who have spent part/most/all of their lives tending to sheep in the Middle East. The first-hand accounts of shepherds who lived where biblical figures lived (or in proximity) was fascinating, not unlike the seminar I mentioned at the beginning of this review. Having read through some of Baileys work on 1 Corinthians, I knew what to expect and what I expected I gota well written and highly informative work, one that I would recommend to anyone who treasures the twenty-third psalm and the passages where one can hear its echoes.
  3. West Union, OH
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: male
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Great Help On The Good Shepherd
    December 19, 2014
    Jimmy Reagan
    West Union, OH
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: male
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    The idea of the Good Shepherd is one of my personal favorites of Scripture. Here is a volume that really fleshes out that concept. The subtitle A Thousand Year Journey From Psalm 23 To The New Testament really captures what Kenneth Bailey has to say in this book published by IVP.

    Mr. Bailey spent 40 years living and working in the Middle East including Egypt and Lebanon. Though he taught the Bible, he had plenty of opportunity to see culture not that far removed from Bible times. Merging those twoteaching and observationhas made this book a success.

    His approach on the technical side is one where you will have to decide for yourself. His ideas of sequence and step parallelism are explained and traced in every passage he deals with. His ten themes well represent the items that we will find in shepherd passages, though all ten are rarely present in any one passage. In any event, I dont find that the strength of the book.

    The real value in this volume is the light it sheds on each passage it tackles. For example, as much as has been written on Psalm 23, he still had something to say. Check out the illustration he shares on page 42! How this shows Gods love and care for us is well drawn out.

    Others passages include all the chief ones on the Shepherd theme. Jeremiah 23:1-8, Ezekiel 34, Zechariah 10:2-12, Luke 15:1-10, Mark 6:7-52, Matthew 18:10-14, John 10:1-18, and I Peter 5:1-4. They were all helpful, but the New Testament passages were especially rich. The last two were my favorites.

    I recommend this volume.

    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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