The people tend to take their focus away from serving the Lord. Instead, they follow other gods, seek false security, and do what is right in their own eyes. By exploring the circumstances behind this decline, Brensinger provides practical applications for such contemporary issues as religious unfaithfulness, the nature of community, the roles and responsibilities of leaders, and war and violence.
Brensinger serves as professor of biblical studies and chair of the biblical studies, religion, and philosophy department at Messiah College, Grantham, Pennsylvania. He draws attention to distinctive narrative characteristics of these three magnificent dramas.
About Paul M. Lederach
Such scrutiny opens new vistas of interpretation that can undergird the faith, life, and neighborly relations of the church. Each narrative features intense interaction among the characters and, in the case of Jonah, with God. Block , Gunther H. Sample Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7. James H. Waltner aims to help readers find their way through Psalms, encounter God, and be led into obedience and praise.
Waltner served as a pastor for 38 years in Mennonite congregations in Kansas, California, Illinois and Indiana. With specific interests in biblical studies, he has taught courses in the Psalms at Bethel College, Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary, and Bible lectures.
Daniel: Believers Church Bible Commentary by Paul M. Lederach
John W. In this volume, Doug Miller respects the pastoral and theological contribution of Ecclesiastes, without muting its critique of simplistic and comfortable approaches to the life of faith. It is particularly useful for Christians who need a fresh look at the insights of this ancient sage in an era of uncertain identity, the flux of worldviews, and the elusiveness of truth. Douglas B. Miller is professor of biblical and religious studies at Tabor College, Hillsboro, Kansas, and has published articles in church and scholarly periodicals as well as in collections of essays. Miller served as general editor of Direction journal for ten years.
Ivan Friesen explores how the interpretation of the book of Isaiah is carried out and lived out today in faith communities where the Bible is the bedrock of faith and life. Such an interpretation combines the concerns of pastoral care with the distress and uncertainty of prophetic action.
The commentary groups the 66 chapters of Isaiah into six distinct but continuous parts. Each part may be explored as one might explore the room of a house. The furnishings themes in each room are different, but the decor structure of the house combines to lend to the book an overall unity of purpose. The architecture of the book as a whole has distinct features that include words of judgment as well as words of promise announcing a new day dawning. In this new day dawning, there are strong elements of a messianic hope.
Ivan D. Friesen writes the Isaiah commentary out of his North American Mennonite church context. He has served as a pastor in North Carolina and South Dakota. Elmer A. Martens explores the message and insights of Jeremiah for today. In Jeremiah, God disciplines people and punishes them. Yet there is also forgiveness and the promise of a New Covenant. This ancient book is strangely relevant to our generation. The more we learn about the stressful times in which Jeremiah lived, about the passionate prophet himself, and about the arrangement of the book that bears his name, the more forceful the message becomes.
He served as its president for nearly a decade. Millard C. Lind has taught the book of Ezekiel for thirty years in seminary and in the church. This actor, singer, and instrumentalist is prophesying to a battered people who need the word of the Lord for survival and mission. God has called Ezekiel to be a sentinel for his people, to warn them of pending danger. They must not look back to unjust Jerusalem nor join a revolt against Babylon.
After judging the nations and Jerusalem, God will restore Israel to a renewed land. The people will be given a new heart and spirit—a resurrection. God will defeat international terror and organize Israel as a new temple community, with the Lord in their midst. Then all will now that God leads world history, not by militarists, but through a people serving as a moral exemplar for the nations.
Lind is professor emeritus of Old Testament at the Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary, where he has taught the book of Ezekiel over a period of thirty years.
Daniel: Believers Church Bible Commentary
He has served as a pastor, writer of adult Sunday school Bible studies, editor of a community-family magazine, participant in Bible conferences and teaching missions throughout the United States, Canada, Israel, Egypt, Great Britain, and Europe. He has written books such as Yahweh Is a Warrior; Monotheism, Power, Justice ; and published articles in scholarly and church magazines. Paul M. Lederach Mennonite Church sees in Daniel a persistent call to endurance and loyalty to God, even while believers suffer for their faith, pray for deliverance, and speak truth to kings.
Although ruling beasts may rampage for a while, God is sovereign over history and cuts their time short. This Old Testament apocalyptic book interprets ancient history through signs and symbols. Allen R. Guenther brings an evangelical Believers Church perspective to the study of two eighth-century BC prophets. He explores theological and practical implications of their message, which he applies to the contemporary church. Smith , Bethel Theological Seminary, St.
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Paul, Minnesota. He pastored a new congregation in Lethbridge, Alberta from to and an inner-city congregation in Toronto from to Richard B. Gardner invites readers to explore the dramatic story of Jesus which Matthew tells. He connects that story to the first-century world of its author and early readers. The commentary then shows how Matthew has shaped the church and still speaks to the life of the Christian community. Gardner probes each section for its meaning in the wider biblical context and in the life of the church. Ends with essays, an extensive bibliography, and a list of select resources.
In addition to his teaching responsibilities, he directs several cooperatively sponsored programs of field-based ministry education for the Church of the Brethren. He has also written for the periodicals Messenger and Brethren Life and Thought and contributed articles to the Brethren Encyclopedia.
Timothy J. Geddert views Mark as a profound theologian and accomplished writer, not a mere compiler of traditions. Readers supply their own ending, not just in words, but by following their resurrected Lord. Includes essays on themes useful for teaching, preaching, and Bible study. It also includes bibliographies, charts, maps, and an index of ancient sources.
Howard Marshall , University of Aberdeen, Scotland. He has worked as a church planter, pastor, and teacher in many countries, including Canada, the United States, and Germany. It draws us into union with God and into unity with one another. It communicates who Jesus is, in both intimate and profound dimensions. The book of John shapes Christian identity, invigorates worship, and implants eternal hope.
Its Christology is rich, with a plethora of titles for Jesus-even the divine eternal I am. Though commentaries on John abound, this volume follows the unique Believers Church Bible Commentary Series format, providing sections on the text in biblical context and the text in the life of the church. According to Swartley, this format serves well the interests of seminary students and pastors especially.
He joined the faculty at AMBS in and continued teaching until He served as academic dean at AMBS for seven years. Chalmer E. Faw brings Acts to life for our day. He blends thorough biblical scholarship with wisdom from extensive and varied experience in missionary work and Bible teaching. His careful exposition of the book of Acts is supplemented with literary and theological discussion. The key word in Acts is witness for Jesus Christ, from Jerusalem to the ends of the earth.
In Acts, Luke tells this dramatic story with subtle humor. This commentary on Romans is a rich gift to the contemporary church, its lay leaders, pastors, and scholars. So all your pride is foolish and vain. Your kingdom is doomed. The great God has informed the king what shall be hereafter. Although this is not to happen in your time, it will bring all your supposedly mighty accomplishments to nothing. Daniel disclaimed any personal ability of his own. Nebuchadnezzar even came to some kind of belief in Yahweh. God will bring the arrogance, corruption, injustice and violence of all workplaces to an end, although not necessarily during the time we work there.
This is a source both of comfort and challenge. Comfort, because we are not responsible for correcting every evil in our workplaces, but only for acting faithfully in our spheres of influence, and also because the unfairness we may suffer at work is not the ultimate reality of our work. This illustrates both the possibilities and the dangers of applying the Book of Daniel to our work lives. At times we recognize that to be faithful to God, we must challenge people in power.
The metals of the image in chapter 2 and the bestial kingdoms in chapter 7 are parallel references to the succession of these four earthly kingdoms: Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome; the alternative view that presupposes the work is second century contends for Babylon, Median, Persia, and Greece. Yet even in the midst of their suffering, God rewarded their faithfulness. The edifice signified the resurgent pride of the Babylonian king. After years of successfully bridging the tension between the pagan environment of the Babylonian court and their fidelity to God, they faced a situation where no compromise was possible without violating their integrity.
Previously, they served as models of how to thrive by following God in a hostile environment. Now they had to serve as models of how to suffer in the same environment. This they do with gusto. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered the king, "O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to present a defense to you in this matter. If our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire and out of your hand, O king, let him deliver us.
But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods and we will not worship the golden statue that you have set up. But we could be ordered to do something that we cannot do in good conscience. We should expect to suffer for doing so. Working as a Christian is not another shortcut to success, but instead brings the constant danger of suffering. This episode is especially poignant because it shows that Daniel and his friends lived in the same world we do. In our world, if you stand up to a boss over an issue of, say, sexual harassment or falsification of data, the most likely outcome is that you will be punished, marginalized, sullied, misunderstood and maybe fired.
Even if you succeed in ending the abuse and removing the offender from power, your own reputation may well suffer irreparable damage. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego apparently expected no less for themselves, for they say outright that God may not intervene in their case. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods" Dan. Nonetheless, to them, being faithful to God was the right thing to do, whether or not it was path to success. In this they are indeed models for us.
We need to learn to speak the truth clearly, with humility, in our own workplaces. General Peter Pace, a former chairman of the U. The topic of both is the humbling or overthrow of the pagan kingdom. The magnificence of Babylon serves as the common setting for the humiliation of Nebuchadnezzar in chapter 4 and the demise of King Belshazzar in chapter 5. Yet once again, the king was troubled by his dreams. In the dream the stump became a man whose mind was changed into that of an animal and who was constrained to live among the animals and plants for an extended time Dan.
The king commands Daniel to interpret the dream, once again requiring Daniel to give unpleasant news to an emotionally unstable monarch Dan. As a result, he was punished as the dream foretold Dan. At times our respectful, principled stands may lead to transformation in our workplaces, too. A consultant at an international management consulting firm — call him Vince — tells a story of confronting someone with a bit too much self-importance.
At the start of the project, a senior partner from the firm began to give a pep talk to the team. One of the client team members — call him Gary — interrupted him. Gary began to question the validity of the project. The senior partner recognized the change and, at the end of the project, singled out Gary for special recognition at the closing banquet. Theme C, as introduced in chapter 5 , concerns the humbling of the pagan king, but not his actual overthrow.
The theme is revisited in chapter 5 in terms of the destruction of the Babylonian empire. The city contained as many as 50 temples and numerous palaces. Belshazzar, proud ruler of the magnificent empire of Babylon, was so frightened by the handwriting on the wall that his face turned pale and his knees knocked together Dan.
Neither he nor his enchanters, astrologers and diviners were able to understand what it meant Dan. In the end, God does bring the evil kingdom to an end. By all means, we should bloom where we are planted. If the opportunity arises, we can and should make a difference. Engagement, not withdrawal, is the model we see in every page of the Book of Daniel. But our engagement with the world is not grounded on the expectation that we will achieve a certain degree of success, or that God will make us immune from the sufferings we see around us. It is grounded on the knowledge that everything good that happens in the midst of the fallen world is only a foretaste of the incomparable goodness that will come when God brings his own kingdom forth on earth.
Arnold, Who Were the Babylonians? Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, , Belshazzar was not a descendant of Nebuchadnezzar, but the son of and co-regent with King Nabonidus BC who had come to the throne in a military coup. In Daniel 6, the chiastic structure of Daniel revisits Theme B: that faithful witnesses to God experience both suffering and reward while the pagan kingdom persists.
Then, as now, when someone is chosen to become the boss of his or her former colleagues, those not chosen may feel resentment. We are not told how Daniel handled this awkward situation, but we do see how his former colleagues responded. They tried to catch Daniel at some impropriety so they could report him to the King. The conspirators believed they had found a path to Daniel's destruction.
This offers another lesson for leaders--beware of flattery. Darius, addled by flattery, neglected to consult his legal counsel about the decree before enacting it, leading to a situation he deeply regretted later. The decree ensnared Daniel, who continued to pray to God Dan. Darius, although the most powerful man of his day, tied his own hands, making it impossible to rescue his favored administrator. Nonetheless, Daniel did experience what most of us would call suffering along the way.
Being the target of a government-sponsored character assassination attempt Dan. Daniel suffered immediate arrest and was thrown into a den of lions Dan.
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Daniel did not limit himself to tasks he was certain he could accomplish on his own steam. Rather, he did his work on a daily basis in dependence on God. Daniel prayed three times a day Dan. He acknowledged God in every tough issue he faced. We, too, have to recognize we cannot fulfill our callings on our own.
Daniel epitomized the call Jesus would later give to be salt and light Matthew in our workplaces.
This meant that he was able to confront difficult situations with truth, and actually bring about change. This happens several times when Daniel and his friends take a careful stand for the truth and it leads to a new decree by the king Dan. Sometimes we don't engage with God in our work because we believe that our work doesn't seem important to God.
Fortunately for us, the publishing world knows this all too well! The catalogs are full of new and interesting books. Here are just a few that might interest Brethren, Anabaptist, and Neo-Anabaptist readers. If you are interested in review these or any other titles contact Brethren Life and Thought through the homepage. The contact email address for the book review editor is at the bottom of the page. The Nonviolent God. Denny Weaver argues that since God is revealed in Jesus, the nonviolence of Jesus most truly reflects the character of God.
Old Testament Theology. John: Believers Church Bible Commentary. The Old Testament, I was told, was antithetical to the teachings of Jesus.