Gods Word For You vs NT Wright's For Everyone series

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Michael Kinch | Forum Activity | Posted: Wed, Dec 2 2020 4:59 PM

I am wondering how Gods Word For You Series compares to Goldingay's and NT Wrights For Everyone series.  Any ideas?

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Joseph Turner | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Dec 2 2020 5:26 PM

I have not used the God's Word for You series, but I love the NT Wright For Everyone series.  I don't like Goldingay's OT volumes as much.  They just don't have the same easy going style that Wright's volumes have.  

Make sure you check bundles, because I just realized I could get the whole GWFY set in L9 Reformed Bronze for $8.19!

Disclaimer:  I hate using messaging, texting, and email for real communication.  If anything that I type to you seems like anything other than humble and respectful, then I have not done a good job typing my thoughts.

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John Fidel | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Dec 2 2020 5:36 PM

Michael Kinch:

I am wondering how Gods Word For You Series compares to Goldingay's and NT Wrights For Everyone series.  Any ideas?

They are both homiletical, or a commentary based on sermons. I do not think God's Word for You focuses on the new perspective on Paul, while Wright is one if the biggest proponents. I am not stating this is a good or bad thing to avoid any controversy, just saying in case it matters to you.

I would compare God's Word for You with the Wiersbe Be Series if that helps. I bought it in a package very inexpensively a few days ago and have used the one on Exodus a bit. I can provide a comparison of pericopes if you want to provide one that both series covers.

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Joseph Turner | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Dec 2 2020 5:37 PM

They are really totally different.  Here are example from it and Wright:



Jesus has already begun to arouse the suspicion, and even the hostility, of the religious leadership in Galilee (5:21, 30). Now Luke records two incidents where the actions of Jesus and his disciples bring him into further conflict with “the Pharisees and the teachers of the law” (6:11).
The first incident takes place on an unspecified Sabbath after Jesus’ disciples were walking through the grainfields. As someone walking along a trail in modern times might absentmindedly grab a handful of raspberries off a bush, in the same way the disciples were snacking on the kernels of grain in the field. That required them to “pick some heads of grain [and] rub them in their hands” (v 1), and although that behavior was sanctioned by the Old Testament law (see Deuteronomy 23:25), the fact that they were doing so on the Sabbath was enough to catch the attention of the Pharisees, who seemed to be looking closely for opportunities to confront or rebuke Jesus (Luke 6:7). Some of them accused the disciples of “doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath” (v 2).
In the second incident (v 6–11), the question of what is “lawful” on the Sabbath comes to the forefront. The scene is tense from the outset, with the Pharisees and the teachers of the law “looking for a reason to accuse Jesus” (v 7). Jesus, knowing their thoughts (v 8), seems to initiate the conflict intentionally in order to provoke a p 74 confrontation. Having the man stand in front of the synagogue, Jesus challenges his opponents, “Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to destroy it?” (v 9).
The question of what was lawful on the Sabbath, raised both in verse 2 and verse 9, was not easily answered. The Old Testament did prescribe rest and the cessation of labor (see Exodus 20:8–11) on the last day of the week, but the law did not give many specific examples of what actions constituted labor that was forbidden on the Sabbath. But religious practice does not tolerate such ambiguity gladly, and so the traditions of the Jewish teachers addressed the silence of the law by listing out thirty-nine specific activities forbidden on the Sabbath, four of which the disciples had violated by their actions in the grainfield. And while Jewish custom permitted medical work on the Sabbath in the case of an emergency like childbirth, nothing about the situation of the man with the shriveled hand demanded that it be addressed on the Sabbath.
In order to address the issue of lawfulness, Jesus appeals to an event from the Old Testament where hunger drove David and his men to eat bread that was meant to be consumed only by the priests (Luke 6:3–4; see 1 Samuel 21:1–6). Jesus puts the Pharisees in a position where they must either condemn David (which would be an unpopular position) or admit that the application of the Law must be tempered by urgent necessity. The point is clear: the law was never intended to keep hungry people from food.
That does not quite explain his actions in the synagogue, however. The man with a shriveled right hand was not in any life-threatening danger. Presumably his hand had been withered for some time; surely there was no reason why he could not wait until the next day to be healed. But Jesus’ question in Luke 6:9 appeals beyond the mere details of this situation to a broader question of what constitutes the kind of law-keeping that pleases God. Is the law best kept when someone does what is good and saves on the Sabbath, like Jesus did in the case of this man? Or is the law fulfilled when someone does p 75 evil and postpones someone’s healing, as the Pharisees were doing with their suspicious attitude? Jesus registers his answer in verse 10 by healing the man.
Verse 5 makes clear the bigger issue that lies behind these incidents. Jesus (referring to himself here as the Son of Man) explains that he is the Lord of the Sabbath. The word order of the original Greek stresses the word “Lord” in the thought; it is authority over God’s Sabbath that is under discussion. As Darrell Bock puts it,

“With the remark, Jesus argues that he is the authoritative representative of the new way … and that he has authority over the understanding and administration of the Sabbath.”
(Luke 1:1–9:50, page 527)

Because Jesus is the one with authority over the Sabbath, whatever he permits in terms of observing the day is by definition “what is lawful.” The Pharisees’ angry response in verse 11 shows that they understand what Jesus is claiming, and they hate it.


The Choosing of the Twelve

At some point in the midst of all of this controversy and opposition, Jesus spent a night praying on an unidentified mountainside (v 12), as was his habit (5:16). When morning came, the reason for Jesus’ prayer became obvious. He called his circle of disciples to him, and from that group he “chose twelve of them” (6:13), designating these twelve as “apostles” or “sent ones.”
While the list of the apostles’ names (v 14–16) does not contain many details about these men, several points are worth noting. First, while no specific comment is made in this passage, later in Luke’s Gospel it becomes clear that the number twelve intentionally mirrors the twelve tribes of Israel (22:28–30). Second, as we have already seen, this group was not made up of men whose backgrounds and training would make them obvious candidates for the task. It is unlikely that many rabbis in first-century Palestine were intentionally recruiting a p 76 band of fishermen and tax collectors to be their inner circle, but Jesus has already told us that he hasn’t come for those the world considers righteous and important (5:31–32).
Third, and most significant, is the presence of Judas Iscariot in the group. “Iscariot” most likely indicates that Judas came from the town of Kerioth, which would make him the only non-Galilean in the group. But far more important than the meaning of Judas’ name is Luke’s ominous foreshadowing at the end of 6:16, which reminds us that this Judas is the one “who became a traitor” (see 22:47–48). Luke has shown us that Jesus chose these twelve men after careful prayer; this was no rash decision, but one made with the guidance of the heavenly Father. Jesus was well aware that Judas would betray him (see John 6:64), and so even here at the outset of his ministry, the cross looms in the distance.

Happy Now or Then?

Jesus’ next significant teaching takes place in “a level place.” In that place the apostles (“them” in Luke 6:17), “a large crowd of his disciples,” and “a great number of people” from all over the region surrounded Jesus. The presence of people from Tyre and Sidon (v 17) likely indicates that there were Gentiles in the crowds, and Luke tells us that all of these various people desired to “hear him” (v 18) and also receive relief from their afflictions (v 18–19). The power of the Lord continued to be with Jesus so that he could heal and cure the multitudes.
Jesus’ teaching in this context presses further the theme of division that we have seen above. Fundamentally, this section of Jesus’ so-called “Sermon on the Plain” (it is best to understand this sermon as distinct from the “Sermon on the Mount” in Matthew 5–7) is about the distinction between two kinds of people. The first group is “blessed”; they identify with the Son of Man (Luke 6:22) and the ancient prophets, and can anticipate a “great … reward in heaven” that will more than compensate them for their present sufferings (v 23). The second group is the recipient of a declaration of woe (so common p 77 in the ministry of the prophets—see, for instance, Isaiah 5:18); they are identified with the false prophets (Luke 6:26) and have “already received” (v 24) all the good that is coming to them.
The structure of the sermon is fairly simple. In verses 20–22, Jesus declares four categories of people to be “blessed”: the poor, the hungry, those who weep, and those who are insulted and reviled. In verses 24–26, woe is declared to four opposite categories of people: the rich, the well-fed, those who laugh, and the highly-regarded. The teaching here is startling and blunt, turning our normal assumptions about life on their heads (see 1:51–53).
Jesus begins by speaking to the poor, declaring them to be blessed because “yours is the kingdom of God” (6:20). It is important not to read Jesus’ words in a flat sense: surely he is not declaring that every single poor person in the world is the recipient of God’s favor, no matter what their character or way of life is. Instead, we should see that a person’s economic condition has the potential to help or to hinder them when it comes to having the spiritual characteristics that God values and rewards.
As the New Testament professor Robert Guelich explains,

“The poor in Judaism referred to those in desperate need (socioeconomic element) whose helplessness drove them to a dependent relationship with God (religious element) for the supplying of their needs and vindication.”
(Quoted in Bock, Luke 1:1–9:50, page 574)

Jesus calls these kinds of people “poor in spirit” (Matthew 5:3), who can be said to possess the kingdom of God.
The rich, in contrast, have already received their comfort (Luke 6:24). Though in reality they are every bit as spiritually helpless as the poor, their material wealth can serve to insulate them from the things that would make them aware of their spiritual neediness. As a result, many rich people miss out on the blessings of Jesus’ kingdom (18:18–27 provides the best example; though 23:50 points us to one exception). They should expect no further rewards beyond those meager p 78 and temporary pleasures that they receive from their earthly wealth. Woe to them!
In 6:21, Jesus declares that those who hunger now are blessed because they will be satisfied. In contrast, he calls out a woe on those who are well fed now, for they will go hungry (v 25). Again, we should not understand Jesus’ words simplistically, as if he simply has a preference for people who either don’t have enough to eat or who choose not to eat it. Instead, as with the concept of poverty in verse 20, hunger has both material and spiritual overtones. Those who lack physical comforts in this life are most likely to turn to God’s promise of help. Those who are full are experiencing now all of the comfort they will ever enjoy; they will go hungry on that future day when God finally sets all things right and gives justice to everyone.
The third pairing considers the state of those who weep now (v 21) with those who laugh now (v 25). In an unjust and broken world, God’s people are often persecuted and alienated. For that reason, there is in the Bible a long tradition of godly sorrow, from the psalms of complaint (e.g. Psalm 88), to the prophet Jeremiah (see Jeremiah 9:1), to the book of Lamentations, the book of the Bible whose very name speaks of grief. And so Jesus pronounces a blessing over those who weep now, whether because they are being persecuted for their godliness (Luke 6:22–23) or are simply distraught at the wicked state of the world. There will come a day when righteousness is established and God’s people will be able to rejoice over the way that things are. Those who are able to delight and laugh in a world of rebellion like this, however, will find themselves weeping in the world to come.
Finally, Jesus proclaims that “you” are blessed when people hate, exclude, insult, and “reject your name as evil” because of him (v 22). p 79 Experiencing that kind of persecution puts one in the company of the godly prophets of old, who themselves were despised and killed because of their work for God (v 23). Conversely, if “everyone speaks well of you” (v 26), you are in the company of the false prophets, whose message of peace and complacency found a warm reception in a world content with its rebellion against God (see Jeremiah 6:14; 2 Timothy 4:3). The favor of man will have to suffice, for such a person will never know the favor of God.

Recalibration Required

Jesus’ words here call us to radically recalibrate the way we think about what it means to live well here and now. The default state of the human heart is to treasure whatever comfort, prosperity, and ease is available in this life. But Jesus warns us that those who make themselves at home in this world will face disastrous consequences when the kingdom of God comes in its fullness. Jesus does not imagine a situation where a person can enjoy both the present pleasures of this world and also the joys of the next world. We must choose our allegiance and the location of our ultimate joy.
A Christian reading Jesus’ words here should be reminded to examine his or her heart closely. It is easy to grow comfortable in our sin and at ease with the wickedness of the world around us. This world’s system has made some of us wealthy and full; there is a very real danger that we might be spiritually anaesthetized by our possessions. Because our stomachs are full, we may not hunger as we should for a different kind of life and a different kind of world. But in the end, this is the only kind of discipleship that Jesus is offering. Following after Jesus means that comfort and wealth and ease in this life are no longer our controlling passions.
But this also means that when we find ourselves deeply dissatisfied with this world, there is hope! God has made us a promise that we can cling to when we find ourselves longing to be finally free from the allure of sin, from physical illness, and from the weariness p 80 that comes from living in a world in which you are never quite at home. We can rejoice in these sufferings (Luke 6:23) because Jesus told us to expect them and because he has promised that we will be blessed in the end.

Questions for reflection

1. How might we as Christians use the law, or our own traditions, to limit the need for us to love and serve others?

2. “Jesus does not imagine a situation where a person can enjoy both the present pleasures of this world and also the joys of the next world.” How do you respond to that statement? How does it challenge you?

3. Read through verses 20–22. What will you change in your attitude or actions today in order to seek blessing?

Mike McKinley, Luke 1–12 for You, ed. Carl Laferton, God’s Word for You (The Good Book Company, 2016), 73–80.

P 66 LUKE 6:1–11
Teachings on the Sabbath

1 One sabbath, Jesus was walking through some cornfields. His disciples were plucking and eating ears of grain, rubbing them with their hands.
2 ‘Why’, asked some Pharisees, ‘are you doing something that isn’t permitted on the sabbath?’
3 ‘Haven’t you read what David did?’ replied Jesus. ‘When he and his men were hungry, 4 he went into God’s house and took the “bread of the Presence”, which no one but the priests was allowed to eat. He ate some, and gave it to his companions.
5 ‘The son of man’, he declared, ‘is Lord of the sabbath.’
6 On another sabbath he went into the synagogue and was teaching. A man was there whose right hand was withered. 7 The scribes and Pharisees were watching him, to see if he would heal him on the sabbath, so that they could find an accusation against him.
8 He knew what they were thinking.
‘Get up,’ he said to the man with the withered hand, ‘and come out here in the middle.’ He got up and came out.
9 ‘Let me ask you something,’ Jesus said to them. ‘Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath or to do evil? To save life or to destroy it?’
10 He looked round at all of them.
‘Stretch out your hand,’ he said to the man.
He did so; and his hand was restored. 11 But they were filled with rage, and discussed with each other what they might do to Jesus.

A relative of mine likes to tell of an occasion when he flew, with some business friends, to Ireland to watch a rugby match. When they got off the plane, there were no customs officers waiting to receive them. So two or three of them went into the official booths, put on the caps they found there, and inspected the passports of the other people who were arriving. They had no official authority, but it seemed to work. I have often wondered, hearing that story, what happened when the real customs officers arrived; but at that point history, as so often, remains silent.
p 67 That must have been how Jesus appeared to many onlookers. He held no public office. He wasn’t a priest (priests had the job of teaching people the law). He wasn’t part of any well-known pressure group, such as the Pharisees, who had their own opinions on how the law should be kept, which they tried to insist on for society as a whole. He hadn’t had any formal training as a teacher.
And yet there he was, so to speak, in the airport arrivals zone telling people what to do, giving some people permission to do things they were not normally supposed to. Who did he think he was? That is, in fact, the main question Luke wants us to ask. Luke is not so interested in asking, ‘Do we or don’t we keep the sabbath?’ but rather, ‘Who did Jesus think he was?’
The first little incident seems complicated until we see to the heart of it. Jesus’ point is that he and his men are in the same position as David and his men had been. They were an exception to the normal rule, and so is he. Normally only priests in the sanctuary ate the ‘bread of the Presence’ (the bread which was set aside to symbolize God’s presence in fellowship with his people); but David claimed the right to do so. Why? Presumably because he was the rightful king of Israel. Samuel had anointed him when he was only a lad, and had proclaimed him king; but Saul was still on the throne. At the time of the story, David was leading a rag-tag group of followers, keeping away from Saul, waiting for the time when his kingship would come true.
This speaks volumes about Jesus. He, too, as Luke has been at pains to tell us, has been anointed as Israel’s king. He, too, is waiting for the time when this kingship will come true. He, too, is on the move with his odd little group of followers. And now—picking up a biblical image which some of his hearers might have understood, though many probably didn’t—he was the sovereign ‘son of man’, the one whom Israel’s God would prove in due course to be the rightful king, on the day when p 68 opponents would be silenced and everything would be put to rights.
What mattered, then, wasn’t so much that Jesus’ followers were breaking the sabbath. They were and they weren’t; it depends which regulations people chose to appeal to, and opinions differed on what precisely you could and couldn’t do on the sabbath. What mattered is that Jesus was the coming King, who had the right to suspend even the sacred sabbath law when necessary. And he seems to have thought that it was necessary; God’s new world was breaking in, and the rules appropriate for the old one had to be rethought.
For many Christians in today’s world, keeping the sabbath has become a quaint memory. Several do still observe it; but for many in the Western world it is remembered as something we used to do a long time ago but don’t think much about today. For Jesus’ contemporaries, though, it was one of the chief badges of their identity in a hostile world, a sign to them and their neighbours that they were God’s special people. It’s easy for modern Western Christians to mock the Jews of Jesus’ day for fussing about something that doesn’t concern us. There are many things in our world, our society, which have become just as central for us—and perhaps just as much under God’s judgment—as sabbath-keeping was for them.
The other story—the healing of the man with the withered hand—rams the point home. What counts is that God, the creator, is honoured in what is done. Is this action, Jesus asks, going to save life or to destroy it? On this occasion Jesus didn’t do anything that either official Jewish law or the unofficial codes of the Pharisees would have deemed illegal. He didn’t even touch the man. Telling him to stretch out his hand could hardly be counted as ‘work’, and hence be forbidden. But it was enough that Jesus was doing things which indicated that he regarded himself as being able to act with sovereign freedom in respect of the ancestral laws and traditions. Luke is preparing us for what is to come next: the way in which Jesus began to p 69 shape the growing community of his followers, to turn them into God’s New Israel, the people who would live in God’s New Age. This people, defined by their loyalty to Jesus as the true King, the true ‘son of man’, would already celebrate the new ‘week’ that was dawning. They would no longer be bound by the sabbath law, part of the old creation that was drawing towards a close.

Tom Wright, Luke for Everyone (London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 2004), 66–69.

Disclaimer:  I hate using messaging, texting, and email for real communication.  If anything that I type to you seems like anything other than humble and respectful, then I have not done a good job typing my thoughts.

Posts 1085
JohnB | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Dec 5 2020 12:46 PM

Joseph Turner:

I have not used the God's Word for You series, but I love the NT Wright For Everyone series.  I don't like Goldingay's OT volumes as much.  They just don't have the same easy going style that Wright's volumes have.  

Make sure you check bundles, because I just realized I could get the whole GWFY set in L9 Reformed Bronze for $8.19!

Thanks v much for the info!!
I had to pay £20 but not grumbling!!

Posts 714
Michael Kinch | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Dec 5 2020 1:40 PM

Does anyone have any word on when the GWFY update will be released? It shows to be in production. 

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