Hey, Calvary Fremont –
If I had to get rid of every book but one on my shelves, I would keep “Explore the Book” by J. Sidlow Baxter. I encourage you to get hold of this book and use it in your study of the Bible.
Baxter knows how to simplify without dumbing down. He writes that if you know eight words, you have the whole book of Genesis memorized. Creation – Fall – Flood – Babel – Abraham – Isaac – Jacob – Joseph. That’s it. That’s the whole book of Genesis from chapter one to chapter fifty. Every other person or event in Genesis can be slotted into one of the periods of time represented by these eight words. He gives simple, yet thorough, outlines for every book of the Bible. The book of Exodus has three main sections – the exodus, the giving of the law, the building of the tabernacle. I love simple yet comprehensive overviews of the books of the Bible. Get Baxter!
I can’t remember how, but I discovered Baxter when I was in Bible College in San Jose in the early 70’s. Berean Bookstore on Meridian Avenue in San Jose, CA, was my mecca. Books and books and books. If you can find a Bible bookstore that is operating today, it has more bookmarks, Bible covers, and gift items than books. But back when I was in Bible College, Christian bookstores knew how to be a Christian bookstores. I purchased “Explore the Book” for $19.95 (which then was an extravagant price for me) – I think it cost about $70 now online. Yet whatever the price – get Baxter!
- Sidlow Baxter is the perfect picture of saint and scholar. He is the ideal blend of piety and reason. His depth of insight is matched by his brevity of style. I will often read a 250 page book and put it down mad. I’m angry because the author could have said what he said in 50 pages. But he repeated himself and then he reiterated what he had written and then revisited it yet again. Baxter can say in one sentence what it takes others a paragraph to say. He can communicate in a paragraph what it takes other a chapter to say. And he can say in a chapter what it takes others a book to convey. Get Baxter!
His lessons on the book of Job are worth the price of the book. The devil stripped Job of his wealth, health, and family – but the one thing he couldn’t strip Job of was his self-righteousness. Job clung tenaciously to his self-righteousness all through the book. He even charges God with fault so he can be justified. But then God shows up and Job is stripped of his self-righteousness in one of the most powerful encounters between God and man recorded in the Bible. It’s beautiful. It’s moving. It’s life-transforming. Get Baxter!
Don’t just read your Bible, study your Bible. Don’t just skim the surface for devotional nuggets, get a pick and shovel and mine its structure and dig out its purposes and discover veins of revelational gold – not just gold nuggets. Open up Baxter and study your Bible. You’ll be glad you did. Other will be glad you did. Get Baxter!
Be blessed and stay healthy and get Baxter and study your Bible and follow Jesus – Pastor Tim