Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Book Review: Judges for You

A few months, I had the chance to review Galatians for You by Tim Keller, and I was really encouraged by it. So when I had the opportunity to review his new commentary Judges for You, I jumped at the chance. I was not disappointed.

If you listen to Keller preach, it quickly becomes clear that two themes run through everything he says and does. First is the idea of gospel centrality - that not only is the gospel central to all of Scripture, but to all of life. Second is his contention that humans are, at our core, idolaters, and that our biggest problem relating to God is that we worship other things instead of Christ.

In Judges for You, both of these ideas are central themes. Judges is harsh and raw. It is not an easy book to read or to understand. Keller states his overarching theme early on: " Ultimately, there is only one hero in this book, and He's divine." It quickly becomes apparent how true this really is.

One of the things that I like most about this commentary is that Keller doesn't shy away from the difficult issues of Judges, such as how Deborah's judging should relate to our views of women in ministry or Jephthah's vow that ultimately led to the death of his daughter or the fact that God commands what we would call genocide. But while he Biblically addresses these challenging points, Keller never strays from his main point: that the book of Judges is intended to point us to Christ, the true and better Savior.

Judges for You is not hard reading, nor is it long. But I walked away after reading it with a fresh conviction of the sin and idolatry in my own heart and an assurance that is only found in Jesus. In my past readings of Judges, it has been easy for me to say that I would have acted differently than the Israelites. But the reality is that my heart apart from Christ is just as idolatrous as theirs. Keller's commentary helped me to see this, and then pointed me to Jesus.

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