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Phillips: Zechariah – Reformed Expository Commentary February 12, 2009

Posted by heldveld in Book Reviews, Reformed Expository Commentary, Richard Phillips, Zechariah.
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I have now read three of the volumes in the Reformed Expository Commentary each by a different author. This one on Zechariah is the first on an Old Testament book. Like the others the content was enlightening, while not being too scholarly.  In The first chapter Phillips explains his four fold approach in writing the book; examining Zechariah historically, Christologically, doctrinally and practically. I found this approach to be extremely helpful in coming to a better understanding of the book as it really draws out all aspects of the text. I must admit that after reading through Zechariah in preparation, my interest grew as I didn’t understand much of what I had read.

Reading this book really opened up Zechariah for me. I found it very helpful how Phillips give brief descriptions of the common meaning of elements of the visions (ex. horsemen = wealth and power). This information will be a good reference tool in reading any OT prophecy. He draws out the themes of repentance and sacrifice as well as God’s omniscience and sovereignty. He applies these themes doctrinally and practically to the life of the Christian, as promised by his approach to study. Most importantly he always mentions Christ and his work as it is for shadowed.

There is so much gospel in Zechariah that I found it surprising for an OT commentary, though I really shouldn’t have for all scripture is about Christ. Phillips identifies the angel/man on the horse from the visions as the preincarnate Christ and supports this conclusion well. The chapter on Zechariah 3 where the high priest Joshua is given clean garments is an especially comforting reminder of the gospel and what God has done for us.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. For those looking to get more into the Old Testament, Zechariah is a great place to start. By reading commentaries from the Reformed Expository series, as well as attending a church with expository teaching, I am really seeing the importance of good Bible teachers in helping lay Christians understand the text. I began with next to no knowledge of this book and left with a great sense of its meaning and a wonder at how beautifully it points to Christ.

It is available from Reformation Heritage Books

Calvin and the Power of Preaching God’s Word December 5, 2008

Posted by heldveld in Calvin, Joel Beeke, Richard Phillips.
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“Calvin preached from the Bible every day, and under the power of that preaching the city began to be transformed. As the people of Geneva acquired knowledge of God’s word and were charged by it, the city became, as John Knox called it later, a New Jerusalem from which the gospel spread to the rest of Europe, England and the New World.

– James Montgomery Boice ‘Whatever Happened to the Gospel of Grace?’


Interesting enough, I came across this great quote in both of the books I’m currently reading; Richard Phillips’ ‘Zechariah’ from the Reformed Epository Commentary series and Joel Beeke’s ‘Living for God’s Glory’.

Richard Phillips explains that pre-Calvin Geneva was an immoral city and that Calvin’s preaching changed the face of the city. This shows the sanctifying effect of Biblical preaching. In ‘Living for God’s Glory the quote is from a chapter by Robert Oliver on Reformed preaching. In that context we see how Calvin’s preaching of the Bible lead to the spread of the gospel.

It’s wonderful to see a historical example of the power of preaching the word.  Most importantly for the salvation of individuals but, also to the improvement of society.

Rick Phillips on Discipling Christian Children August 14, 2008

Posted by heldveld in Antithesis, Blog Spotting, Christian Parenting, Richard Phillips.
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It seems like I’m doing an awful lot of ‘blog spotting’ but then again I openly admit that I’m still learning and there’s so much good stuff being written by others.

Rick Phillips posts an article at the Reformation 21 blog on ‘Discipling Christian Children’. He starts with an excellent quote show casing how the Biblical world view is antithetical to the secular (this blog is titled Reformed Antithesis after all)

We live in a society that assumes that when children grow up they will jettison the family’s beliefs and values. But the Bible sees things differently. The book of Proverbs says that the childhood years have a formative influence that lasts throughout life: “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it” (Prov. 22:6).

As a parent of two young children I appreciate any help I can get from a Biblical perspective. He lays out four actions for parents.

  1. Read God’s Word with your children
  2. Pray for and with your children
  3. Work with your children
  4. Play with your children