Archive for February 16th, 2014

Spiritual Warfare A Biblical and Balanced Perspective

Purchase: Westminster | Amazon

Typically I avoid Christian books on spiritual warfare like the plague because the genre is flooded by works that are speculative, sensational and short on Scriptural support.  I was of the opinion that even the books out there that are biblically driven must not have much to say.  It’s with that prejudice that I must say I was pleasantly surprised and edified by this book.

In the introduction to the book, both co-authors Brian Borgman and Rob Ventura cautioned readers that when it comes to the topic of spiritual warfare one must avoid one extreme or the other:  there are those who are speculative and see spiritual warfare in everything that occur while on the one hand we have those Christians who fail to realize that there are genuine spiritual beings in the demonic realm.  I myself tend to fall under the latter.

The book is largely an exposition and application of Ephesians 6:10-20.  What surprised me with this work was how much it is driven by the exposition of the Scripture and no doubt one can tell from the book that both authors are expositional preachers.  Chapter one through thirteen breaks down Ephesians 6:10-20 with chapter one even providing the background of first century Ephesus to illuminate the topic of spiritual warfare:  It was a city of a large following for the cult of Artemis and hospitable to various occultic practices; elsewhere in Scripture we also know that the believers burned their magic books and a riot even ensued because of the commercial impact of occultic religious market as a result of the fear of the impact of the Gospel.  Beginning with verse ten the book exhort believers to be strong in the Lord (chapter one) then explained how God has given us resources for the Christian life of spiritual warfare (chapter two).  Both chapters three and four establish the need for why the spiritual armor provided by God is important and it was reminder for me to realize that the Christian life is warfare, with real enemies of God who want to see Christians fall, fail and be fruitless.

I can honestly say I learned some new things as a result of reading this book, even though I thought I was quite familiar with Ephesians.  The author did a good job of bringing a few exegetical insights from the Greek (such as observation of the significance of a verb’s tense, purpose clause, prepositions, lexical meaning, etc) and yet it was done in a way that was friendly towards a general Christian reading audience.  The footnotes in various chapters indicate that the two authors did their homework (for instance, their interaction with Ephesians’ critical commentaries) and also sought other insight of a more devotional flavor.  The book is a fine example of how exegesis can be practical for the Christian life!

I think the best recommendation one can give for a book is how it ministered to their lives.  As a result of reading this book I was encouraged to see prayer as integral to fighting the good fight in the Christian life and was convicted that my prayer life could be better.  I was also reminded that Satan really wants believers to fall and has many schemes against the believers, and how much more we should seek Jesus Christ for help and apply the provisions of grace given to us as a gift.

I recommend this book and I plan to read this through this again as a resource the next time I preach in Ephesians 6.

NOTE: I received this book for free from the publisher Reformation Heritage Books through Cross Focused Reviews in exchange for my honest opinion. The thoughts and words are my own and I was under no obligation to provide a favorable review.

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