Michael Whitworth has done it again. This volume is the third in his series of companion guides to books of the Bible, following Epic of God for Genesis and Derision of Heaven for Daniel. These guides meet a need in Christian writing: they are more substantive than most Sunday School guides and more accessible than most worthwhile commentaries. I can recommend these books as great reading for anyone who wants to get to know one of the Biblical books a little bit better.
Living and Longing is timely. It’s always tempting for an author to spend 300 pages chasing rabbits and 0 pages actually challenging his readers, but Michael doesn’t fall into that trap. He does indulge our curiosity and spends some time on some of the curiosities (e.g., the man of lawlessness, holy kisses, etc.), but he makes sure these side trails bring us home to the main point.
I tend to think of 1 and 2 Thessalonians as eschatological books, but Living and Longing really brings out the practical, daily living lessons from the book. He refuses to divorce the hereafter from the here-and-now.
Even when dealing with the difficult topic of God’s wrath, Michael does a good job of keeping us grounded in the lessons we each need.
My plan for Living and Longing is to spread out a few copies among our members before teaching a class or preaching a series on 1 and 2 Thessalonians, and then get feedback from the readers. I then incorporate their feedback into my preaching. I’ve found that to be a helpful way to enrich my teaching on the text, and get a few more people involved in detailed study.
I’d definitely recommend Living and Longing for anyone wanting to know more about these books or who wants to deepen their faith. It is available in paperback and ebook from Amazon.