Book Review: The Name Quest by John Avery

Pastor John Avery asked that I review his book the Name Quest over a month ago and I have to apologize because I meant to finish the book sooner than I did. So sorry Pastor Avery this was meant to be up much sooner.

Now I don’t personally know PastorJohn Avery so here is his bio from his web page

John Avery is a trained teacher with over thirty years experience as a Bible teaching pastor, small group leader, and missionary. He has lived in England, Israel, Africa, and the Caribbean, ministering with Youth With A Mission (YWAM) and local churches. He and his wife, Janet, now make their home in Oregon. John likes to hike, snowshoe, and cross country ski.

As far as I can tell and from reading this book Pastor Avery isn’t a Reformed Baptist/Particular Baptist we would probably disagree regarding soteriology which is fine if I just read books from people I agreed with I would never had read Martin Luther, or B.B. Warfield because they are both paedobaptists.

In the Name Quest John Avery looks at the various names and titles of God and then explains how they reveal the attributes of God’s character. There are twenty-three chapters plus a prologue and an epilogue plus end notes and resources. And while this is written for a popular audience it doesn’t mean that this is light fair. Pastor Avery goes in depth with each name or title.

The book is basically divided by the Old Testament’s names of God and the name of Jesus and his titles. And I think this is a natural split and works well.

Now I have to be a little nit picky here Pastor Avery uses a technique that I don’t care for and that is taking the same passage and using different versions of the bible to get the meaning of the word. I first saw this done by Rick Warren in his purpose driven life book. I didn’t care for it then, and I didn’t like it in this book but unlike Warren’s book where he tries to make the scripture fit his views Pastor Avery uses it showing the different meanings of the Greek or Hebrew word. I personally think that just using a good Greek or Hebrew lexicon and sticking to one version for quoting is better.

If you are interested in a study on the names and titles of God this would be a good starting study on them.

Saturday for the Defense

9  The Documentary Hypothesis

In the 19th century, scholars began to discover more inconsistencies and anomalies in the Bible, and its compositional history appeared more complex than anyone had previously thought. In 1886, the German historian Julius Wellhausen proposed that the Hexateuch (the Pentateuch plus Joshua) was a composite of four distinct documents by different authors. These documents were labeled J (Jahwist), E (Elohist), D (Deuteronomist), and P (Priestly), and each has its own theology and agenda.

This theory explains overlapping or repetitive stories (“doublets”) such as the two accounts of Creation and the two accounts of the Flood—Genesis 7:17 describes a 40-day flood, while Genesis 8:3 describes one lasting 150 days. It is believed that later editors stitched together the multiple sources into one narrative, sometimes intertwining two versions of a single story and neglecting to iron out the seams, as can be seen in the Flood narrative.

The J source calls God “Yahveh,” or “Jahveh” in German, hence the designation “J.” It pictures God in anthropomorphic terms, appearing to people like Abraham face-to-face. E calls the deity “Elohim,” who shows Himself indirectly, as in dreams. D is the source for Deuteronomy as well as the books of Joshua, Judges, Samuel, and Kings. It defines God as having no form that anyone can see at all. P is cultic in its character and is obsessed with genealogies and lists.

More recently, the idea of four separate, complete, and coherent documents has come under question, but the composite character of the Pentateuch remains the commonly accepted view.

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