Sunday, September 15, 2019

Review + GIVEAWAY: Letters from Jesus by Chris Palmer

About the Book

Book: Letters from Jesus
Author: Chris Palmer
Genre: Religion / Biblical Studies/History & Culture
Release Date: September 10, 2019

“In Revelation 2:2, Jesus tells the church in Ephesus something intimate—Google Street View intimate. He says, ‘I know your works’ (Oida ta erga sou). Four words don’t seem like much, but in the Greek, it packs a punch.… Jesus chooses the Greek word oida, which expresses total, comprehensive knowledge. It is intimate knowledge that comes from being up close and personal. This knowledge isn’t hazy on the details. It doesn’t struggle to remember. It preserves the particulars. In the mind’s eye, everything is sharp and clear, like a well-taken photograph.” —Chris Palmer

Letters from Jesus: Studies from the Seven Churches of Revelation explores Christ’s warnings to the seven most prominent churches in Asia Minor in the book of Revelation. These letters date back to 95 A.D., but they help us make a fascinating discovery about civilization: life hasn’t changed that much over the last two millennia. Author Chris Palmer illustrates the truths contained in the Letters from Jesus using modern, everyday day examples. The host of the popular podcast Greek for the Week, he unpacks Greek words and phrases in these verses from Revelation with humor, joy, and biblical scholarship.

Why study Greek, even just a little bit? As Chris explains, looking at the New Testament in the original language in which it was written can offer us some beautiful insights into God’s Word. “It’s like reading the Bible in high definition,” he says. Also, “studying God’s Word in the original language forces us to approach it with reverence and awe, humbling ourselves to obey what it says, whether it’s something we want to hear or not.”

Click here for your copy.

My thoughts

Letters from Jesus: Studies from the Seven Churches of Revelation by Chris Palmer is a jewel. The word “Greek” on the cover might be a little off putting to some, but nothing could be more personable and down to earth than this study. Palmer is a skilled and knowledgeable communicator, and the topic – Jesus’ letters to seven churches in Asia Minor – couldn’t be more relevant for us today.

I took a semester of Greek while in Bible college many years ago – not long enough to fully grasp a wealth of learning that would last a lifetime, but long enough to comprehend how vital a knowledge of the original Greek language is to our clear understanding of God’s Word. Greek is a formidable language; Palmer makes the meaning of key words and phrases not only easy to understand, but interesting. There’s often a sharper meaning than that conveyed by our English words.

The book’s topic is one that I’ve always found fascinating, but never actually studied in depth. (One of my college classes was called James to Revelation, but we never made it to Revelation.) Even if you’ve never studied Jesus’ letters, I’m pretty sure you’ll recognize some of these passages from them …

      “But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first.” (Revelation 2:4)
      “Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life.” (Revelation 2:10)
      “The one who conquers will be clothed thus in white garments, and I will never blot his name out of the book of life. I will confess his name before my Father and before his angels.” (Revelation 3:4-5)
      “I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.” (Revelation 3:15-16)
      “Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline…” (Revelation 3:19)
      “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.” (Revelation 3:20)

The book is laid out in seven main sections, each one addressing a particular church. Chapters are four pages in length, ending with a short prayer, reflective activity, and Scripture references for additional insight. Each chapter begins with a phrase from the letter, with certain words highlighted, and the study delves into the Greek meaning behind those words.

Palmer points out in the introduction that we might find a lot of ourselves in one of the churches, or a little of ourselves in all the churches – and he’s exactly right. I learned a lot from this book and a lot about myself. Letters from Jesus would work well for personal study or in a small group setting. I had to read at a steady pace for review purposes but look forward to digging deeper very soon.

Highly recommended.

I received a copy of this book through Celebrate Lit. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.


About the Author

      The Rev. Chris Palmer is the founder and pastor of Light of Today Church in Novi, Michigan, and founder of Chris Palmer Ministries. He is host of the popular podcast, Greek for the Week, seen on several Internet platforms. 
      Chris began in full-time ministry in 2006 and began to preach internationally in 2009, helping many congregations grow, flourish, and expand. His desire for missions is to train and educate pastors, encourage congregations, support the vision of local church, and show the love of God to the culture. He has done this successfully for a decade in over forty nations of the world in Europe, Africa, South America, Asia, and the Caribbean, working with both traditional churches and the underground/persecuted church. 
      Chris earned a B.A. in Pastoral Studies from North Central University and an M.A. in Exegetical Theology, magna cum laude, from Moody Theological Seminary. He is a sought-after Greek scholar for his ability to make God’s Word come alive in a unique way from the Greek. Chris is often invited to present Greek and hermeneutics workshops at Bible and ministry schools. 
      He recently began working on his Ph.D. at University Wales, Bangor, in the area of Johannine Literature, particularly the book of Revelation. His previous self-published books include Living as a Spirit: Hearing the Voice of God on Purpose, The 85 Questions You Ask When You Begin a Relationship with GodThe Believer’s Journey, and Escaping the Haunting Past: A Handbook for Deliverance.


More from Chris

Experience the Bible in high definition and learn some Greek with fun, easy lessons from pastor/scholar Chris Palmer.


To celebrate his tour, Chris is giving away a grand prize package of a $20 Starbucks gift card, copy of LETTERS FROM JESUS, copy of HEBREW WORD STUDY!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the image above or the link below to enter.

Blog Stops

The Power of Words, September 15
Godly Book Reviews, September 17
My Devotional Thoughts, September 20
Mary Hake, September 21
Retrospective Spines, September 23
Texas Book-aholic, September 24
A Reader’s Brain, September 25
A Diva’s Heart, September 25
janicesbookreviews, September 26
Inklings and notions , September 27