Family Notes 04/04/2016



Drawing from John 17 and filled with the Spirit of God, Joe Curtis spoke on this theme recently to the Seven Mile Post Road Church in Athens, Alabama. His sermon was beautiful and biblical, Christ-centered and with conviction, passionate and powerful. When you have 25 minutes to use to bless yourself, you might want to listen to this. Just go to: and scroll down to “Joe Curtis” and the title “Our oneness with them.”


Charles Prince is a gracEmail subscriber and my friend since 1967-68 when we studied Greek together in graduate school at Abilene Christian University. Years later, Charles was preaching minister at Oak Hills Church of Christ (now Oak Hills Church) in San Antonio, Texas, where he now serves as Resident Research Minister. (Max Lucado is Minister of Preaching and Randy Frazee is Senior Minister.) In that role, Charles is currently translating the New Testament from the Greek text for Oak Hills Church, and he teaches classes from his translation.

On January 17, 2016, Charles was teaching the Oak Hills Church Covenant Class from Luke 12:39-51, in which Jesus emphasizes the importance of constantly being alert as we wait for his return. In the course of his teaching, Charles read a biblical reference to “the outer darkness,” where there is “weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth,” and explained: “That’s a phrase that’s used to describe it, and it means annihilation. Now let’s just face it. It is the second death in the Book of Revelation, where Satan and his angels will be annihilated also . . . I am firmly convinced that it is what the Bible teaches.” See a video of the above at: (begin at 17 min 45 sec and end at about 20 min 30 sec).


No book of the Bible is more full of Jesus and, for that reason, more encouraging to believers today than the book of Hebrews. For the past few weeks, each gracEmail family notes has included several two items related to Hebrews–an informative comment and a bit of conversation with me about the book itself (see “Narrative Commentary” below), and an excerpt from a review of Hebrews: Ancient Encouragement for Believers Today, probably one of the two or three most significant books the Lord has ever given me to write.


Q: You also describe Hebrews: Ancient Encouragement for Believers Today as a “narrative-style” commentary. Tell us about that.

EDWARD: That refers to the fact that Hebrews: Ancient Encouragement for Believers Today is written as flowing narrative, although it discusses each verse of Hebrews in detail. It does this in 48 chapters, each covering a portion of the Scripture text. Each chapter begins with a very short section called “Why & Wherefore,” which relates that section to the big picture. That is followed by “Unpacking the Text,” which goes into detail, but in narrative style, with subheads to make it read more like a typical book.

For full details about Hebrews: Ancient Encouragement for Believers Today, go to:


I highly recommend Edward Fudge’s new commentary on Hebrews. I have found it intellectually rigorous, exegetically responsible, theologically rich and pastorally sensitive. I review this book from the perspective of one who has taught Hebrews on numerous occasions in both academic and congregational settings. In my own ministry I have attempted to do what Fudge proposes: to marry the head, the heart and the hands of the interpreter as well as those of the audience. I congratulate Edward; in my estimation he has done it very well.

Fudge has divided the text of Hebrews into 48 pericopae–each the basis for a chapter of the book. Each contains a title, the text, a “Why and Wherefore” explanation and commentary proper under the subtitle “Unpacking the Text.” I find this arrangement most helpful and natural for thorough exegesis in narrative form such as Fudge proposes. His exegesis is based on the Greek text, but . . . Fudge has compiled what he terms The Common Version.(from KJV, ASV, RSV, NASB, NIV, NKJV, NRSV, ESV and HCSB) No matter what version of the Bible is used by members of a Bible class, there will be substantial agreement between it and the text used in this commentary . . . His bibliography is substantial: 51 monographs, 83 articles and 25 other reference works.

Edward has provided for us a responsible historical-critical exegesis grounded in the language and structure of the text, sensitive to the social and rhetorical situation in life of the authors and recipients (as far as is known or hypothesized) and, one pastorally sensitive in its application of the message of the text. Where the text is ambiguous, Fudge fairly presents options in clear terms. He is fair to the evidence and supports his conclusions with exegesis and theology. Fudge has done his homework. He also has something to teach us, and he does so with clarity, candor and earnest spiritual concern.

For full review texts and much more, go to: