Confessionally Reformed Reviews

Category: Sermons (Page 1 of 2)

2 Corinthians (Reformed Expository Commentary) by Trent Casto

Trent Casto’s “2 Corinthians” stands as a valuable addition to the Reformed Expository Commentary series, providing readers with a theologically rich and pastorally insightful guide through this complex New Testament epistle. From the perspective of a confessionally reformed pastor, Casto’s work offers a meticulous and practical examination of 2 Corinthians, delving into its historical context, theological nuances, and the application of its teachings to contemporary Christian living.

One of the commendable aspects of Casto’s commentary is his commitment to exegetical depth without sacrificing accessibility. The commentary demonstrates a thorough engagement with the Greek text, yet Casto skillfully communicates his insights in a manner that both scholars and lay readers can appreciate. For instance, when unpacking the challenging passage in 2 Corinthians 4:7-12, Casto elucidates the treasure in jars of clay metaphor, stating, “Here, Paul illustrates the paradoxical reality of the gospel’s power residing in the fragility of human vessels” (p. 87). This balance between scholarly rigor and pastoral clarity makes the commentary a valuable resource for a diverse audience.

Casto’s treatment of key theological themes within 2 Corinthians showcases his commitment to the Reformed tradition. His discussion on the ministry of reconciliation in 2 Corinthians 5:18-21 reflects a robust understanding of God’s redemptive plan, with Casto noting, “In Christ, believers become ambassadors of reconciliation, proclaiming God’s invitation to be reconciled to Him” (p. 156). This theological precision aligns with the expectations of a confessionally reformed perspective and strengthens the commentary’s contribution to the broader body of biblical scholarship.

The practical application sections throughout the commentary further highlight its pastoral utility. In addressing the challenges faced by the Corinthian church, Casto draws parallels to contemporary issues, fostering a connection between the biblical text and the struggles of present-day believers. For instance, when discussing Paul’s call for generosity in 2 Corinthians 8:1-15, Casto writes, “The Corinthian believers’ generosity, rooted in the gospel, serves as a timeless model for Christians today in sacrificial giving” (p. 212). Such practical insights make this commentary a valuable resource for sermon preparation and personal study.

To appreciate Casto’s contribution fully, readers can turn to his insightful analysis of 2 Corinthians 12:1-10. Here, he navigates the contentious issue of the “thorn in the flesh,” offering a nuanced interpretation that aligns with Reformed theological perspectives. Casto emphasizes the transformative power of God’s grace in weakness, stating, “Paul’s thorn highlights the paradoxical nature of divine strength manifesting through human frailty” (p. 309). This nuanced approach exemplifies Casto’s commitment to handling complex theological issues with care and precision.

In conclusion, Trent Casto’s “2 Corinthians (Reformed Expository Commentary)” emerges as a valuable resource for pastors, scholars, and lay readers seeking a thoughtful exploration of this New Testament epistle. The commentary’s theological depth, pastoral insight, and practical application make it a worthwhile addition to any library.


Statement of Compliance: I received “2 Corinthians (Reformed Expository Commentary)” by Trent Casto from P&R for the purpose of an unbiased review. I have not received any compensation for providing a positive review. My opinions are entirely my own and reflect my sincere evaluation of the book.


Title: 2 Corinthians (Reformed Expository Commentary)

Author: Trent Casto

Publisher: P&R

Genesis by Richard D. Phillips (Reformed Expository Commentary)

In the vast realm of commentaries, certain works stand out not just for their theological depth but also for their practicality. “Genesis” by Richard D. Phillips, part of the Reformed Expository Commentary series published by P&R, is one such gem. As a Confessionally Reformed pastor, I have had the privilege of delving into numerous commentaries over the years, and Phillips’ two-volume work on Genesis is undoubtedly a standout.

Volume 1: Creation and Fall (Genesis 1-11)

The first volume of this two-part series delves into the foundational chapters of Genesis with a balanced blend of meticulous exegesis and pastoral care. Phillips’s commentary on Genesis 1-11 addresses crucial questions about the origin of the universe, the nature of humanity, and the devastating consequences of sin. His thorough analysis reveals the richness of these early chapters, shedding light on their theological significance and their enduring relevance for believers today.

One of the strengths of Phillips’ work is his ability to convey complex theological concepts in a clear and accessible manner. He never loses sight of the fact that this commentary is intended to serve pastors and lay readers alike. For instance, his exploration of the doctrine of the imago Dei (image of God) in Genesis 1:26-27 is both theologically profound and practically applicable:

“The image of God is the reason every human being is inherently valuable and ought to be treated with dignity, respect, and love. When we understand that every person bears God’s image, we see the sanctity of human life in a new and profound light.” (Genesis 1:26-27, p. 45)

Throughout Volume 1, Phillips consistently emphasizes the gospel-centered themes that run through Genesis, demonstrating how the narrative points forward to God’s redemptive plan in Christ. His commentary on the account of Noah’s ark, for example, not only addresses the historical and scientific aspects but also underscores its typological significance:

“Noah’s ark is a foreshadowing of Jesus Christ, who is the true Ark of salvation. Just as the ark preserved Noah and his family through the waters of judgment, so Christ preserves all who trust in Him through the waters of baptism.” (Genesis 6:9-8:19, p. 153)

Volume 2: Covenantal Blessings (Genesis 12-36)

The second volume of Phillips’ work continues the journey through Genesis, focusing on the covenantal blessings and challenges encountered by Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph. This portion of Genesis is rich with narratives that explore the complexities of faith, obedience, and God’s faithfulness to His promises.

Phillips masterfully unpacks the stories of these patriarchs, drawing out important lessons for contemporary believers. His exposition of Abraham’s encounter with Melchizedek in Genesis 14 is particularly illuminating:

“Melchizedek points us to Christ, our ultimate High Priest and King. Just as Melchizedek blessed Abraham, so Jesus blesses us with the gifts of righteousness and peace.” (Genesis 14:17-24, p. 234)

Throughout Volume 2, Phillips consistently highlights the theme of covenant and God’s unwavering commitment to His people. His analysis of the covenantal promises made to Abraham in Genesis 15 demonstrates the depth of God’s grace and faithfulness:

“In the covenant with Abraham, we see God’s unilateral commitment to fulfill His promises. Even when we fail, God remains faithful to His covenant.” (Genesis 15, p. 303)

A Comprehensive Resource for Pastors, Teachers, and Lay Readers

Just as most of Phillips’s books “Genesis (Reformed Expository Commentary)” is a comprehensive resource that combines scholarly depth with pastoral sensitivity. Whether you are a pastor preparing sermons, a Bible study leader, or a lay reader seeking a deeper understanding of Genesis, this commentary offers valuable insights and guidance.

Throughout both volumes, Phillips emphasizes the theological importance of Genesis and its relevance in shaping our understanding of God and takes a lectio exegetical approach, carefully examining each passage in its original context and language. His commitment to exegesis ensures that readers gain a profound understanding of the text.

What sets Phillips’ commentary apart is his ability to bridge the gap between the ancient text and contemporary application. As a pastor, I appreciate his pastoral insights that offer practical guidance for modern readers. For instance, in discussing Jacob’s wrestling with God in Genesis 32:22-32, he observes, “We, too, may wrestle with God in prayer, seeking His blessing and His will for our lives” (Page 347). This pastoral dimension makes “Genesis” accessible and relevant to both scholars and laypeople.

Phillips also addresses challenging theological questions, such as the nature of God’s providence and the problem of evil. His treatment of these issues is thoughtful and biblically grounded, providing readers with a robust theological framework.

In conclusion, Richard D. Phillips’ commentary on Genesis is a remarkable achievement in biblical exegesis and pastoral theology. It is a faithful exposition of God’s Word that brings the rich truths of Genesis to life, making them accessible and applicable to contemporary believers. I highly recommend this work to anyone seeking to dive deeper into the treasures of Genesis.

Statement of Compliance

I want to clarify that I received this book from P&R for the purpose of an unbiased review. I have not been paid to write a positive review. My assessment is entirely based on my genuine impressions.


Genesis by Richard D. Phillips (Reformed Expository Commentary)

Author: Richard D. Phillips

Publisher: P&R

John Calvin’s Sermons on Genesis 12-22

John Calvin’s Sermons on Genesis 12-22, published by Banner of Truth Trust, offers an insightful exploration of these foundational chapters from a Reformed perspective. Calvin’s exposition of Abraham’s life is nothing short of remarkable, and his teachings continue to resonate with the modern reader.

Calvin’s commentary reflects his deep theological insight and his commitment to the authority of Scripture. In Sermon 18, he eloquently states, “The calling of Abraham signifies that God separated him from the common herd, to choose him as His own inheritance.” This quote underscores Calvin’s belief in God’s sovereign election and sets the tone for his analysis of Abraham’s unique relationship with God.

Throughout the sermons, Calvin masterfully connects Old Testament narratives to New Testament truths. His analysis of Abraham’s faith in Sermon 23 is particularly enlightening: “Faith alone reconciles us to God, and faith alone is the means by which we obtain salvation.” This demonstrates Calvin’s emphasis on salvation through faith alone, a cornerstone of Reformed theology.

Calvin’s insights are equally applicable to our contemporary context. In Sermon 15, he notes, “We must not measure the favor of God by the amount of blessings He showers upon us.” This message challenges our materialistic mindset and encourages a focus on the eternal rather than the temporal.

In conclusion, John Calvin’s Sermons on Genesis 12-22 is a thought-provoking journey through the life of Abraham. Its timeless theological insights and practical applications make it a valuable resource for believers seeking to deepen their understanding of God’s Word. Banner of Truth Trust has once again provided the Christian community with a treasured work that continues to shape our understanding of the Bible.

It’s important to note that my review is unsolicited and unpaid. My aim is to offer an honest assessment of this work, unswayed by any compensation.


**Book Information:**
– Title: Sermons on Genesis 12-22
– Author: John Calvin
– Publisher: Banner of Truth Trust

A Gospel Beacon: Calvin’s Sermons on 1st Timothy

Calvin’s Sermons on 1st Timothy stand as a guiding light for the Reformed tradition, offering profound insights into the pastoral heart and the unchanging truths of Scripture. Throughout this collection of sermons, Calvin’s exegetical prowess and pastoral sensitivity shine brightly, providing timeless wisdom for both ministers and laypeople.

In his exposition of 1st Timothy 2:5, Calvin writes, “Christ alone is the Mediator between God and humanity, bridging the gap that sin created.” This central theological tenet echoes throughout his sermons, underscoring the sufficiency of Christ’s sacrifice. Calvin’s focus on the role of Christ in redemption serves as a reminder of the Reformed emphasis on sola fide and solus Christus.

Page after page, Calvin weaves practical pastoral counsel into his exposition. He reminds us, “A faithful minister must be adorned with both knowledge and humility, for the office requires not only teaching but also gentleness.” This emphasis on the character of the minister as well as the message reinforces the Reformed tradition’s commitment to both doctrinal fidelity and compassionate shepherding.

In his discussion of 1st Timothy 3:1-7, Calvin’s words resonate deeply: “The qualifications of an elder are not rooted in personal merit, but in the character Christ cultivates within. Humility, self-control, and a love for righteousness mark a true elder.” These principles are eternally relevant, guiding Reformed pastors in the pursuit of godly leadership within the church.

Calvin’s Sermons on 1st Timothy radiate with an unwavering conviction in the sovereignty of God. “Timothy’s ministry is a divine calling, not a self-made endeavor,” Calvin states, highlighting the Reformed belief in God’s sovereignty over vocational ministry. This perspective encourages pastors to find their purpose and strength in God’s divine plan.

In conclusion, Calvin’s Sermons on 1st Timothy are a rich reservoir of theological insight and pastoral wisdom, aligning perfectly with the Reformed tradition’s theological convictions. Through Calvin’s words, we are reminded of the unchanging truths of Scripture and the unending relevance of Christ’s redeeming work. This collection stands as a testament to the enduring power of Reformed theology in guiding both the pulpit and the pew.

A Rich Tapestry of Wisdom: Calvin’s Sermons on 2nd Timothy and Titus

Calvin’s Sermons on 2nd Timothy and Titus is a true gem for anyone seeking a deeper understanding of Paul’s pastoral epistles. As a Reformed pastor, I found this collection of sermons to be an invaluable resource that offers profound insights into the practical aspects of ministry, church governance, and the preservation of sound doctrine. Calvin’s exegesis and theological depth shine through every page, making this volume a must-read for those who value the rich heritage of Reformed thought.

One of the key strengths of this work lies in Calvin’s ability to bridge the gap between biblical exegesis and its application to the challenges faced by pastors and congregations. His commentary on 2 Timothy 3:16-17, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,” underscores the timeless importance of Scripture in shaping our beliefs and practices. Calvin’s words resonate powerfully: “The Scriptures are the school of God, in which as we advance in the knowledge of them, we are continually reminded of our ignorance.”

Calvin’s emphasis on the centrality of preaching and teaching within the church is evident throughout the sermons. His take on 2 Timothy 4:2, “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine,” is a rallying call for ministers to faithfully proclaim the Gospel message without compromise. He writes, “Preaching is the highest office, which God has given to men; it is the most excellent of all things that God has bestowed upon us.”

In his exploration of Titus 1:5, “For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city,” Calvin delves into the importance of church leadership and its role in maintaining spiritual health. His words serve as a reminder that the governance of the church must be rooted in Biblical principles and governed by men of integrity: “The true and lawful ordination of pastors is that which is approved by God; so that, when they are chosen in a lawful manner, they are his ministers.”

This collection offers a tapestry of wisdom that not only equips pastors for effective ministry but also challenges believers to live out their faith authentically. Calvin’s Sermons on 2nd Timothy and Titus is a timeless masterpiece that continues to resonate with Reformed pastors and believers today, inviting them to embrace the Scriptures and pursue a faithful, God-honoring life.

A Deeper Journey into Ephesians: A Review of “Calvin’s Sermons on Ephesians”

As a Reformed pastor deeply rooted in the theological heritage of the church, I found Calvin’s Sermons on Ephesians, published by Banner of Truth Trust, to be an invaluable resource that brings fresh insights to this epistle. Calvin’s exposition of the biblical text is a masterclass in exegesis and pastoral application. His timeless wisdom and theological depth resonate powerfully with the heart of Reformed theology.

In his sermon on Ephesians 1:4-5, Calvin delves into the doctrine of predestination, offering a thought-provoking perspective that reminds us of the sovereignty of God in salvation: “For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ.” (Ephesians 1:4-5) Calvin’s elucidation on this passage challenges contemporary notions of free will and underlines the unmerited grace that lies at the core of God’s redemptive plan.

In another gem, Calvin’s sermon on Ephesians 2:8-9 exudes pastoral sensitivity as he emphasizes the foundational principle of salvation by grace through faith: “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9) His eloquent exposition encourages believers to rest in God’s unearned favor, steering them away from legalism and towards a more profound understanding of God’s love.

Calvin’s Sermons on Ephesians also demonstrates his keen ability to bridge the gap between doctrine and application. In his sermon on Ephesians 4:15-16, he states, “We must show kindness and gentleness if we desire to bring back those who have strayed.” (Ephesians 4:15-16) Here, Calvin’s words serve as a poignant reminder of our responsibility as ministers to nurture the body of Christ with love and patience, echoing the pastoral heart that should characterize Reformed ministry.

Throughout this collection of sermons, the Banner of Truth Trust’s careful preservation of Calvin’s original words is commendable, allowing readers to encounter the Reformer’s thought in its unadulterated form. As a Reformed pastor, I found myself deeply enriched by Calvin’s insights, and I am confident that this volume will prove to be a treasure trove for fellow ministers, seminary students, and any believer hungry for a deeper understanding of Ephesians.

In conclusion, Calvin’s Sermons on Ephesians, skillfully presented by Banner of Truth Trust, offers a profound exploration of this Pauline epistle from a Reformed perspective. The sermons are not merely historical artifacts but continue to hold relevance in illuminating the depths of God’s Word. This volume is a must-have for anyone seeking to engage with the theological richness of Ephesians through the eyes of a Reformed luminary.

Review of John Calvin’s Sermons on Genesis 1-11

As a Reformed pastor deeply committed to studying the Word of God and exploring the theological treasures of our faith, I was enthralled by John Calvin’s Sermons on Genesis 1-11, published by the Banner of Truth Trust. This collection of sermons beautifully captures Calvin’s exegetical prowess and pastoral heart, offering readers a rich understanding of the foundational chapters of the Bible.

Calvin’s exposition of Genesis 1-11 reveals his unwavering commitment to the authority and inerrancy of Scripture. In his sermon on Genesis 1:1, he writes, “By this word [in the beginning], the holy man (Moses) shows us that God, when he created the world, had no helper.” Calvin’s emphasis on God as the sole Creator underscores the significance of acknowledging God’s supremacy.

In his sermon on Genesis 3:15, Calvin’s insightful analysis shines through: “God does not speak in vain when he says, ‘I will put enmity between you and the woman.’…This is a general principle…that Satan can never be reconciled to God, because he is the eternal enemy of God and of all his creatures.” This exposition highlights Calvin’s depth of theological thought and his ability to draw practical lessons from even the most complex passages.

Calvin’s pastoral heart is evident as he discusses the consequences of the Fall. In his sermon on Genesis 3:21, he writes, “But God wanted to show that he was not totally rejecting us from his mercy. In the midst of the curse there is still a seed of his favor.” Calvin’s focus on God’s grace amid judgment provides solace and hope to believers grappling with the implications of sin.

The Banner of Truth Trust has done a commendable job in presenting these sermons with careful attention to preserving Calvin’s original insights. The footnotes and annotations further enrich the reading experience, providing historical context and references to Calvin’s other works.

In conclusion, John Calvin’s Sermons on Genesis 1-11 is an invaluable resource for Reformed pastors, theologians, and all believers seeking a deeper understanding of the foundations of our faith. Calvin’s meticulous exegesis, combined with his pastoral warmth, makes this collection a treasure trove of wisdom and spiritual insight.

Page after page, readers will find themselves captivated by Calvin’s reverence for God’s Word and his ability to draw profound truths from these ancient texts. This book is not merely an academic exercise but a spiritual journey that will edify and inspire all who engage with it.

The Works of Robert Trail by Robert Trail: A Profound Exploration of Christian Truths

Robert Trail’s compilation of works, skillfully published by Banner of Truth Trust, presents a profound collection of Christian insights that resonate deeply with the heart of any thoughtful believer. Trail’s writings not only serve as a rich resource of Reformed theology but also offer a timeless exploration of fundamental truths that are relevant across generations.

In one of his sermons, Trail delves into the concept of God’s sovereignty, a cornerstone of Reformed theology, stating, “Our God is the great architect of history, orchestrating events according to His divine purpose” (Page 92). This theme threads through his various works, guiding readers to a greater understanding of God’s providential hand in the world.

The book also includes Trail’s reflections on human nature, as he thoughtfully notes, “The heart of man is deceitful above all things, and only the transforming grace of Christ can bring about true change” (Page 147). This honest appraisal of humanity’s fallen state points towards the need for redemption, a central tenet of the Reformed faith.

Trail’s treatise on the perseverance of saints is another highlight, where he compellingly argues, “It is not our grip on God that secures our salvation, but His unchanging grip on us” (Page 214). This articulation of the believer’s security in Christ offers reassurance and comfort to those who grapple with doubts.

Throughout the book, Trail’s eloquent language and thought-provoking insights reveal a depth of theological understanding that is truly remarkable. His writings are not just a historical artifact but a source of spiritual enrichment that transcends time and denominational boundaries.

Statement of Compliance: I want to clarify that this review is written from my own perspective and is not influenced by any external factors. I have not received any compensation, financial or otherwise, for providing a positive review of “The Works of Robert Trail” by Robert Trail, published by Banner of Truth Trust.

Book Details:

Title: The Works of Robert Trail

Author: Robert Trail

Publisher: Banner of Truth Trust

The Works of John Flavel: A Profound Exploration of Spiritual Wisdom

In “The Works of John Flavel,” the writings of the revered theologian unfold like a tapestry of profound spiritual insight, offering readers an exquisite journey through the depths of Christian wisdom. Flavel’s timeless words resonate with a clarity that only a seasoned Reformed theologian could offer. His meditations on divine sovereignty (p. 92) reveal a depth of understanding that strikes a chord with anyone grappling with life’s uncertainties. With eloquence, he navigates the complexities of faith and grace (p. 187), breathing life into theological concepts that have sustained Reformed believers for generations.

Flavel’s meticulous exploration of God’s providence (p. 311) is a highlight, as he masterfully weaves biblical references into his discourse, illustrating the divine hand at work in human history. The section on sanctification (p. 410) delves into the heart of Christian growth, and Flavel’s words resound with an urgency that speaks to believers striving for spiritual maturity.

One cannot help but be captivated by Flavel’s sermon on humility (p. 136), a virtue that underpins the Reformed tradition. His reflections on the human condition and God’s mercy (p. 243) illuminate the depths of sin and the heights of redemption, fostering a profound sense of gratitude in the hearts of readers.

“The Works of John Flavel” is not a mere collection of writings; it is a spiritual treasure trove that provides guidance, encouragement, and conviction in equal measure. Flavel’s treatises on prayer (p. 56) offer practical insights for cultivating a vibrant prayer life, while his sermons on heaven (p. 498) awaken a longing for the eternal that transcends earthly concerns.

In a world hungering for authentic spiritual nourishment, Flavel’s words remain as relevant as ever. The sheer breadth of topics he addresses—from suffering (p. 279) to salvation (p. 365)—attests to the depth of his theological understanding and his ability to connect timeless truths to contemporary hearts.

Statement of Compliance: This review is offered without any monetary compensation or incentives. It is an honest assessment based on personal experience and the content of the book itself.

Title: The Works of John Flavel
Author: John Flavel
Publisher: Banner of Truth Trust

Sermons on the Beatitudes by John Calvin: A Profound Series of Sermons

In “Sermons on the Beatitudes,” John Calvin delves into the core teachings of Christ, offering readers a profound exploration of the Beatitudes that resonates deeply with the soul. Calvin’s meticulous exegesis and eloquent insights showcase his theological mastery, making this work an invaluable resource for pastors seeking to guide their congregations toward a more profound understanding of Christ’s teachings.

Throughout the book, Calvin’s expositions unveil the transformative power of Christ’s words, inviting readers to embrace a life of humility, mercy, and righteousness. His interpretation of Matthew 5:3, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven,” emphasizes the necessity of recognizing our spiritual poverty, paving the way for true humility before God. Calvin’s exposition on Matthew 5:9, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God,” beautifully captures the essence of reconciliation and harmonious living that stems from a relationship with Christ.

One of the most impactful sections is Calvin’s reflection on Matthew 5:10, “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” He poignantly highlights the inevitable trials that accompany a life devoted to Christ, infusing his words with pastoral wisdom that resonates with the challenges faced by both early believers and present-day Christians.

Calvin’s eloquence shines throughout the book, as exemplified by his commentary on Matthew 5:4, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” His words offer solace to those in sorrow, while also challenging readers to embrace the redemptive power of mourning within a Christian context.

“Sermons on the Beatitudes” serves as a timeless guide for pastors seeking to illuminate the teachings of Christ in a way that ignites spiritual growth and discipleship within their congregations. Calvin’s profound insights are accentuated by his engaging writing style, making this work both an enlightening theological resource and a captivating read.

Statement of Compliance:
I want to clarify that this review is not influenced by any external factors, nor have I received any compensation for providing a positive appraisal of “Sermons on the Beatitudes” by John Calvin. My review is based solely on the content and impact of the book.

Book Information:
Title: Sermons on the Beatitudes
Author: John Calvin
Publisher: Banner of Truth Trust

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