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Twelve Ordinary Men: How the Master Shaped His Disciples for Greatness, and What He Wants to Do with You

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Contrary to popular belief, we do not have to be perfect to do God's work. Look no further than the twelve disciples whose many weaknesses are forever preserved throughout the pages of the New Testament. Jesus chose ordinary men - fisherman, tax collectors, political zealots - and turned their weakness into strength, producing greatness from utter uselessness. MacArthur dr Contrary to popular belief, we do not have to be perfect to do God's work. Look no further than the twelve disciples whose many weaknesses are forever preserved throughout the pages of the New Testament. Jesus chose ordinary men - fisherman, tax collectors, political zealots - and turned their weakness into strength, producing greatness from utter uselessness. MacArthur draws principles from Christ's careful, hands-on training of the original twelve disciples for today's modern disciple - you.


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Contrary to popular belief, we do not have to be perfect to do God's work. Look no further than the twelve disciples whose many weaknesses are forever preserved throughout the pages of the New Testament. Jesus chose ordinary men - fisherman, tax collectors, political zealots - and turned their weakness into strength, producing greatness from utter uselessness. MacArthur dr Contrary to popular belief, we do not have to be perfect to do God's work. Look no further than the twelve disciples whose many weaknesses are forever preserved throughout the pages of the New Testament. Jesus chose ordinary men - fisherman, tax collectors, political zealots - and turned their weakness into strength, producing greatness from utter uselessness. MacArthur draws principles from Christ's careful, hands-on training of the original twelve disciples for today's modern disciple - you.

30 review for Twelve Ordinary Men: How the Master Shaped His Disciples for Greatness, and What He Wants to Do with You

  1. 5 out of 5

    Christopher Dale

    First, I was shocked to discover that Mark and Luke, writers of two of the Gospels were not disciples of Jesus'. Second, this book really brings home the fact that God can and will use an imperfect man such as I. In fact, it seems to be a prerequisite of His that I be as far from perfection as possible, before I can be used of Him. I got a lot of encouragement from this book and highly recommend it for everyone. First, I was shocked to discover that Mark and Luke, writers of two of the Gospels were not disciples of Jesus'. Second, this book really brings home the fact that God can and will use an imperfect man such as I. In fact, it seems to be a prerequisite of His that I be as far from perfection as possible, before I can be used of Him. I got a lot of encouragement from this book and highly recommend it for everyone.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Lou

    Jesus didn't choose the wealthiest, noblest, smartest, most religious, nicest, prettiest, or most athletic to be his disciples. He chose from the bottom of the barrel. The ordinary people like you and me. We can relate to all of the disciples in some way. Jesus didn't choose the wealthiest, noblest, smartest, most religious, nicest, prettiest, or most athletic to be his disciples. He chose from the bottom of the barrel. The ordinary people like you and me. We can relate to all of the disciples in some way.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Wilson

    There seemed to be too much speculation and too little known facts about the majority of the disciples, but that didn't stop the author from going on and on -- I believe this book would have been better leaving out the speculation and sticking to facts. This would have meant the book would have been half it's length. Also, I noticed he used a verse to "prove" the death penalty was okay. I had to read this book for church, otherwise I wouldn't have made it through the first chapter. In non-fictio There seemed to be too much speculation and too little known facts about the majority of the disciples, but that didn't stop the author from going on and on -- I believe this book would have been better leaving out the speculation and sticking to facts. This would have meant the book would have been half it's length. Also, I noticed he used a verse to "prove" the death penalty was okay. I had to read this book for church, otherwise I wouldn't have made it through the first chapter. In non-fiction, I prefer facts to speculation. I think making this into a historical fiction book would have worked better because then the different things that were thrown in as "likely" wouldn't have irritated me the way it did in something suppossedly non-fiction. To know what the preferences of the disciples were based on the culutre of the day isn't fact. Nor the way he said "He never". Just because something isn't stated in Scripture doesn't mean it didn't happen.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Paul

    This book highlights each of the twelve apostles chosen by Jesus to follow him and how each one of them was "ordinary." Yet in their ordinariness, Jesus changed them and formed them into the church leaders that they eventually became. It also served as a warning of how hard-heartedness and pride, as in the case of Judas Iscariot, can cause our downfall. As far as the content of the book goes, I found it interesting how John MacArthur could create a picture of each of these apostles even with lit This book highlights each of the twelve apostles chosen by Jesus to follow him and how each one of them was "ordinary." Yet in their ordinariness, Jesus changed them and formed them into the church leaders that they eventually became. It also served as a warning of how hard-heartedness and pride, as in the case of Judas Iscariot, can cause our downfall. As far as the content of the book goes, I found it interesting how John MacArthur could create a picture of each of these apostles even with little being written about them in the Bible. The end of each chapter emphasized their common characteristics, but also highlighted how they impacted the early church and how many of them were martyred. Although MacArthur sometimes makes side commentary that was unnecessary in speaking to the character of these apostles, I found this book to trigger some reflection on my own character and how ordinariness can be used in spiritual growth.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Edwin

    It was based on past sermons, It is really an insight to the personalities of the Apostles. Although much speculation, it is all Scripture based and very believable

  6. 5 out of 5

    Nick Carrico

    Twelve Ordinary Men was no ordinary book. I learned a lot about the apostles lives, background, and their relationship with Jesus. It definitely cleared up wrong misconceptions that I had like the whole Simon/Peter name confusion, and that the apostle James isn’t the James who wrote the book of James. Although, some of it was speculative based upon what the Bible tells us of these men, I think that the conclusions MacArthur makes in those instances are likely accurate. It was also very interesti Twelve Ordinary Men was no ordinary book. I learned a lot about the apostles lives, background, and their relationship with Jesus. It definitely cleared up wrong misconceptions that I had like the whole Simon/Peter name confusion, and that the apostle James isn’t the James who wrote the book of James. Although, some of it was speculative based upon what the Bible tells us of these men, I think that the conclusions MacArthur makes in those instances are likely accurate. It was also very interesting reading MacArthur try and dissect the thoughts and desires of Judas Iscariot. Would recommend to anyone who wants to learn more about these ordinary Galileans.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Aaron Ventura

    This is the first book I've ever read by John MacArthur and I enjoyed it very much! I plan to read it again in a few weeks. The Good: MacArthur collates the biblical data (plus some extra-biblical data from Josephus and Eusebius) on each disciple of Jesus and presents a basic character sketch of all twelve disciples. This was a great exercise in harmonizing the gospel accounts utilizing minor details that are easily passed over. Besides Peter, John, Thomas, and Judas, I had never studied each disc This is the first book I've ever read by John MacArthur and I enjoyed it very much! I plan to read it again in a few weeks. The Good: MacArthur collates the biblical data (plus some extra-biblical data from Josephus and Eusebius) on each disciple of Jesus and presents a basic character sketch of all twelve disciples. This was a great exercise in harmonizing the gospel accounts utilizing minor details that are easily passed over. Besides Peter, John, Thomas, and Judas, I had never studied each disciple in depth, this book is a great study to fill in those mental gaps. The Bad: Besides a couple hat-tips to his premillenialism, there isn't much to criticize here. Very straight-forward Bible teaching.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Carolyn

    Once you get past the rather dry introduction chapter, things got pretty interesting. Must admit to have a marked lack of knowledge on the disciples and was always embarrassed by my lack of being able to name them. Now realize I couldn't name them b/c several of them are hardly mentioned. In any case, I learned alot - mainly his point was that the disciples were a group of really common men (thus the title) with strengths and flaws just like the rest of us. My favorite quote was on the section a Once you get past the rather dry introduction chapter, things got pretty interesting. Must admit to have a marked lack of knowledge on the disciples and was always embarrassed by my lack of being able to name them. Now realize I couldn't name them b/c several of them are hardly mentioned. In any case, I learned alot - mainly his point was that the disciples were a group of really common men (thus the title) with strengths and flaws just like the rest of us. My favorite quote was on the section about John: "If you pursue anything in the spiritual realm, pursue a perfect balance of truth and love. Know the truth, and uphold it in love." Also included is a great quote by Spurgeon about the tension between divine sovereignty and human choice - too long to include - on page 185 if you ever happen to read this book...

  9. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    A great work by John MacArthur! Dig deep into studying the lives of these men - how God/Jesus took 12 ordinary men and how God used them for the glory of His kingdom and for His purpose. :) I learned a lot of things that aren't as easily "spelled out" about the disciples in the Bible as well as a lot of lessons about what God desires of us, His children and how my life can be used for His glory! :D A great work by John MacArthur! Dig deep into studying the lives of these men - how God/Jesus took 12 ordinary men and how God used them for the glory of His kingdom and for His purpose. :) I learned a lot of things that aren't as easily "spelled out" about the disciples in the Bible as well as a lot of lessons about what God desires of us, His children and how my life can be used for His glory! :D

  10. 4 out of 5

    Rachel Svendsen

    Good content, but Dare I say that MacArthur is a bad writer? Fine, then lets at least agree that he's in dire need of a merciless editor. The information was interesting, but his tendency to restate the same sentence in as many as five different ways all within the same paragraph made me want to switch the ”m” and ”n” keys on his keyboard. Good content, but Dare I say that MacArthur is a bad writer? Fine, then lets at least agree that he's in dire need of a merciless editor. The information was interesting, but his tendency to restate the same sentence in as many as five different ways all within the same paragraph made me want to switch the ”m” and ”n” keys on his keyboard.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Mike

    The best book I've read about the 12 disciples. This very biblically based book does an excellent job of showing the character and character flaws on the 12 disciples. I'd highly recommend it. The best book I've read about the 12 disciples. This very biblically based book does an excellent job of showing the character and character flaws on the 12 disciples. I'd highly recommend it.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Andrea

    "The legacy of their greatness is the church, a living, breathing organism which they helped found and of which they became the very foundation stones..the church, now some two hundred years old, exists today because these men launched the expansion of the gospel of Jesus Christ to the ends of the earth." This book is an adaptation of a series of messages about the apostles. It gives information about each one according to what was written in the Bible by or about each apostle and includes some e "The legacy of their greatness is the church, a living, breathing organism which they helped found and of which they became the very foundation stones..the church, now some two hundred years old, exists today because these men launched the expansion of the gospel of Jesus Christ to the ends of the earth." This book is an adaptation of a series of messages about the apostles. It gives information about each one according to what was written in the Bible by or about each apostle and includes some extra-biblical sources as well. It was an interesting book and I learned quite a bit about the apostles and saw them in a new light. However, there were a few things that took away from the content. 1. I just really struggle with MacArthur's writing tone. He comes off as authoritative, overly sure of himself and condescending of people that aren't like him (and this seems consistent in other books of his I've read). In some places, like when he was talking about Peter's leadership, the author seemed to include himself in the description of desirable qualities (saying, "some of us...") and then in other places, like talking about how boring and uptight (my paraphrase) Phillip was as more of an administrator, he seemed pretty inhospitable. It felt to me like he was more dismissive of people's weakness if their strengths were more like the author's (I could be totally reading into that, but that's how it felt). He also makes a somewhat random comment about how almost all school shooting perpetrators were prescribed Ritalin instead of being disciplined by their parents. I think it's a little more complex than that, but ok. His opinions are off-putting to me. 2. There was a lot of speculation. Like a lot. I get it. There's not a lot to go on in the Bible about these people (especially the lesser known apostles), but I'm really not comfortable with guessing at their personalities or assigning them motivations from the little that can be pieced together about them. At one point he writes, "Phillip, being the typical administrative type, probably carried around in his head a full manual of protocols and procedures. (In fact, if he was like many administrators I have known, he might have had an actual written policy manual, which he fastidiously devised and insisted on following to the letter. He strikes me as that kind of by-the-book person.)" Doesn't that sound kind of belittling (of Phillip and of administrators)? It's comments like that are a total turn off to me about MacArthur's writing. The whole chapter on Phillip (the "bean counter" according to the author) was disappointing, but almost all of the chapters had quite a bit of conjecture and unwarranted uses of "undoubtedly" and "we can be certain." 3. I think because this was a sermon series originally, each of the chapters probably needed to be about the same length. It seems like because of that, some chapters had a lot of filler in them. The author would go into great detail about kind of minor things, or give the full backstory about episodes or Old Testament references. It's not bad, it's just kind of obvious that he was trying to find ways to talk about each person that didn't really have a lot to to with that person specifically. Along with that, the author was kind of repetitive. That all being said, it was worth reading because I did learn about the apostles and I did appreciate MacArthur's emphasis that there was nothing inherently special about these men that made them prime candidates for being apostles. God chose ordinary men and equipped them for extraordinary service. MacArthur makes this point multiple times and I think it's important. Each man was different (although I definitely don't agree with the author that "there's at least one of every imaginable personality" represented in the 12; what a narrow view of personality). God used these men, weaknesses and sin and all for his great purposes and, while they're not heroes, there's a lot to admire about their service and sacrifice. We serve a great God who assembled and trained a group of men that went on to proclaim his good news so that, far down the line, someone like me could hear and believe. Praise God for his unexpected but perfect plan!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Maya

    This is a great book about the 12 apostles, I highly recommend it! Each chapter collects all the passages we have in Scripture about each of the apostles to highlight their character and journey of faith. I loved all the historical detail that MacArthur provided, which is so helpful in understanding the context. I also liked how he highlighted historical documents about the end of the apostles' lives to give us an understanding of what they did after the last things recorded about them in Acts. This is a great book about the 12 apostles, I highly recommend it! Each chapter collects all the passages we have in Scripture about each of the apostles to highlight their character and journey of faith. I loved all the historical detail that MacArthur provided, which is so helpful in understanding the context. I also liked how he highlighted historical documents about the end of the apostles' lives to give us an understanding of what they did after the last things recorded about them in Acts. MacArthur's main point was, as the title suggests, that each of the men were quite ordinary, they struggled with sinful hearts, yet the Lord used them for His extraordinary purpose. So this book is quite an encouragement for all of us!

  14. 5 out of 5

    MaryEllen

    I really enjoyed learning more about the 12 disciples. This book was very informative and I liked how it referenced Bible verses throughout to show where the author was getting his information. Reading about the 12 also helped with identifying them (since some have multiple names) throughout the New Testament. I would recommend this book if you (like me) are sometimes confused about who was who and how they lived, preached, and died for Christ. Very good book and I plan on reading it again.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Ryan Reed

    This wasn’t a bad book, but only John MacArthur could write 200 pages so confidently on men that the Bible doesn’t speak much about.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Luis

    Very insightful. Great read.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Rod Innis

    This is a good book for anyone who wants to know more about the 12 apostles of Jesus. It blends the gospel accounts and information from Acts and some additional information from nonbiblical sources.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Stacy

    This was my first book by John MacArthur, but it won't be my last. Normally, non-fiction is a very difficult genre for me, and thus I rarely read it. I'm trying to make a concerted effort to change that, at least in some areas (such as this, Christian non-fiction, that interests me!). I've finally found what works for me - reading a non-fiction in conjunction with a fiction book (before I tried to read one or the other, never both concurrently), and reading it slowly. I read this book a couple o This was my first book by John MacArthur, but it won't be my last. Normally, non-fiction is a very difficult genre for me, and thus I rarely read it. I'm trying to make a concerted effort to change that, at least in some areas (such as this, Christian non-fiction, that interests me!). I've finally found what works for me - reading a non-fiction in conjunction with a fiction book (before I tried to read one or the other, never both concurrently), and reading it slowly. I read this book a couple of pages a day. That said, I really enjoyed this book. I liked what he had to say and the research and references to Scripture about each of the twelve apostles. I learned more about each of them, as much as is in the book, because there is very little known about many of them. Thus, the title and concept of what they were - plain, common, ordinary men chosen for an extraordinary purpose. I plan to go back through the book and highlight a few things, then I'm going to pick another non-fiction book to start. I have one more of MacArthur's books (Twelve Extraordinary Women), but I may wait a while before I start it. I hope that it's equally as fascinating and educational.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Tom Leary

    This was a great book describing the lives of each disciple based on scripture. Dr. John F. MacArthur stuck almost exclusively with scripture and mostly relied on the gospel accounts to describe the disciples. This does provide a firm foundation, but in many cases gives very little understanding into the disciples. In some cases there are disciples who are only known because of their name being mentioned in a list. At this point some loose connections are made to essentially create an understand This was a great book describing the lives of each disciple based on scripture. Dr. John F. MacArthur stuck almost exclusively with scripture and mostly relied on the gospel accounts to describe the disciples. This does provide a firm foundation, but in many cases gives very little understanding into the disciples. In some cases there are disciples who are only known because of their name being mentioned in a list. At this point some loose connections are made to essentially create an understanding of the disciple in question without convincing facts to back up the understanding. That being said, there is a clear message that even in the lesser known disciples, they were all ordinary people just as we are today. They had faults and were used because of those faults. The descriptions are engaging and will provide some solid background when discussing the disciples in a group.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Philip

    This is MacArthur at his best. While he often struggles in some of his purely exegetical works, MacArthur hits his stride in a more topical work such as this. The book traces the lives of each of the apostles and presents vignettes from various passages of the Gospels, pointing out their unique foibles and passions. The writer also helpfully concludes each apostle with a summary of early church tradition on the remainder of the apostle’s life.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Chrissy

    This book gave such amazing insight on each disciple by piecing together all the verses that talk about each person. It gives great encouragement to all of us in our faith since it is absolutely amazing that Christianity spread at all with such disciples as these. I loved this look at the character and personality of the disciples.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Sean

    I loved this book. I love the stories of the disciples, and MacArthur brings a lot of helpful insight into the lives of these men. There are a few personal caveats here and there, but the meat of this book provides valuable information about the men who followed Jesus. It's a great resource for teaching or personal study. I loved this book. I love the stories of the disciples, and MacArthur brings a lot of helpful insight into the lives of these men. There are a few personal caveats here and there, but the meat of this book provides valuable information about the men who followed Jesus. It's a great resource for teaching or personal study.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Katie

    I really enjoyed this book. I read it as my daily Bible study and so I made time to look up all the references. The author was so thorough in his information about each disciple- giving us examples of the same story in different books of the Bible. It was so interesting to see how the stories all correlated but each had slightly different details that related back to each other.

  24. 5 out of 5

    James Tamara

    This book did a great job taking a deeper look into the life of the Twelve Disciples. It showed, with excellent detail, how Christ transforms ordinary people and equips them for His service. I would recommend this book to anyone that seeks to have a deeper, more complete understanding of the Gospels and the people who were involved.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Lu

    Interesting how we all have personalities that Jesus can deal with, with His unconditional love. He created us and still loves us so much that He would do anything for us, obviously since He gave His life, but He even has our picture on his frig and brags about us still!!

  26. 5 out of 5

    Luis

    Great book to read. Gives insightful information in the characteristics of the disciples of Jesus Christ. learned that God doesn't want to make you exactly the same as any other individual, but is in the business of making the christian more like the image if his son Jesus Christ in the heart. Great book to read. Gives insightful information in the characteristics of the disciples of Jesus Christ. learned that God doesn't want to make you exactly the same as any other individual, but is in the business of making the christian more like the image if his son Jesus Christ in the heart.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Larry

    Great book emphasizing that God chooses the foolish to lead the wise. God's kingdom is an upside down kingdom where the last is first; the servant is the greatest; and you die to live. Great book emphasizing that God chooses the foolish to lead the wise. God's kingdom is an upside down kingdom where the last is first; the servant is the greatest; and you die to live.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Dan

    The author takes us through the lives and ministry of the 12 apostles. Some the Bible reveals more about some than others but we are able to learn about each of them, even Judas who betrayed our Lord. The 12 apostles are split into 3 groups of 4 each. The 3 groups appear as follows. Simon, who is called Peter, Andrew, his brother; James and John Philip and Bartholomew; Matthew and Thomas James, the son of Alphaeus, and Simon called the Zealot; Judas the son of James, and Judas Iscariot who also bec The author takes us through the lives and ministry of the 12 apostles. Some the Bible reveals more about some than others but we are able to learn about each of them, even Judas who betrayed our Lord. The 12 apostles are split into 3 groups of 4 each. The 3 groups appear as follows. Simon, who is called Peter, Andrew, his brother; James and John Philip and Bartholomew; Matthew and Thomas James, the son of Alphaeus, and Simon called the Zealot; Judas the son of James, and Judas Iscariot who also became a traitor The first name in all 4 lists in the Bible is Peter. The last name in all 3 of the 4 lists is Judas, the traitor. He is not named in the list in Acts 1 because he had died. This book emphasizes the commonness of the disciples and the renunciation of the religious system. MacArthur describes their calling like this, "When Jesus chose the Twelve to be His official representatives--preachers of the gospel who would carry both His message and His authority--He didn't chose a singe rabbi. He didn't chose a scribe. He didn't choose a Pharisee. He didn't choose a Sadducee. He didn't choose a priest. Not one of the men He chose came from the religious establishment. The choosing of the twelve apostles was a judgment against institutionalized Judaism. It was a renunciation of those men and their organizations, which had become totally corrupt. That is why the Lord didn't choose one recognized religious leader. He chose instead men who were not theologically trained--fishermen, a tax collector, and other common men." He goes on, "God's favorite instruments are nobodies, so that no man can boast before God. In other words, God chooses whom He chooses in order that He might receive the glory. He chooses weak instruments so that no one will attribute the power to human instruments rather than to God, who wields those instruments." All of the 11 disciples, except John experienced martyrdom and he was persecuted greatly during his long life. This book reveals that God can use each of us to minister to others. When we humble ourselves under God and believe in the on the Lord Jesus Christ mighty things can be done in the world. The apostles transformed the world through their ministry and each one of His children can accomplish the same in every generation. A must read for all those who are found blameless in Christ.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Kevin Bessey

    I thoroughly enjoyed John MacArthur's "Twelve Ordinary Men" ("TOM"). My expectations were that TOM would be a mixture of scriptural, historical, and narrative references made for each apostle; however to my surprise each apostle's chapter was well balanced between scriptural and historical references. I'm not always a fan of narratives due to the subjective nature and had genuine concerns that MacArthur would stretch each chapter using narrative form. The opening chapter and introduction to the I thoroughly enjoyed John MacArthur's "Twelve Ordinary Men" ("TOM"). My expectations were that TOM would be a mixture of scriptural, historical, and narrative references made for each apostle; however to my surprise each apostle's chapter was well balanced between scriptural and historical references. I'm not always a fan of narratives due to the subjective nature and had genuine concerns that MacArthur would stretch each chapter using narrative form. The opening chapter and introduction to the book offered insight and perspective to the overall outline and message of the book, the main theme related to how God uses ordinary people to accomplish His Plan and Purpose. From there the chapters are organized in the order in which the apostles appear throughout the gospels. Chapters 8 & 9 he incorporated multiple apostles into a single chapter since there is not much scriptural or historical information available. I can also appreciate that MacArthur is careful to infer too much about each apostle. I would say that he was careful in every respect except when it came to Judas Iscariot. The final chapter on Judas was filled with characterizations that I felt were generalizations and strong opinions on Judas. Overall, this was a great overview and impressive lesson on the lives of the apostles. My only complaint would be that the book could've used a conclusion or final chapter that summarized the book's contents, maybe even taking a portion from the introduction. With the last chapter being on the most notorious apostle (Judas) in addition to MacArthur's strong, yet negative writing on Judas, it was a dark and depressing chapter to finish the book on. The Workbook that serves as a companion to TOM had an additional chapter at the end that asked questions and provided lessons on the book as a whole, with supplemental stories and scriptural references. Pros: an excellent and concise overview of the lives of the apostles, with strong foundational evidence and life application. Cons: having a conclusion or closing chapter would have been nice. Bottom line: highly recommend for anyone interested in the lives of the apostles and great for small group discussion.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Maggie Boyd

    While I liked a lot about this book, there were problems with it, too. The main concern is the endless speculation the author does. He states as fact things that were simply his own conjecture, such as his analysis of the personality traits of the apostles. We can know for sure about some of them, but certainly not all of them and yet the author makes many "guestimates" about the lesser known apostles based on no evidence whatsoever. I did love that MacArthur told us: These men were filled with While I liked a lot about this book, there were problems with it, too. The main concern is the endless speculation the author does. He states as fact things that were simply his own conjecture, such as his analysis of the personality traits of the apostles. We can know for sure about some of them, but certainly not all of them and yet the author makes many "guestimates" about the lesser known apostles based on no evidence whatsoever. I did love that MacArthur told us: These men were filled with the Spirit and they preached the Word. That is all we really need to know. The vessel is not the issue; the Master is. So true. The church grew and thrived under the work of the Spirit. I've heard that from numerous sources but it is always nice to see it affirmed. One thing I did find troublesome is that in the section on Judas Iscariot the author insisted that "the rest of the apostles had begun to catch on slowly that the true Messiah was not what they at first expected". The argument was that Judas alone did not realize the kind of kingdom Jesus was building. And yet, Acts 1:6 tells us: Then they (the apostles) gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” Clearly, after spending time with the resurrected Christ they were still expecting an earthly king. Judas was the one who caught on first that Jesus was not the militant, kingdom of earth building leader they had hoped for and took what would have been to a Jewish believer in Torah the appropriate response to a false Messiah: He turned him in to the priests. I in no way believe that was right or good but an understanding of that does change how we view his behavior. It was not just seeking monetary gain but he was genuinely seeking the Messiah. He just wanted a different one than the one God sent. Which would explain why he spent three years with Jesus, years in which the threat of death from the established order was often eminent. He had truly hoped Jesus was the Christ but was blind to the signs of what God had promised through the prophets. He had the Christ in front of him, but the path Judas desired to salvation didn't reconcile with the path the Lord provided. A tragic story that all of us today should also heed.

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