"The Good Shepherd" by Kenneth E. Bailey. A Review
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Kenneth E. Bailey, seminary professor, author, career missionary, and international lecturer, had the pleasure of pulling together and publishing this 288 page paperback, "The Good Shepherd: A Thousand-Year Journey From Psalm 23 to the New Testament" before he died. Bailey crafted an easy to read, informative picture of the Good Shepherd that professors and parishioners alike will benefit from. This volume is filled with material from his own and his students' experiences in Lebanon, Egypt and Israel. The author also drew from Aramaic and Armenian sources of earlier Christian writers.
"The Good Shepherd" touches on nine biblical passages starting with Psalm 23 and ending with 1 Peter 5.1-5. In working with these nine passages, Bailey looks for continuity and discontinuity, "In our reflections on the nine texts we will pay close attention to what remains the same and to what is added along with what is revised or omitted" (24). The author, when necessary, teases out the Hebrew and Greek in a very easy way that makes it understandable for every reader. The material flows and builds so that each chapter stands alone, and simultaneously builds from the previous. The first and second-hand accounts add new textures to old stories and passages, capturing the reader's attention. Personally, I found myself the most entranced by the chapter that worked through Mark 6.7-52.
"The Good Shepherd" will heighten the reader's appreciation for the Shepherd passages, taking them further and going into them deeper, without wearing one out with abstract deliberations. Not only would this volume make a great book study for a Bible Study group, it could also give a preacher needed resources for a sermon series, maybe a Lenten series. As a result of reading the book, my own imagination has been stoked, and brought me to form several homilies that I will be presenting in the near future. I highly recommend the book!
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