A recent post here on NT Wright has spurred some interesting discussion about the use of Protestant authors. So, I thought it would be interesting to see which non-Catholic writers you, my readers, like to use or refer to when doing study or devotions. This does not necessarily mean that you endorse every aspect of a particular Protestant author's commentary, but perhaps you have been able to find good fruit in the use of some non-Catholic works. (Of course, one could argue that there are a number of Catholic authors out there that you would need to be as much if not more discerning in how you use them compared to many a Protestant author.)
I'll start us off with a Protestant author that I have been using quite a bit of during the past year. Many of you, I am sure, are familiar with singer/songwriter Michael Card. Well, along a successful thirty year career in Christian music, Michael also received his B.A. and M.A. in Biblical Studies studying under Dr. William Lane at Western Kentucky University. He has composed a number of books over the past decade that find a middle ground between devotional and scholarly. In particular, I really enjoyed his 2009 book called A Better Freedom: Finding Life as Slaves of Christ which explores the biblical imagery of slavery and how it related to Christian discipleship. It was a wonderful read and I highly recommend it.
Recently though, Michael has commenced a new series of books, published by InterVarsity Press, called the Biblical Imagination Series. The goal of this series is to "Bridge the Gap Between Heart & Mind" when reading the Scriptures.
As the website puts it: "There is a bridge between the heart and mind: the imagination, the means by which the Spirit begins to undo what was disintegrated by the Fall. When we allow our imaginations to be recaptured by the Holy Spirit, the facts we know in our heads come to life in our hearts. When we hear these words of Jesus something inside us shudders. We wince at the thought of someone - anyone - who has the ability to see and hear, and yet stubbornly refuses to perceive and understand. And, truth be told, our greatest fear is that we might be just that person. But what does biblical imagination look like and ask? How do we apply facts in our heads to aches in our hearts? What is missing in our understanding that leads to a more biblical response to the Spirit of God?"
Each volume, which covers are particular Biblical book, is accompanied by a music album from Michael Card that explores many of the themes that are highlighted in the book. So far, the available volumes are Matthew, Mark, and Luke. Along with the books and music, Michael also leads conferences devoted to promoting Biblical imagination.
This past year I used Michael's book on Mark not only for devotions, but I also incorporated a couple of his insights into my Catholic Biblical School of Michigan classes on Mark. So, I have found his work exceedingly helpful and look forward to diving in to Matthew, which I just downloaded on my Kindle. Michael's volume on the Gospel of John is due out sometime next year.