A Life Worth Living and A Lord Worth Loving
Ecclesiastes & Song of Solomon
Has life really any meaning? Our time in this world is comparatively short. The earthly stage remains, but different actors are constantly passing across it. Generations come and go, but nothing is ultimately different. This is how many people see life, and Solomon identifies with them. But is life really pointless? If not, what is its true meaning? The message of Ecclesiastes is that life is not worth living unless we live it for God. The Song of Solomon teaches us that living for the Lord means loving him.
'With candour the author confesses that for many years he neglected these books of Solomon. His commentary actually conveys his joy at discovering their powerful relevance and meaning for today.' Christian Update
Alive in Christ - Ephesians Simply Explained
When we begin to understand Paul's Epistle to the Ephesians, something wonderful happens to our spiritual life. Realizing how rich we are in Christ, we become filled with thankfulness and joy. We never envy non-Christians again. We see what it means to live as a Christian in today's world. We become stable in our doctrinal understanding. In short, Ephesians produces exactly the sort of Christians we most need.
That is why this short commentary has been written. It is for those who want to begin to understand Paul's great letter. More advanced believers will find spiritual refreshment here. May a fresh reading of Ephesians help all of us to 'grow up in all things into him who is the head - Christ'! (Eph. 4:15).
Be Filled With The Spirit
There is perhaps not a more misunderstood command than ‘be filled with the Spirit’ (Ephesians 5:18). On the one hand it has been used in some places to justify extremes of behaviour and unbiblical practices; on the other hand, some have simply taken it as a fact that all Christians are by definition filled with the Spirit, and that there is little or nothing further to say. This book avoids both extremes, but it begins with a clear statement by the author:
... when the apostle tells believers to ‘be filled with the Spirit’ (Ephesians 5:18) it is because some of them are not. Yes, it is possible to be a true Christian who has never experienced this spiritual reality.
He goes on to say:
This is not what the Lord wants. He wants every Christian everywhere to be filled with the Spirit. He wants this for His own sake, for their sake, and for the sake of His churches and the world. But how can this happen if believers don’t know what the filling of the Spirit is?
The following pages are a brief summary and explanation of what the Bible teaches on this important subject. As you read it I trust that you will be enlightened, enriched, and drawn into a more intimate walk with our Lord Jesus Christ.
Short and readable as it is, this may nevertheless be the most important book (outside the Bible) you have read in a long time.
Dare to Stand Alone Daniel Simply Explained
Here is a commentary for those who would like to read and enjoy the book of Daniel. The symbolism and apparently mysterious passages in the book have discouraged many from giving it serious study. But Stuart Olyott, in his lively yet thorough style, shows that the prophecy of Daniel is basically an easy book to understand. His aim is to excite the reader to read Daniel for himself.
The book of Daniel is full of practical help - especially for believers who find themselves standing alone in the classroom or at work, or among their family and friends. Daniel tells us how to remain true to God in a hostile environment, and shows us how to live for Him when everything is against us. Daniel dared to stand alone. So can we.
'Dare to stand alone is a masterpiece of clear, helpful applied writing and causes the book of Daniel to be living and relevant not only in its exciting narrative sections but in its highly symbolic sections also.' Grace Magazine
I wish someone would explain Hebrews to me
Every Christian needs to understand Hebrews. If they do not, they will misunderstand the Old Testament and will also fail to fully appreciate what the Lord Jesus Christ has done, what he is doing now, and what he is going to do in the future. As a result, they will remain spiritually stunted. Over the years, plenty of books have been written to explain Hebrews, but only a few of them have had ordinary Christians in mind. Some of them are so large and so complicated that they appear to be the last word. Experts enjoy books like these, but everybody else is left bewildered. This book does not pretend to be 'the last word' but perhaps, for some, it will prove useful as 'the first word'. Stuart Olyott explains Hebrews as clearly as the subject matter allows, keeping in mind the advice of Albert Einstein that 'things should be as simple as possible, but no simpler'. Crystal clear explanation of the text is followed by detailed practical application. Indeed this book contains many applications, some of which are very direct. Throughout, the aim of the author is to focus our gaze upon Christ so that we might follow him renewed.
Jesus is Both God and Man
What the Bible teaches about the person of Christ
How often are Christians amazed at the wonder of the person of the Lord Jesus Christ? How well equipped are they to defend their belief in Christ against the attacks of members of the cults who come knocking at the door?
Jesus is both God and man is about the glorious person of the Lord Jesus Christ.
It shows Christ's two natures co-existing perfectly in one person;
It exposes fundamental errors in the teaching of cults and liberal theologians, who either deny our Lord's divinity or do not do full justice to his humanity;
It leads readers to stand in awe of the God-Man, and to worship the one who gave himself as the Saviour of sinners.
'This is the work of a 'kneeling theologian' ... This is no academic excursion. It is a summons to believe right, and to live well ... This is a book well worth reading and pondering.'
David F. Wells, Academic Dean
Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, Charlotte, North Carolina
Ministering Like The Master
Christ was not a boring preacher! 'How wonderful it would be,' says Stuart Olyott in the introduction to this book, 'if Christian preachers throughout the world were ministering like their Master!' Drawing on examples of Christ's preaching from the Gospels, Olyott challenges preachers today with three features of their Master's ministry. Christ's style and method were not boring, but gripping. Christ's preaching was evangelistic. Christ's ministry was more than just preaching: his whole life was ministry. In a fresh, compelling and practical way. Olyott guides preachers away from some of the perils and pitfalls that could hinder their success. In so doing, he shows us just how essential Christ's example is to those who seek to minister in his name today.
Preaching Pure and Simple
What is preaching? Why is some preaching arresting and powerful, and some boring and flat? How do you prepare sermons? The author states that God’s work in the world and preaching are intimately linked, ‘The kingdom of God and preaching are like conjoined twins who cannot be separated; they stand or fall together.’
This book is based on the author’s preaching seminars held over the years in Switzerland, England and Wales, while additional material is taken from lectures at the Evangelical Theological College of Wales, Bryntirion, Bridgend.
The author insists that a sermon should be rooted in accurate exegesis, characterised by doctrinal substance, Christ-centredness and supernatural authority, as well as being clear, direct, vivid, helpful and moving. His book explains why.
A closing section outlines a suggested method of sermon preparation, and there follows a tribute to Hugh D. Morgan, a preacher who exemplified the principles outlined in this book.
Preaching that Gets Through
God's Word and our words
All of us who hear preaching are aware that some of it gets through and that some of it does not. Why is this? What, if anything, can preachers do to communicate more effectively? And can this be done without degrading the glory of the gospel message, or detracting from it? This booklet will provide instruction, help, and encouragement to those who are wrestling with these questions.
Reading the Bible and Praying in Public
Bible reading and prayer are two elements in all evangelical church worship. At certain points in every service someone will read the Scriptures and lead the congregation in prayer. These regular acts of worship are so familiar that many probably take them for granted and do not think too seriously about them. But what is the best way to read the Bible in public and what are the things we need to keep in mind if we are to lead others in public prayer? In Reading the Bible and Praying in Public, Stuart Olyott supplies us with wise practical advice on these vitally important acts of our corporate church worship.
Something Must Be Known And Felt
In true Christianity God’s revealed truth is believed, it is lived out, and it is felt. It impacts the soul. If we forget this we will eventually lose biblical religion altogether. But what are we to make of our emotions? What does the Bible say? And does it tell us how to know which of our feelings are pleasing to God, and which are not?
This book begins by answering these questions before moving on to examine other aspects of spiritual experience. It sheds light on the Holy Spirit’s work in the soul, on how to know whether we are true Christians or not, on what it means to experience the felt presence of Christ, and on how to seek and receive God’s guidance. The book closes with two chapters on experiences in prayer which are now largely forgotten. There is an extended treatment of ‘the prayer of faith’; that is, praying in such a way as to have certainty about the outcome. This is followed by teaching about ‘waiting on God’ and the wonderful things that happen to those who do. Whole continents of spiritual experience are waiting for us to explore them, and it is the author’s prayer that this book will help many of the Lord’s people on their journey.
The Gospel as it Really Is
Romans Simply Explained
Perhaps no other part of Scripture has had a profound an influence on the history of the Christian church as Paul's Epistle to the Romans. Luther said of Romans: 'It can never be read or considered too much or too well, and the more it is handled, the more delightful it becomes and the better it tastes.' In this book the author aims to present a simple introduction to Romans for the ordinary reader. His exposition hoes straight to the heart of the passage, avoiding technicalities or obscure textual criticism.
'Exhibits interpretative mastery...We give a very warm welcome to the present volume...In his hands the Letter to the Romans becomes intimate, immediate and personal.'
'A remarkably helpful book...It should open up the letter to many and whet their appetites for more!'
The Three Are One
What the Bible Teaches about the Trinity
To deny that Jesus Christ is God is to deny a fundamental truth of the Bible. Yet it is at this point that many of the cults differ from Scripture. Every true Christian believes that the three Persons of the Godhead - Father, Son and Holy Spirit - are three yet one. How do we understand the Bible's teaching on the Trinity and how can we refute those who reject this truth?
Stuart Olyott shows that the fact of the Trinity is clearly taught in Scripture and that it is foundational to the Christian gospel. In straight-forward language the author seeks to lead the reader to a better understanding of what God has revealed about Himself.
This Way to Godliness
The Christian journey — an outline from Romans
This book, based on addresses preached at the Evangelical Movement of Wales Conference at Aberystwyth in 2005, deals with these chapters and this vital subject. Godliness, we are told, is contrary to the selfish spirit that moves the world, the flesh and the devil, in that it seeks to do everything for the glory of Christ. Stuart Olyott shows us that godliness is a moral and not a mystical quality; it is the fruit of union with Christ; it results in glad obedience to a new master and, although this will result in loss and suffering in this life, it anticipates the future glory of heaven which awaits every believer.
An essential read for all who wish to live godly lives in Christ Jesus.
Truth For All Time
Truth for All Time: A Brief Outline of the Christian Faith (Paperback) by John Calvin, Stuart Olyott (Translator)
'This simplest of summaries of the Christian Faith is a kind of Institutes in miniature ... It covers all the fundamental points and reveals Calvin's passionate and practical devotion to God' (Peace and Truth). This is Calvin's own summary of biblical truth, a précis of the first edition of his Institutes. He wrote it in 1536-7 in order to 'define the Christian faith for ordinary people'. This new translation by Stuart Olyott (only one English translation has appeared before) has been made from a French edition of an original copy rediscovered in 1877.
You Might Have Asked… about the Christian Faith
Life is seldom easy. Most people, at some time or other, have to face difficulties, problems and question to which there do not seem to be any clear answers:
Is there any purpose to man's existence? What has gone wrong with the world?
Can we be sure that God exists? Can the Bible be trusted?
Does it really matter what I believe? What happens when I die?
Life is not a meaningless existence, and we therefore need clear directions to point us in the right way. This book seeks to give such directions and to answer some of the many questions which 'You Might Have Asked'.
The author points the reader to Christ. He does not attempt to explain every turn and slope on the pathway to faith, but simply tells us where to begin. This book is a starting point for those who are asking serious questions about the Christian faith.