September 10, 2009
Oklahoma Baptist University alumnus Rob Phillips, a 1977 graduate, recently released the book "The Kingdom According to Jesus: A Study of Jesus' Parables on the Kingdom of Heaven," published by CrossBooks.
Phillips serves as director of corporate communications at LifeWay Christian Resources in Nashville, Tenn., where he lives with his wife, Nancy (Johnson) Phillips, also a 1977 OBU alum.
Through "The Kingdom According to Jesus," Phillips investigates what the Bible teaches about the "kingdom of heaven." In the Book of Matthew no fewer than 13 parables of Jesus are recorded about the kingdom of heaven. The Son of God placed emphasis on the kingdom, declaring it to be "at hand" and yet coming. Jesus used parables to reveal previously hidden truths about the kingdom.
"Over the last several years, as I read through the Gospels, I became fascinated by the kingdom of heaven - and especially intrigued by the ‘mystery' of the kingdom, as Jesus described it," Phillips said. "The ‘kingdom' is mentioned about 150 times in Scripture, but there's no clear definition of it.
"Jesus' parables, I learned, provide a wonderful layperson's explanation of the kingdom, or God's authority to rule. The stories of mustard seeds and bridesmaids came alive to me when I realized that Jesus used them to teach simple truths about the kingdom - truths that confounded the hardhearted but cheered the faithful."
Phillips gained an opportunity to teach through the parables of the kingdom at his church, and the teachings developed into a book-length manuscript. CrossBooks gave him the opportunity to publish the full study, which Phillips said he hopes will help people in their personal Bible study or small-group activities.
According to CrossBooks.com, the book specifically seeks to answer these questions: What is the kingdom of heaven? Is the kingdom here already, or are we to wait for it? Why did Jesus use parables to describe it? Who's in the kingdom and who's not? Why are some cast out of the kingdom? And what can we learn from Jesus' stories of mustard seeds, pearls and bridesmaids?
"‘The Kingdom According to Jesus' explores these questions in a simple and compelling way that encourages readers to ‘seek first the kingdom of God' (Matthew 6:33)," CrossBooks.com said. The book is available online at www.crossbooks.com and www.amazon.com.