Author Interview with Richard Phillips

This week’s author inter­view is with Richard Phillips, author of the fol­low­ing 19 P&R titles.

Reformed Expos­i­tory Com­men­taries (he is also one of the two series editors):

Basics of the Faith Book­lets:

Other Books:

  • Ques­tion #1 — Tell us a lit­tle bit about your­self: where you’re from, fam­ily, job, per­sonal inter­ests, unique hob­bies, what do you do in your spare time, etc.

I was raised in an Army fam­ily, so I moved all through my child­hood. We were what I would call patri­otic Protes­tants. My fam­ily was not Chris­t­ian in a spir­i­tu­ally alive sense, but we attended church reg­u­larly and empha­sized moral­ity, patri­o­tism, and duty. This made for a won­der­ful child­hood in many ways. Ours was a very close-knit fam­ily that enjoyed work­ing and play­ing together. My father was a tank colonel, so there were always things going on that are very inter­est­ing to a boy. Due to the Viet­nam War, in which my father served for two years, there was also a sense of impend­ing tragedy in the air. Many of my child­hood friends’ fathers died and we attended an awful lot of funer­als. So the patri­o­tism, duty, and honor fac­tors were very high in my upbring­ing. But there was a huge amount of love, fun, and excitement.

I met my wife 22 years ago at church. We have five chil­dren, which makes us a pretty active fam­ily. We home-school and our kids are quite active in church, sports, and music (to name the main activ­i­ties). This year our old­est is a senior in high school, so it is pretty excit­ing work­ing through the pre-college process with her. Our two boys (16 and 14) are play­ing on a home-school var­sity foot­ball team (isn’t South Car­olina great!) and that is excit­ing to me, since I played foot­ball as well. We are blessed to serve a church with a strong and lov­ing com­mu­nity, so our kids are highly immersed in a Chris­t­ian social cir­cle in which my wife and I are pretty involved as well. It’s a lot of fun and we are grate­ful to God.

I was an Army offi­cer until age 35, so I came into min­istry later than most. I was con­verted at age 30 at Tenth Pres­by­ter­ian Church in Philadel­phia and by God’s prov­i­dence I began preach­ing there reg­u­larly at age 39. For the last 15 years, I have been preach­ing God’s Word vir­tu­ally every week, usu­ally morn­ing and evening. It was a priv­i­lege to serve as evening preacher at Tenth and then senior min­is­ter at First Pres­by­ter­ian Church in Coral Springs, FL. But we found our home in Greenville, SC, where I am senior min­is­ter at Sec­ond Pres­by­ter­ian Church. I am involved in a num­ber of dif­fer­ent Reformed orga­ni­za­tions, includ­ing the Alliance of Con­fess­ing Evan­gel­i­cals, the Gospel Coali­tion, West­min­ster The­o­log­i­cal Sem­i­nary, and the Gospel Ref­or­ma­tion Network.

All this keeps me pretty busy!  Any­thing along the lines of hob­bies mainly involves things with my chil­dren. We fol­low our sports teams pretty avidly (Uni­ver­sity of Michi­gan and the Boston Red Sox, mainly). And I am a writer – so I have no spare time for any­thing else!


  • Ques­tion #2 — Which writ­ers inspire you?

My writ­ing mainly involves the expo­si­tion of Scrip­ture, so my inspi­ra­tion in writ­ing runs in that direc­tion. I am inspired by faith­ful ser­vants of the Word who have writ­ten a large amount of mate­r­ial on a wide range of top­ics and texts, han­dling them all with faith­ful­ness, skill, insight, clar­ity, and econ­omy of style. My first inspi­ra­tion in this regard was James Mont­gomery Boice, who I had the priv­i­lege of know­ing inti­mately and with whom I shared many dis­cus­sions about min­istry, the­ol­ogy, and writ­ing. When I think of other inspi­ra­tions, I would include Mar­tyn Lloyd-Jones for his insight and power, John Mur­ray for his clar­ity and depth, and my close friend Phil Ryken for his reg­u­lar, con­sis­tent excel­lence. These are the virtues to which I aspire: faith­ful­ness, insight, clar­ity, and con­sis­tent excellence.

I would add a word to aspir­ing writ­ers that they need to read vora­ciously. As a preacher and writer, I not only read dozens of com­men­taries weekly, but I also read the­o­log­i­cal books, church his­tory, and pub­lished ser­mons (my favorite) for per­sonal edi­fi­ca­tion and spir­i­tual fuel.


  • Ques­tion #3 — Did you always enjoy writing?

Yes. In high school and col­lege I enjoyed writ­ing papers. As a young Army offi­cer, I pub­lished arti­cles on tac­tics and lead­er­ship in mil­i­tary jour­nals. I think I have always felt a cre­ative out­let in writ­ing and have wanted to exer­cise that. It still thrills me to write, and espe­cially to serve Christ’s Church in this way. After thirty books in print, I still greet each new arrival with an aston­ished joy that I have the priv­i­lege to write books and with a fer­vent desire that peo­ple would be gen­uinely helped by them. Writ­ing is such hard work and takes so much time, that I do think you need to find a joy sim­ply in the process of writ­ing and editing.


  • Ques­tion #4 — Do you have a favorite book that you have written?

My com­men­taries are par­tic­u­larly pre­cious to me, as is the entire Reformed Expos­i­tory Com­men­tary series that I co-edit. I think my Hebrews com­men­tary will always be dear to my heart, because it was the first full-length com­men­tary I wrote and I ded­i­cated it to Jim Boice as a way of express­ing my desire to carry on his work. Also my Zechariah com­men­tary, because I was aware that it would be a par­tic­u­larly valu­able con­tri­bu­tion to the lit­er­a­ture. I am always excited about my most recent book, in this case my 2-volume com­men­tary on the Gospel of John (ten years of my life went into that one). I am also really excited about the Rev­e­la­tion com­men­tary that, Lord will­ing, I will pub­lish in 2 or 3 years.


  • Ques­tion #5 — How do you deal with writer’s block?

I don’t know that I expe­ri­ence writer’s block, per se. But there are plenty of times when I do not see the way for­ward – the right tran­si­tion to the next topic, the proper orga­ni­za­tion of the mate­r­ial, a really excel­lent con­clu­sion, etc. What I do is set the work aside, know­ing it will be on my mind. I then may go for a drive, take a shower, or do some chores. I pray for God to give me insight so that I may serve him. Over and over, I find that God answers this prayer. Usu­ally, it is while the sub­ject is not at the fore­front of my mind – but not absent either – that an insight will come that enables me to move for­ward. Some­times, as well, the solu­tion presents itself while I am deal­ing with a dif­fer­ent min­istry issue – pas­toral coun­sel­ing or a com­mit­tee meet­ing – and that sit­u­a­tion pro­vides a con­text that helps me to orga­nize my problem.


  • Ques­tion #6 — Favorite sport to watch? Why? Favorite sport’s team?

Col­lege foot­ball. Raw pas­sion and unbri­dled enthu­si­asm. Loy­alty to fam­ily and alma mater. I grad­u­ated from the Uni­ver­sity of Michi­gan and I am (together with my sons) a fanat­i­cal fol­lower of Michi­gan foot­ball and basketball.


  • Ques­tion #7 — Favorite ani­mal? Why?

The dog. Loy­alty, love, faith­ful­ness, devo­tion, play­ful­ness and fun. The exact oppo­site of cats!


  • Ques­tion #8 — Lord of the Rings or The Chron­i­cles of Nar­nia? Why?

Lord of the Rings, by far. I enjoy Nar­nia, but it is much more pedan­tic – Lewis, as Tolkien com­plained, con­trolled the nar­ra­tive to force a point on you. (This is not to deny the bril­liance and beauty of Nar­nia!) Lord of the Rings is true lit­er­a­ture, as a Chris­t­ian world­view expresses itself in myth­i­cal form. I lis­ten to the Lord of the Rings on audio once a year.

My favorite scene in Lord of the Rings? The coro­na­tion of Aragorn. As beau­ti­ful an artis­tic depic­tion of the exal­ta­tion of Christ as I have ever read: “Ancient of days he seemed and yet in the flower of man­hood; and wis­dom sat upon his brow, and strength and heal­ing were in his hands, and a light was about him. And then Faramir cried: ‘Behold the King!”” That is won­der­ful beyond telling.


  • Ques­tion #9 — What famous per­son (liv­ing or dead) would you like to meet and why?

My heart is par­tic­u­larly drawn to Bible fig­ures. After our Lord, I really look for­ward to meet­ing Samuel, Jonathan, Jehoshaphat, Paul, and the writer of Hebrews (I’d like to know who he is). Notice how I put this – not that I would like to meet them but that I am going to meet them!

As for Chris­tians in heaven, I look for­ward to these: Tyn­dale, Luther, Calvin, Lady Jane Grey, Lloyd-Jones, Spur­geon, B.M. Palmer, Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jack­son, George Wash­ing­ton, and Robert the Bruce.

Non-Christians I would enjoy meet­ing (here my mil­i­tary back­ground comes out): Napoleon, Nel­son, von Manstein, Belis­ar­ius, Pom­pey the Great, Leonidas, Ben Franklin, and David Ortiz.


Inter­ested in learn­ing more about Richard Phillips?


NEW RELEASE — Jesus Is Most Special by Sally Michael

There are 3 months till Christ­mas! What per­fect tim­ing for the release of our new Christ­mas book: Jesus Is Most Spe­cial by Sally Michael.

24 Pages | $9.99 | Hard­cover | Color Illus­trated

Sum­mary: Our chil­dren are spe­cial to us, and Christ­mas is a spe­cial time for them, cap­ti­vat­ing them with its joy and won­der. What bet­ter time for par­ents to intro­duce their young chil­dren to the most spe­cial child ever born — the child who is also the Sav­ior of the world and the King of Kings?

Sally Michael helps par­ents to share the story of the birth of Jesus with their chil­dren and goes a step fur­ther by plac­ing the Christ­mas story in the larger con­text of the Bible, includ­ing what comes before and after. She goes on to moti­vate chil­dren to teach this all-important story to oth­ers after they have learned it them­selves. Through its large, full-color illus­trated pages and its sug­ges­tions for accom­pa­ny­ing songs and visu­als, this book will help chil­dren to learn by heart the most spe­cial story ever told.

About the Author:

Sally Michael is the co-founder and pub­lish­ing con­sul­tant of Chil­dren Desir­ing God, and she devel­oped their widely used Sun­day school cur­ricu­lum for young peo­ple. She is also an author and a speaker, and she served as Min­is­ter for Chil­dren at Beth­le­hem Bap­tist Church in Min­neapo­lis, Min­nesota, for six­teen years. She is also the author of God’s Names, God’s Promise, God’s Prov­i­dence, God’s Wis­dom.

What Others Are Saying about this Book:

The sim­plic­ity of this book mir­rors the plain­ness of the bib­li­cal story. Carol lyrics waft beside the brief, deep Scrip­tures that inspired them. In these pages the Sav­ior is clearly worshiped—the story of his arrival touched me yet again.” — Steve Estes, Author of A Bet­ter December


Our mis­sion is to serve Christ and his church by pro­duc­ing clear, engag­ing, fresh, and insight­ful appli­ca­tions of Reformed theology.



Author Interview with Catherine Stewart

This week’s author inter­view is with Cather­ine Stew­art, edi­tor of Let­ters to Pas­tors’ Wives: When Sem­i­nary Ends and Min­istry Begins.

  • Ques­tion #1 — Tell us a lit­tle bit about your­self: where you’re from, fam­ily, job, per­sonal inter­ests, unique hob­bies, what do you do in your spare time, etc.

Orig­i­nally I come from North­ern Ire­land, but have lived all over Eng­land, the Isle of Man and now live in Savan­nah, Geor­gia. My fam­ily still live in North­ern Ire­land where I spent most of my youth. It was there that I had the priv­i­lege of grow­ing up sur­rounded by horses, and so most of my extra cur­ric­u­lar time was devoted to their care and prepa­ra­tion for all sorts of equine sports. That par­tic­u­lar avenue of plea­sure has passed for now as I care for and home-school our six chil­dren; the old­est will be head­ing to col­lege next year and the youngest is still in diapers!!!


  • Ques­tion #2 — Did you always enjoy writing?

Yes, I always enjoy writ­ing. Whether it be a sim­ple thank you let­ter or prepar­ing a mes­sage for a group of women, writ­ing is a lit­tle haven from the busy­ness of every­day life.


  • Ques­tion #3 — What inspired you to write this book, about this topic?

When my hus­band decided to leave his job as a physi­cian in North­ern Ire­land and pur­sue a call to the min­istry, I felt over­whelmed at the prospect of being a pastor’s wife. Truth be told, I felt very much like a square peg in a round hole!! After get­ting to know many other pas­tors’ wives through sem­i­nary life, I real­ized I was not alone in my fears and that there is no typ­i­cal stereo type of a pastor’s wife. I longed to have put into print much of the wis­dom I gleaned from other ‘sea­soned’ pas­tors wives . . . and sub­se­quently the seed form of this book was born.


  • Ques­tion #4 — What book are you read­ing now?

I have just fin­ished read­ing Glo­ria Furman’s book, Trea­sur­ing Christ:When Your Hands Are Full. Its title nat­u­rally appealed to me and the con­tent is a delight­ful reminder of our need to redeem the pre­cious years of moth­er­ing, see­ing Christ in all of life’s lit­tle prov­i­dences; a gem!



NEW RELEASE — Prone to Wander by Barbara Duguid and Wayne Duguid Houk

Prone to Wan­der: Prayers of Con­fes­sion and Celebration
by Bar­bara Duguid and Wayne Duguid Houk
edited by Iain M. Duguid

240 pages | $14.99 | Paper­back

Sum­mary: “We have left undone those things which we ought to have done; and we have done those things which we ought not to have done.” But what are “those things”? Why do we con­fess them?

The pur­pose of con­fess­ing our sins is not sim­ply to remind us what great sin­ners we are, but rather to point us to the great Sav­ior we have. Inspired by the Puri­tan clas­sic The Val­ley of Vision, this book pro­vides spe­cific prayers of con­fes­sion in response to par­tic­u­lar Scrip­ture pas­sages. They are ideal for use in church or in per­sonal devotions.

These prayers thank God for Jesus’ per­fect right­eous­ness and sub­sti­tu­tion­ary atone­ment for our sins and ask for the help of the Spirit in pur­su­ing holi­ness. They close with a scrip­tural assur­ance of par­don in Christ for the sins of God’s peo­ple. Appen­dices include the hymns ref­er­enced in each prayer, as well as the ser­mon texts that accom­pa­nied these con­fes­sions as they were orig­i­nally used in wor­ship services.

About the Authors:

Bar­bara R. Duguid is a coun­selor and min­istry assis­tant at Christ Pres­by­ter­ian Church (ARP) in Grove City, Penn­syl­va­nia, where she crafts the weekly liturgy. She is a pastor’s wife and the mother of six chil­dren, and she holds an advanced cer­tifi­cate in bib­li­cal coun­sel­ing from the Chris­t­ian Coun­sel­ing and Edu­ca­tional Foun­da­tion in Glen­side, Pennsylvania.

Wayne Duguid Houk is the events direc­tor and con­fer­ence plan­ner at Chris­t­ian Coun­sel­ing and Edu­ca­tional Foun­da­tion in Glen­side, Pennsylvania.


Iain M. Duguid is pro­fes­sor of Old Tes­ta­ment at West­min­ster The­o­log­i­cal Sem­i­nary, Philadel­phia. He has writ­ten numer­ous works of bib­li­cal expo­si­tion, includ­ing Esther & Ruth and Daniel in the Reformed Expos­i­tory Com­men­tary series, Ezekiel in the NIV Appli­ca­tion Com­men­tary series, and Num­bers in the Preach­ing the Word series.

What Others Say About This Book:
I find it eas­ier to learn about God than to talk to him. These devo­tion­als and prayers assist me in doing both, with the added ben­e­fit that they inspire me to pray those prayers with others.”
Edward T. Welch, Fac­ulty Mem­ber, Chris­t­ian Coun­sel­ing and Edu­ca­tional Foundation


Duguid and Houk show how the heart long­ing for rec­on­cil­i­a­tion with God can find peace and beauty in bib­li­cal con­fes­sion. . . . help[ing] us to face the bit­ter to taste the sweet.”
Bryan Chapell, Senior Pas­tor, Grace Pres­by­ter­ian Church


This book has many virtues. One is its flex­i­bil­ity in being adapt­able to a range of sit­u­a­tions, includ­ing pub­lic wor­ship and pri­vate devo­tions. . . . I love its over­all aims and method.”
—Leland Ryken, Pro­fes­sor of Eng­lish, Wheaton College



Author Interview with Sarah Ivill

Check out this week’s author inter­view with Sarah Ivill, author of 2 books in our Tapes­try series: Rev­e­la­tion: Let the One Who Is Thirsty Come, and new title Judges & Ruth: There Is a Redeemer.

  • Ques­tion #1 — Tell us a lit­tle bit about yourself…

I have lived in North Car­olina and Geor­gia most of my life. My hus­band and I have been mar­ried for almost eleven years and the Lord has blessed us with three children—Caleb (8), Han­nah (6) and Daniel (4 months). We presently live in Char­lotte. I enjoy teach­ing a women’s Bible study at our church, as well as shep­herd­ing women through dif­fi­cult sea­sons of life. I love to exer­cise, read, and spend time out­doors with my family.


  • Ques­tion #2 — Did you always enjoy writing?

I have always loved to write. I began jour­nal­ing as a young girl and at last count had filled 29 journals.


  • Ques­tion #3 — What inspired you to write this book, about this topic?

When I was asked to teach a Bible study at my church years ago and began search­ing for resources, I real­ized that there was a lack of Bible stud­ies for women writ­ten from a covenan­tal per­spec­tive. I wanted to help fill this need, so I began writ­ing stud­ies such as, Hebrews: His Hope, The Anchor For Our Souls, Rev­e­la­tion: Let the One Who Is Thirsty Come and Judges & Ruth: There Is A Redeemer.


  • Ques­tion #4 — Do you have a spe­cific spot that you enjoy writ­ing most?

I love to write in my home office. I have a great view to the beauty of God’s cre­ation and easy access to resources I need while writing.


  • Ques­tion #5 — At what time of day do you write most?

I love to write in the early morning.


  • Ques­tion #6 — How do you deal with writer’s block?

I got writer’s block for the first time when I was in sem­i­nary. I got down on my knees with my key­board on my lap, cry­ing out to the Lord to help me write so I could turn my paper in on time. He did! There are times I still do this, but often­times if I push through and write at least a few para­graphs, I move past it. I can always go back and revise the les­son later.


  • Ques­tion #7 — Chron­i­cles of Nar­nia or Lord of the Rings?

I have always enjoyed read­ing books by C. S. Lewis. I espe­cially love the Chron­i­cles of Nar­nia because they are won­der­ful books to read aloud to my chil­dren. I read all of them to my old­est son a cou­ple of years ago and now enjoy see­ing him reread them on his own.



Want to learn more about Sarah?

Visit her new web­site: