IVP - Andy Unedited - November 2017 Archives

November 14, 2017

Thinking, Fast and Slow

Consider this problem. A bat and ball cost $1.10. The ball costs $1 more than the bat. How much does the ball cost?

Obviously, Ball and Bat.jpgthe ball costs $0.10. Or does it? Our mind immediately jumps to this answer, as it did for more than half the Harvard, MIT, and Princeton students who were asked. But if we take a minute to work it out, we'll come up with something different.

If the ball costs $0.10 and the bat costs a dollar more than the ball, then the bat costs $1.10 and the two together cost $1.20. So that can't be right. No, the ball costs $0.05 and the bat costs $1.05 (a dollar more) and the two together cost $1.10.

In Thinking, Fast and Slow, Daniel Kahneman uses this (pp. 44-45) and dozens of other examples (and mounds of scientific research conducted over decades) to poke holes in the confidence we have in intuition--even the intuition of experts. Analysis of thousands of trades by fund managers showed they were as successful in picking stocks as dart-throwing monkeys would be. Despite the great confidence they have in their years of experience, they are merely as good as a random process for choosing stocks.

We use our intuition in voting for a president, in explaining why a golfer won (or lost) a tournament, in choosing a candidate for a job opening, in estimating the height of the tallest redwood, buying a car, estimating sales of our new product--and often we'd do just as well flipping a coin. Why is our fast analysis so often wrong? Why don't we use a slower, more logical approach more often?

IntuitionThinking, Fast and Slow 2.jpg is not always wrong. It is an important feature of our brains that allows us to interact with our world effectively. If we had to slow down and analyze everything we encountered before we knew how to respond (every chair, every facial expression, every moving object on the highway), we'd be paralyzed.

Intuition is also effective for experienced experts in very narrowly constrained realms--anesthesiologists in operating rooms, firefights in a burning building, chess masters in a tournament. But where there are many variables and many possibilities (such as financial advisors picking stocks or pundits predicting world events a year out), intuition is useless.

Too often, however, we rely on our hunches when we shouldn't. That was the whole point of Moneyball, the bestseller about how the Oakland Athletics (one of the least wealthy teams in baseball) consistently outperformed much richer teams. The Athletics didn't rely on how a player looked or talked or acted, as baseball scouts traditionally did. They looked at statistics--cold and hard. When they saw a player with good stats who was undervalued on the market, they snapped him up even if he was ugly, short, and fat.

Kahneman makes much the same point that Malcolm Gladwell does in Blink, which I reviewed here. But Kahneman does so with more clarity and care.

Thinking, Fast and Slow
is especially worthwhile for people in business. Sales forecasts are often far too optimistic. Hiring is often too impressionistic. Business strategies are promoted with supreme confidence in bestselling books that we should be far more skeptical about. In Built to Last eighteen pairs of competing companies (one more successful than the other) were compared. But in the period following the publication of the book, the average difference in profitability fell to near zero.

Kahneman clearly shows a better way, in business and in life.

Posted by Andy Le Peau at 10:35 AM | Comments

November 8, 2017

The Past Is Always Present

What can you find in Mark Through Old Testament Eyes? Glad you asked. Here's what some have had to say.

A ground-breaking genial achievement--exceptional and virtually unique! Of its many admirable features three shine brightly: its user-friendly learning/teaching style laced with charts and summaries; its discovery-edge in identifying copiously Old Testament contexts for specific texts, verses, and phrases; and its attention to narrative structure and themes. A winner for both classroom and church group study. Though long a Markan scholar and author, I here found new treasures. Read and enjoy!
Willard Swartley
Prof. Emeritus of New Testament
Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary
Imagine St. Louis Bot Garden Flowers B&W.jpgyou were born color-blind and did not know it. One day, a doctor hands you a pair of glasses that correct your vision. Suddenly, you see the true splendor of the world. You thrill at the beauty of the details, the wonder of the contrasts, the sheer marvel of the patterns that had always been there but, previously, missed. This is what it is like to read Andrew Le Peau's superb commentary. I had no idea there was so much of the Old Testament in the New.
Whether St. Louis Bot Garden Flowers.jpgyou are a preacher or teacher seeking to usher others into the deeper meaning of familiar texts, or simply a person of faith eager for a more penetrating encounter with God's Word, this book will be an eye-opening resource to which you will return again and again. Why did it take so long for someone to develop an approach to Scripture study as illuminating and useful as this one? I will buy every book that comes out in this series.
Daniel Meyer
Senior Pastor, Christ Church of Oak Brook
Author, Witness Essentials, Leadership Essentials, and Discovering God
For years, Andrew Le Peau has been chewing on the gospel of Mark. It certainly shows in this wonderful new commentary. Eminently accessible - via verse-by-verse exegesis - he capably bridges the chasm between Old and New Testaments. Ancient concepts such "son of man" and "kingdom of God" provide fertile soil for the gospel's narrative. An important resource for any serious Christian.
Alec Hill
President Emeritus
InterVarsity Christian Fellowship/USA
To Mark Through Old Testament Eyes.jpgcomprehend the four gospels you must first get Mark right. Andrew Le Peau does just that, engaging with the text at a number of levels and using the best new tools available. His presentation of Mark lays the groundwork for understanding the wider life and world of Jesus of Nazareth, as well as providing a framework for comprehending the other three gospels.
Michael Card, Biblical Writer, Musician
Andrew Le Peau identifies a principal obstacle to our reading Mark with comprehension, namely the woeful lack of familiarity with the Hebrew Scriptures that were so formative for the authors of the New Testament writings and for Jesus himself. . . . Alongside this, he gives extensive attention to ways in which the literary structure of Mark serves as a pointer to meaning. Le Peau's passion for discipleship formation is, of course, evident throughout.
David A. deSilva
Trustees' Distinguished Professor of New Testament and Greek
Ashland Theological Seminary
This book represents the fruit of the author's many years of study and research into the Gospel, especially the Old Testament background of an amazing number of passages in Mark. In addition, Andy is a great writer--accessible, clear, and powerful. This is an awesome book.
Dr. Robert Grahmann,
Senior Missions Ambassador, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship

I'm still learning things about the gospel of Mark which come from appreciating its background. As I say in the preface, "The past is always present. The question is: Are we aware of how it affects us or not? The Old Testament was present with the New Testament writers. They knew that and treasured it. We can too."

Posted by Andy Le Peau at 2:06 PM | Comments

November 2, 2017

From Africa for the World

Why would a old, white, North American, evangelical male be interested in the Africa Study Bible? I'll get to that in a minute. First, a bit of introduction to this remarkable volume.

Continue reading "From Africa for the World"
Posted by Andy Le Peau at 10:06 AM | Comments

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