Emotions, Depression, and Body/Soul (Borgman)

One major part of being human is having emotions and feelings. We all have emotions. From joy to anger to terror to elation, we experience a range of emotions each day. Although the words “emotion” or “emotions” aren’t found in biblical Hebrew or Greek, there are plenty of biblical words that convey emotion (e.g. despair, gloom, happy, hesitation, etc.).

It’s important to note that since we are “body and soul” creatures, emotions have to do with both. For example, biologically, when a person is super tired he might be more prone to anger than when he’s fully awake. Or when a person’s diet consists of way too much sugar and caffiene, it might lead to emotional highs and emotional crashes. At the same time, spiritually speaking, if a person refuses to admit sin and fault, it might cause him to be very grouchy. We also know from Scripture that refusal to submit to God can lead to emotional and mental unstability, as we see from the story of King Saul. Here are a few other examples by Brian Borgman of the “body and soul” relationship to emotions in the area of depression:

“The Bible distinguishes between the body and the soul (Matt. 10:28). It also affirms the interpenetration and interdependence between the body and the soul (e.g., Ps. 38:3). It should not surprise us that physical problems can lead to both depression and spiritual problems. Some physical sources of depression might include prolonged illness, childbirth, surgery, hormonal changes, changes in diet, and fatigue. Many other physical factors may also contribute to depression. The important point to remember as we proceed is that we are body-soul creatures.

There are also spiritual sources of depression. The most common spiritual source is the guilt caused by sin. …[In Psalm 32] the root cause of the psalmist’s depression is unconfessed sin. The results were physical depletion, guilt, and emotional heaviness.

…Depression can also occur because of the grief of losing a loved one, losing a job, or some major life change. Stress over children, marriage, and finances can also spin us out of control emotionally, landing us in depression. Behind much of this activity is the enemy of our souls, the Devil….

Borgman says more, of course, and even goes on to give help through depression with some good physical and spiritual advice. If you want to read more about depression and emotions in general from a biblical perspective, do check out Feelings and Faith by Brian Borgman. (The above quotes are found in chapter 12.)

Shane Lems
Covenant Presbyterian Church (OPC)
Hammond, WI, 54015

“Spiritual Warfare” – A Review

  Spiritual Warfare by Brian Borgman and Rob Ventura is a short (124 page) discussion of Ephesians 6:10-20.  In this book, the authors briefly explain the armor of God in 13 short chapters.  At the end of each chapter there are several discussion questions.  There are also three appendices: “The Sovereignty of God and Satan,” “Can a Christian be Demon Possessed,” and “Christian, Pray for Your Pastor.”  Unfortunately, the book is lacking a Scripture index.

The content of the book is straightforward, clear, and written from a conservative evangelical Baptist perspective.  The authors draw on Spurgeon, D. M. Lloyd-Jones, John Piper, John MacArthur, and so forth.  The book is also pastoral; the authors encourage, challenge, and exhort the reader to depend wholly upon God in the spiritual battle we all face.  The authors call the readers to faith, prayer, perseverance, and confidence in Christ.  There is nothing fluffy in this book and there are no rabbit trails.  It is simply a layman’s commentary on Ephesians 6:10-20.

I have to admit I was a little disappointed in the book for this reason: the title is a bit misleading.  I thought this would be a book that discussed spiritual warfare broadly speaking, including examination and critique of unbiblical views on this topic.  The title – or at least subtitle – should let readers know this is basically a commentary on Ephesians 6:10-20.  It isn’t a broad discussion of spiritual warfare.

On that same note, if you have some commentaries on Ephesians, you probably won’t have to get this book.  I’ve been preaching through Ephesians using various commentaries, so I found Spiritual Warfare to be redundant because it builds on other commentaries.  If you have other evangelical commentaries on Ephesians (i.e. Boice, Bruce, O’Brien, Hughes, Chapell, Lincoln, Arnold, Stott, Lloyd-Jones, Snodgrass, etc.) you probably won’t need to purchase Spiritual Warfare.

In summary, the content of Spiritual Warfare is good, biblical, and pastoral.  It is a helpful study of the “armor of God” verses in Ephesians 6.  But since there are many other similar resources on this section of Scripture, not all of our readers will need it.  This book is for readers who don’t have commentaries on this part of Scripture and want a simple discussion of these verses.  It would also be a good resource for small groups who want to study the armor of God.  As the authors say, “In the mystery of providence, even Satan is under the control of our sovereign God and king, who is the Ruler of rulers, the God of all gods” (p. 115).

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars (not due to poor content, but due to my concerns in paragraphs 3 and 4 above)

NOTE: I received this book from CrossFocused Reviews; I was not obligated to give a positive review in exchange for the book.

shane lems