Friday, October 27, 2017

Review: The Whole Bible Story Illustrated Edition

One must always be careful when using words like "Whole" and "Everything" when titling or describing any kind of guidebook, especially when it covers something as deep and immense as the Bible. That said, Dr. Marty does a wonderful job at walking us through the whole story of the Bible in this book. I really did enjoy reading through this book to see how he hits on the highlights of the Bible and gives explanation to what's going on throughout the Bible.

One of the things that can be hard to wrap our minds around when reading through the Bible is that things aren't quite in chronological order. The key thing Dr. Marty accomplishes in this book is laying out the story of scripture in a linear fashion. As his main concern is moving through the whole story he does, as noted in the introduction, skip over most of the non-narrative sections of the Bible. This includes much of the wisdom literature and prophets of the Old Testament and the Epistles of the New Testament. Some may think this goes against the assertion that he is telling the whole story of the Bible but it really does fit with how he is trying to give us a big picture 

This is a newly released illustrated edition, and though I believe the text of this book certainly stands on its own, the charts, pictures and maps included with the text give great visuals that add to the text. Each chapter also includes a list of main characters and settings which help one to know the who and the where. Finally each chapter ends with a summery. 

Overall, I think this is a great book to help one get an idea of the big picture. I think the best way I can describe it is as a narrator to the story of the Bible being told in a linear fashion. It would make a great text for an overview of the Bible class or for personal study. As mentioned already, this book does pass over most of the non-narrative material so it would not be appropriate as a Biblical survey text. If you are wanting to know how the events of the Bible unfolded in order, along with what the historical context of the events, this is certainly the book to read.

I did receive a copy of this book from Baker Books in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Review: Immeasurable by Skye Jethani

I have thoroughly enjoyed Skye Jethani's contributions and thoughts on the Phil Vischer Podcast over the last number of years, and due to that have found his writings thoughtful and challenging. When given the opportunity to get my hands on a copy of his latest book "Immeasurable" for the launch week, I jumped at it. Skye has been asking many of the questions many of us who have been deeply involved in the church for a long time are asking. Questions about how the church is run, how much its reflecting the world around us when it should be the other way around. Questions about the way we hold up the pastor who leads thousands when there are thousands of us leading dozens. 

In this collection of 24 essays, each addressing one dimension of the church today in North America, Jethani continues to strike a cord. Hitting on topics such as the dangers of ambition, the idol of effectiveness and ever present Evangelical Industrial Complex. With thoughtfulness and wisdom, each chapter will having you nodding in agreement with things you've felt but not been able to express or having to pause and reflect on your own motives and methods. I found that though this is a relatively short book, just over 200 pages, it packs a real punch and cannot be breezed through quickly. 

I would highly recommend this book to anyone who is in ministry and needs a refresh and refocus. If you're one a board, read this and consider how you measure your pastor and church's performance. If your a church member, read this and consider the influence the consumer age we live in had shaped your view of ministry and how you view the church and its leadership.

I have to thank Moody Publishing for providing me a copy of this book for an honest review. I must also thank Moody for publishing such a high quality book that will bring much value to the broader church.