Friday, April 8, 2011

Book Review: How To Get the Most From God's Word

How To Get The Most From God's Word. John MacArthur. 1997. Thomas Nelson. 168 pages. 

I just LOVED, LOVED, LOVED this book. I found it easy to read, easy to understand. It's practical and relevant. One I'd recommend to just about anybody! 

If this book has a flaw, it would be the over-promotion of the MacArthur Study Bible. Now, I happen to love the MacArthur Study Bible. I own it in New King James, New American Standard, and English Standard Version. And it's always one of the first study bibles that I recommend to others when they're looking for a new bible, a new study bible. But even I have to admit that it's a bit too much to have the MacArthur Study Bible mentioned by name in almost every chapter. 

But this book has many, many strengths. It makes a clear, concise argument for the Bible--why believers should trust it to be the Word of God; why believers should be reading and studying it. There are also a few chapters on how to read the Bible--where to start, what "plan" is best for both the Old Testament and New Testament, how to dig into the Bible for yourself and begin interpreting and applying it. 

Here are the chapter titles. They speak for themselves as you can see!

  • How Can We Know God?
  • How Has God Spoken to Us?
  • How Did God Inspire the Bible?
  • What Does the Bible Say About Itself?
  • How Important Is the Bible?
  • Who Can Prove that the Bible is True?
  • What Did Jesus Think of God's Word?
  • Can Anything Be Added to the Bible?
  • How Does God's Word Change Us?
  • How Does God's Word Make Us Free?
  • How Does God's Word Reveal the Lord's Will?
  • How Does God's Word Help Us Grow Spiritually?
  • How Does God's Word Makes Us Productive?
  • How Does God's Word Prepare Us for Spiritual Battle?
  • How is the Bible Organized?
  • What Does the Bible Say?
  • What Does the Bible Mean?

As much as I loved the book, overall, I just have to admit that I loved, loved, loved the last three chapters where it gets about as simple and straightforward as it can get. His plan for the Old Testament is to read it straight through Genesis to Malachi. He suggests once a year--around three chapters a day. His plan for the New Testament is very intense, perhaps you've heard of it? It is to read the same book for thirty days. For longer books, you divide them into smaller portions. So it might take you three months to read John or Luke or Matthew or Acts, but for most of the letters, one per month should work fine. His method would have you *know*  a book intimately. To saturate you in the richness and wonder of each book. 

From "How Does God's Word Help Us Grow Spiritually?"

Everybody wants to grow; it's just that some people want to grow with no effort. That's where the problem lies. (113)

From "How Is the Bible Organized?"

Everything revealed on the pages of both the Old Testament and New Testament is associated with those five categories. Scripture is always teaching or illustrating: 1) the character and attributes of God; 2) the tragedy of sin and disobedience to God's holy standard; 3) the blessedness of faith and obedience to God's standard; 4) the need for a Savior by whose righteousness and substitution sinners can be forgiven, declared just, and transformed to obey God's standard; 5) the coming glorious end of redemptive history in the Lord Savior's earthly kingdom and the subsequent eternal reign and glory of God and Christ. It is essential as one studies Scripture to grasp these recurring categories like great hooks on which to hang the passages. (147)

There are 1,189 chapters in the Bible. Only four of them don't involve a fallen world: the first two and the last two--before the fall and after the creation of the new heaven and new earth. The rest is a chronicle of the tragedy of sin. (148)

© 2011 Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

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