Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Book Review: Designed for Devotion

Designed for Devotion: a 365 Day Journey from Genesis to Revelation. Dianne Neal Matthews. 2012. Baker Books. 372 pages.

Designed for Devotion might be a good fit for readers who are looking for a new devotional book AND who are also looking to spend some time in the Word. The approach of this one is to take you straight through from Genesis to Revelation. It is NOT chronological in arrangement, there is no blending of texts. There isn't an integrated story of Jesus, each gospel stands alone in the devotional entries. I happen to think a chronological reading makes more sense, not just for the New Testament, but for the Old Testament too. But. For those who do believe in reading the books of the Bible in that particular order--Genesis to Revelation, no matter the difficulties--this one would be ideal. The entries are a blend of fact and application. Readers would probably learn a few facts about each book of the Bible, who wrote it and when, the key characters and events of each book, the main stories and themes of the Bible. (Some of the entries read like book introductions; others are more summaries.)

I did not read this one cover to cover. I read the devotional entries for Genesis, Psalms, John, Romans, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 Thessalonians, 2 Thessalonians, and Revelation. I wanted to read enough of it so that I could get a feel for the content and style, but not necessarily every word. It would be hard to read a year's worth of devotions in a week just for review purposes.

I believe daily Bible reading is essential, something I would only wish to encourage for believers everywhere. And this devotional could help some meet their goals. If it's used alongside the Bible. If it does not take the place of the Bible. If the Bible is still the main course.

I realize it would be extremely difficult to pick and choose which Bible chapters are included for focus in this one year devotional. There are so many books of the Bible--66--and so many chapters. And all of Scripture is important. BUT. I couldn't help being disappointed by what was excluded. Not one entry focuses on John 14, 15, 16, or 17!!!! This surprised me. I mean how could you NOT include something from John 14?! Or from any one of these chapters!!! Another surprise for me was the exclusion of Romans 5! It's such a BIG, BIG chapter for me. Don't expect this devotional book to include every important/significant/beloved/favorite chapter, expect some holes, and I think you'll be pleased overall.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

No comments: