Sunday, February 17, 2013

Book Review: One Perfect Life

One Perfect Life. John MacArthur. 2013. Thomas Nelson. 520 pages.

The subtitle of One Perfect Life is, "The Complete Story of the Lord Jesus." And complete it is, compiling Scriptures from Genesis through Revelation in the New King James translation. There are eleven parts of the story divided into 215 readings. Each reading has a handful of MacArthur's study notes. So for those wanting to learn more, to understand more of the text, it's there.

  • Part 1: "Anticipating the Lord Jesus Christ"
  • Part 2: "The Beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ"
  • Part 3: "The Beginning of Jesus' Ministry"
  • Part 4: "From Passover AD 27 to Passover AD 28"
  • Part 5: "From Passover AD 28 to Passover AD 29"
  • Part 6: "From Passover AD to Passover AD 30"
  • Part 7: "The Final Journey to Jerusalem for Passover AD 30"
  • Part 8: "The Passion Week of the Messiah AD 30"
  • Part 9: "The Upper Room on the Night Before His Death"
  • Part 10: "The Crucifixion, Resurrection, and Ascension"
  • Part 11: "New Testament Reflections on the Gospel of Jesus Christ"

The first and last parts are quite interesting to me as they attempt to create one narrative from many sources of Scripture. For example, in the first reading, "Jesus Christ--the Preexistent Creator and Savior," the narrative is pieced together from these verses: Genesis 1:1, John 1:1-5a, 1 Corinthians 8:6, Ephesians 1:3-5, Colossians 1:15-18, Colossians 2:9, 2 Timothy 1:9, Titus 1:2, Hebrews 1:1b-3a. It reads--in part--like this,
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. There is one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we for Him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and through whom we live, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation... (17)
From the eleventh section, we have a reading entitled "Salvation is by Grace Alone Through Faith Alone in Christ Alone." Its narrative is drawn from these texts: Acts 4:12, Acts 15:11a, Romans 3:23-26, Romans 4:2-5, Romans 4:24-25, Romans 5:1-2, Romans 8:1, Romans 8:29-39, Romans 11:6, Galatians 2:16, Galatians 3:11-14, Ephesians 1:13-14, Ephesians 2:8-9, Philippians 3:8-10a, 1 Timothy 2:5-6a, 2 Timothy 1:8b-11, Titus 3:4-7, Hebrews 7:25, and 1 John 2:1b-2. Here is how it reads--in part:
Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world. For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all. Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved. (509-510)
The focus of the entire book is, of course, on Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, and on the gospel. The book not only reveals who Christ is, it reveals who we are--with or without Christ. The very last reading is a great invitation to come to Christ and be saved.

One Perfect Life is a powerful, compelling read. I was reminded of the hymn, "I Love To Tell The Story."

I love to tell the story
of unseen things above,
of Jesus and his glory,
of Jesus and his love.
I love to tell the story,
because I know 'tis true;
it satisfies my longings 
as nothing else can do.
I love to tell the story,
for those who know it best
seem hungering and thirsting
to hear it like the rest.
And when, in scenes of glory,
I sing the new, new song,
'twill be the old, old story
that I have loved so long. 

One Perfect Life is a book that is easy to love. The story may, at first, be familiar, but allow yourself to be fascinated by the drama and you might just be amazed.

Here is a very appropriate Dorothy Sayers' quote that I'd like to share (again):
Let us, in Heaven's name, drag out the Divine Drama from under the dreadful accumulation of slipshod thinking and trashy sentiment heaped upon it, and set it on an open stage to startle the world into some sort of vigorous reaction. If the pious are the first to be shocked, so much the worse for the pious--others will pass into the Kingdom of Heaven before them. If all men are offended because of Christ, let them be offended; but where is the sense of their being offended at something that is not Christ and is nothing like Him? We do Him singularly little honour by watering down His Personality till it could not offend a fly. Surely it is not the business of the Church to adapt Christ to men, but to adapt men to Christ. It is the dogma that is the drama--not beautiful phrases, nor comforting sentiments, nor vague aspirations to loving-kindness and moral uplift, nor the promise of something nice after death--but the terrifying assertion that the same God who made the world lived in the world and passed through the grave and gate of death. Show that to the heathen, and they may not believe it; but at least they may realize that here is something that one might be glad to believe.
I would definitely recommend this one.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

1 comment:

Julie said...

Oo, this sounds fantastic. I can't wait to get my hands on it. Thank you!