Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Book Review: 52 Words Every Christian Should Know

52 Words Every Christian Should Know. Kendell Easley. 2010. B&H. 124 pages. [Source: Bought]

I love the premise behind Kendell Easley's 52 Words Every Christian Should Know. In the introduction, he writes that this book is a book, "for everyday believers that says, 'Christian terms have standard meanings, and here are the historic, orthodox meanings of essential terms.'" I agree with Easley that it is essential for believers to have more than a fuzzy notion of what these terms mean: clarity is  what is needed. He chose 52 words so that even the busiest person could have no excuse: one word per week for an entire year. (I think this would be a great book to use in Sunday School classes or group bible studies.)

Each term is "presented in a two-page study, organized into 8 major biblical categories."

The eight categories:

  • God
  • Scripture
  • Creation and Mankind
  • Sin
  • Jesus
  • Salvation
  • Church and Discipleship
  • Last Things
A sampling of the terms:
  • Sovereignty
  • Great Commandments
  • Covenants
  • Original Sin
  • Hell
  • Messiah
  • Atonement
  • Resurrection
  • Justification
  • Regeneration
  • Adoption
  • Baptism
  • Lord's Supper
  • Sanctification
  • Glorification
  • Second Coming
  • Heaven
A sampling of the definitions:
  • Trinity: DEFINITION: God is eternally one Being. Yet He exists eternally as three Persons, the Father, the Son, and the Spirit. There are not three Gods, only one. The Father, the Son, and the Spirit are distinct from each other.
  • Depravity: DEFINITION: Depravity means tendency toward evil. Everyone is naturally inclined away from loving God and toward self-centeredness. Humans are not as sinful as they can possibly be, but they are tainted by evil through and through.
  • Gospel: DEFINITION: Gospel literally means “good news.” “Gospel” refers in Scripture mainly to the message that through the life, death, and resurrection of Christ, God graciously acted to establish His kingdom and now welcomes into His family sinners who repent and receive Christ by faith.
  • Regeneration: DEFINITION: Regeneration or being born again refers to God's act of making a person alive spiritually. This is the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit by which sinners are given new spiritual life enabling them to relate to God in faith, love, obedience, and delight.
  • Faith: DEFINITION: Gospel faith means trust, reliance, confidence, or commitment. Jesus Christ, specifically His death in saving sinners, is the object of such belief. This must be distinguished from “assent” (belief that facts are true). Loyalty and devotion are included in genuine faith.
  • Hell: DEFINITION: Hell is the final place and condition of unregenerate humans (and evil spirits) in which they consciously suffer everlasting punishment, separated from God forever. It is a place of spiritual, psychological, and bodily torment from which there will never be hope of release.
  • Heaven: DEFINITION: Heaven is the supernatural location of God's presence displayed far beyond the earth, where the holy angels worship Him. After the last judgment and the renewal of all things, God will manifest His presence among the redeemed in “the New Jerusalem.”
I appreciated this book. I think it is a necessary book. Understanding and comprehension is important. Assumption that everyone is automatically "on the same page" is wishful thinking. These are words used commonly in sermons, in Christian articles and books, in conversations and debates. Not that this is about "being smart." These terms can bring clarity to WHAT you believe and WHY you believe which could impact HOW you live and HOW you share the gospel. For example, understanding, "grasping" truths such as justification and sanctification and atonement and adoption CAN be life changing.

This book may pair well with Kelly Kapic's A Little Book for New Theologians: Why and How to Study Theology or Michael James Williams' How To Read The Bible Through the Jesus Lens.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible


Carol said...

Sounds like one that would really be useful. Just a note though - you might want to correct the definition of Gospel.

Becky said...

Thank you, Carol!!!