Monday, May 22, 2017

Book Review: God's Story in 66 Verses

God's Story in 66 Verses. Stan Guthrie. 2015. Thomas Nelson. 256 pages. [Source: Bought]

From the introduction: HOW DO YOU, AS THE OLD SAYING GOES, EAT AN ELEPHANT? ONE bite at a time. How do you digest the Bible? One verse at a time. The Bible can be a difficult book for the average person to understand. Written over the span of a millennium and a half, and completed nearly two thousand years ago, the Book of books sometimes seems like a mishmash of stories and literary styles. We can get so caught up in the Bible’s details that we lose sight of its big picture. So how are we to get a handle on Scripture as a whole and on these sixty-six unique books without becoming Bible scholars? This book, God’s Story in 66 Verses, is my answer. It will offer you quick, lay-level access into Scripture via one key verse for each of the Bible’s books, from Genesis to Revelation.
Premise/plot: Guthrie seeks to provide a 'big-picture' guide for reading, understanding, appreciating the Bible as a whole. He has selected one verse from each book of the Bible to represent the book. "They are highlighted because I believe they most accurately represent the books in which they reside and Scripture as a whole." Each chapter is essentially an introduction to the book and its main theme(s). He writes, "God has given each Bible book to his people for good reason, and this volume will help you get something out of each one. As you read through, absorb, and refer to this volume, you will learn how the key verses (and the books they represent) fit together in a unified message, what the main thrust of Scripture is, and what difference it should make in your daily life."

My thoughts: God's Story in 66 Verses is the exact opposite of The Good Book which I reviewed last week. Guthrie provides concise commentary--an overview--of each book of the Bible. He provides an outline of the book, explains how the key verse represents the main theme(s) of the book, connects that book to other books in the Bible. Often--almost always--he tells how that book relates to Jesus Christ.

What you won't find in God's Story in 66 Verses are stories and anecdotes. This isn't meant to be a light, devotional, fluffy read. The goal isn't entertainment, in other words. He assumes that you're reading the book because you want to know God better, because you want more out of your Bible reading experience.

I found it interesting to see which verses he selected as key verses. Some were obvious choices. (For example, Ruth 1:16, Lamentations 3:22, Micah 6:8, Ephesians 2:8, Philippians 4:4) Some were not.

In case you're curious:

  • Genesis 15:6
  • Psalm 16:11
  • Proverbs 1:7
  • Isaiah 40:9
  • Jeremiah 31:33
  • Ezekiel 36:22
  • Matthew 16:15
  • Mark 10:45
  • Luke 4:18
  • John 1:14
  • Revelation 1:19

THE OLD TESTAMENT SURELY IS ONE OF THE MOST TRAGIC BOOKS in all of literature. It begins with a majestic Creator who graciously sets a man and a woman in a garden. They rebel against his loving, kingly rule, however, and are expelled from his presence, setting in motion a devastating series of events that culminates in a global deluge. God begins again, with Abraham, seeking to establish a righteous people who will draw the nations to himself, under the royal line of David. But despite nearly countless displays of the holy Lord’s patient faithfulness, the people of Israel rebel and face his judgment—expulsion from the promised land. By his grace, a chastened remnant eventually returns, looking for God to fulfill his promises of a coming King and kingdom. The glory days are past, however. Israel is now subject to one pagan empire after another, its pivotal role in the divine plan seemingly over. Matthew tells the story of how God intervenes personally, continuing the divine plan in a way that his people never expected. Matthew, one of four ancient biographies in the New Testament called the Gospels, begins with “Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham” (1:1).
If love for the truth characterizes the Christian, however, then so does its flip side: hatred for falsehood. That is because lies, especially those that deny Christ and his teaching, come from the devil, “the father of lies” (John 8:44). Those who promulgate these deceptions wage war against Christ and his church, threatening men’s souls and our heavenly rewards.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

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