REVIEWED BY REV. REBECCA CRAVER |
I was intrigued by this book’s title and premise, to provide a short summary of the Biblical text. “How?” I wondered would this be possible. As I read through the book I wondered what it would be like to read it without any experience with the Biblical story. The intent of the author, in my reading, is not to replace Bible study with this book, but for this little book to make Bible study less overwhelming by giving a bit of context to begin.
Biblical literacy, experience reading and seeking to understand the Biblical text, is low overall. That means that many people, even in churches have little to no awareness of the Biblical narrative, therefore, they are not as prepared to see the connections of God’s story to their everyday life and discipleship. The author uses this book to present the argument for more Bible study by inviting us into a complex story with more to learn with every reading. This book is not meant to replace the Bible with a quick version of the story but to help explain the reason the whole story matters, so that we will return or pick up for the first time the Bible to delve into and dwell in the Story of God from the very beginning.
Thornton focuses on the books of Genesis and Revelation with greater depth than the intervening books of the Bible. It is clear that he see the two book ends as especially significant to understanding the whole of the Biblical narrative. It is a great challenge to narrow the Bible down to make a long story much shorter. To continue the author’s use of movie metaphor, I hope that this whets the appetite of other readers to check out the “extended versions” of the story as written in the Bible.
This book is one way to encourage and invite people to deeper study of the Bible. It offers an overview of the text with a bit of context and a very good rationale for going deeper. Thornton emphasizes that Bible Study in conjunction with Community and practices of worship will bring a fullness of experience and life in Christ. The intersections of life and faith can be found in every moment. When we know more of God’s Story as written in the Bible, we can more readily see how and where God is active in the world around us and join in with our gifts to continue the work of Jesus today!
This book should be read to prepare you to delve deeper into the Biblical narrative and discover the Story of God so you can love and tell the story in your own life.
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About the reviewer
As Director of Congregational Development, Rebecca works with congregations and provincial leadership to provide resources and support their ongoing work towards greater health and vitality. She works to cultivate collaborative relationships between and among pastors, congregations, provincial and interprovincial agencies and other partners. Working with communities of faith, her passion for capacity building and innovation have shaped her 15 year career in ordained ministry. She has led communities in reimagining their structures, practices, and traditions as they embrace Jesus’ call, supporting them through organizational change, worship creation, and adult learning curriculum. Rebecca’s evenings and weekends are often spent investing in good conversation over a mocha, making new connections in the community, or delighting in the laughter of her children and spouse. Email Rebecca.