While the Bible is central to the Christian faith, polls and surveys have repeatedly shown how little people know about the holy book and how rarely they read it. With John Stott's new book, any Christian can be given a guided tour of the Bible in short doses throughout the year.
The majority of devotional Bible reading books starts in January, but this one is different. While you can pick it up anytime, if you want to start at the beginning and follow to the end, the readings begin the first week of September. Organized in 52-week segments, the readings follow the liturgical church calendar, which divides into three periods, each containing four months. From September to December, Stott focuses on how God the Father revealed himself in the Old Testament. From January through Pentecost, he focuses on the life of Christ in and through the Gospels. And between May and August, Stott looks at the Holy Spirit in Acts, the epistles, and Revelation.
Each day includes an achievable one-page reading with a Bible verse, a brief devotional thought and some further Bible reading with a reference to between three and five verses. Each devotional is a simple yet inspirational focus on a different portion of the Bible from Stott, who has spent a lifetime creating commentaries on various books of the Bible. For each reading, an individual gains an experienced mentor through the difficult and story sections of the Bible with insight from this theologian.
As an example, consider his look into 2 Corinthians during week 44 in the book's third section. The Sunday devotion titled "Power through Weakness" begins, "The lust for power has been a characteristic of the human story ever since Adam and Eve were offered power in exchange for disobedience. Still today the pursuit of money, fame, and influence is a concealed drive for power. We see it in politics and in public life, in big business and industry, in the professions and the media, and even in the church and in parachurch organizations. Power! It is more intoxicating than alcohol, more addictive than drugs."
Then, on a single page, Stott describes how the Apostle Paul gives three striking examples of how divine power can be shown through human weakness. God uses the weak vessels of this world through the power of His spirit to shame the strong. It teaches a pointed lesson --- and is just one example of the multiple teaching points in this powerful devotional book.
Many people know Stott from his 1982 bestseller BASIC CHRISTIANITY, which has sold over two million copies. Now, with THROUGH THE BIBLE, THROUGH THE YEAR, he touches the readers' hearts and connects them to the inspirational words from the Bible yet in daily bite-sized sections. For a heart-rending journey, I recommend this book.
--- Reviewed by W. Terry Whalin, writer and editor in Scottsdale, Arizona. His latest book is BOOK PROPOSALS THAT $ELL, 21 SECRETS TO SPEED YOUR SUCCESS (Write Now Publications). http://www.bookproposals.ws.