Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Believe: Living the Story of the Bible to Become Like Jesus - A Review

A Review

Believe is the third book I would recommend to the individual wanting to study theology without being spoon fed by an author.  The older of these is nearly (sadly) out of print, Gordon R. Lewis’ Decide For Yourself.  The second book was published more recently, Darryl Aaron’s Understanding Theology in 15 Minutes A Day.  Randy Frazee has now published a similar book that allows the reader to do theology for herself or himself.

The book, as a whole, is divided into three sections.  The first covers the topics most commonly found in a systematic theology text.  The second examines what might be termed “practical theology” - answering questions about how our beliefs influence how we live.  The third section, using the Fruit of the Spirit as a guide, focuses on how faith effects who we are, i.e. a “heart theology”.  

The three sections are further divided into chapters discussing major topics.  The chapters are divided into sub-topics, each beginning with a brief one paragraph discussion of the questions being addressed.  My only complaint with the entire book is that these sub-topics are only delineated by the use italics - no bold print, no dark lines, no icons separate the end of one sub-topic and the beginning of another except that the following paragraph is in italics.  

This paragraph is followed, not by lists of scriptures as found in the earlier books, but by the scriptures (using the NIV) themselves.  Scriptures may be a single verse (rarely), a pericope, or a chapter or two related to the current topic.  Because the scriptures are quoted, the current book is substantially longer than the earlier volumes, though the information detail remains about the same.

The current book is recommended for the lay Christian seeking to understand why and what they believe.  In the local church, it could easily serve as the basis for a year long Sunday School or Bible Study discussing similar topics.  The two more practical sections of Believe would make it a welcome addition to this audience.  It may also have a place in a Bible College or Seminary course where denominational indoctrination is of less importance than personal spiritual growth.  I would also recommend this book for the pastor or established Christian looking for a fresh way to explore one’s faith and its application to life.

This review is based on a free copy provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review.  The opinions expressed are my own.

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