Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Book Review: 66 Love Letters

66 Love Letters: A Conversation with God That Invites You into His Story.  The publisher describes this book as follows:

The story of God written in intimate love letters just for you.
Dr. Larry Crabb knows that if we could see the larger story of God and humanity, our world would never be the same. That story is found in large part in the sixty-six letters of the Bible.
Written in a conversational first person, as if God is speaking directly to us, Dr. Crabb looks at each individual book in scripture and boils it down to a one- or two-sentence message to us from that particular book. He then unpacks each sentence in a short chapter answering the question, What does God want me to hear from this love letter? The book's epilogue then fits all sixty-six pieces of the jigsaw puzzle together into one coherent paragraph and reveals the beautiful picture of what God has been about since the creation of the world. Far from being comprehensive, this is a personal approach to helping readers know God and his great love for them, his message for all mankind, and how their lives fit into His larger story.

My take?  I decided to read this book as was suggested in the opening chapter -- alongside my regular Bible reading.  So this is more like reading a preview of the real thing, then reading the actual Bible text.  That means that I am writing up this review without having read the entire book.

I was a little put-off by some of the statements made in the beginning.  I always figured the Bible was God speaking directly to us, and that any commentary types of materials I choose to read are just that:  commentary by people.  The idea that this book is God speaking to me, well, I was sorry I had requested the book.

That being said, I dove in and read the couple pages on Genesis (which I had just about finished reading in my Bible reading plan) and found myself really thinking about what the Bible does have to say.  A couple days later, as I had finished Genesis, I read the chapter on Exodus, and I do find myself thinking about my Bible reading differently.  Same for Leviticus (though I'm not actually starting Leviticus until this weekend).  And the chapter on Numbers too.

My revised opinion?  I think that if this book is being read alongside the Bible, that it is an excellent resource.  It is giving a message I really haven't seen before.  And it is making it so that I am noticing different things in my Bible reading.  The big plus is that each chapter is only 3-4 pages, so it is pretty quick to read before starting the next chapter of the Bible.

I don't think this is a "must-own" book, but it is a fresh way to approach Bible reading, and I am glad to be using it.

Disclaimer:  As Thomas Nelson Book Review Blogger, I did receive this book for free from Thomas Nelson.  The fact that I received a complimentary product does not guarantee a favorable review.  It does guarantee a review. A fair review. But I am not going to praise something unless I think it deserves the praise.  If I don't like it, you'll hear that.  And hopefully with enough detail as to why so you can decide for yourself if what I hate about it makes it perfect for your family.  For more about my take on reviews, visit my blog post here.  This review may contain Amazon affiliate links.
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