The Bible hosts one story comprised of many smaller accounts, introducing readers to the wide array of people who inhabited the same lands that we now call home. Most importantly, it introduces us to a sovereign and powerful God who ordered these stories. There are a number of books that offer distinctive ways to read those accounts by retelling them, offering commentary, or taking on other forms, so that individuals may be caused to go deeper in their understanding. The Most Important Stories of the Bible is another book seeking to do something similar.
The authors, Christopher Hudson and Stan Campbell are both graduates of Wheaton College and have collaborated to put together a book that highlights 75 stories from Scripture. Each is placed in chronological order so that they can be seen in the context of what was taking place during that era. To say these are the most important ones is arguable, but they have done a good job at highlighting some of the most prominent and necessary while offering a wide variety. In an attempt to connect each together, each story begins with a short summary of what has taken place previously and each section ends with an essential truth derived from the story.
To be honest, I have seldom understood the purpose of books like this, especially when it is not meant to reach the need of a particular group. It would seem better to go directly to the source, the Bible, and read the entire story instead of someone else’s paraphrase. This is especially true for this particular book when one considers that the book spans 182 pages and tells 75 stories; that amounts to less than 2.5 pages per story (and less when the extra material is considered). With a small amount of extra effort one can read the story for himself/herself in its entirety at the source, which seems far better than relying on a paraphrase.
The paraphrase is more concerning when noting that the authors have inserted unnecessary commentary. At times they interpret emotions or add comments that define actions positively or negatively, even when information is limited. It is not frequent, but noticeable enough that it draws attention from the story and can often detract from the main point of it.
Finally, the essential truths presented at the end of each story are often not essential. The truths are no more than a sentence long with little explanation. More concerning, they are often secondary aspects of the story and not highlighting the essential truth that comes from it.
Perhaps I am biased and that impacts the review, but it would seem better for readers to leave behind this book and pick up their Bible instead. Already people spend more time in books about the Bible than the Bible itself, so rather than confuse that point further, it seems more logical to simply point people towards the Scriptures.
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Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher at no cost to me for the purposes of review. However, my review was not influenced by the author, publisher, or anyone else associated with this book and is the result of my own reading of it.