I occasionally pick up a few books here or there in exchange for giving some public comment or review on them
The Message 100: The Story of God in Sequence (Eugene Peterson)
The Message 100 separates Eugene Peterson’s paraphrase of the Bible into 100 sections for deeper/longer reading arranged chronologically. Each section has an introduction by Peterson and the book’s layout makes it easy to see what section you’re reading.
I’m always intrigued at different ways and attempts to make reading the Bible (a nearly 2,000 page, 66-volume collection of ancient translated writings) accessible. I’ve written previously that I really like The Message (more on that here) and, while arranged slightly differently, The Message 100 contains Peterson’s entire paraphrase, which is nice. I like the Van Gogh-esque cover and clean layout.
But the 100-section separation and invitation to read these 100 sections slowly and deeply? I’m not sure it works. The Bible is already broken up into major sections (testaments, collections of books, individual books, etc.) and I’m not sure that further sub-dividing and organizing is the best way to make deeper reading accessible.
In short: It’s not a bad idea but my hunch is that most people who buy The Message 100 will end up using it like any other copy of The Message rather than engaging the partitioned reading sequence.
The Heaven Promise (Scot McKnight)
One of several books Scot McKnight has written lately (he’s really churning them out!), The Heaven Promise surveys how the Bible talks about heaven and the afterlife. Throughout, the book addresses questions, confusion, and a variety of biblical images to speak of the life to come, continually circling back to the central understanding of heaven as “God’s promise to us” (17). Most helpful to me was the way McKnight illuminates heaven through the centrality of Jesus, God’s kingdom and resurrection.
While evangelicals have often, in my experience, been too quick to jump to glimpses of heaven at the expense of our present experience on earth, The Heaven Promise situates the life to come in the context of the life we live now, while not neglecting the life to come as a source of hope and assurance. In short: a helpful survey and overview.
I received copies of these books from the publisher with a request for some honest, review-like thoughts posted here for you to read and mull over.