My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Quest 52 is billed as a year long study devotional designed to help the reader come into a better understanding of Christ Jesus; as such, it specifically targets Christians and assumes that is their ultimately goal. The book is extremely well organized with one (1) chapter for each week of the year. The chapters are grouped into four (4) sections: The Person of Jesus, The Power of Jesus, The Preaching of Jesus and The Passion of Jesus. These sections are further divided into three (3) topics each (Person: Beginning, Person: Purpose, Person: Relationships; Power: Wonders, Power: Signs, Power: Claims; Preaching: Teaching, Preaching: Stories, Preaching: Training; Passion: Preparation, Passion: Suffering, Passion: Victory). Each chapter is assigned a Biblical Concept and applicable Gospel readings before opening with a brief personal story leading into a more in depth discussion of the idea. The Chapter closes with a summary of Key Points and related activities for five (5) days within the week, associated to Eyes, Ears, Heart and Voice. Further resources are included with a url to online material that was not ready at the time of this review (I did view some examples and found them to be pretty good). Over all, this book would be a good source for individual reflection and/or group discussion.
I have been looking at a number of weekly devotionals, and the longer they run, the harder it is for each section to stay relevant. I found the author does a fantastic job in the beginning, were I picked up a lot to think about; however, he does stretch a little towards the end. Even when I did not completely buy into what the author was saying, there was enough to make it all worth it. The author does have a habit of making statements that are not supported by the available evidence or scholastic consensus, and that reinforces the need to take nothing here at face value, it is still a very good place to start. For example, the Author makes a statement that no prayer ever addressed God as Father before … perhaps I misunderstood the intent, but that doesn’t appear to be accurate since the Avinu Malkenu (Our Father, Our King) provides some evidence of the Jewish liturgical roots of the Lord’s Prayer; just as Jesus did with much of His teaching, He took something familiar to His audience and made it uniquely His. Then there is his attempt to medically diagnose how crucified victims actually died, and more specifically, how Jesus died (ruptured heart … while poetic that can’t be diagnosed purely by the fact that blood and water came out of his pierced side). It was enough to make me fairly cautious of some of the specifics the author includes in his discussions.
I was given this free advance reader copy (ARC) ebook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.
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