Thursday, July 19, 2007

Book Report

I'm about 1/2 way through Eugene Peterson's Eat This Book. Turns out Scot McKnight has been reading it, too. He says it's the best book on the Bible ever written.

I'm not sure about that high of an accolade, but I would agree it may be in the top 10. When people come to me and ask about prayer, I usually refer them to Richard Foster's classic Prayer. It set the standard for books about prayer when it came out. Many people say they really learned to pray by reading that book. So it has pride of place on my shelf.

I think Eat This Book might end up right next to it, becoming the standard reference when people ask me "how do I read the Bible?" It has already inspired me in my own scripture reading.

Essentially, Peterson's premise is this: if the Bible doesn't form you, if it doesn't get inside you and change your life, if it isn't forming our Christian communities, then we aren't reading it correctly. The Bible is not out to give us correct doctrine, it isn't intended to help us formulate our theological positions. It isn't meant for inspiration or devotion. It's sole purpose is formation of Christ-followers. We must then take it as it is, ending all our attempts to fit it into our world, to "make it relevant," or to use it like some sort of antacid that we pull of the shelf when our guts are in a turmoil.

The Bible is only read correctly when we eat it - when we take it in and live it. "If we have not entered this text as participants we aren't going to understand what is going on. This text cannot be understood by watching from the bleachers - or even from expensive box seats. We are in on it."

Later he says "Obedience is the thing, living in active response to the living God. The most important question we can ask of this text is not, 'What does this mean?' but 'What can I obey?' A simple act of obedience will open up our lives to this text far more quickly than any number of Bible studies and dictionaries and concordances."

So, if you're looking for something to read over the rest of the summer, or looking to get more from your Bible reading, go pick this one up.


Shad Gates said...


Steve said...

"...or to use it like some sort of antacid that we pull of the shelf when our guts are in a turmoil"

Great line! Mind if I use it? I have been looking for a good book....I'll have to get my hands on this book...BTW....I am sick of the HP hype machine myself.

Lori said...

This is a book I'd definitely like to read. Thanks for the book report.