A thoughtful, accessible, and useful religious study guide.

BEAUTY IN THE BROKENNESS

A study guide about the famous biblical story of the Samaritan woman at the well.

In this slim work, the author explores the Gospel passage of John 4:4-26. In it, Jesus meets a woman and asks her for water and uses the moment to teach her about God’s unconditional love and salvation. Mills, in turn, uses this tale as a metaphor for finding wholeness in times of struggle, accepting God’s love, and having patience regarding his plans. The author imaginatively brings the passage to life, reflecting on what the two actors in the story might have thought and felt and drawing out lessons for readers’ own lives. The book also provides context for readers unfamiliar with biblical history, explaining the relationship between the Jews and the Samaritans and unpacking how such details may enhance and enrich the biblical story. Mills also weaves in personal anecdotes, finding religious lessons in mundane occurrences; for example, she uses her own father’s rehabilitation of an underfed horse as a metaphor for God’s ability to make people whole again and to love them despite their flaws. Similarly, she provides engaging “Food for Thought” discussion questions, which range from the simple (“What’s your typical reaction toward having to wait for someone to show up?”) to the lofty (“In what ways do we use what imprisons us to define our freedom?”). Overall, she aims to help readers access the spiritual promise in the biblical tale, which she says is about Jesus accepting people in their “brokenness” and sin. She ends with an exhortation to the reader to “go to the well…empty…thirsty…[and] exhausted of ourselves.” Throughout, the prose is simple, clean, and readable. Study groups may find particular value in the book, both as a jumping-off point for discussion and as a gentle introduction to Bible study. It would also work well for individuals, as there’s room in the text for solitary readers to write in answers to the discussion questions.

A thoughtful, accessible, and useful religious study guide.

Pub Date: Oct. 16, 2014

ISBN: 978-1490856377

Page Count: 72

Publisher: Westbow Press

Review Posted Online: May 25, 2016

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Worthwhile reference stuffed with facts and illustrations.

ROSE BOOK OF BIBLE CHARTS, MAPS AND TIME LINES

A compendium of charts, time lines, lists and illustrations to accompany study of the Bible.

This visually appealing resource provides a wide array of illustrative and textually concise references, beginning with three sets of charts covering the Bible as a whole, the Old Testament and the New Testament. These charts cover such topics as biblical weights and measures, feasts and holidays and the 12 disciples. Most of the charts use a variety of illustrative techniques to convey lessons and provide visual interest. A worthwhile example is “How We Got the Bible,” which provides a time line of translation history, comparisons of canons among faiths and portraits of important figures in biblical translation, such as Jerome and John Wycliffe. The book then presents a section of maps, followed by diagrams to conceptualize such structures as Noah’s Ark and Solomon’s Temple. Finally, a section on Christianity, cults and other religions describes key aspects of history and doctrine for certain Christian sects and other faith traditions. Overall, the authors take a traditionalist, conservative approach. For instance, they list Moses as the author of the Pentateuch (the first five books of the Hebrew Bible) without making mention of claims to the contrary. When comparing various Christian sects and world religions, the emphasis is on doctrine and orthodox theology. Some chapters, however, may not completely align with the needs of Catholic and Orthodox churches. But the authors’ leanings are muted enough and do not detract from the work’s usefulness. As a resource, it’s well organized, inviting and visually stimulating. Even the most seasoned reader will learn something while browsing.

Worthwhile reference stuffed with facts and illustrations.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2005

ISBN: 978-1-5963-6022-8

Page Count: -

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 23, 2010

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THE WEIGHT OF GLORY

The name of C.S. Lewis will no doubt attract many readers to this volume, for he has won a splendid reputation by his brilliant writing. These sermons, however, are so abstruse, so involved and so dull that few of those who pick up the volume will finish it. There is none of the satire of the Screw Tape Letters, none of the practicality of some of his later radio addresses, none of the directness of some of his earlier theological books.

Pub Date: June 15, 1949

ISBN: 0060653205

Page Count: 212

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 17, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1949

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