Contend Earnestly: What Does the Bible Say About That?

Friday, February 20, 2009

What Does the Bible Say About That?

This book put together by Carolyn Larsen covers many topics. I couldn't imagine putting together so many topics to convey what the Bible says about these things. Ms. Larsen puts together 340 things that the Bible speaks on. Although I believe she stretches it a bit to try and say the Bible speaks on certain things when, in reality, the Bible is silent.

In the introduction the author tries to convey why she put these together. She tries to rid the thought that this book should be used as a list of "dos and don'ts" but in reality the book should be used to answer questions about every day life and how the Bible puts forth those types of answers. The introduction tells the reader that although there are many topics that the Bible does speak on, when you fall, know that God has grace for us all. The one thing that I thought of as I started to look at the book is although the author doesn't want to make a list of "dos and don'ts" that is just what is going to happen if Christ isn't the center. Even in the introduction, Jesus is never mentioned. This is a huge deal. Ms. Larsen puts forth what the Bible is about:

It's the story of God's love for you and how his Spirit living in you will guide, protect, love, forgive, and love you again.

Ms. Larsen forgot the third person of the Trinity. The Bible is about Jesus as well. Jesus' absence is hard to overlook in the opening of the book as one readies themself to read the rest of the topics laid out.

Each topic has four parts and only encompasses one page:

1. What does the Bible say about...(insert topic) (This is a quick commentary by the author)
2. What the Bible says (verses are listed)
3. Time to Face the Facts (Author puts forth a definite admonition and exhortation on the topic)
4. Today I will...(practical advice to follow because of the topic)

I believe that the book can be used by discerning parents to aid them in different topics of the Bible. But, the parent will have to be more gospel centered than the book can be as its purpose is to just show the topic at hand and not give a full commentary of the gospel each time. I understand that this is impossible with a book that covers 340 topics. I would not just give this out to kids and have them study it and read it as a manual of how to live their lives. Way too many mistakes will be made and little Pharisees will be raised up. But, that doesn't mean that the book can't be used by parents who use it for simple understanding.

I will point out that the parent must be discerning as a couple of the topics made me chuckle as they were so close together. They are smoking and snacks. Because the book is in alphabetical order these two topics are right next to each other and speak on the same topic: the physical body.

I found it interesting, because the reasons that the author says that smoking is wrong and God would consider it a sin is because the body is a temple of God and you wouldn't want to hurt the temple. Turn the page. This page follows and says that some snacks are good for the body and some are bad, so keep the bad snacks in moderation because the body is a temple. This logic doesn't make sense. If both are bad for the body, then both should be used in moderation or be completely abstained from, unless the Bible speaks definitely against one as sin. Now, with a child I would never tell them to go and smoke, as it is against the law, but I would also never act as if God hates it as though it was in the Bible. There are other topics in the book that are just like this that make me put forth again and again that the parent should not just hand this book over to a child for study, but should really be used by the parent to aid in instruction.

I don't believe this book is all bad, but I just worry on how it will be used. The top left of the cover has the words, "ages 8-12," making it seem as though the book is set up to be given to children and not the parents, which I just can't agree with. Again, if used correctly, this book can be of help, but I worry how this book will be abused and cause kids to just look up topics on certain issues instead of reading the whole of Scripture to understand the story of the Bible is not a "road map of life" but is actually the story of God, saving sinners through the cross of Christ, by the Holy Spirit for the glory of God. Recommended with Caution to the Parent's Usage.

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