The Bible Jesus Read (by Philip Yancey)

I have enjoyed Philip Yancey's writing for about ten years now, and have gradually collected almost all his books.

I bought 'The Bible Jesus read' some months ago but only got around to reading it a couple of weeks ago. It's not really the kind of book to read all in one sitting, but I enjoyed reading about half a chapter a day.

Yancey, in his usual clear style, looks briefly at some of the books of the Old Testament. He explains why he thinks it's important for Christians to read them, even though it's all too easy to neglect them in favour of the more exciting and inspiring New Testament. But the Old Testament was the entire Bible - or Scriptures - for Jesus and the early disciples, and that in itself means they're worth reading.

After a general introduction, there are five main chapters covering Job, Deuteronomy, Psalms, Ecclesiastes, and the prophets in general. Philip Yancey explains what his attitude used to be to each of these, and takes us briefly on his journey of discovery, and the reasons he now sees these books as useful and encouraging for all believers, even if they take a bit of extra work.

There's no deep theology, and I can't say I found any of this book particularly inspiring, although it did help me decide to read through some of the oft-neglected prophets. As always, Yancey's style is very readable; for anyone struggling to understand the relevance of Old Testament, I'd certainly recommend this relatively light book on the topic.

Published in 1999, still regularly in print in both the UK and USA. Note that there is also a participants' guide available, which can be used alongside the main book.

Review copyright Sue's Book Reviews, 13th October 2008

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