I will be reviewing the book titled "Opening up the Bible", this book was written by David Jackman in 2006. For the purposes of this essay, I will be writing about the physical description of the book, about the author's background, reason for choosing this book, brief summary of the book and its contents, author's purpose of writing this book, who is this book targeted at and what i have learnt from this book.
Physical description of the book
This book is dark blue in colour and has the picture of the sky of the front cover page, with a design of a thick cloud which has been formed and the moon shining behind the thick cloud at the front cover page. This book has a dimension of 19.4 X 13 X 2cm and is written in English. This book comprises of 10 chapters which are interlinked with one another and it also comprises of 256 pages and is paperback. It was first published by the author David Jackman in 2006 by Scripture Union UK. However, this book was previously published by Hodder and Stoughton Ltd with the titles, I Believe in the Bible and Opening up the Bible. This book has an ISBN number which is 1 84427 2249.
About the author
David Jackman was born on 10 July 1942, he is a renowned British Evangelical Christian speaker, and former president of The Proclamation Trust. He founded the Cornhill Training Course in 1991 and was previously Minister of Above Bar Church, Southampton from 1976 - 1991. He attended Downing College, Cambridge, and completed his theological training at Trinity College, Bristol, where he studied under J Alec Motyer and J.I. Packer. In 1974 he wrote his first short book, Starting as a Student: A Christian Approach, an 88-page pocketbook designed to prepare students for University or College life. He moved to Southampton in 1976 to work as assistant minister of Above Bar Church under Leith Samuel, becoming the Senior Minister in 1980.
In addition to his role at The Proclamation Trust, Jackman is a visiting lecturer at Oak Hill Theological College in London as an expert in Free Church ministry. He is a former chairman of the 9:38 Committee, a national evangelical interdenominational organisation established to help people consider the possibilities of paid gospel ministry. Jackman is married to Heather, and together they have two grown children.
Reason for choosing this book and its strength
My reason for choosing this book is because it has been a blessing in my life and also to the lives of other people i have lend it to. This book was also chosen as it applies to the course I am currently studying and thus making it relevant.
Brief summary of the book and its contents
The chronological arrangement of the chapters is finely presented in this book and each chapter follows on from where the previous one ended, thus putting the reader's mind at ease and not to worry about what is coming up next. In chapter 1, David Jackman explains about how the bible is not a religious textbook but a book about people like us. He also goes on to explain that the bible explains factual accuracy but does not set out to prove it, so much as to demonstrate it by revelation. He also went on to explain that what God once said to the people in the bible, he is still saying it today, thereby making the bible still relevant to people of the new millennium. In chapter 2, he went on to explain about the covenant and how God keeps his promises. He also went on to explain about the period of the exile, and that the coming of Christ puts an end to this exile period. In chapter 3, David went on to explain that the bible is the sufficient word of God to the church in all generations and that we must neither subtract from it nor add to it, and that what we need is to apply the principles to our lives.
In chapters 4 to 6, David goes on to explain that in order for us to hear God speak with certainty we need to go to the Bible. He also explains about how the Psalms provide us with words which speak for us to God. He also explains that the wisdom literatures seek to apply propositional truth to all the practical areas of life in God's word.
In chapters 7 and 8, David explains about how the Old Testament is not a secret code-book to reveal the hidden future, however it is designed to change behaviour in the present, in the light of the future. He also went on to explain that the four Gospels of the New Testament provide not only a rounded account of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, but also of the reason why he came.
In chapters 9 to 10, David explained that the Bible is the primary means of getting to understand and know God, because all of its contents communicate his mind and constitute his word. David also went on to explain that we need a more biblical approach to our involvement in every area of life, such as in family, church and the nation as a whole. He concludes that the way to affirm our belief in the Bible is to let loose in our own lives, and through them in the world at large, to declare and demonstrate its eternal truth.
Author's purpose of writing "Opening up the Bible"
David Jackman himself states that the purpose of writing this particular book is to encourage the reader to read the greatest book of all, of which God Himself is the author. The Bible, though being the world's Best-selling book, and normally found in most copies, editions and translations than any other books that has ever been published, yet it is still unknown to some people, but it is a close book to so many people today. The author encourages readers to read the Bible for themselves, whether they have tried it before or not. In the author's own quotation, "they say that you can eat an elephant if you tackle it slice by slice. The aim of him writing this book is that he wants to encourage others to read the bible bit by bit and not just to look at the size of the bible and then draw a conclusion that it is too difficult to understand or that the text in it are too many to comprehend.
Who is this book targeted at?
This book is mainly targeted at young Christians, by "young" I mean someone who is just starting to have a personal relationship with God or someone who has just given their life to Christ. Giving your life to Christ does not end at the prayer that has been said, asking God to fill you with His Holy Spirit and so forth, however one has to have that personal relationship with Him. A personal relationship means one has to understand the person they are hoping to have such relationship with. The only book in the entire universe that one can read to have that special relationship with God is the Bible.
As this book reassures and directs people on how to read the bible it will even be worth giving it to newly converted Christians or young Christians immediately after making their vows to walk with God.
This book is also targeted at people who wants to have more understanding about the bible and yet will be put off by a large detailed book, it is also targeted at small groups in church such as bible studies.
What I have learnt from this book
Many Christians and non Christians struggle to read the bible and also to get an understanding of it. I have learnt from this book that people can have a clear understanding of the Bible if they read it bit by bit and this is what this book is encouraging people to do. I have also learnt from this book that the bible should play an important role in the life of Christians.
The book titled, Opening up the bible, just as the name suggests, explains to Christians and non Christians how they should open up the bible, reason why they should open the bible which is to get more knowledge about God, and also the benefit of opening the bible. Every Christian is therefore encouraged to read the bible bit by bit and not to look at it as a bulky and difficult book to understand.