Hebrews 12:1-2

"..let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith..." - Hebrews 12:1-2

Saturday, April 17, 2010

66 Love Letters - Book Review

In his book "66 Love Letters", Dr. Larry Crabb sets out to read through each book of the Bible, searching in them for examples of how God is showing His love to us through the text. This is a great goal and one that I was interested to see the outcome of. While Dr. Crabb does indeed work his way through each book, I found his conversational style of presenting his findings to be bothersome and a bit contrived.

While I had hoped for a book that provided a brief, high level synopsis of the common thread of God's Love that is found in each book of the Bible, I feel as if I was given the task of reading someone's creative writing assignment. To his credit, the author does provide a small sort of overview of how the theme of God's love does exist in each "letter", but it is often overshadowed by his tendency to be a bit dramatic in his dialogue. I can appreciate what he was attempting to do with this style of writing, but for me it just fell short of what I feel this book could have been if he had merely written in a standard presentation style.

I will admit that from the very outset, beginning with the Prologue, I did not think I would enjoy this book. As a matter of fact, if I hadn't agreed to write a review of this book for the company, I would have put it down shortly after picking it up. But I pressed on and finished reading a decent portion of the book, so that I could give it an informed review. Within the first few chapters, the reader is very familiar with what is to be the structure of the entire book, with each chapter having some personal "dialogue" between the author and God and the discovered threads of Love being sprinkled throughout that conversation.

I will not say that this book is poorly written, but I feel as if the actual messages found in the Bible are somewhat relegated to playing second fiddle to Dr. Crabb's ongoing personal story. I found some of the "conversation" to be a little disturbing, as God does not seem to be as interested in revealing His love to the author as He wants to make sure the author continues reading His Book through to the end. It is perhaps this ongoing theme throughout the book that turned me off most. It is fairly easy to see that the author is teasing his audience in each chapter, trying to force them to reading the entire book in order to get "the message".

I find it hard to believe that this book would be useful as a teaching aid, let alone as a stand alone study, as the author suggests at the beginning. In fact, it is suggested that a small group read through and discuss one chapter of this book a week for their study time. That would mean that a group of people would be using this "study guide" for well over a year, which I do not feel is justified by the content, warranted by the style and appropriate for any such endeavor. This leads me to think that perhaps the author too highlyof his own work and places too much importance on it.

Overall, I was not impressed, challenged or even enjoying the content of this book. Perhaps it will be well received by others, but I can't ever see myself recommending or reading this work ever again.

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