Monday, March 8, 2010

Book Review: Eyewitness

book cover

The Life of Christ Told in One Story
by Frank Ball

Trade Paperback: 287 pages
Publisher: Winepress Publishing
First Released: 2008

Source: Won this book in a giveaway by another book blogger.

Back Cover Description:
Some of the details of Jesus’ life were recorded by four of his closest followers. Each account is written from a different perspective, and only one of the four tells the events in chronological order. Therefore, for centuries, the accounts have been told in out-of-sequence fragments.

Eyewitness compiles the information from the Gospels and hundreds of other Bible verses into one chronological story. As you read this account, you can walk with Jesus, hear his voice, see what he does, and discover the joy of following him.

Eyewitness was the gospel accounts (and related Scripture) combined into one chronological account of Jesus' life and ministry. The author used his own "easy to understand" translation of the gospels. Overall, I enjoyed his translation, though a few times I felt his word choice was poorly chosen and potentially misleading.

Several times, he combined two events into one that are clearly two separate events in the Bible. I also sometimes questioned his sequence of events. However, it was very interesting to get another person's view of what the gospel chronology was like.

This book was read out loud as a group read, and two listeners had never read a "gospels combined and put in chronological order" account before and found it most interesting. It certainly sparked a lot of discussion and investigation of our own.

I liked that the author placed the Old Testament verses that are referred to in the gospels directly into the gospel text as you read along. I thought he did a good job with that.

If you've never read a "gospels combined and put in chronological order" account before, I'd certainly recommend doing so as it gives you a new perspective on events. All I had when I did it was a list of verses to daily look up in a certain order, so having them all worked together in one book does have it's advantages. As long as you keep in mind that Eyewitness is not the definitive version but a useful tool, then I'd recommend it.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Excerpt from page 29-30:
Jesus grows up in Nazareth.
Isaiah 11:1; Jeremiah 23:5; 33:15; Zechariah 6:12; Matthew 2:19-23; Luke 2:39-52

After Herod's death, an angel of God appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, "Get up and take the child and his mother to Israel. Those who tried to kill the child are now dead."

So Joseph left Egypt with his family and would have settled in Judea but heard that Archelaus reigned in place of his father, Herod. Afraid to go there, and warned in a dream, Joseph took Mary and Jesus to Nazareth, a village in the Galilean hills. That fulfilled what the prophets had written: He will be called a Nazarene. A twig will bud from the stock of Jesse, and a branch will bear fruit from his roots. A righteous branch will spring up from David, a wise king who will bring righteousness and justice to the land. From where he is, he will spring forth and build the temple of the Lord.

The child grew and became strong. He was filled with wisdom, and God's grace was upon him.

When Jesus was twelve, the family went to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover festival, according to Jewish custom. Afterward, when leaving for home, his parents did not realize that he had stayed behind. They traveled for a whole day, assuming he was elsewhere in the caravan. When he did not show up that evening, they looked for him among relatives and friends. Unable to find him, they went back to Jerusalem and searched. Finally, after three days, they found him in the Temple, sitting among the teachers, listening and asking questions. His understanding and his answers amazed everyone.

Joseph and Mary were shocked. "Son," Mary said, "why have you treated us this way? Your father and I have been frantically searching everywhere."

"Why?" Jesus asked. "Didn't you know I would have to be here, doing the work of my father?"

They did not understand what he meant, but Mary held this event dear to her heart.

Jesus returned to Nazareth with them, submitting to their authority. As the years passed, he grew physically and spiritually, enjoying the favor of God and the people.

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