Monday, June 14, 2010

Book Review: Big Truths for Young Hearts

book cover

Big Truths for Young Hearts
by Bruce A. Ware

Trade Paperback: 234 pages
Publisher: Crossway
First Released: 2009

Source: Bought from Books -A-Million.

Book Description from Publisher Website:
Big Truths for Little Hearts equips parents to guide their young children through all major doctrines in an understandable, chapter-a-day format.

Sure, it’s easy to teach your children the essentials of Christian theology when you’re a theology professor. But what about the rest of us?

With Big Truths for Little Hearts, Bruce Ware, (you guessed it!) a theology professor, encourages and enables parents of children 6–14 years of age to teach through the whole of systematic theology at a level their children can understand. Parents can teach their children the great truths of the faith and shape their worldviews early, based on these truths.

The book covers ten topics of systematic theology, devoting several brief chapters to each subject, making it possible for parents to read one chapter per day with their children. With this non-intimidating format, parents will be emboldened to be their children’s primary faith trainers—and perhaps learn a few things themselves along the way.

Big Truths for Young Hearts is an excellent foundational book on theology for tweens and teens. I'd also recommend this book to new believers. The author did an excellent job of explaining complex topics in an understandable manner and without talking down to the reader (or listener).

The book felt like a Bible study with all the relevant verses included. I liked how the author gave a balanced, whole-Bible view of the topic and gave the verses so that the reader could see for him- or herself what the Bible said about the topic. He often gave useful analogies or explained hard ("Christian-ese") words in common language. He gave the generally agreed-upon, Biblical overview of various concepts, but he did mention when there was disagreement on the details (like immersion baptism versus infant sprinkling baptism).

At the end of the section for each topic, there were two questions to test if the person understood what that section taught. There was also a suggested memory verse related to that topic.

The book covered 60 topics that built on each other. The topics included how can we know about God; what is God like; what is God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit like and how does the Trinity work; why did Jesus have to die for us; why do bad things happen; what is the church; what happens when we die; and what will happen in the end. Table of Contents

Like I said, I was very impressed by this book and plan on using it with a 12-year-old friend who recently came to know Christ. I'd highly recommend it to parents, youth group leaders, and new believers.

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 Chapter One
God Has Made Himself Known

Has anyone ever kept a secret from you? Maybe it was a birthday present or a special trip you were going to take or what your mom was planning to fix for dinner. If you’ve had this happen to you, then you can understand how important it is for others to tell us things that we cannot know unless they make it known. No matter how much you might want to know the secret, until someone tells you, you just cannot know what it is.

It is this way with knowing who God is. The only way that we could be thinking together about the greatness of God in this book is because God has shared with us the secret of who he is. We cannot discover who God is or figure him out on our own. We aren’t smart enough to do this, and God is way too big for us even to try. One of the very first things we must learn about God is very humbling, and it is this: unless God had decided to show us who he is, unless he had chosen to make known his own life and ways, we simply could know nothing—yes, nothing!—about him. We are dependent completely on God’s kindness and goodness to make himself known to us, and for this we ought to be grateful every day of our lives. After all, there is no one more important and more wonderful to know than God. So how thankful we must be that God did not keep to himself, as it were. Rather, he showed us in rich and wonderful ways just who he is.

The Bible talks about several different ways that God has made himself known to us. One of the ways God has shown us some things about himself is through the world he has made. Psalm 19:1–2 says, “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge.” And in Romans 1:19–20 Paul adds, “For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.” As these passages teach, some of the very qualities of God’s own life are shown through the world and the universe that he fashioned.

Read the introduction and all of chapter one.

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