Sunday, February 22, 2015

Insights on John by Charles R. Swindoll

book cover
Insights on John
by Charles R. Swindoll

ISBN-13: 9780310284352
Hardcover: 363 pages
Publisher: Zondervan
Released: 2010

Source: bought from

Book Description, Modified from Back Cover:
Insights on John provides a wealth of colorful, detailed, and easy-to-understand insights into the gospel of John.

My Review:
Insights on John is a Bible commentary on the gospel of John. The author explained the meaning of various key Greek words to help the reader understand confusing passages and to bring out the full meaning of the text. He also provided information on the cultural and historical background and quoted similar statements made elsewhere in the Bible to help the reader fully understand the verses.

The book begins with an introduction explaining why John wrote the book. There was a timeline from 26 AD to 117 AD showing who was ruling and a black-and-white map showing the areas around the Mediterranean Sea.

The author then gave a paragraph or two of Scripture from John and then studied through that verse-by-verse. At the end of each section, he discussed how we can apply the writer's message to our own lives. He also included occasional "journal" pages were he talked about how those verses had been applied or worked out in his life.

Though you can look up information on just a single verse, this is more a Bible study book where it's assumed you'll read the whole book. Some sections kept focused on clarifying what the verses mean so the reader can better understand them. Others were more of a sermon where he tells the reader what to understand from it. There were a few places where I didn't share his conclusions, but generally he kept to points that I think most Christians would agree with.

Overall, this book was easy to follow and understand. I'd recommend it to Christians who want to dig deeper into understanding John.

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: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.

Monday, February 16, 2015

The Case for Grace Student Edition by Lee Strobel, with Jane Vogel

book cover
The Case for Grace,
Student Edition
by Lee Strobel,
with Jane Vogel

ISBN-13: 9780310736578
Trade Paperback: 132 pages
Publisher: Zondervan
Released: February 24, 2015

Source: Review copy from the publisher through

Book Description from Back Cover:
Lee draws upon his own journey from atheism to Christianity to explore the depth and breadth of God’s redeeming love, including those whose lives have been radically changed after discovering the “how” and “why” behind God’s amazing grace. You’ll encounter racists, addicts, and even murderers who have found new hope and purpose. You’ll meet once-bitter people who have learned to forgive those who have harmed them—and, equally amazing, people mired in guilt who have discovered that they can even forgive themselves.

Through it all, you will see how God’s grace can change your eternity and relationships…starting today.

My Review:
The Case for Grace, Student Edition is teen nonfiction about how grace impacts people's lives. The author tells the stories of people who have been transformed by God's grace: from someone who was told she was worthless and unlovable from childhood, to the drug addict, to the good guy (do "good guys" need grace?), to the cruel mass murderer (is there anyone God won't forgive if they genuinely repent? why is this good news for everyone?), to the homeless druggie and burglar, to the evangelist's son who wanted to live wildly. The author explored what grace is, how it can transform people, and how to give and receive grace.

I don't know how this teen edition differs from the "adult" book, but it's a quick read and shared some clear examples of transforming grace. I don't think a teenager would have any problem reading or understanding the book. I'd recommend this book to anyone, but especially to those who can't quite understand the idea of God's unearned love due to growing up with approval-based family relationships.

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: Read an excerpt at Christian Book Store's website.