Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Beynon & Sach 'Dig Deeper' (IVP)

I should first declare my lack of objectivity, in that Sachy is not only a much-loved friend, but has been my housemate over the past three years, in which proximity we continue for the next 12 months too... That said, he'd be hurt if I pulled any punches, so I wont!

I'm not exactly sure what to say, given the endorsements from David Jackman, Vaughn Roberts, John Chapman and Mark Dever, but never let it be said that Towner kept quiet when there were things that could be said!

This is an extremely useful book. That sounds like damning with faint praise, but it isn't meant to be. This really is a book of great usefulness. It is well described by the subtitle: Tools to Unearth the Bible's Treasure. It presents 15 tools for faithful Bible-handling, with an introductory chapter on what the Bible is and a concluding chapter on why how we read it matters.

First, it is an absolute pleasure to read, being clear and concise. It is then encouragement, challenge, inspiration and tool.

It encourages because it is full of the Bible, speaking great truths excitingly. Whilst being a manual of how to use Scripture, the primary joy for me was just being in the Word - seeing new things & being reminded of forgotten things... It is encouraging to hear great things said well, and it is an encouragement to be in the Bible.

It challenges by setting a great standard for Bible-handling. The old 'it feels good and sounds vaguely right' approach doesn't figure as highly in the descriptions of good-practice as it might in my general technique, and the 'I heard a famous Christian once say that x means X' approach, which I almost prefer to the 'feels good and sounds vaguely right' one, is no-where to be found. Rather: clear, wise, practical, real-life, road-tested methods are presented as the basic aspects of the science behind interpreting God's vital, urgent Word.

It inspires because it motivates our right use of good technique when reading the Good Book. There is no sense in which biblical interpretation is presented as merely a science (pp. 16-17), yet the methodical methodologies are so well presented as to be eminently comprehensible and achievable - inspiring me to be more deliberate in my use of them. This is not beyond me, nor any vaguely serious Bible-reader.

It is a tool, because it is a great book to use with others or to teach others from, as Ed Shaw's appendix testifies. I intend to make much use of this book with students, staff-teams, youth-group leaders, and so on... This is the main aim behind it, an aim it is perfectly fit to meet.

OK, so I've been nice about my housemate's book. But what are the negatives? What would I change were I to edit it for a second edition? Well, I'd like it to come with actual cut-out cardboard tools, so I could pick up my screwdriver or mallet or whatever, and I'd also like there to be an acronym so I could remember all 15 tools nice and easily, and I'd certainly want to think very carefully about the cover... But I wouldn't change anything else. In the coming re-prints and further editions, let it be known that this one has my seal of approval! Whenever I found myself wishing for further details at some points, I remembered that they do exist in other books - and that the longer this gets, the fewer will read it... I think the authors get that call pretty much exactly right. It is exactly what it aims to be - making it a very useful book indeed.

So: buy, read, give away, use with others, and await the many many further editions - as this print-run should sell out very quickly indeed!


Anonymous Sachy said...

Thanks Towner. Guess it's now my turn to do the washing-up for the next few times...

10:27 pm, June 28, 2006  
Blogger Dawn said...

Only read the first few chapters of 'Dig Deeper' and find myself agreeing with Towner...excellent read - buy it! It's on my pile of 'books to read over the summer', will take it on holiday with me next week.
And Sachy I'm sure Towner won't want any repayment for his comments, so I don't think you'll have to tie yourself to the kitchen sink for the next few days :-)

12:13 pm, June 29, 2006  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home