He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. - Colossians 1:15-16

Saturday, October 15, 2016

The Bible Habit by David Ramos – Mixed Review

I’ve had the opportunity to read some author David Ramos’ devotionals and enjoyed them very much and appreciated some of his insights.  That’s why I was excited to read his newest book, The Bible Habit.

After reading The Bible Habit, I had some conflicting thoughts and observations about this book.  When David sticks with the Bible and shares some of what he’s learned from studying the Bible it’s good, thought provoking and challenging.  When he delves into secular studies, science or philosophy to encourage or prompt people to read the Bible, I think he got off course.  There were a couple of times, he referenced sources that are not Biblically sound writers or teachers. 

The good…I appreciated that David started with the importance of people understanding the Bible in context and he went on to explain what that means and why it’s important.  In a day and age when context is thrown to the wind, it was refreshing to see David reinforcing this important truth. 

The chapter on The Memory Boosting Tactic had some good ideas on how to learn, remember and memorize the Bible.  I didn’t care for the secular references on learning.  The Beginner’s Ultimate Toolbox referenced some good study tools that people can use to better understand the Bible and dive deeper.  I take issue with David’s opinion that there is no wrong translation to start with.  Absolutely, it makes a big difference on starting with a translation that is accurate and sound.  If you don’t, you can more easily be led astray with false teaching. 

The chapter Two Souls Are Better Than One was a great reminder, we shouldn’t be solo Christians.  God calls us to be part of a community.  David did a good job in sharing some of the benefits and challenges of being part of a church or Bible study or Christian community.  I would like to add that it is important what community we are a part of.  We need to make sure that it has Biblically sound teaching. 

The chapter on Prayer, The Truth Igniter, had some good insights and references.  But I was concerned about with the reference of Richard Foster in how to pray the Bible.  Richard Foster is part of the spiritual formation and contemplative prayer movement.  Foster is not biblically sound.  Steer clear of his teaching.   

The not so good…the chapter on Building Blocks of a Habit had some practical tools to help you develop the beneficial habit of reading the Bible.  But this chapter seemed to miss the boat in acknowledging that the Bible is from God and the primary source that God uses to reveal Himself and it is a privilege to read it.  I felt this chapter downplayed the authority of God’s Word and made reading the Bible seem common and lowly.  So much so, that you should put incentives in place to read the Bible like you would when starting a new exercise program.  Also, I disagree with David’s suggestion to not read a book of the Bible chapter by chapter, but aim for reading by story.  Reading a book of the Bible helps you to read and understand it within context.  The mix of secular and Bible in this chapter didn’t mix well.  

To sum things up, I had some mixed and conflicting thoughts about The Bible Habit by David Ramos.  He had some beneficial thoughts and tools for people to consider as they learn to study the Bible.  However, I was concerned with the secular studies and science that he cited to incentivize reading the Bible as well as a Christian writer who is not biblically sound.  At times, I felt like he was making the Bible palatable, when in fact it is the perfect and inerrant Word of God. 

Would I recommend it?  Maybe.  Some of the material is beneficial for a new Christian or an unbeliever wanting to know how to read God’s Word.  But I would also be concerned that they start with a biblically sound foundation, have a high view of Scripture and steer clear of false teachers. 

I would like to thank author David Ramos for the opportunity to read The Bible Habit.  I was under no obligation to give a favorable review. 



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