To begin with, the publisher who has produced this recent work is new themselves, and – based on this work – I imagine that we’ll be hearing about many more exciting books from them in the days to come! Weaver Book Company (not to be confused with Weaver Press, which is based in Zimbabwe) was established in 2013 by Jim Weaver, an established veteran of the Christian academic publishing world, who formerly served such highly respected publishing houses as Baker, Kregel, and Thomas Nelson. His most admirable goal in this new publishing venture is “to take the riches of the academy and make them accessible to the church” (https://www.weaverbookcompany.com/about/history-and-staff) – a goal which I believe is successfully reached in this book.
Bible Revival, by Kenneth Berding, is a short (121 page) and extremely accessible book calling direct attention to the current famine of God’s Word among believers, and reminding us of the vital place that Scripture should have in the life of every believer. In keeping with the goals of both the publisher and the author, this is a practical rather than academic work, obviously written from the perspective of an author who personally loves God’s Word and desires for other believers to do so as well. He hopes to accomplish this by offering us these six chapters, each of which considers one of the major obstacles preventing believers from growing in their knowledge of God’s Word and then offers practical solutions for overcoming these obstacles in our own lives.
From the outset, the undeniable problem is acknowledged:
“Christians used to be known as ‘people of one book.’ Sure, they read, studied, and shared other books. But the book they cared about more than all others combined was the Bible. They memorized it, meditated on it, talked about it, and taught it to others. We don’t do that anymore, and in a very real sense we’re starving ourselves to death.” (16)
Just to make sure that we’re good and convicted about this, though, Berding compares our current situation to similar experiences in the time of the Old Testament writings:
“In the book of Amos, people who experienced a ‘famine of hearing the words of the Lord’ are portrayed as undergoing divine judgment. Amos paints a picture of people without access to God’s revelation searching for a message from God like desperate people – hungry and dehydrated – in search of food and water (Amos 8:11-12). In Amos they want it, but are not permitted it. In our case, although we have unlimited access, we often don’t want it. The irony is intense. Who would deliberately and knowingly put himself under God’s judgment?” (19)
Thankfully, this book is filled with convicting passages like these – which may be just what we need to shake us from our spiritual lethargy and drive us to once again make God’s Word the priority in our lives that it truly needs to be! Better than merely convicting readers, though, the author also provides us with great wisdom regarding how we should move past all of our various excuses for neglecting God’s Word and restore God’s Word to its rightful place as the authoritative guide for our lives.
In these chapters, we are freshly challenged – and helped – to overcome all of the obstacles that keep us from engaging with God’s Word on a daily basis. These obstacles include distractions and busy-ness (chapter 1), concerns about the Bible’s sufficiency for our lives (chapter 2), the common struggles with understanding, applying, and obeying God’s Word as we should (chapters 3 – 5), and the far too frequent unwillingness to incorporate God’s Word into our daily conversations with others (chapter 6).
In all of these ways, countless believers have allowed God’s Word to become virtually non-existent in their daily lives – especially when they aren’t gathered with the saints for weekly worship. Yet, in these pages, the author reminds us of the Bible’s unswerving insistence that genuine Christ-followers spend significant time encountering God in his written Word, and by the end of the book we have been greatly inspired to do so!
Each chapter concludes with a prayer for God to help us increase our commitment to the Bible, as well as questions for review to help us reflect on what we’ve just read. At the end of the book, there is a helpful appendix to help us learn to better memorize portions of Scripture (a crucial aspect of overcoming biblical illiteracy!), as well as a brief description of a forthcoming program intended to help believers and churches grow in their overall knowledge of the Bible.
Though an easy read and not necessarily filled with vast amounts of “new information”, this book serves as a powerful and inspiring reminder that a significant portion of our lives should be devoted to the reading, studying, memorizing, and applying of God’s Word, and enables us to freshly commit ourselves to setting Scripture as the priority in our lives that it needs to be. What better purpose could a modern book serve?
NOTE: I received this book for free from Weaver Book Company (through Cross-Focused Reviews) in exchange for my preparation of this honest review of the book. However, I was not required to write a positive review of the book.