'The Good Book' Takes a Birdseye View of the Bible

Ever since experiencing Walk Thru the Bible many years ago, I've appreciated study aids that enable Bible readers to see the big picture of God's creation and his work within it from the beginning. Pastor Deron Spoo's The Good Book has the same type of goal, but his approach is unique: this work highlights, as the subtitle says, "forty chapters that reveal the Bible's biggest ideas."

At first I thought it would be an overview, a broad historical approach that might give readers a chronological sense of the Bible's timeline and significant events. And it does work through the books of the Bible in order. But Spoo isn't giving a history lesson. He's presenting major themes that impact readers as they get to know the God who revealed himself through his word. "Biggest ideas"—not every significant event or person. Sure, we'll encounter some of those as we go along, but they aren't the focus.

Organized in eight sections of five lessons each, the book spends much more time in the New Testament than it does in what Spoo calls the Older Testament (to avoid the idea of obsolescence, he explains, which I thought was a little forced). And while I think he skipped many important passages in the Old(er) Testament, I can understand his focus on the Gospels and the teachings of Jesus.

Each chapter begins with a passage from scripture, followed by an essay connecting the theme of the text to personal application. Using stories and explanation, they read much like an engaging—and short!—sermon might. Each chapter ends with reflection questions.

This resource can be used in groups or individually. It could be a great tool to use with families! It's not supposed to take the place of Bible reading but rather to help give context and color to what sometimes is too familiar or utterly foreign, depending on your upbringing. Think of it as an introductory study book for the new believer or someone still seeking to understand what the Bible is all about. Teens and adults who were raised in church and can feel complacent in their biblical literacy will gain a fresh perspective of the richness found in God's word.

The Good Book is definitely a step apart from the usual Bible studies. When you are ready to approach God's word from a new, birdseye, perspective, pick this one up.

*Full disclosure: I received a free copy for the purpose of this review. Positive comments not required (just deserved) :)