Book Review: The Red Letter Words Of Jesus

The Red Letter Word Of Jesus, by Jack Countryman

[Note:  This book was provided free of charge by BookLook/Thomas Nelson Publishing.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.]

As the second book by this author I have read [1] by this author, I must admit I had some preconceived notions going in.  For example, I thought for sure that the author was writing under an assumed name.  Jack Countryman sounds just like what you would expect a patriotic and fairly ordinary mainstream Christian would call himself to keep his cover from being blown while running for political office, but as it turns out the gentleman is writing under his own name and is the founder of Thomas Nelson’s gift department.  This book certainly fits within that realm.  In reading this book it took me a while to realize it was a devotional, albeit one of a particularly simple sort, and I felt for sure that there would be some kind of altar call before too long in the book, and sure enough it ended with a short altar call masquerading as a commentary on Revelation 3:20.  At least it was nice to know that not all of my intuitions had gone awry, as a frequent reader of such devotional material [2].

In terms of the contents of this book they are very rudimentary, which I am gathering is the general standard of the author’s work.  The left side of the book is made up of well-designed and graphically enhanced citations of verses that are among those spoken directly by Jesus Christ, although it is by no means an exhaustive list.  The right-side pages of the book, on the other hand, are made up of extremely short discussions of those verses, sometimes sticking close to the text at hand, sometimes discussing matters of contemporary political or cultural importance, and sometimes even making contradictions, as in the matter of making “judgments” about other people.  The author muffs some opportunities to talk about the Sabbath when citing Jesus’ claim to be the Lord of the Sabbath and adds very little depth to the scriptures that are talked about.  To be sure, there are pleasant reminders about matters that believers should keep in mind, but there is very little here that demonstrates spiritual insight or intellectual depth.

Overall, this is a good book, and hopefully it will encourage people to read the Bible more, but for those of us who do read the Bible and books about the Bible, this book comes off as being awfully lightweight.  If you want a book that will not be too demanding for a nominal Christian or a young person who might be looking to get a grasp of some of the short sayings of Jesus Christ taken from the Gospels (Matthew, Luke, and John far more than Mark) along with the closing altar call from Revelation 3:20, this book would make a good gift.  If you’re looking for a book that will challenge you or that will spark you to think about things you may never have thought about before, this book will likely come off as more than a little bit shallow and superficial.  A large part of that is in the way the book is designed.  With only a short page to devote to every verse, and only one verse covered at a time, there simply is no space to cover matters in depth, and the result is two or three very short paragraphs being all that can be said about even the most nuanced and complex and enigmatic of the quotations included here.

[1] https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2016/01/31/book-review-if-my-people/

[2] See, for example:

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2016/11/24/book-review-the-100-most-encouraging-verses-in-the-bible/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2015/01/10/book-review-gods-story-in-66-verses/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2016/10/19/book-review-jesus-a-365-day-devotional/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2017/06/13/book-review-jesus-journey/

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
This entry was posted in Bible, Book Reviews, Christianity and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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