Core 52: A Fifteen-Minute Daily Guide To Build YOur Bible IQ In A Year, by Mark E. Moore
[Note: This book was provided free of charge by Multonah Waterbook Press in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.]
There are really two main problems I have with this book as it relates to what it claims to be, although for the record I think it a very fine book (more on that later). First, this book does not consist of a series of 52 essays, as the author claims it to. Rather the book contains 52 mini-treatises that deal with the subjects the author has in mind from the passages he has chosen and those they connect to. At times there are open agendas he has in mind, including a desire to proclaim subversive political interpretations of the Bible and point to the need to rest as well as a high focus on Christ. The second issue I have with the book is one of balance. Out of the 52 verses included here, only 17 of them come from the Old Testament, leaving 35 to come from the (much smaller) New Testament, and even most of the verses chosen from the Old Testament are quoted or cited in the New Testament.
As far as a book goes, the author claims that this book will help improve the Bible IQ of its readers. It hardly seems possible that this is the case unless his readers are particularly unfamiliar with the Bible, as the author focuses his attention on precisely those areas where you would expect a largely antinomian Hellenistic Christian to focus on. It is a bit of a surprise that the author does not include any verses from Luke as all of the other Gospels receive a lot of attention, but overall this book hits highlights that people should already be familiar with, and if they are not they are simply not paying attention at church services. Each of the 52 weeks is numbered, titled, contains a verse (or short passage), contains a treatise on the topic that includes the author’s thinking and assumptions, numbered lists, or references to the parts of the Bible that connect with the main passage, and then at the end there is a five-day checklist that includes reading the treatise, memorizing the passage, reading related passages, meditating on still more passages, and even overachieving challenges to remember still more passages and a bonus read that includes a wide variety of books from Dale Carnegie’s How To Win Friends and Influence People to a couple of books by China’s Watchman Nee.
A good case can be made that the author does write about a wide variety of topics of considerable importance to believers. The book offers a great deal of thoughtful counsel that is worthy reflecting on, and no appeal to read the Bible more and memorize and reflect on it should be wasted. That said, this book does little to improve the IQ of the reader because it reflects an antonomian view of the Bible that neglects the importance of the Hebrew scriptures in providing a proper context for biblical Christianity. The author also brings in quite a few eisegetical interpretations of scripture that are fairly obvious as well, and at times fails to understand why it is that people get sick of hearing the same messages about tithing and offerings over and over again when the Bible speaks a great deal about monetary affairs, but far more about what God has given us or will give us than what we are supposed to give to Him. Still, even if the highest goals and aspirations of the author are not met in this book, those who read it (and the various selected reads that are included) will gain a great deal of biblical understanding about a wide variety of subjects and they will not parts of the Bible better (especially the NT), and that is worth some praise.