Friday, September 7, 2012

Book Review: Twelve Unlikely Heroes

Twelve Unlikely Heroes: How God Commissioned Unexpected People in the Bible and What He Wants to Do with You
By John MacArthur
Thomas Nelson, 2012
English, 240 pgs

What kind of people does God use to accomplish His work?

Far from the children’s tales depicted in picture books and nursery rhymes, the men and women highlighted in the Bible were unnervingly real. They faltered. They struggled. And at times, they fell short. Yet God worked through them in surprising and incredible ways to accomplish His purposes. Scripture does not hide their weaknesses, caricature their strengths, or spin their stories as a display of human nobility. Instead, it describes these heroes of the faith with unflinching honesty and delivers an unexpected ending: “God is not ashamed to be called their God” (Hebrews 11:16).

In Twelve Unlikely Heroes, pastor and best-selling author John MacArthur uses his deep knowledge of the Bible and history to take us back to see these three-dimensional men and women in their own times and cultures. In doing so, it becomes clear how their dramatic stories apply to us today. People who might at first seem foreign quickly become familiar and unforgettable—particularly as they reveal the true Hero behind every witness, the power counterbalancing every weakness, “the Author and Finisher of our faith” (Hebrews 12:1).

I have not read the other books by this author which highlight "ordinary men" and "extraordinary women". So I cannot compare this book to past books. I can only comment on this book, by itself. 

I was pretty excited, at first, to read this book because of the "heroes" highlighted in the chapters. The order of people is: Enoch, Joseph, Miriam, Gideon and Samson, Jonathan, Jonah, Esther, John the Baptist, James and Mark and Onesimus. I was hoping for a fresh look at their lives and to learn something new that I hadn't studied before about them.

I was pretty disappointed. The chapters are basically a retelling of their life story. There are a few lines interspersed into the narrative about what makes their lives "heroic" and a very short synopsis at the end of each. I could have learned just as much from reading the extended chapter headings (Enoch: The Man Who Walked With God for example). 

 The point of the book is to show that everyone has a chance to be used by God. There isn't anything that can't be forgiven and there isn't anyone who can't be used by God. No matter what they've done or who they were before.

 Enoch had a life dedicated to God. Joseph lived out faith and forgiveness. Miriam was a courageous leader. Gideon and Samsom show that strength comes from God, not ourselves. And so on...

 Don't get me wrong, this is a well written book, I was just expecting more. There was probably more "meat" in the introduction and epilogue than in the chapters themselves.

I received a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. No additional compensation has been received.

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