March 4, 2011

Slave by John MacArthur (Review)

Some of the best discoveries in life are the things that have been staring you directly in the face but you just never realized it. As a reader of scripture, it is easy when one comes across passages talking about how people are God’s possession, or that someone is a slave of Christ and come away with it with a very, “Ok, so I am God’s property… what else” understanding of what is being said. John McArthur, in his phenomenal book, Slave: The Hidden Truth About Your Identity in Christ, tells us this concept is huge in understanding who we are in our relationship to God. In fact, this is the most commonly used image used in all of scripture, but you just didn’t know it. Don’t worry. McArthur explains it and explains it well.

I could describe this book with three words: scripture, history, and research. This is not a devotional book, nor is it filled with personal anecdotes of entertaining life stories to help the author convey a message. Rather, it simply is a footnoted exploration of a single word, sharing instances in scripture and providing historical and cultural context so that we, in our modern American understanding of slavery can be balanced with what slavery meant back when the authors of scripture wrote, though still not a sunshine and gumdrops life by any means.

While very researched, when you finish reading the book you do not come away with the sense you just endured someone’s term paper. There is a great balance Biblical examples, stories of historical figures, and examination of the word.

This book is like seeing, in person, for the first time a famous work of art or sculpture. You think you are familiar enough with it, but then you get a curator who has studied it greatly. He or she stands beside you telling you about it, walking you step by step closer to examine its fine details. Then has you back up, shows it to you from a different angle, and then you step in closer to examine it again, until you see it from all sides. At the end, your understanding of what you once knew is enhanced exponentially, and the sheer beauty of the work is magnified.

This book helps you greater realize what an awesome God we serve.

Five stars (out of 5).

I received a complimentary review copy of this book from Thomas Nelson.

1 comment:

Paul J. Sohn said...

This is by one of the most profound and life-altering books I've ever read in my life. Thank you for the summary. The key point is understanding the relationship with slave/master. We were bought with a hefty price - the very blood of Christ. What is amazing is how we find true freedom in slavery in Christ. That's amazing. Here's another post that complements yours. Thank you!