Monday, December 31, 2012

Book Review: Dig Even Deeper

Back in 2005, Nigel Beynon and Andrew Sach released a really helpful book for anyone wanting to go deeper in their Bible study. Dig Deeper: Tools to unearth the Bible's treasure did exactly what it said on the tin. The tools were introduced, and worked examples given. Those tools (just as a reminder) are: the Author's Purpose tool; the Context tool; the Structure tool; the Linking Words tool; the Parallels tool; the Narrator's Comment tool; the Vocabulary tool; the Translations tool; the Tone and Feel tool; the Repetition tool; the Quotation/Allusion tool; the Genre tool; the Copycat tool; the Bible Timeline tool; the 'Who Am I?' tool; and the 'So What?' tool. You'll need to read that book to discover what they all are, and how they'll help your Bible study.

Fast forward to 2010, and the book under review - Dig Even Deeper: Unearthing Old Testament treasure. Andrew Sach and Richard Alldritt demonstrate the working of these tools as they guide the reader through a study of the book Exodus (using a 14 word summary of the book: beatings - bush - plagues - passover - water - whinging - father-in-law - fear - case law - covenant - tabernacle - calf - cleft - tabernacle.

I've enjoyed Andrew's ministry at St Helen's through the sermon podcasts, and it's easy to hear Andrew's voice in the book, as he continues to be clear and concise in explaining God's word. Both authors have an easy to read and easy to follow style, with some good illustrations and pointers along the way.

Don't think, however, that this is a breeze through Exodus, in which the authors will give you all the answers. This is a practical hands-on guide which constantly directs the reader to go back to the Bible and do some of the hard work themselves. The tools are wielded with great effect, demonstrating how they can be of use, and what they will unearth as time is taken to study God's word.

The writers also aren't afraid of flagging up the dead-end alleys and red herrings in Bible study - those times when we jump to assumptions. They're careful to bring us back to what the text actually says, and what it means. As well as the detail, they also focus on the big picture - the point of the whole book of Exodus: knowing God's name (character)

As it happened, I had been reading Exodus in my quiet times, and was a couple of steps ahead, but there were things I had missed. It was good to be able to think further about what I was reading, and to see what was lying further beneath the surface.

This is a really useful book, and would be profitable for preachers doing the background work on the text, or even the week-to-week preaching preparation, but it's not just for pastors. If you're wanting to study Exodus, whoever you are, then this is definitely a good starting point.

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