Sunday, March 14, 2010

Book Review: 66 Love Letters by Larry Crabb

Have you ever felt like you are reading through the Bible, but not really connecting with what it is saying? Have you ever felt like you read through a book in the Bible, and did not see how it fit into the big story of God's love and his grace? If you have, you need to know that you are not alone, and you need to know that Larry Crabb intends to help you have a whole new understanding of Scripture.

Many of us in church circles have heard people refer to the Bible as "God's love letter to us". Larry Crabb's book is entitled 66 Love Letters comes to Scripture with that worldview, and then spends each chapter sharing how each book of the Bible fits into the cosmic, global story of God's love for each one of us as individuals. He does this by formatting the book in the form of a conversation by letter between God and an anonymous believer struggling to understand God's Word.

This book was difficult for me to read or enjoy. I found this to be true for several reasons. First, I thought Crabb often played to lose with the meaning and narrative of Scripture as a whole. More than once, instead of engaging the text directly, Crabb makes some sort of figurative use of Scripture that I found questionable. Also, much of the book felt like I was a voyeur on someone's prayer life and personal spirituality. All writing is a little like this; however, with 66 Love Letters I often thought I was reading someone's personal stuff that should have been left between God and them. Finally, this book was a little bit too "touchy/feely" for me. By "touchy/feely" I mean that it seemed oversentimental and about trying to get me as a reader to feel something sentimental and affectionate. I often felt like the author was trying to manipulate my feelings by force of will. It just made me roll my eyes.

Nevertheless, I think for someone who is trying to fit all the different books in Scripture together, this might be a good resource. 66 Love Letters is helpful for seeing how God is at work throughout the Bible, and that his character and intentions for creation are unchanging. For some folks that are babies in the faith, this book might be a comfort. Thus, it is not a total loss.

I do not recommend anyone spending their hard-earned money for this book. If anyone wants to have the book, they can take it off my hands for the cost of shipping.

(I was given a complimentary copy of this book by Thomas Nelson publishers in order to read and review it.)

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