Reading God’s Word Today, by George Martin, is a clear, thoughtful, and eminently readable book on getting the most out of spending time reading Scripture. Though brief (less than 200 pages), it is by no means short on substance. Though written from a Catholic perspective, it is one of the few books, besides the Bible itself, I sincerely wish I could place into the hands of every Christian, Protestant and Catholic alike!
The book is divided into two parts, the first providing a model for how to read Scripture and the second focusing on how God reveals himself to us through it. Martin is quick to point out that Scripture is to be read in the Christian life devotionally–that is, as part of the ongoing, daily conversation between the Christian and God. The point to spending time daily in God’s Word is not to check off boxes on a reading plan or read through the entire Bible in x number of days. Instead, we are reminded of the importance of taking our time meditating on the words of Scripture, mulling over them that we might not only understand what we read but that we might truly hear God’s voice speaking to us through them. The approach Martin outlines is the classic, time-tested Christian practice called lectio divina (holy reading), which consists of four parts: reading, understanding, listening, and praying. The point, as he succinctly writes, “is to help Scripture ‘come alive’ for us.”
The second half of the book discusses the proper understanding of Scripture as the Word of God revealed to humanity. Martin explores God’s use of inspired human agent in the process of divine revelation and how the Bible consequently revels God to us and recreates us, by the power of the Spirit, into his people. In this section, he anticipates some common questions and objections about the origin of Scripture, discusses the necessity of understanding the background and cultural setting (especially of the Old Testament), and points out how the infant church was impacted by both Jesus’ teachings and the writings of the Apostles.
This little work is a very practical, wonderfully helpful book and a gift given to the body of Christ from Martin’s pen. Every believer at every stage of their Christian life would benefit from reading this book…and then reading it again later on to be reminded of its great truths. As a Christian, this book reminded me of the great treasure we have be been given by God in the Holy Scriptures–I read it, marked it, and re-read it. As a chaplain, this is one of the books I hope to be able to make available to all I encounter from day to day, whether Protestant or Catholic. As a parent, besides Holy Scripture and our Catechisms, I will definitely work through Reading God’s Word Today with my children that their understanding of God’s Word might be deepened.
You can purchase this book here.
I wrote this review of Reading God’s Word Today for the Tiber River Blogger Review program, created by Aquinas and More Catholic Goods, the largest Cathlic store online. For more information and to purchase, please visit Aquinas and More Catholic Goods.
Tiber River is the first Catholic book review site, started in 2000 to help you make informed decisions about Catholic book purchases.
I receive free product samples as compensation for writing reviews for Tiber River.