If you think it's just a mysterious, outdated book, think again. It's the Bible Jesus read, used, and loved. The Old Testament is God's biography, the story of his passionate encounters with people. It is also a prequel to the story of Jesus, who came to answer the questions that troubled the ancient writers and still trouble us today. For expressing our deepest longings and voicing the full range of our lives and emotions, the Old Testament has no equal. Join Philip Yancey as he explores these sometimes shocking, often cryptic divine writings. You will come to know God more intimately, anticipate Jesus more fervently, and find a wonderful, wise companion for your faith journey.
©1999 Philip Yancey (P)2011 Zondervan
The best is the content, the ideas in it. The writer has a lot to say about God in the Old Testament, especially how He relates with His chosen ones: His chosen people. He focus also in how to bear pain and suffering. I liked very much when the writer mentioned the experience of the death of his father-in-law, of how he dealt with all complications of old age and death, always quoting the Old Testament in which he (and we) can relate to, in order to better understand God's Will. This book stays with you, touches you deeply. Jesus read the Old Testament. Read it often. Knew it by heart. From reading this book, I realize that we should read it more often, too, for itself and both towards a better understanding of the New Testament and of Jesus` role in it. This book is a must read and thought provoking. If you like or care about religious issues, you won`t regret having listened to it. Even if you are a non beliver interested in knowing some good book to make you think about the human condition, you should pick this one up, because in spiritual studding there is a lot of knowledge about the humans as well. One cannot understand the divine without understand the human, and the other way around.
There are several such memorable moments throughout the whole book, because it is a book that goes direct to seminal points, some of them sprang from decades of reading the Bible and other important books as well, without which one cannot fully understand the Bible. The writer is well read and has given some personal thought to several issues, which makes this book both more informative and more interesting to listen to than the same old ideas of most authors who only repeat what everybody already knows, like the sermons in most churches. There are only a few of writers like that, the ones who writes because they actually have something to say rather than just an itching to appear on print and the dubious fame of being one more writer, among so many, who only repeat, sometimes even without changing the form of the words, what other have said elsewhere, long ago, in a much better way. To write well one has to spend several years getting familiar with the subject matter of what one is going to write, or at least read the great books and practice the art of writing, until writing becomes effortlessly and natural. After that, comes the long process of familiarization with what is going to be written. This book went through the whole natural process of birth. That's why it is rather small. There is no unnecessary things in it just to make it think, like some others. The writer knows his craft and he has something personal to tell the readers. Francis Bacon said that the extreme majority of all books don`t deserve to be read, because they weren`t written seriously enough. This one is one rare exception to this general rule. You may even read (or listen) to it more than once.
If I had, I cannot say. Probably not. Overal is a good performace that makes more pleasant to listen to it than several other readers of other books. He is not the best, but is among the best, though. No more, no less.
It is almost impossible to me to find such a book. I buy several books at once and I like to 'rest' from one book by listening to another book, a secret a learned when I was in Law school, to make me read more: about sixteen hours a day. Of course, to read like that I had to miss almost all the lessons. Half of the time, I was reading all kinds of books. There is an interview, free of charge, of two writers talking about several issues (one of them wrote Blink) that I was able to listen to it in one sitting, only because it lasts a little longer than one hour. There is a book, the Second Coming of Steve Jobs, that made me want to listen for the longest time: it is very engaging. Both the writer and reader.This one I listened for more than two hours straight. I think the merit for that belongs to the content and to the way the book is written, one subject bringing forth another one naturally. Another thing that makes me not be able to listen for too long was something I`ve learned from Seneca: whenever you are reading and find something worthwhile, stop to think about that for as long as you can. When I find things that are very important, I stop reading to ponder about what I read/heard. That may take longer, but also makes for a much more active reading/listening. In the end, what really matters is not exactly what you've read, but how you reacted to what you've read. The reaction time needs to be increased for as long as possible. A Portuguese Poet called Fernando Pessoa said that knowledge is what remains when we forget everything we've read: what remains is our reactions to whatever we've read.
Once one very learned scholar came to Einstein and said that he used to read almost 16 hours a day, every day of the week. Then he asked what Einstein thought about him reading that much. Einstein's answer was that this man was a lazy person, a very lazy person. Bewildered, the scientist asked to Einstein why he was lazy if he studied for so long and so hard. The answer was that his laziness was due to the fact that If he reads 16 hours a day, when will he have time to think about what he has read? That scholar that read that many hours for years and years on end was only been lazy, because he was not doing the difficult and hard stuff that is required, in order to achieve real knowledge, that is, to imagine and figure out things by himself, instead of only trying to accumulate a great number of informations about some matter.
You can never demand from yourself to remember everything you've read, for as Schopenhauer said: Retaining all you've read in your head is as impossible as bringing inside of your belly all that you have already eaten.It is much more important to break someone's head, trying to figure out some theoretical problems in our minds than just skip the pages of any book in a frantic way to get more information out of it. The computers can do that kind of stuff better and faster than us, but up to now they still can't think of anything as yet. In order to learn something, one has to spend more time in innermost contact with whatever we are thinking, but more time does not always translate itself in more chronological hours. Time means energy. To have more time is to have more energy, to go beyond the layers of the perception of our limited reality.
Takes much more energy to think something anew than just to skip pages of a book. I myself use to spend some twenty years or more thinking over something that is bothering me to fully understand it. I have some answers that I know that are not deep enough, so I keep on digging a hole in them, trying to see the problem from all possible angles. Sometimes I think that I gave up of that issue, but to my own surprise suddenly something I read or I see helps me to make a new connection, helping me to delve into such a problem from a new perspective: that's my nature of studying anything I like. And I just read and study what I like or love. Knowlege is made out of love.Of course being the way I'm carries a burden with it, because, by focusing all our time and energy to pursue too much of anything, we will create a laser like beam of light only in that particular small area we are concentrating all of our attention in detriment of the rest of our life: one may forget to spend quality time with his loved ones or to take care of his own health.
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