Every bibliophile has a list. You know, the "special list" containing the prized books that touch our hearts or speak to our soul in such a profound way as to deem them worthy of the â€˜top shelf' of the bookcase. They become our â€˜reference', â€˜go-to', or â€˜feel good' reads for a rainy day as they have earned the right to be experienced over and over again, each time providing new insights and nuggets of goodness.
To my list I will now add Passages by Brian Hardin. Here are my reasons why.
One of my all-time favorite books on exploring the dynamics of community is "Life Together" by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. I feel Passages just may qualify as the modern version of "Life Together." I understand I may have just ruffled a few feathers. Settle down. I stand by my opinion. Page after page of Passages is filled with nuggets of truth, wisdom, and practical advice. In so honestly sharing the path of growth as a result of reading the Bible every day, Hardin challenges the reader to analyze the hundreds of messages bombarding us on a daily basis. Hardin walks the reader through the many personal and communal benefits received from reading the Bible systematically and in context. This experience changed Hardin's life, leading him to a deeper connection with others in the process. As a result of reading the Bible each day, Hardin found a meaningful sense of purpose, gained a healthy perspective and outlook on life, learned how to develop deeper relationships with others, and discovered the tools for making wise decisions in all areas of life. Hardin's promise: the same result and fulfillment is available to you.
I appreciate Hardin's emphasis on reading the Bible in context and practicing the discipline of lectio divina. We are a nation of consumers, no doubt. The "shop around" mentality has, according to Hardin, impacted the way many approach the Bible, seeking less to read the Bible with the intention of understanding the context (and larger framework), as receiving a quick-fix by popping around the pages with little guided direction. Hardin also draws connection to the ways in which a hurried, over-committed lifestyles negatively impact efforts to read the Bible thoughtfully, giving full consideration and attention to the text. The practice of lectio divina is one way to remain focused while reading the Bible and allowing the text to speak into our lives in a reflective way.
Whether young, old, or middle-aged, Passages has something meaningful to offer. If you are curious about the Bible, pick up a copy of Passages. If you feel that life is not what you planned and are in need of a change, pick up a copy of Passages. If you are simply looking for a well written book to add to your "to-read" list, pick up a copy of Passages. You will be changed for the better having read about Hardin's journey.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
I read Passages in two days. As soon as I read the description, I was hooked. I can't tell you what an incredible book this is. I have read many books on this subject, but Passages is in a league by itself.
Brian Hardin begins by explaining how he came to read the bible everyday. He gives his testimony in Chapter One entitled "The Olive Couch". Chapter Two talks about the reasons why we don't read our bible. This was one of my favorite chapters.
Our number one excuse for not reading our bible is lack of time..
"Time is always an enemy. Reading Scripture is always on our perpetual to-do list; but as the day goes by, it ends up at the bottom of the list, and by the time we fall into bed, we're just too exhausted to read anything that requires serious thought." (Page 32)
Can you relate? I know I can because I struggle with this myself. The other is understandability which Brian Hardin discusses as well.
"The Bible is written as a story, a story that has not yet reached its conclusion. The story has wound its way through battlefields and wedding nights, through birthing chambers and funeral parlors, from transcendent pleasure to utter hopelessness. This is the unstoppable story of God and his profound love for humanity." (Page 35)
Chapter Six was extremely interesting for me. The chapter discusses "Lectio Divina: Divine Reading".
"Lectio divina is an unhurried, contemplative reading of a portion of Scripture. The practice of lectio divina includes four steps: Lectio, read; Meditatio, meditate; Oratio, speak or pray; and Contemplatio, contemplate or rest." (Page 103, 105)
Brian Hardin also writes that reading the Word of God out loud has remarkable power and authority. I admit, I never read the Bible out loud to myself. However, after reading this book, I will now apply this new practice to my daily bible reading.
Brian Hardin has a unique, creative and eloquent writing style. Passages inspired me so much. I am now listening to his daily podcasts and also joined Daily Audio Bible online community.
If you struggle with reading the Bible, I highly recommend this book. Passages is full of wisdom and inspiration. I especially loved reading people's testimonies throughout the book.
In conclusion, I want to thank Brian Hardin for writing this book. I also want to thank Litfuse Publicity and Zondervan Publishers for sending me a complimentary copy of this book to read and review.
Son of a minister, Brian was determined not to go into the ministry. He got involved in the recording industry but the company he was with went bankrupt. He became aware of the emerging podcast technology and God called him to podcast the Bible, and the Daily Audio Bible was born.
Brian thought the podcast would be a temporary project but saw it grow into a community. He realized he was entering the ministry and that he was passionate about it.
Brian is very passionate about reading the Bible. He found it "reveals who you really are and illumines a path that you are created to walk." (29) When he had completed his first full reading through the Bible, he realized he had been transformed.
He presents this challenge: "If you will commit yourself to spending every day in the Bible for one month, you will notice something shifting inside. If you'll do it for three months, you'll feel as if major places in your heart are coming back to life. It you'll stick to it for a year,you will have been transformed from the inside out." (27)
Brian is convinced that if you read the Bible every day, everything will change (although it may not be the way you'd think).
Brian investigates why we don't read the Bible and counters with the benefits and blessings when we do. He shares how the Bible was meant to be read (story, context, etc.) and experienced (imagining ourselves in God's story). He gives many examples of how reading the Bible has changed others. He reviews many ways of interacting with the Word such as lectio divina and listening to the spoken word. He has included several Bible reading plans at the end of the book.
Brian makes some big claims for his project. "It's become one of the greatest ecumenical movements of our time." (80) "At the Daily Audio Bible, no matter where you may physically be on this planet, you don't ever have to be alone again." (90) As an older person, I would not agree that an individual connecting to others via digital media actually changes being alone.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review.
This was a book that I debated signing up for because I wasn't for sure what the contents held. I expected it to be one of those that talked about how we should read our Bible, how good it is to do so, and what a difference it can make. You know, pretty much like many of the other books on Bible reading can sound like. I was very glad that that's not exactly what this book talked about.
Brian shares with his readers that yes, we are to read the Bible, but it's supposed to be a passion. With Christianity today being so much of "let's take this verse and make it mean this," Brian spends a whole chapter talking about "How the Bible is Meant to Be Read." It's supposed to be read in context. It's not about us, but about God.
I really enjoyed how he talked about "Living the Bible in Community." It is so vital that we read our Bibles together with others, not just inside of church. It also needs to be read and lived in our families, as he spends an entire chapter talking about that as well.
Overall, I think this is a book that I definitely want to recommend, especially to those who are new to learning about Jesus, but also to those that don't really get why the Bible should mean much to Christians. I think Brian does a good job breaking down the main components of where the breakdowns are happening with Christianity today.
I received this book free from Zondervan through Litfuse Publishers in exchange for my honest opinion of this book.
To be honest, when I first picked up Brian Hardin's Passages, I wasn't expecting that much from it. I assumed it would be just one of the abundance of Christian non-fiction that maybe leaves me with something to ponder, but doesn't really leave much of a mark on my life. However, I soon realized that Passages would be something entirely different.
Brian Hardin asks the relevant, if maybe too close to home question: why don't Christians really read the Bible? Not just a verse or two here and there, but rather taking the time to pour over chapters for what they really are - God's love letter to His creation. Hardin says "How could something so important seem to mean so little? The ironies compound themselves because we want to have a better relationship with God, we believe the Bible is the truth, and we believe it contains answers for our lives, yet reading the Bible is the one thing we continue to ignore." As I read this, I knew he undeniably right. Our modern, Western Christian culture is leaving out one of the very most vital parts of our relationship with God. Yet do we even realize it?
Hardin, who started the Daily Audio Bible podcasts, believes strongly in the power of the spoken word of God. He encourages us, not only to redefine our daily Bible reading, but to read it out loud and with other Christians. He also makes the point that while most Christians would say they believe that the Word of God is alive, our actions speak differently. He suggests that we view the Bible as a best friend, a companion and our guide.
Brian Hardin has a remarkable gift for walking right up to you, exactly where you are. There's no condescension or superfluous airs, just simply the invitation to join him as he seeks to truly know God through His Word.
I highly recommend this book to all Believers.
Note: I received a complimentary copy of this book through a publicity agency. However I was not required to write a positive review, the thoughts above are entirely my own.