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3 Stars Out Of 5
Review of, The Jesus Code Weekly Devotional
October 20, 2014
The Jesus Code is basically a devotional set up in 52 chapters. The reader is supposed to read and study one per week. It is a Question and Answer format. Hawkins takes a section of scripture and then expounds on it and its application. It isnt an in depth look at systematic theology, it is a devotional. It offers a concise overview of some important doctrines and concepts. I dont usually go for devotionals. I much rather get my Bible reading done from reading the Bible. I do like, Morning and Evening by Spurgeon, but who doesnt? Well this isnt that. It does a good job and is much more than the fluff of most modern devotionals. It is way better than the nonsense, Jesus Calling where the author believes she is getting extra-biblical revelation from God. The Jesus Code would make a great gift for a loved one who wants a devotional. Hawkins has done a decent job of compiling some helpful biblical information. The money from the book goes into ministry, not Hawkins pockets.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255 Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.
Ever been blind sided by a question you didnt expect to have to answer?
Maybe youve been with friends, or in a group where someone relates an event and asks, What would you do in that situation?
Im inclined to say that weve all been there, but maybe you havent. Would you like to be? Oh, wait, thats a question you werent prepared to answer.
I have to admit I judged The Jesus Code by its cover. It seems that most books using the word code in the title and talking about Christianity in the content really resolve to some over-reaching, over-simplifying, and overwhelmingly confusing mish-mash of speculation that every Christian must take heed of now or face *sigh* something. The Jesus Code isnt like that.
In The Jesus Code, O.S. Hawkins poses 52 questions to the reader that were asked in the Bible. He poses it as What if you were asked this question? How would you respond? He then fills in the details of why the question was being asked, what was the response, and what was the result of the response, if the response is known.
Too often, good willed people, make an allegory of the scriptures and put you in the story. Famously, the history of David and Goliath is changed from revealing how God protects His people to asking an overly simplistic question like, What are the giants in your life? Again, this is not the case with The Jesus Code.
The events remain intact, but the questions still come to us, Who do you say that Jesus is? What are you doing here? Could you not watch with me one hour?
Not all the questions are for us to answer, though. Some are for God to answer. Its no stretch to assume that we ask the same questions of God today that believers in the past asked centuries and millenia ago. Who is my neighbor? What must I do to be saved? If the Lord is with us why then has all this happened to us? Using scripture, Hawkins relates the answers that God gives to these questions.
While all 52 questions are worth asking, there are three things that I would watch out for in this book.
He uses a lot of slogans and quips which just make me cringe. Salvation is not spelled D-O, but D-O-N-E, Get up! Get out! Get back!, Salvation is as easy as ABC. Thats a personal thing. If quips, slogans and acronyms dont bother you than carry on.
In question 27, Will a man rob God? he discusses tithing. He believes that Christians should tithe to receive blessings from God. If you want to tithe, tithe, but given that God blesses even those who dont tithe (Matthew 8:5-13) and allows disaster to come on those who do (Job) this view of tithing can lead to burden and disillusionment. Gods blessings are simply not tied to the tithe. Hawkins also insists that Jesus tithed because the Pharisees didnt hold that against Him. However, the reason the Pharisees had such a hard time convicting Jesus was because Jesus kept the Law, so if Jesus tithed, it was to keep the Law.
Finally, in question 39, Did not our hearts burn within us? he discusses the events of Luke 24 when Jesus appears to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus. Hawkins uses this event to say that we often remain dejected and depressed after our prayers because were doing all the talking. We need to stop talking and listen. Hawkins is right; we should at times be quiet before the Lord, but the irony is that the reason these disciples were talking was because they were answering a question Jesus asked them.
Overall, theres a lot of food for thought in this book and its well worth the read even just to keep you from getting blind sided by these questions.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255 : Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.
The Jesus Code is the newest resource I've added to my Bible study repertoire. This book is beautifully bound and engraved with filigree pattern on the front cover, making it visually appealing. It's content is just as appealing as it's exterior. I have so enjoyed my study time while using this book, reading the given questions and answers and jotting down portions that have been a blessing for me.
I really appreciate O.S. Hawkins approach to scripture and study questions. Each question's answer is broken up into sections that help the reader gradually come to the Bible based answer. I also like how Hawkins draws out the story behind each question and explains how to live out these answers in everyday life.
Hawkins was intrigued by the questions Jesus asked. The gospels have over 150 of them. Seeing that it was a way of instruction, Hawkins chose 52 from the Bible, ones he thought every Christian should be able to answer.
He begins with the serpent's question and encourages to know that what God says in His Word is true. From Joseph we are encouraged to know our dreams are from God and then keep following them. We learn the remedy for discouragement from the Israelites in the wilderness. From David, we learn to keep our promises and how to recognize sin's course. We learn how to recognize and deal with depression from Elijah and how to finish well from Nehemiah. We learn about worship and the fear of the Lord from Isaiah's experience, and what the Lord requires from Micah. Other topics include resentment, tithing, worry, pluralism, neighbors, heavenly heart burn, Jesus' second coming, repentance and much more. Perhaps the most important question included is that of the jailer in Acts 16. What must I do to be saved? (Week 46)
Hawkins has written great spiritual lessons revolving around each of the 52 questions. These would be great for weekly devotional reading and meditation. The book would make a great gift too.
He writes in the Epilogue that he chose these questions to be able to address the broadest spectrum of topics possible. Also in the Epilogue is an encouragement to accept Jesus as Savior and a prayer.
I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher for the purpose of an independent and honest review.