"Twelve Unlikely Heroes" by John MacArthur takes a detailed look at the lives of twelve different Biblical men and women that the casual reader may gloss over upon first glance. The people that MacArthur chose to examine in this book include Enoch, Joseph, Miriam, Gideon, Samson, Jonathan, Jonah, Esther, John the Baptist, James, Mark, and Onesimus.
MacArthur thoroughly dissects the stories surrounding each person, skillfully bringing together not just Scripture, but historical, archaeological, and cultural evidence as well. It is clearly evident that much research has gone into each story. I truly appreciated the historical evidence presented throughout the book as it helped to tie things together and provide a better understanding of the circumstances surrounding these fascinating people.
Each person MacArthur looks at in this book are all sinners and have all fallen short in various areas. But he highlights so beautifully the way that God worked in each person's life to bring about His greater glory. It's a wonderful reminder that God can (and does!) use flawed, sinful people to accomplish His work and His purposes. In both the prologue and epilogue, MacArthur reminds readers that each man and woman featured in this book were known for both their faith and their faithfulness. These are the people (among many of the Biblical men and women) that I want to look up to and who I want my children to look up to.
(I've received this complimentary book from Thomas Nelson Publishing House through the Book Sneeze program in exchange for a review. A positive review was not required and the views expressed in my review are strictly my own.)
I am familiar with John MacArthur's ministry, but this is probably the first book of his I have ever read. And I was completely impressed. This book is Biblically based, rooted in conservative theology. He introduces us (or reminds us) of twelve very unlikely people in Scripture whom God used to do great things. You will find yourself reminded and inspired by these stories, and I learned things about Bible characters I had known all my life. MacArthur has a way of writing that is easy to read but deep and penetrating. He brings in his love and understanding of Scripture and history, and this book works very well as a devotional/Bible study. I would highly recommend this book to all people who would like to read an uplifting book for their private (or small group) devotional studies. I plan to read this book again because there is no way I picked up everything the first time!
I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. I was not financially compensated, and all opinions are 100 percent mine.
I learned years ago to admire the work of Dr. MacArthur and "12 Unlikely Heroes" [mostly OT characters] gives an interesting synopsis of who they were and what they did to earn heroic status. I've chosen 10 of the 12 to use as my current series in teach an adult SS class.
I received this as a review copy from BookSneeze. Pastor-teacher John MacArthur has composed another volume of biblical character sketches for the purpose of exhorting believers in their service for Christ. The book is introduced with MacArthur's take on the contemporary culture's view of "heroes." He is on target with his synopsis. Culture's view of what it means to be a hero is lacking. It does not take much to be a hero today. In fact, true heroes of today are largely ignored and unappreciated.
The chapters include accounts of the lives of Enoch, Joseph, Miriam, Gideon and Samson, Jonathan, Jonah, Esther, John the Baptist, James, Mark and Onesimus. Obviously, some of the individuals mentioned have less biblical information recorded about their lives than the others. Yet, the central message of the book is clear. God is all-powerful, all-knowing, everywhere present, and entirely sovereign. He chooses sinful, inherently limited people to carry out His purposes on this earth for His eternal glory.
When believers look in the mirror each day and are reminded of the fact that they can do nothing in-and-of-themselves to accomplish eternal good, they can be reminded of what MacArthur highlights in this book. God, by His grace and according to His good pleasure, has chosen to shower His love, favor, and grace upon undeserving people. He has also chosen to use those same undeserving people whom He has redeemed through His Son to accomplish His plans upon this earth. We are inherently limited as people, but God is not limited by us. He will accomplish His will in and through us.
"Twelve Unlikely Heroes" explores the stories of twelve biblical characters that God used to further his purposes. These men and women were not your typical hero material. Some were weak, some sinful, some fearful, some disobedient, some failures. They came from every walk of life. Some were slaves, some prophets, some princes and queens. Yet each one was used by God. They warned of impending judgement, saved nations, and wrote and preserved Scripture. If God could use such people to do great things, then He can use us to do His work, no matter our shortcomings or sins.
Overall, I enjoyed this book. The dramatic retellings of the Biblical stories enabled me to look at them in a different light, and pointed out things I had never considered before. For instance, for some reason it had never really sunk in that Haman's decree to destroy the Jews would have even extended to Israel itself. I also really enjoyed the story of Jonathan, and the comparison MacArthur drew between him and Saul.
The issues I had with the book were minimal. There were a few times I felt like things unverifiable from the Biblical account were being presented as entirely factual, instead of "perhaps this happened." I also felt like MacArthur was grasping at straws to make a chapter out of Enoch's story, since we really know so little about him. Finally, I would have liked to see some more applicational material. But I suppose that's what one is supposed to buy the study guide for. :)
Overall, a book I would recommend without hesitation.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneezeÂ®.com <http://BookSneezeÂ®.com> 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 Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."