As a church girl, born and raised, I spent many a Sunday morning in front of a flannel board, which means I've heard and read some of the same Gospel accounts over and over and over again. So, I'm always on the lookout for ways to make the Gospels fresh, and John MacArthur's One Perfect Life certainly did that for me.
It is essentially a "composite harmony" of the New Testament Gospels, with text taken straight from the New King James Version of the Bible. The accounts of all four Gospel writers are blended together and progress through Christ's life and ministry chronologically. This is a spectacular tool for old and new believers, theology students and lay persons alike.
For one thing, we have so many misconceptions and really so much misinformation within even our church communities. We often mis-tell the Gospel accounts, combining them, mistaking one for another, and even teaching falsities such as Mary Magdalene was the prostitute who anointed Jesus' feet with perfume and wiped it with her hair. Scripture doesn't tell us that was Mary Magdalene at all and doesn't indicate that she was a prostitute. It's a mistake someone made and then propagated over time, ultimately perpetuating biblical illiteracy. Seeing the Gospels blended together, though, corrects many of these false teachings.
MacArthur's book is meant to be read as a smooth narrative, starting with Creation itself, progressing through the fall of man and the prophecies of the Old Testament before moving on to the Gospel accounts. This, again, provided so much information, helping the reader to see how all of Scripture points to Christ and how Jesus specifically fulfilled prophecies all the way back to Genesis.
I confess, though, that I didn't really move through the book quickly and didn't treat it as a narrative in the beginning sections. I was too intrigued by the way MacArthur layered passages from the epistles, the Gospels, the prophets, and the Pentateuch, interweaving them line after line. I wanted to see where each verse came from and how it connected up with the other verses MacArthur used surrounding it.
I also stopped very frequently to read the great quantity of notes at the bottom of each page, mostly from the MacArthur Study Bible. Those who want to read this straight-through as a simple narrative could do so and still benefit and learn. Others, like me, who work through it slowly, note by note, passage by passage, will benefit so much from the teaching and insight MacArthur provides. This is one book I'll be keeping close at hand to enhance my personal study and understanding of the Bible.
I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 : "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
The moment I saw this book, claiming the complete story of Jesus Christ, I knew this would be a great companion to reading the gospels. I was especially pleased that it takes the scriptures from my version of choice, the New King James version. This book studies the gospels chronologically - taking the exact text from the bible and puts them in an easy to read format with no extra narrative provided by the author besides the notes, which range from not too explanatory to a small bit of depth. As I was beginning the book, I was a little taken aback at the structure as I was learning how it flowed, but just a few chapters in I felt I was settled and could organize my thoughts alongside this presentation of the gospels.
I say easy to read only because the text is separated my mini-topics, sometimes leaving blank spaces where the text would be and at the bottom are the notes. So while the 480 pages as a whole might look like a lot, taking into account much of the blank space throughout the book it reads swiftly. Because of the many references if you are flipping line by line back and forth it is not going to read 'easy', but if you overlook that hindrance, overall the book is worthwhile. It is not adding any new information then what is already provided in the bible, but it is the portrayal of the bible verses that makes this different.
I loved how the text incorporated the verses from across the gospels to create the harmony of the story, and that is what the book is all about: a look at Jesus and his ministry WITHOUT adding an author's take or interpretation of the bible. The entire book is a blending of the bible (from Matthew to Luke for instance) in the same paragraph, but using their words from the New King James version to create a cohesive look at a particular event or teaching of Jesus. For example, with the topic of The Transfiguration of Christ (Chapter 88) the text incorporates the biblical verses from Matthew, Luke and Peter.
For those readers looking for a narrative on Jesus in story format, this is not it. This is a study bible focused on Jesus's ministry which puts together all the gospels in one page when portraying a particular event.
One Perfect Life succeeded in its task to present the life of Jesus using the Scriptures as its beginning and end, and it should be an inspiring tool for those readers who have read the bible but wanted to focus their bible studies on a more central theme of Jesus and his ministry. Because of the format, I also think it is a book that can be referred to over and over so the reader can highlight the passages that are important to their journey of faith and use One Perfect Life as an excellent companion to their bible.
I though it would was more of like his books on the disciples. The comments written in the footnotes which is most of the book other than scripture are written too small. I was totally let down with this book, had I view it before it came out I wouldn't of purchased it
One Perfect Life, by John MacArthur is a harmonious compilation of NKJV Scripture, mainly of the Gospel accounts, of Christ's life with Matthew serving as the base text. MacArthur begins in Genesis with the creation and the necessity of mankind for a Savior; he then transitions through Old Testament prophecies before continuing into the life, ministry, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. He finishes his massive (516 pages) work with New Testament reflections on the purpose of Christ's resurrection and how it relates to the believer. Although it is a large book, it reads like a story, with a copious amount of footnotes on each page (the footnotes are taken from the MacArthur Study Bible).
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and highly recommend it. I appreciate chronological and harmonious Bibles, but their side-by-side accounts (or repeated sequential accounts) can become tedious to read. MacArthur did a phenomenal job of blending the Scripture so that it not only read easily, but it made me desire to continue to read it, as I saw how the dates and events corresponded with each other. Using superscript, he annotates for the purpose of his footnotes, as well as to differentiate when he is jumping from one gospel author to another. In addition, each chapter is titled and includes Scripture references to the pertaining section. These sections are also organized into an outline form, thus dividing up Christ's life, so that you can distinguish the words and events of his life in time periods (eg- Passover to Passover during his ministry years). What results is a narrative that is not only a "pleasurable reading material", but can also be used as a reference and resource on your bookshelf. MacArthur's objective was "to bring into full view the One who is Immanuel", and I believe he accomplished this goal.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneezeÃÂ® book review 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