Monday, September 3, 2018

Less Than Perfect: Broken Men and Women of the Bible and What We Can Learn from Them by Ann Spangler

Book description:

What can the Bible’s most flawed men and women reveal about who God is and how he reaches out to less-than-perfect people? In Less Than Perfect, bestselling author Ann Spangler takes us beyond cardboard cutouts of 38 biblical characters to show us how these were real individuals who had dreams, temptations, and weaknesses just like us.

Whether considering the murderous Herodias, the scheming Jacob, or the doubting Sarah, Spangler approaches both familiar and lesser known characters with fresh eyes. We meet each of these individuals again as if for the first time as Spangler offers a dramatic retelling of their lives, insight into the historical and cultural context of their time, and key takeaway points for our lives today. Each chapter includes questions for discussion or reflection, making Less Than Perfect ideal for individual or group Bible study.

Entertaining, informative, and inspirational, Less Than Perfect gives you a big picture view of the Bible even as it takes you into the hearts and minds of people with struggles just like yours. As you learn more about the individuals who are part of your spiritual family tree, you’ll discover why God loves to use imperfect people to tell his perfect story of redemption.

My review:

 I have read a few of Ann Spangler's books, and also have the Names of God Bible which she was the editor for. I have been impressed with what she has written, and really enjoy the Bible. When I saw this book for review, I knew it was worth reviewing.

 I am honest in my reviews, so I will admit I don't like the cover of the book very well. This was a case of not judging the book by its cover. Had I not read books by the author before, I may have passed....which would have been a mistake.

 The book covers 30 people from the Bible, some good and some bad. Delilah and Jezebel are covered, and also people like David and Mary Magdalene.

 Each chapter is a different Bible character, and starts out with at least one verse about the character. The author then relates the story of  the person, with Bible verses on the side throughout. Next is the "Times" section. It gives the approximate dates of the story, and where in the Bible it appears. It also gives some details about the setting and customs of that time.

 The Times section is followed by the "Take Away". It consists of some questions about the story, and some are personal questions to do with the reader based on the story.

 This is a great and interesting book that shows what Bible characters did wrong, and how we can learn from their mistakes and lives. It would make a great Bible study for a group, or even a 30-day devotional. It is well written, and the author brought out a lot of interesting points and questions.

 I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

About the author:

Ann Spangler is an award-winning author, publishing her first book, an instant bestseller, in 1994. Since then, she has gone on to write several bestselling books, including Women of the Bible (co-authored with Jean Syswerda), Praying the Names of God, Praying the Names of Jesus, and Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus (co-authored with Lois Tverberg). Her latest book is Praying the Attributes of God. Together her books have sold millions of copies.

In 2013 she was named the Logos Bookstore Author of the Year, an award given to an author "whose body of works exemplifies the power of books to change lives forever."

By paying attention to the spiritual and emotional hungers that animate us and by finding creative ways to explore God's self-revelation in Scripture, her writing surprises by revealing a God who is often far bigger and better than we might imagine.

In addition to writing, Ann has enjoyed a lengthy career in Christian publishing, working for William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Servant Publications, and Zondervan Publishing in marketing, editorial, and management roles. Her broad experience in publishing has convinced her that readers are looking for well-written books that explore the connection between spiritual experience and everyday life, books that both engage the mind and strengthen the heart.

Less Than Perfect is available from Zondervan Publishing.