At first, I misinterpreted the title which in turn gave me a different expectation for what this book was about. I thought Chris Bruno, in his book The Whole Message of the Bible in 16 Words, would lay out a way to tell—either audibly or written—the whole message of the Bible in a sixteen-word summary statement. Did you think that, too? If I had been given the printed book instead of the e-book, I would have discovered the truth at first glance of the table of contents. Nonetheless, the table of contents surprised me as it numbers each of the sixteen chapters with one word. There it was—the sixteen words—in a much different way than my presumptions. In a way, it slightly disappointed me to not be learning a sixteen-word way of sharing the whole message of the Bible, but on the other hand, I don’t necessarily see how that would be possible. Out of curiosity, I chose this book to review for that reason. I wanted to see what Bruno had to say, and I wanted to apply it if it helped me teach the message of the Bible more effectively, more simply, and with more clarity. Overall, I enjoyed the book and gained further insight on certain Biblical themes even if it did not enhance my actual gospel proclamation.
What the Book is Really About
From Genesis to Revelation, many themes weave in and out to portray the full picture of the Bible. Bruno chooses sixteen of those themes and organizes them into book chapters by relating them to the structure of a building—the foundation, the frame, and the superstructure. For a visual, it looks like this:
1. The End
This book is very much a theological book with very little story-telling and much scripture annotating. His purpose states to pull out sixteen key strands of the rope that weaves together the whole story of the Bible and then put them back in place. He accomplishes this indeed! Although my preconceptions differ from his overall purpose of the book, I did not enjoy it any less. Once I realized his purpose, he strung me along to better understand the Biblical themes presented. As a lover of theology, especially Wayne Grudem's Systematic Theology, I will bring this book out often to refresh my memory.
Personally, I would use this book for discipleship. I find that it goes well with What is the Gospel? by Greg Gilbert and Women of the Word by Jen Wilkin. For someone who is beginning to study the Bible or through books of the Bible in particular, these resources help understand what the gospel is, the how-to’s in studying the Bible, and what themes to look for. Before writing this book, Bruno published The Whole Message of the Bible in 16 Verses, so that is worth checking out, too.
*This book was provided by Crossway.