A Practical And Illuminating Guide To Each Book In The Bible
by Peter Kreeft
I realize with surprise that it has been some time since I have mentioned Peter Kreeft around here. I say "with surprise" since Peter Kreeft is probably the modern Catholic writer that has influenced me most since I became a Catholic. He states things with a logic and clarity that hits me right between the eyes and sticks with me when I need to remember them most. These three books
- Prayer for Beginners
I am not positive but I think this book was where I first came along Kreeft. I was a new Catholic and suddenly bethought myself to wonder how I should pray. I don't know why I thought there was a proper way to pray but evidently enough others have asked the question that this book was written. A great book to give new Christians by the way. On a side note, Kreeft really endeared himself to me when I heard him in an interview somewhere confessing that he was a pretty good professor of philosophy but not a very good "pray-er." He then proceeded to give an example right out of my playbook as to continuing to read instead of using that extra fifteen minutes in prayer even when knowing it would make his day go better, etc.
- Angels And Demons
This I picked up because the subject matter was irresistable. Who doesn't want to read about angels and demons? Based on the questions in his class on the subject, this is solidly based on scripture and Church teachings. If you have questions, this is the place to go for your angel and demon answers. Most of all, this showed me just how much information is contained in reputable sources if we are willing to mine it for the details. Which led me to Bible studies and, thus, I am in Peter Kreeft's debt again.
- Catholic Christianity
This is the book that made me into a faithful Catholic. When I converted I had many mental reservations about the big issues that the secular world raises. They weren't answered by my RCIA class in a way that convinced me of their rightness and I wound up having problems with the idea that I had, so to speak, joined a club that I couldn't endorse wholeheartedly. When this book was published and I saw that it was putting the "muscle" on the the "skeleton" of the Catechism (so to speak) I couldn't get it fast enough. Although it is a thick book I read it in a week, straight through. Kreeft's logic showed how the Church's stands on abortion, homosexuality, and other such issues flowed naturally out of that core belief in Christ. What a relief it was to have it all laid out in front of me in such an understandable way.
However, recently I was looking for a gift to give a friend upon his confirmation this Easter and thought it would be good to give him a basic guide to reading the Bible. That's something we all can use some help with, I always think. That is not to say that just diving in isn't recommended, but I know that I always benefit from a little explanation and guidance along the way as well.
I thought of Kreeft's You Can Understand the Bible (yes, we're finally getting to the book mentioned at the beginning of this post...) which I have been drooling over since I first heard of it. Now, naturally I wouldn't want to give anyone a book unless I had read it first. What if Peter Kreeft suddenly slid off of that Catholic pedestal upon which I have placed him? (As if.) To be sure I ordered two copies so I could really mark up mine. (Rationalization is my friend, y'all.)
Oh boy, oh boy! This is good stuff. Originally a long running series of articles, each chapter is short enough to read in one sitting without any trouble. However, each still is packed with fascinating information and background about the different books of the Bible. It didn't take long before I had read the first 40 pages and had marked seven excellent excerpts that must be shared. Tom quickly tired of me clearing my throat significantly and waiting for him to glance my way so I could read him just one more really good bit. I am going to be sharing these with y'all in the days to come so that you too can experience some of that Kreeft-y goodness.
For those who would like to sample some Peter Kreeft without having to buy a book first, he has a good variety of writing and yet more writing. The selection featured under "Pillars of Unbelief" (about various modern philosophers) and "Other Religions" were especially helpful to me. There is also a section of featured audio which has speeches on key subjects. These can be downloaded from the site or found through iTunes (look for them under "www.peterkreeft.com").