(Book review) Hearing the Message of Daniel: Sustaining Faith in Today’s World


Reviewed by: Josh Hendreckson, a professional writing major at Taylor University in Upland, Indiana

 


Introduction

Title: Hearing the Message of Daniel: Sustaining Faith in Today’s World

Author: Christopher J. H. Wright

Publisher: Zondervan

Publication Date: February 28, 2017

FormatPaperback

Length: 256 pages

OVERVIEW

     The book of Daniel is one of the most challenging texts in the Bible, but you wouldn’t know that from reading Christopher J. H. Wright’s Hearing the Message of Daniel. In this brief volume (the main body barely makes it past the 200 page mark), Wright systematically explores the book of Daniel from its stories to its lessons to its often-baffling prophecies. Along the way, Wright seeks to find answers to the always-timely question: how does one live faithfully in an unbelieving culture?

     Taken at face value, there doesn’t seem to be anything remarkable about this book. It’s easy to find books with similar goals and similarly-accessible writing styles—many Bible studies and youth groups around the world have. What makes this book especially useful, however, is the series of balances its author is able to maintain.

     Wright explains the cultural background of the book of Daniel, but never forgets to draw connections to those of us living in the modern world. He deeply explores relevant passages of scripture, but does so using layperson’s language and numerous examples. He is concerned with the lessons that can be drawn from the stories of the Bible, but doesn’t reduce those stories to kitschy Sunday school fables.  Additionally, Wright analyzes prophecies that are sometimes baffling, but he doesn’t dwell on details that are better left as mysteries. Perhaps most impressively, he speaks at times specifically to modern American and European audiences, addressing the struggles they undergo because of their faith. He recognizes those struggles as being legitimate, but he maintains a global and historical perspective on the suffering of the Church as a whole.

          Admittedly, Wright occasionally seems too ready to equate the struggling of American and European believers to that of the Israelites in Babylonian exile. I doubt Wright would actually push this point if pressed on the issue. Still, for a Christian subculture that already comes across as paranoid to the broader culture—especially given the reality of persecution elsewhere in the world—his words might be misconstrued as somewhat unsympathetic. The short length of his book also means that many subjects were only discussed at a limited depth.

     This book is hardly meant to be a full-fledged commentary on Daniel. Nevertheless, Wright handles a number of delicate topics with a great deal of wisdom.Hearing the Message of Daniel was written to inspire Christians to live their lives fully and fearlessly—to trust God and to engage wholeheartedly in bettering the world into which He has placed His followers. At that task, Wright is undeniably successful.

ASSESSMENT

Rating (1 to 5)

4 stars

Suggested Audience

Young adult through adult

Christian Impact

The author walks through the book of Daniel chapter by chapter, highlighting relevant scriptural details, cultural background, and personal applications.



Interested in reviewing a book, movie, album, or other type of media for our website? We would love to hear from you! Find out more about how to submit media reviews.

About Evangelical Church Library Association

The Evangelical Church Library Association, founded in 1970, is a fellowship of Christian churches, schools, and individuals.

No comments yet... Be the first to leave a reply!

Leave a Comment, Question, or Suggestion

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: