The Gospel of John (Alabaster Meditations Series)

Reviewed by:

G. Connor Salter, Professional Writing alumnus from Taylor University, Upland, IN.


The Gospel of John (Alabaster Meditations Series)


edited by Brian Chung and Bryan Ye-Chung with contributions by Jan Johnson


InterVarsity Press

Publication Date:

May 12, 2020




116 pages


“Lectio divina,” the editors explained in this book’s introduction, “is a practice of Scripture reading, prayer and meditation with a long and rich heritage in the Christian tradition.” Specifically, the exercise involves read a Scripture passage (aloud if possible), and meditating and praying on the passage, sometimes with a visual aid. This book reprints the Gospel of John from the New Living Bible translation, and includes lectio divina exercises and images throughout. The images are a mix of abstract paintings and photographs that thematically relate to the text.

For many readers, the idea of having images that aren’t Biblical illustrations in a Bible probably seems odd. What’s the point? Why not just include a few devotionals and leave it at that? While there’s certainly nothing wrong with devotionals, they tend to limit how we reflect on the Bible. They give us more information, as if our primary job is to just ingest new facts about being a Christian. James K.A. Smith points out in his book You Are What You Love that Biblically speaking, humans are not supposed to just absorb data. Scripture actually emphasizes that the heart is primary, not the mind. Thus, we need more than just new explanations of the Bible’s truth. We need exercises that engage our imaginations so we learn to love the Bible’s truths. Visuals (particularly when combined with meditation exercises) engage our imaginative sides, pushing us to think about Scripture in new ways. The fact this book’s images don’t illustrate Biblical scenes make it all the better. It makes readers think a little more and avoid settling for easy answers as they meditate on the text.


5 stars

Suggested Audience:

Readers seeking new devotional exercises and new ways to engage with the Gospel of John.

Christian impact:

Opens new ways to understand the Bible and how God speaks to us through it. 


Readers may also be interested in the other upcoming Alabaster Meditation books on Matthew and the Psalms (March 2020 and August 2020, respectively).


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