Reading the Times: A Literary and Theological Inquiry into the News

Reviewed by:

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


Reading the Times: A Literary and Theological Inquiry into the News


Jeffrey Bilbro


IVP Academic (a division of InterVarsity Press)

Publication Date:

May 11, 2021




208 pages


There’s a great deal of news out there today. Some would say there’s more news than actual events happening. More frightening is the fact that in a world of numerous news sources, many of which are biased and get repeated in social media echo chambers, it’s hard to find the truth in the news. While there’s certainly a need for more fact-checking, Jeffrey Bilbo suggests that Christians need to seek something deeper: a worldview that sees news as just part of the puzzle. He leads readers through the history of newspapers and how the idea of regularly reporting news has affected people’s view of what events matter. Following that, he shows readers how Christianity creates a view of time that stands between cyclical time and progressive time, leading to a particular of which events matter. Finally, he considers how Christians living in community can practice these ideas.

Bilbro does a great job of building and defending his thesis, that Christians should not just look for good news but also understand how the news affects their idea of what matters. In the first ffew chapters, he does a great job of citing writers like Thoreau on how newspapers effect people, explaining those writers’ ideas in an accessible way. When Bilbro switches to talking about how Christians should view time, he loses some of that clear style. His points are similar to Os Guinness’ discussion of time in Carpe Diem Redeemed, but he misses the clear tone that Guinness brings to the material, coming across as much denser. Readers have to work a bit to get through the technical details to understand Bilbro’s point about “kairos time.” Once he shifts to talking about how to live out these ideas in community, he becomes less technical and the book becomes much more readable. Even with this rough middle section, Bilbro gives readers a compelling vision of how Christians should view time and news media.

A very timely and helpful book.


Rating (1 to 5 stars)

4 stars

Suggested Audience

Christians seeking to understand how the news media affects our view of the world, and how to balance that with a healthy perspective on time and events.

Christian Impact

Bilbro carefully shows how the Bible’s view of time contrasts with the pagan view of time as cyclical, and the Enlightenment view of time as an unending progress to something better. He also cites a variety of Christian thinkers who have considered what it means to live life well in community and how to prioritize time to achieve that goal.

Reading the Times: A Literary and Theological Inquiry Into the News

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