This Book is for You: Loving God’s Words in Your Actual Life

Reviewed by:

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

Title:

This Book is for You: Loving God’s Words in Your Actual Life

Author:

Tricia Lott Williford

Publisher:

NavPress (in alliance with Tyndale House Publishers)

Publication Date:

August 17, 2021

Format:

Softcover (paperback)

Length:

176 pages

OVERVIEW

Christians know that they should read the Bible, seek to understand its teachings. But loving it is often harder. Depending on one’s personality and experience with church culture, engaging with the Bible at a level where we can fall in love with its ideas may not be easy. Tricia Lott Williford has been in that place many times in her life, particularly during dark seasons where cynicism was tempting. She takes readers through thirteen chapters about struggling to love the Bible, from the moments where it’s hard to accept its teachings to the day-to-day challenges of how to start reading it. Using her own story as a guide, she helps readers see why we struggle to love the Bible, and how to fall in love with it.

In her previous book Just. You. Wait, Williford showed a willingness to embrace the tragedy as well as the humor in life. That book contrasted her story of adjustment following her first husband’s death with her second husband’s story of recovery as he dealt with alcoholism. Williford references those dual stories again in This Book is for You, noting that her second husband got a miracle answer to his prayers, while she didn’t. In talking about conflict and how she’s kept faith even when God’s answers weren’t what she expected, she takes This Book is For You into a particular tradition. This is not a book for people still into Sunday School cliches, who think everything can be explained in five seconds with a Psalms quotation. This is a book for, as Brennan Manning might say, “the bedraggled, beat-up and burnt-out.” It has that kind of honesty that shines throughout Manning’s books, and through more recent writers like Sheridan Voysey (This Making of Us) and Lisa Whittle (Jesus Over Everything). It’s about “what we hold on to when we’ve learned that clichés are not enough?” The answer, is an often-paradoxical, often-tough, yet ultimately reassuring thing called orthodox Christian belief.

Although Williford’s conclusions are similar to what other writers have described, her style is her own. She’s witty, self-deprecating, always honest yet finds gentle ways to present her points. She accurately pinpoints so many classic struggles that people have encountering the Bible the first time. By getting into practical considerations – like how to have a Bible study as a busy parent – she combines memoir with handbook. This keeps the book from becoming too abstract, and gives it a nice edge. It’s entertaining and insightful, and also gives readers hands-on tools.

A helpful primer on the Bible, and an entertaining memoir about what we learn from it.

ASSESSMENT

Rating (1 to 5 stars)

4.5 stars

Suggested Audience

Readers who are approaching the Bible for the first time, or have struggled to engage with it for various reasons.

Christian Impact

Williford invites readers to see that it’s alright to admit struggling with the Bible, to vocalize their doubts and bring them before God. As she describes her own struggles, she shows how the Bible provides the answers people need, not necessarily the ones they expect.

Notes for further reading:

Readers who enjoy this book may want to check out Williford’s earlier book Just. You.Wait. To read ECLA’s review of that book, go to:

This Book Is for You: Loving God’s Words in Your Actual Life


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