The Good Book Company continues its devotional/commentary series, God’s Word For You, with 1 Samuel For You by Tim Chester. This series of books follows a threefold pattern: first, a person can read the book for greater insight into a book of the Bible; second, reading the book allows the reader to be fed by applying the text to life and third, it gives you guidance to lead others through the book of the Bible for greater understanding and growth.
The book of Samuel is a transitional book from the depressing and defeating days of the judges to the beginning of the kings of Israel through the rise and fall of Saul and his replacement David. 1 Samuel is also a narrative/historical book which gives an account of part of the history of Israel. Tim Chester likes to refer to it as “preached history” because it does more than just give an account of the history of Israel. Through the accounting of history “we are being shown who God is and how he rules his people; and we are being shown Jesus, his Christ.” (9)
Like with all narrative, in order to extract the theology of the text one must be willing to do some digging in the text that is beyond just a surface reading. When you begin to examine the Hebrew language and the literary elements of the narrative, the text and story begin to come alive. This is one thing that Chester does so well. He picks up on the nuances and details of the text just enough to bring the text to life without drowning the reader with too much information in too short a space. For instance, Chester picks up on the theme of barrenness with Hannah that has been preceded by Rachel, Sarah and others (12-13), the judgment irony of the kings of Israel that looks back to the time of the Judges (66), Saul as a type of Adam instead of a true redeemer-king (87) and of course the forward-pointing focus on Christ that runs from beginning to end.
As with all of the books in the God’s Word For You series, 1 Samuel For You is exactly the kind of book that gets you right to the heart of the text by getting you into the text without overwhelming you with it. Like John Stott, Tim Chester writes with his own unique style that is engaging and penetrating. 1 Samuel For You should be on the book shelf of every Christian.
I received this book for free from The Good Book Company through Cross Focused Media for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”