Admittedly, I am a rather visual person. When my wife tries to explain her plan for remodeling our basement by describing where this wall could go or where that room might be, my mind simply has difficulty understanding what exactly she is trying to get across. Conversely, if such a plan was drawn out on paper with perhaps a three dimensional fly through of what the finished product might look like, it is then that I am better able to grasp the full picture. Eric Larson, in his book Frameworks: How to Navigate the New Testament, takes that visual approach in an effort to provide the reader with a guide for betting understanding the message of the New Testament.
Larson explains the reason for this book is to provide “material that’s designed to build your confidence in your ability to negotiate the text and understand it.” Furthermore, he notes “frameworks is a visual book that presents ideas and concepts through pictures, in addition to written words. Its compelling stories, embedded maps and color photos work hand-in-hand to build striking mental images – unforgettable impressions that aid understanding.” For visual learners such as myself, those stories, maps, and photos went a long way to driving home the message found in the New Testament.
Think of this book as an illustrated encyclopedia combined with a Bible dictionary and a useful commentary. All three elements can be found throughout this helpful book. If you ever wanted to know the places Jesus ministered, Larson provides a simple yet informative map as well as an easy to understand timeline of how many months Jesus spent in a particular location. Those who want a quick overview of each element of Jesus’ ministry are provided with a synopsis of the major events during that period with the relevant Scripture passages to peruse. Interested in how the New Testament was put together and what genres are included? Larson outlines that necessary framework as well.
Each book of the New Testament is examined by Larson with the reader being provided an introduction to the book, the major theme or themes, the reason the book was written to include its original intended audience, an outline of the major points of the book, how to navigate through that book, what is unique and what the reader should remember the most from that particular book, questions to ponder for future study, and a verse Larson hones in on that the reader should apply immediately.
The usefulness of this book is multifarious meaning it could be used as a tool for personal Bible study, in a small group setting, as part of a homeschool curriculum, or as part of a Sunday School curriculum. Regardless of how it is utilized, the material provided in this book will assist the reader in obtaining a better understanding for the New Testament as a whole, a more complete grasp of the message of the individual books in the New Testament, as well as a guide for digging into what God has revealed to us in the pages of these 27 books. Even the most seasoned theologian will find something worthwhile in Larson’s timely and effective book.
I highly recommend Frameworks to all believers. I know I plan on using this book as part of our homeschool curriculum with our daughter as we work to instill in her an understanding of Scripture. Since she too is a visual learner, this book will serve her Bible learning experience quite well for many years to come. In an age when so many are quite unfamiliar with even the most basic elements of Scripture, Larson’s effort will assist the Body of Christ to better appreciate and understand many of the fundamental aspects of Scripture. Hopefully, Larson will explore the Old Testament in a similar formatted book sometime in the future. If he does, I will be sure to give it a read!
This book are available for purchase from IVP by clicking here.
I received this book for free from IVP 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.”
Michael lives in Belleville, IL, a suburb of St. Louis, MO with his wife Erica, adopted daughter Alissa, two cats Molly and Sweetie Pie and horse Beckham. After spending eight years in the United States Navy as a Yeoman, he has been employed for the past ten years by the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) where he oversees advanced educational programs. Michael holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Religion (Biblical Studies) from Liberty University and is currently closing in on completing a Master of Arts in Religion (Biblical Studies) from Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary. He is an avid reader and blogger.