Friday, March 23, 2012

Bringing the Gospel of Luke to Life – Insight and Inspiration @CatholicCompany

Bringing the Gospel of Luke to Life

Bringing the Gospel of Luke to Life - Insight and Inspiration
  • Written by George Martin
  • Published by Our Sunday Visitor - October 2011
  • 697 Pages in English Language
  • 9in x 6in x 2in - 2lbs
  • Paperback Volume
  • MSRP - $24.95
  • Available for Purchase from The Catholic Company
Lent is a great time of year to spend extra time in Bible Study and meditation. As a lifelong Catholic, I am familiar with most of the New Testament - I have read and heard the words many times over. However, I have found that as I grow older my understanding also grows.

Just a few examples:
     ~As a parent, I can imagine a sliver of the weariness Jesus felt when it seemed that his beautifully delivered lessons were misunderstood.
     ~As a flawed and imperfect person, I get tears in my eyes as I read about the return of the Prodigal Son.
     ~Now that I have felt hatred and disdain because of who I am and what I believe, I can feel a deeper sympathy for Peter and understand at least a fraction of his fear that led to his denials.

These "Aha!" moments always create a spark or a desire in me for even greater knowledge. In his book, Bringing the Gospel of Luke to Life: Insight and Inspiration, author George Martin does a wonderful job of breaking down this book of Scripture into little bits, and laying each line or passage bare for the reader.

What a fantastic resource for anyone choosing to do a full study of this Gospel starting with verse one, line one - and also for those who would love a reference to look up specific passages.

The explanations of each selection also include information related to the time period. A better understanding of the culture and traditions is very helpful if we are to understand the nuance, word choices and why specific examples are used. When we consider that earliest deliveries of these precious teachings were in the form of an oral presentation these are very significant factors. While reading, I like to imagine - how did Luke speak the Word to the people who came to him?

I love the format almost as much as the content. This is such an easy to follow, user friendly text. Each line of the Gospel is included. The actual Scripture is in bold print, in order, and numbered as you would read it in the New Testament. The rest is set apart in ordinary type, italics, or different font.

First, a passage is presented, then it is examined piece by piece. Parallel passages in other books of the Bible are noted, related Old Testament quotations and passages, too, and when an introduction might be helpful, orientation is provided. There are also questions for reflection, historical background information, and twice, the author offers his comments. The book is written in easy to understand English. It is not lofty or filled with nebulous concepts. It is written so that an ordinary lay person can easily read and absorb the information.

The book closes with a short chapter about the writing and interpretation of the Gospel of Luke, a selective bibliography an indexing of the background information and comments included, and maps of ancient Jerusalem and Palestine.

I think this is a fantastic book for anyone seeking a deeper understanding of the Scripture. George Martin hopes that his book might give us just a tiny glimpse of what it might have been like for the disciples who met the risen Christ on the road to Emmaus.  
"Were not our hearts burning within us while he spoke to us on the way and opened the scriptures to us?"
Luke 24:32
George Martin is the founding editor of the magazine God's Word Today.   He has written many articles on Scripture, and several other book, including Bringing the Gospel to Life for the Books of Matthew and Mark.

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This review was written as part of the Catholic book reviewer program from The Catholic Company. Visit The Catholic Company to find more information on Bringing the Gospel of Luke to Life . They are also a great source for a baptism gifts or first communion gifts.