Monday, December 21, 2015

4-Star Review of "Journey to the Manger"

Review of Journey to the Manger

by Paula Gooder


Journey to the Manger explores the New Testament's various accounts of the birth of Jesus: their origins in Old Testament prophecies, the genealogies, the angelic announcements, the journeys and arrivals, and the aftermath of Jesus' birth for the powerful and the poor alike. 
Although many biblical scholars have puzzled over historical details in the accounts, Paula Gooder argues that doing this risks missing the point. Engaging seriously with biblical and historical criticism, she uncovers key similarities running through the Gospel writers' accounts and focuses on their shared understanding of the significant events they describe. 
Her detailed exploration of the texts is a goldmine for preaching and teaching, and will breath new life into the familiar Christmas stories heard year after year in churches, carol services and nativity plays. Devotional reflections and discussion questions also make this ideal for personal and group study. 
Biblical Explorations is an exciting series from bestselling author and scholar Paula Gooder that offers an accessible and informed study of the best loved texts in Scripture. Rooted in the conviction that greater understanding of the Bible leads to deeper discipleship, it is an essential resource for preachers, teachers and study group leaders, as well as those who simply wish to get to know the Bible better.

MY REVIEW:   As we celebrate the Advent season and prepare for the birthday of our Savior, Jesus Christ, I thought that this would be a good way to spend more quality time in the Word.   This is a very thorough, insightful look at the manger and Paula Gooder looks at the manger scene in ways that I never thought of doing.  Was the Christ child even born in a stable?  Was he actually placed in a manger?   I think this would be a wonderful resource for pastors, Sunday School teachers, and leaders of Bible study groups or for those who like myself just want to do an in-depth study of the birth of Christ.   I don't think I would recommend it to the average reader as it may easily become confused with fictional books on the subject.  This is a work of non-fiction and works well for reading a portion on each of the Sundays in Advent.   It has study questions for group leaders to use.  Some readers may feel that some of their longheld beliefs as absolute fact are challenged and they may not wish to accept this writer's interpretation which is of course their right.    I found it very interesting to look at things from a different perspective.
          I rate this book 4-stars and would highly recommend it to Bible scholars and serious Bible students.
          I received an ebook of this title from netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

About the Author:
Paula Gooder
Paula Gooder is a writer and lecturer in biblical studies and is Theologian in Residence for the Bible Society in the UK. 
She was born in Manchester, UK, where she grew up. She went to the University of Oxford where she did both her undergraduate degree and doctoral research (first at Worcester College then at the Queen's College). After that she taught for twelve years in two different colleges which train people for ministry (Ripon College Cuddesdon, Oxford, and the Queen's Foundation, Birmingham). Her research areas are 2 Corinthians and Paul's religious experiences.
In the end she left teaching in colleges because she realised that trying to juggle looking after children, teaching and desperately trying to write something was impossible. So she worked freelance for seven years before beginning work with Bible society. This involves teaching and lecturing to a wide range of different people and, at last, writing the many books that have been waiting to be written for a very long time. She continues to juggle but now only has herself to blame when it all goes wrong.
Paula's passion is to communicate to best of biblical scholarship to an audience that would otherwise not read it. She seeks to bring the Bible alive again for Christians for whom it has become over-familiar and stale.

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