Story of Stories: A Book Review
I read a lot of books about the Bible. It's kind of a requirement for pastors in Presbyterian world. And because of this, I often find myself gazing with a jaundiced eye upon books that are imbued with the task of distilling down Biblical texts into easy-to-understand "sound bites."
Which is why I was so pleasantly surprised when I read Karen Lee-Thorp's Story of Stories: A Guided Tour from Genesis to Revelation. Far from distilling down the grand stories and themes of the Bible, Story of Stories takes those grand stories and themes and brings them into sharper focus. I can't remember when I have read a book about the Bible that I have enjoyed more.
Reading through the Bible can be a daunting task for most of us in the best of circumstances, but it can be even more daunting if there is nothing to guide us as we read. Story of Stories is the sort of guide that I would recommend wholeheartedly. Whether you are simply wanting to learn more about the Bible, or if you are searching for a plain commentary or companion to help you read, Story of Stories will help bring the Biblical texts to life in vivid and colorful ways.
As a pastor, I enjoyed reading Story of Stories as a way to help me see the "bigger picture" within each of the books of the Bible, as well as the connecting thread of the Gospel that is intertwined throughout them all. Thorp's work is thoughtful and insightful, and she is generally careful not to make claims that are not supported by good scholarship. On occasion her thoughts on the authorship of epistles are a little more unequivocal than I would like, but on the whole I think even the most dutiful Biblical scholar would find no egregious errors in her work.
I recommend Story of Stories to anyone who is interested in deepening their knowledge of the Bible. I have used it to augment my daily devotions, and plan on using it in the future for preaching and teaching. I'll also recommend it to people who are new to the Christian faith as a way to spark interest in further Bible study, and to Christians who are looking to deepen their love of Scripture.