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Teen People of the Bible Review by Donna CamposBy Daniel Darling
New Hope Publishers
PO Box 12065
Birmingham, AL 35202-2065
Teen People of the Bible is a 254-page softcover offering devotions created around profiles of real faith and tragic failure from the Bible. The end of the book provides an Appendix A with information about the assurance of salvation, and Appendix B includes suggested resources from magazines, websites, blogs, and books. There is also a Bibliography. The book has 100 devotions designed to challenge young people to stay in the Word of God for 100 days. Beginning from the Introduction, the author encourages readers to imagine living the lives of the referenced Bible characters, to picture how they would react to given situations. He also explains how best to use the book and the included journaling spaces throughout. Some of the included characters are ones that most teenagers will recognize: Cain, Abel, Jacob, Rachel, Joseph, Samson, and Esther. But lesser-known people from the Bible are included as well: Rahab, Joash, Josiah, and Salome. Their names may not be as familiar, but their stories are just as valuable and important. Most of the individuals are included in more than one day of study, but a few are only focused on for an individual devotion. Each devotion begins with an action verse; then a "Storyline" Scripture passage is specified. An imagined message from the particular teen is presented as a quote, followed by a "Digging Deeper" reading, a "Just Like You" reading, a "Did You Know?" fact, Today's Prayer, and then a Journal question. The journaling space does make the book consumable, but readers may choose to journal in a separate diary or notebook. Each devotional spans between two and three pages and is appropriate for today's teenagers or anyone interested in more information regarding the young people of the Bible. A Bible is necessary for looking up the given Scripture references, and readers will be able to use the version most suited to them.
Designed as a short but thorough daily Bible reading and study, Teen People of the Bible emphasizes how the lives and character of various Bible characters relate to teenagers today. There is quite a lot of information on Samuel, David, Jonathan, and Solomon, but we are given much information about them in the Bible. The "Digging Deeper" sections discuss a point in the Scripture relating to the individual's character, while the "Just Like You" section occasionally offers a quote from another book or individual, and often a story about a person who could be a neighbor or friend today. The "Did You Know?" reading is usually fairly short and provides Bible facts, fulfilled prophecy, and more. The Prayer and Journal portions wrap up the devotion with a time of reverence and reflection and guide the reader to personal evaluation. Devotion titles are presented as questions, such as
- "Who am I when no one is looking?"
- "How do I attract a good Christian guy or girl?"
- "Does God have a plan for me even if my parents don't follow Him?"
- "Are small compromises such a big deal?"
The answers are direct and short enough to be understood. For example, when dealing with attracting a guy or girl, the author responds with instruction to not try to be noticed, make every day count, guard your purity, and put others first. Each point is expanded upon, while keeping the information short.
We found Teen People of the Bible to be another good devotional option for young people today. The focus on young people is an ideal launching point to encourage more Bible reading and study. The advice to guard your eyes, feed your soul, and set boundaries is necessary for every Christian, whether teen or adult. We did disagree with the angle taken in one comment that stated because parents are paying the bills, they have the right to make the rules. Biblically, parents have the right to make the rules because they are the parents, whether or not they pay the bills. I would encourage parents to read at least one devotion ahead of their teenager, even if that means purchasing two copies. This will allow parents to be ready to field questions or offer guidance as necessary. Difficulties of today are approached honestly, including questions about popularity, dealing with "divas," and coasting on parental Christianity. The emphasis on young people making a difference, being called to great things by God, and faithfully listening to the Holy Spirit is handled beautifully in Teen People of the Bible and will encourage teenagers to seek God first. If your teenager is feeling alone, wondering exactly where he fits in God's plan, or is interested in learning about others who felt God's calling from a young age, Teen People of the Bible offers an excellent devotional choice. There are no better examples today than Mary, Esther, Miriam, Jonathan, Samuel, and Solomon as they tackled teenage years--learning a great deal, facing amazing challenges, and growing closer to God as they did so!