The Bible Habit by David Ramos – Mixed Review

I’ve had the opportunity to read some author David Ramos’ devotionals and enjoyed them very much and appreciated some of his insights.  That’s why I was excited to read his newest book, The Bible Habit.

After reading The Bible Habit, I had some conflicting thoughts and observations about this book.  When David sticks with the Bible and shares some of what he’s learned from studying the Bible it’s good, thought provoking and challenging.  When he delves into secular studies, science or philosophy to encourage or prompt people to read the Bible, I think he got off course.  There were a couple of times, he referenced sources that are not Biblically sound writers or teachers.

The good…I appreciated that David started with the importance of people understanding the Bible in context and he went on to explain what that means and why it’s important.  In a day and age when context is thrown to the wind, it was refreshing to see David reinforcing this important truth.

The chapter on The Memory Boosting Tactic had some good ideas on how to learn, remember and memorize the Bible.  I didn’t care for the secular references on learning.  The Beginner’s Ultimate Toolbox referenced some good study tools that people can use to better understand the Bible and dive deeper.  I take issue with David’s opinion that there is no wrong translation to start with.  Absolutely, it makes a big difference on starting with a translation that is accurate and sound.  If you don’t, you can more easily be led astray with false teaching.

The chapter Two Souls Are Better Than One was a great reminder, we shouldn’t be solo Christians.  God calls us to be part of a community.  David did a good job in sharing some of the benefits and challenges of being part of a church or Bible study or Christian community.  I would like to add that it is important what community we are a part of.  We need to make sure that it has Biblically sound teaching.

The chapter on Prayer, The Truth Igniter, had some good insights and references.  But I was concerned about with the reference of Richard Foster in how to pray the Bible.  Richard Foster is part of the spiritual formation and contemplative prayer movement.  Foster is not biblically sound.  Steer clear of his teaching.

The not so good…the chapter on Building Blocks of a Habit had some practical tools to help you develop the beneficial habit of reading the Bible.  But this chapter seemed to miss the boat in acknowledging that the Bible is from God and the primary source that God uses to reveal Himself and it is a privilege to read it.  I felt this chapter downplayed the authority of God’s Word and made reading the Bible seem common and lowly.  So much so, that you should put incentives in place to read the Bible like you would when starting a new exercise program.  Also, I disagree with David’s suggestion to not read a book of the Bible chapter by chapter, but aim for reading by story.  Reading a book of the Bible helps you to read and understand it within context.  The mix of secular and Bible in this chapter didn’t mix well.

To sum things up, I had some mixed and conflicting thoughts about The Bible Habit by David Ramos.  He had some beneficial thoughts and tools for people to consider as they learn to study the Bible.  However, I was concerned with the secular studies and science that he cited to incentivize reading the Bible as well as a Christian writer who is not biblically sound.  At times, I felt like he was making the Bible palatable, when in fact it is the perfect and inerrant Word of God.

Would I recommend it?  Maybe.  Some of the material is beneficial for a new Christian or an unbeliever wanting to know how to read God’s Word.  But I would also be concerned that they start with a biblically sound foundation, have a high view of Scripture and steer clear of false teachers.

I would like to thank author David Ramos for the opportunity to read The Bible Habit.  I was under no obligation to give a favorable review.

 

Escaping with Jacob by David Ramos – Learn to see God and Jacob through new eyes

Escaping with Jacob

Recently author David Ramos asked if I would be interesting in reading his 30 day devotional, Escaping with Jacob, which he is rereleasing in September 2016.  After reading his devotional Climbing with Abraham I was excited for this opportunity.

I found David’s devotional on the life of Jacob very insightful and encouraging.  I must confess I tend to view Jacob through cynical eyes and see his faults and failings before I see his growth and changing character.  Seeing God at work in the life of Jacob, a man who was deceitful and scheming brings me hope.  God took this man and changed not only his name to Israel (which means God prevails), but grew and changed him.  The change isn’t instantaneous; but over the course of a lifetime, Jacob grew into his new name Israel.  David reminded readers that God is not afraid of the messiness of our lives.

David also keeps the reader focused on God.  Who God is and who He’s revealed Himself to be in the Bible, and in Jacob’s life, and how we can know with certainty He is our faithful and trustworthy God.  The One who is to be feared and reverenced for He alone is awesome.

This summer, I’ve been reading through the book of Genesis as I prepare for a fall Bible study.  I’ve studied Genesis in-depth twice, so I’m familiar with Jacob.  Reading David’s devotional Escaping with Jacob was perfect timing.  I learned to see Jacob through new eyes and to marvel at God working in our messy and broken lives in a deeper way.

If you are going through a period waiting and aren’t sure what the Lord may be doing in your life, or you are facing huge obstacles you can’t overcome, or your life is very messy, I would encourage you to read David Ramos’ devotional Escaping with Jacob.  Find encouragement as you see how God worked in the life Jacob.

I would have like to have seen David present the Gospel message and tell readers how they can be saved from their sins through Christ and His perfect atoning sacrifice on the cross.  There were a few things I disagreed with about David’s interpretation about Jacob.  Also, David mentioned “authors of Genesis” and it’s my understanding that Moses was the sole author under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

I would like to thank David Ramos for the opportunity to read Escaping with Jacob in exchange for an honest review.  I was under no obligation to give a favorable review.

 

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Climbing with Abraham by David Ramos – A Thoughtful and Encouraging Devotional

Climbing with Abraham

I was recently contacted by author David Ramos with an offer to read his newest devotional Climbing with Abraham.  After reading David’s brief bio on Amazon, I decided to give the book a try and I’m so glad that I did.

I appreciated the observations and insights that David shared from the life of Abraham.  Clearly he presents a high view of God and also shows how God cares for and knows each one of us individually.

David has a very warm and engaging writing style that invites the reader into the story.  As I was reading this devotional I found myself highlighting many sentences that jumped off the page at me.  Here are a few items that I highlighted:

·    God’s promises will not fail.
·    God’s patience is more powerful than our stumbles, and His love is as strong as we are fragile.
·    God knows your frustrations; keep on believing.
·    God saw Hagar when no one else did and He cared for her when no one else would.

There were times when reading this book I felt like God was speaking to me.  On a particularly hard day I was encouraged from the story of Hagar.  David shared, “You are not stuck, you are not forgotten and you are not hopeless.”  I needed that strengthening reminder about God on that specific day.

It seems like no matter how many times I’ve read or studied Scripture I can learn something new or fresh every time.  That’s why I appreciate the insights that David shared from the life of Abraham.  This is the first book I’ve read by him, but I hope it’s not the last one.

One thing I would have liked to have seen included is the actual Scripture verses instead of just the chapter and verse references.

I highly recommend Climbing with Abraham by author David Ramos.  You will be encouraged, strengthened and challenged as you read through the life of Abraham, a friend of God.

I would like to thank David Ramos for the opportunity to read Climbing with Abraham in exchange for an honest review.  I was under no obligation to give a favorable review.