Book Review by Terry James
Anytime I receive a book or other document to read that is purported to be a study course on Bible prophecy, I quickly scan it, whether planning to possibly review it or just to check it out. I have, after all, been studying and writing on the topics involved for forty-plus years? I surely must know most everything there is to know.
I hope the reader of this review knows I’m kidding around with that statement, but it is true that my tendency is to simply read quickly through and either begin writing the review or toss it aside as “been there, learned that.”
I intended to continue with this modus operandi with my long-time friend Don McGee’s study book, Framework for Understanding Bible Prophecy. I would, I considered, simply glance over the material, then write the review. I know Don well, and he and I share the same basic understanding of what God’s Word has to say about end-times things. I didn’t have to read the details…right?
After a few pages, I forgot that I was the reviewer. I again became the student, hungry to snatch the next spiritual morsel of nutritional insight and nuance of wisdom the author had poured upon my cerebral plate. Such is the quality and richness the author has wrapped within his title. Yet the material is presented in simple, easy-to-understand language and concepts. Every reader who desires to comprehend what God intends to impart from His love letter to mankind can delve as lightly or as deeply into this study as he or she cares to investigate.
The study course is constructed in such a way as to make it easy to access in every regard. It is in a high-quality, wire-bound binding so the pages rest flat on desk or table.
Don McGee, president of Crown and Sickle Ministries, is a much-sought-after speaker at Bible prophecy conferences and other forums. He frequently appears on television and radio programs, nationally and internationally. He disseminates an in-depth newsletter of prophetic insight, analyzing news issues and events under the prophetic light of God’s Holy Word.
I believe the spiritual understanding and counseling wisdom with which he has been gifted can be discerned from the following excerpt from the book:
As with any other portion of scripture, a study of prophecy must first be immersed in prayer. It is also important to go into each study time with freshness of mind. That is, do not allow external issues to hinder your thinking. Further, do not be afraid to change your mind about things. Any person who interprets and believes all scripture today in exactly the same way as he did on the day he became a Christian was either omniscient then or is negligent now. To change your mind in light of a growing and deepening understanding of prophetic scripture is not necessarily a bad thing.
A related thought is to remember that your teachers could have been wrong. Not that anyone would intentionally mislead someone, but remember that no teacher, no matter how learned, can be a final authority on every issue in Bible prophecy.
However, if I were limited to only one recommendation it would be the following:
Study all scriptures in their context, for context brings clarity to the use of figures of speech. Studying the Bible in its context also means to draw a conclusion on a matter in light of all that is written on the subject. It is the “sum” of God’s word that is truth, not the “some” of His word (Psalm 119:160).
This approach can bring peace to a student’s heart. It can relieve a Christian of the pressure of having to parrot the party line when the results of his personal study do not fit the party line. That is, the student is free to not agree with the interpretations of his church, convention, denomination, synod, brotherhood or any other religious association. A Christian’s allegiance is personally and solely to Jesus and His word. It is not to anyone or anything else no matter their religious credentials or heavy-handed insistence.
Each of us will stand before our Lord to give account of what we did with the truth we understood, and to give account regarding the opportunities we were given to understand the truth.
McGee further writes in framing his methodology for presenting the study:
Because this book is an informal guide and not an academic thesis you will find no formally noted references. And, you will see that it is written in the first-person. The reason is to make the reading of this book as informal and comfortable as a home-church Bible class.
While the author has made things comfortable for the student, the points of prophecy covered therein touch on and probe deeply into the deepest areas within biblical eschatology (study of end things).
I recommend you get this study course. I’m not worried that it will then collect dust on one of your shelves—not after you crack the first couple of pages.
To purchase this study course: visit crownandsickle.org