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Wednesday, April 10, 2024

"The Sacredness of Secular Work" (Jordan Raynor)

TITLE: The Sacredness of Secular Work: 4 Ways Your Job Matters for Eternity (Even When You're Not Sharing the Gospel)
AUTHOR: Jordan Raynor
PUBLISHER: Colorado Springs, CO: Waterbrook & Multnomah, 2024, (224 pages).
One of the most popular resources for Christians is to find meaning in everyday work. The interest revolves around questions about practicing one's faith in the world. What does faith in the marketplace mean? How do we live the spiritual life in an increasingly secular world? What does it mean to be a Christian in the workplace? What should we do if our workplaces forbid us from practicing our faith? Does our work really matter? What does gospel living look like? In this book, author Jordan Raynor asserts that our work not only has "instrumental value" on earth, it also has "eternal intrinsic value" to God. "By "instrumental value," it means our work matters because it can be an opportunity to explicitly share the gospel with people we work with. "Intrinsic value" refers to how our work matters even when we are not explicitly sharing the gospel. The Great Commission should not be the "only" commission in life as it might give us a flawed sense of living as a Christian in an unChristian world. The primary reason is that though He lived with the gospel in mind, Jesus never turned everything into a "Great Commission" act. Many of his simple acts are that of care, compassion, care, and common living. One observation that the author makes is how the focus on the Great Commission Only is only a recent phenomenon. The Early Church did not have that distinction between sacred and secular lives. In fact, the words "Great Commission" did not even show up until the 1800s. In other words, the reason why so many today are asking how our work matters to God, is due to the mental separation of sacred and secular worlds. After listing the five ways we have misapplied the Great Commission, Raynor also enlarges the understanding of work beyond mere paid careers. This forms the major part of the book that looks at how we can live out the gospel in 99% of the time when we are not explicitly "sharing the gospel."

Monday, April 8, 2024

"Christian Academic Writing" (Benjamin L. Merkle & Adrianne Cheek Miles)

TITLE: Christian Academic Writing: Twelve Practices and Principles for Becoming a Successful Writer
AUTHOR: Benjamin L. Merkle & Adrianne Cheek Miles
PUBLISHER: Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2024, (pages).
Is academic writing only for academics? No. Is it limited only to people with writing experience? Not really. Is it difficult to even write to publish? Difficult but not impossible. Writing is hard work. Getting it published is even harder. Yet, we should not be deterred by anything difficult. Let our passion for sharing our knowledge and experiences inspire us to write. One cannot be a successful writer without first becoming a writer. Read widely but also write frequently. Just like the title says, this book looks at 12 "practices and principles" to encourage Christian writing as an academic writing. Although both authors come from different backgrounds, their purpose for writing this book is similar: To encourage Christians to write and share their knowledge and expertise with the public. It is not a how-to-write book. It is a book that gives "practical and proven advice" to encourage writers to write. Professors, pastors, teachers, anyone with advanced degrees, or those with lots of working experience can benefit from this resource which aims to bring more people into the writing fold. They do not mince their words when they say writing is hard work. Indeed it is. Sometimes, becoming too distracted by any perceived difficulty can put off any aspiring writer. 

Wednesday, April 3, 2024

"Does Christianity Still Make Sense?" (Bobby Conway)

TITLE: Does Christianity Still Make Sense?: A Former Skeptic Responds to Today’s Toughest Objections to Christianity
AUTHOR: Bobby Conway
PUBLISHER: Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2024, (224 pages).
Why should anyone believe in God? Why are there so many scandals in the Church? Aren't Christians a bunch of hypocrites? How can Jesus be the only way to God when so many people have not heard of him? Did Jesus really rise from the dead? These and many more are covered in this insightful book of answers to 20 of the most difficult questions about Christianity. Calling himself a "chronic doubter," author Bobby Conway takes us on an honest journey through these difficult questions to show us that Christianity not only makes sense, it gives us hope. He gives us answers that are down to earth and explains his reasons in an open conversational way. He writes this book for the following reasons. First, the present cultural climate is increasingly secular and anti-Christian. Second, the Church has a credibility problem. Third, Christians are perceived to be intolerant. Fourth, many Christians do not know how to deal with many basic objections. Apart from these, people regularly ask about the age-old problem of evil, pain, and suffering. 

Thursday, March 28, 2024

"Crisis of Confidence" (Carl R. Trueman)

TITLE: Crisis of Confidence: Reclaiming the Historic Faith in a Culture Consumed with Individualism and Identity
AUTHOR: Carl R. Trueman
PUBLISHER: Wheaton, IL: Crossway Publishers, 2024, (216 pages).
Why should anyone take creeds seriously? Why do we need creeds when we have the Bible? Why should churches incorporate creedal statements especially when the words are not in the Bible? Are not the creeds some old-fashioned documents that are no longer relevant for our era? What will we lose if we ignore the creeds? What is the crisis of confidence all about? Essentially, this book is a vigorous pushback against the modern notion of "expressive individualism" that threatens to unseat the use of confessions, creeds, and many aspects of tradition. Author Carl Trueman spends some time unpacking what he means by this. He notes how "expressive individualism" has taken root in many aspects of life. Feelings have dethroned the importance of facts. Science assumes that the present and future are better than the past, which unwittingly creeps into the philosophical domain when understanding religious truth. Consumerism militates against historical truths. Other reasons against creeds include the state of antiauthoritarianism, rejection of authority, and the fear of exclusion just because one recites the creeds. He then makes a case for the use of creeds in churches today. He outlines the history of creedal statements, showing us the contexts behind each written creed. This is not something that only the Early Church had done. With the Reformation, even more creeds were published. Groups outside the mainline stream also possess confessions and creeds, even though they were not written in the traditional forms. One of the key things that enable us to worship in spirit and in truth is the use of creeds to remind us that worship is not about self-expression but about corporate confession to God and for God. The big truth is, that creeds do not necessarily take the place of Scripture but affirm biblical Truth in concrete ways. 

Thursday, March 21, 2024

"Trust" (Dominique Shelton Leipzig)

TITLE: Trust.: Responsible AI, Innovation, Privacy and Data Leadership
AUTHOR: Dominique Shelton Leipzig
PUBLISHER: Charleston, SC: Forbes Books, 2024, (399 pages).
It is not easy to trust what we see today. From Artificial Intelligence to Deep Fake technologies, it is becoming easier to manipulate data for illegitimate ends. With innovation comes the tendency for cheating and criminal activities. Data security is critical to preserve the integrity of businesses and maintain positive public trust. All it takes is a data leak, hacking, systems malfunction, or an infiltration of ransomware, and the corporation's activities easily come to a standstill. According to Dominique Shelton Leipzig, the problem with modern corporate boardrooms is that data management is typically delegated to backroom staff, like data scientists or IT professionals. Some don't know the right questions to ask about their data in the first place. This calls for a more proactive approach when dealing with data and information in the company. Data stewardship cannot be left to consultants, or engineers in the data center, or outsourced to cheaper IT professionals outside. They need to be managed responsibly. Senior management needs to be held accountable. Data breaches and data security lapses cannot be blamed on data center staff. CEOs must take an active interest in the integrity and use of data in their organizations. With more businesses and information being collected and stored both inside and outside the organizations, there needs to be a heightened awareness and responsibility about its collection, management, protection, and usage. Companies of all sizes need a proper data strategy. The thesis in this book is that to re-establish trust in organizations, it is high time for senior management to take leadership of their corporate data as a critical asset. In Leipzig's words, one must "lead with trust." That means three things:

Tuesday, March 19, 2024

"Prayers for the Pilgrimage" (W. David O. Taylor)

TITLE: Prayers for the Pilgrimage: A Book of Collects for All of Life
AUTHOR: W. David O. Taylor
PUBLISHER: Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2024, (208 pages).
There are many different ways that Christians can pray. From Sunday worship time to daily thanksgiving over a meal, prayer is a sign of devotion to God. It is a reminder that for all of our talents and know-how, we still need God. Many Christians learn to pray using the ACTS acronym: Adoration-Confession-Thanksgiving-Supplication. Each of them helps us focus on a particular form of prayer. Whether it is for worship or prayers for forgiveness, gratitude, or request, we can connect with God in all circumstances of life. For the most part, people have understood prayer in terms of asking for things, especially when they are in dire need. Realizing this great need, author David Taylor has collected a series of prayers for all occasions and for all of life. He calls these "collect prayers." What is a "Prayer of Collect?" There are written prayers focused on a specific item. Traditionally, the mainline churches like the Roman Catholics, the Anglicans, and other Protestant churches have used the term "collect" as a way to describe collecting all forms of prayer requests, needs, and desires for God to take action. It recognizes that God loves His people and this world and the prayer is a way to connect us with God, trusting that He knows and will assure us that things will be well, even when we feel helpless and hopeless. 

Monday, March 11, 2024

"Hard and Holy Work" (Mary Alice Birdwhistell and Tyler D. Mayfield)

TITLE: Hard and Holy Work: A Lenten Journey through the Book of Exodus
AUTHOR: Mary Alice Birdwhistell and Tyler D. Mayfield
PUBLISHER: Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2024, (122 pages).
Traditionally, devotionals on Lent tend to focus on self-reflection and quiet meditation. While it is a good spiritual practice to be mindful of the meaning of Lent, sometimes it can be accused of being impractical in a world of trouble and despair. Is there more to simply fasting and praying? Can we adopt practices that will lead us toward betterment for the common good? How can Christians observe Lent without forgetting that although they are not of the world, they are in the world? This book was inspired by the life of the Trappist monk, Thomas Merton, who found himself smack in the middle of Fourth and Walnut in Louisville, Kentucky, to be awakened to the needs of the world, and what God is prompting one to do: Paying attention and awakened to work toward justice. Using the book of Exodus, the authors highlight themes of liberation, justice, faithfulness, storytelling, and attentiveness to the marginalized. Useful for individual and group studies, each week contains stories from the Exodus narrative and ends with invitations to reflect, engage, and respond. These three invitations are summarized as "Paying Attention," "Sharing Together," and "Taking Action." 

Monday, February 5, 2024

"Practices for Embodied Living: Experiencing the Wisdom of Your Body" (Hilary L. McBride)

TITLE: Practices for Embodied Living: Experiencing the Wisdom of Your Body 
AUTHOR: Hillary L. McBride
PUBLISHER: Grand Rapids, MI: Brazos Press, 2024, (160 pages).

Our experiences do not define us. Our real selves do. Our bodies are not simply what we have but they are who we are. We are more than mere subjective people. We are valued for who we are and not what we do. All that we encounter in this life, the highs and the lows, can all be experienced in the very bodies we have. Unfortunately, many people still have not learned how to appreciate their bodies. In doing so, they fall victim to lies and myths that throw negativity to their physique or biological selves. Lies such as the need to subdue our bodies because they are inherently evil; that some bodies are better than others, or fat bodies are unhealthy, etc. As our bodies get devalued, we become disembodied beings. Disembodiment separates our physical selves from the rest of our mental and emotional faculties. Embodiment brings all of them together. More importantly, we are called not to learn or relearn what our bodies are or represent. We simply need to remember that. These and many more underline the premise of this book, which is to bring back a healthy appreciation of the bodies we have so that we can live well. This also means we need to see personhood in a holistic manner: Emotionally, Mentally, Physically, Socially, and even Spiritually. Besides helping us address lies we tell ourselves, this book also looks at the violence on our bodies, such as stress and trauma; illnesses, injuries, and pain; oppressive forces; self-esteem; etc. 

Friday, February 2, 2024

"Gender as Love" (Fellipe do Vale)

TITLE: Gender as Love: A Theological Account of Human Identity, Embodied Desire, and Our Social Worlds
AUTHOR: Fellipe do Vale
PUBLISHER: Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2024, (272 pages).
One of the biggest contentions today in the Church has to do with gender. In the past, there used to be constant debates about what it meant to be male or female, and what roles they were supposed to be playing. Then we have the feminist movement that pushes back against male dominance. Those issues remain active in many parts of society but are increasingly eclipsed by debates surrounding multi-gendered definitions and nuanced multi-dimensionally. Today, the line between male and female is increasingly blurred. The core issue is not sexuality but what it means to be human. Realizing that gender issues are becoming more divisive each day, we need to have a way to talk about these matters rationally and theologically. Thus, this book probes the biblical understanding of gender sexuality and tries to make sense of it in an increasingly complex social construct today. Simply put, it is to shed light on the question: "What is gender?" and How do we understand gender theologically? With so many different theological interpretations today, how do we do "theological theology?" Author-Professor Fellipe do Vale kicks off by laying out the categories in terms of two "bifurcations":
  1. Divisive Philosophy: Between proponents of gender as "Essence" vs that as "Social Construct."
  2. Divided Theology (Methodological): One anchored on modern academic discipline and the other on traditional beliefs.

Tuesday, January 30, 2024

"Waiting in Gratitude: Prayers for Joy" (Walter Brueggemann)

TITLE: Waiting in Gratitude: Prayers for Joy
AUTHOR: Walter Brueggemann
PUBLISHER: Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2024, (148 pages).
Prayer is more than asking for things. Prayer is listening to God. It is cultivating our relationship with God. Whatever it is, regardless of emotional conditions, we can all pray to God at all times. Having written considerably on the prayers of lament, author and retired professor Walter Brueggemann focuses on the movement of tears, desperation, and pain toward joy. Savoring the "peculiarities" of our life's journey, we turn our very living from lament to waiting, from waiting to gratitude, and from gratitude to joy. How do we do that? Begin with the why. Continue with the "chewing of the world" of ups and downs. Finally, arriving at complete joy. Brueggemann reasons as follows: "The sum of these prayers is to voice our life back to God in wonder and gratitude for God’s “countless gifts” that are indeed beyond our counting. We nevertheless continue to count them!"

Indeed, praying is learning to count our blessings and this book is designed to help us through our journey of life. Part One comprises prayers for all kinds of occasions. From anniversaries to baptisms, birthdays to confirmations, weddings to memorials, Brueggemann shows us how we can pray for all occasions. With the help of hymns and Scripture, he guides us to look to Jesus in acknowledging the present with gratitude and look to the future with hope. He has prayers for individuals, for those in specific vocations in life, and in particular, for those called to the ministry. Part Two takes us deeper into what it means to experience joy in Christ. No longer about specific occasions or callings, the prayers reflect a longing for God. Using the created world as a platform for prayer, Brueggemann weaves his prayers and tightens them with biblical texts and principles. Some of the prayers can also be used as congregational prayers. Many of the prayers are steeped in Scriptural reflection. 

Thursday, January 25, 2024

"The Practice of Remembering" (Casey Tygrett)

TITLE: The Practice of Remembering: Uncovering the Place of Memories in Our Spiritual Life
AUTHOR: Casey Tygrett
PUBLISHER: Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2023, (216 pages).
"Memories light the corners of my mind," so sings Barbra Streisand in one of the most cherished classics of the modern age, "The Way We Were." As author Casey Tygrett writes, "Without memory, there is no formation," that we are "memory-made people," and that without memories, "we cannot become." We are who we are by learning and remembering. Whether it is writing a memoir or penning a journal, our acts of recalling something are crucial aspects of being. Using the various aspects of "experiences, memories, stories, and scripts," Tygrett guides us through an amazing journey of the practice of remembering. 

He helps us explore the four movements of remembering: 
  1. Like shells that possess incredible memories, we first bring forth these shells;
  2. Honest engagement with the implications;
  3. Create stories out of these implications;
  4. Explore how God is molding us through these.
All these can be sparked with one prompt: "I remember the moment when ________."

Friday, January 19, 2024

"The Lost World of the Prophets" (John H. Walton)

TITLE: The Lost World of the Prophets: Old Testament Prophecy and Apocalyptic Literature in Ancient Context
AUTHOR: John H. Walton
PUBLISHER: Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2024, (192 pages).
What comes to mind when we hear the words, "prophets," "prophecies," and "prophetic word?" For many, prophets are seen as "predictors" of the future, and "prophecies" are like future events waiting to be fulfilled. Such an understanding has unfortunately crippled the original meaning of what biblical prophecies mean. Calling this situation a "lost world of the prophets," esteemed author-professor John Walton helps us to recover the original meaning according to the Bible and to rediscover a deeper understanding of the different types and forms of prophecies. The author laments how prophetic books have been misunderstood by so many people. The "potential misuse" includes the unhealthy focus on end times (eschatology) and the use of prophetic texts merely to prove Jesus' deity (apologetics). He says that both of these are paths toward "fulfillment" theology. Using "cultural rivers" as a metaphor, he reminds us that if we want to understand the biblical prophecies, we need to soak ourselves in the biblical cultural river. At the same time, we need to avoid superimposing our modern cultural rivers on the Bible. This book is essentially about helping us swim and rediscover the lost world of the prophets. Walton guides us through five parts, each part leading us through the history, the process, and the ways to interpret the events based on the original authorial intent. The whole process is detailed and informative. Each part delineates various aspects of understanding the ancient cultural rivers. Using sixteen propositions as titles, Walton supports each proposition with examples and alternative readings. 

Friday, January 12, 2024

"Rethinking the Police" (Daniel Reinhardt)

TITLE: Rethinking the Police: An Officer's Confession and the Pathway to Reform
AUTHOR: Daniel Reinhardt
PUBLISHER: Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2023, (224 pages).
The general perception of the Police force has taken a beating these days. From Michael Brown to Breonna Taylor, Daniel Prude to George Floyd, instances of police brutality on minority communities are becoming far too common. Those who claim that the issue is due to individual racists will have to explain why in 2023, five African American policemen killed Tyre Nichols, a black. According to author Daniel Reinhardt, the problem is beyond individuals. It is embedded in a system that nourishes systemic discrimination. In other words, if the perpetrators are guilty, the environment that breeds them is worse. As a 24-year-veteran of the police force, Reinhardt knows the system from the academy to street patrols. The question remains. If law enforcement agencies, courts, the federal agencies are aware of the problem, then why is there so little progress for better policing? Reinhardt puts his finger on the lack of changes from the inside out. With so much attention on external factors, internal factors have unwittingly been minimized. These factors refer to culture, worldview, and "implicit social structures." He goes on to describe the three key cultural factors: "Social distance," "Unchecked power," and "social structures." 

Friday, January 5, 2024

"Reforming Criminal Justice A Christian Proposal" (Matthew T. Martens)

TITLE: Reforming Criminal Justice: A Christian Proposal
AUTHOR: Matthew T. Martens
PUBLISHER: Wheaton, IL: Crossway Publishers, 2023, (416 pages).

The American leadership system comprises three branches that counterbalance one another: The Executive, the Legislative, and the Judicial branches of government. This ingenious system of government was first drawn up by the framers during the Declaration of Independence. Most people would have taken sides in the oft-divisive decisions taken by the first two branches. On a relative scale, the legal system seems to be the last branch standing when it comes to having a fair and just society. The Executive and the Congress frame the laws. The judicial system enforces the laws of the land. By definition, the American criminal justice system is essentially about "state-sponsored violence." This is because the state is legally empowered to inflict physical punishment on lawbreakers. While most of the time the punishment is legitimate, there are times in which injustice happens. As far as the law is concerned, justice means enforcing the laws of the land. The highest court of the country is the Supreme Court. As far as the Word of God is concerned, the highest order is love. This book is essentially about how the imperfect and flawed American criminal justice system can be reformed from this biblical perspective. Such flaws include the "us-versus-them" mentality that leads to societal divisions, the presumed "law and order" which could be overly subjective for comfort, and the infusion of political concerns into the practice of laws. Written in two parts, author Matthew Martens aims to "fashion a criminal justice system more in line with biblical teaching." Part One looks at what a biblical justice system looks like where Martens sketches out the contours of Christian ethic of justice. The first thing he does is to blur the lines of "social justice" and "criminal justice" to put them under the umbrella of redemption: of forgiven past and present love.

Thursday, December 21, 2023

"40 Questions About the Apostle Paul" (Miguel Echevarria and Benjamin Laird)

TITLE: 40 Questions About the Apostle Paul
AUTHOR: Miguel Echevarria and Benjamin Laird
PUBLISHER: Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Academic, 2023, (320 pages).
What is there to learn about the apostle Paul? A lot. In fact, many scholars have gone on to do PhDs on this eloquent and influential character of the Bible. Apostle to the Gentiles, author of the bulk of the New Testament, and traditionally a martyr for Christ, Paul has become a key figure in New Testament studies. From the life of Paul to Pauline theology, scholars have combed his writings both canonical and non-canonical to find out more about his personal character,  background, history, theological orientations, and many more. A decent bibliography of all the research done on Paul could be published into a book! Instead of a mere 40 questions, one could even propose a 100-question volume. Thus, it is commendable for the authors of this book to condense the most critical questions into 40. Most of the material in this book will be gleaned from the New Testament, namely, the book of Acts and the letters written by Paul. The three parts of the book comprise:
  1. Questions about Paul's Life
  2. Questions about Paul's Writings
  3. Questions about Paul's Theology

Tuesday, December 19, 2023

"Hear Ye the Word of the Lord: What We Miss If We Only Read the Bible" (D. Brent Sandy)

TITLE: Hear Ye the Word of the Lord: What We Miss If We Only Read the Bible
AUTHOR: D. Brent Sandy and John Walton
PUBLISHER: Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2024, (192 pages).
We often think of the Bible in terms of a Holy Book. So we encourage people to "read" the Bible like a text, study the Scriptures like an ancient document, and interpret each verse with careful eyes. If we limit ourselves to such a view, we would have missed the very essence of God's message to us. The Word was first delivered to human ears rather than eyes. Right from the beginning, the standard form of communication was oral. The receivers were listeners. Plus, it was noted that, unlike today, ancient people had fewer authors and more speakers; more hearers than readers. How the world has changed. The key premise of this book is that if we want to read the Bible well, we need to remember the original contexts of the Bible given to us to listen rather than to read. It is ok to read texts but do not miss out on the importance of listening to the Word. So convicted is author Brent Sandy that he puts forth 18 propositions about the what, the why, and the what then. Categorized in four parts, Sandy urges us to understand the original stage of communications, understand God's agenda, learn about the implications of oral scripture, and practice listening on top of mere reading. 

Tuesday, December 12, 2023

"Wounded Pastors" (Carol Howard Merritt and James Fenimore)

TITLE: Wounded Pastors: Navigating Burnout, Finding Healing, and Discerning the Future of Your Ministry
AUTHOR: Carol Howard Merritt and James Fenimore
PUBLISHER: Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2024, (190 pages).

Saying pastoral ministry is not easy is an understatement. Many enter the call to full-time ministry at some level of social and economic disadvantage. Well-remunerated pastors are few. Many struggle even to make ends meet. Having written about wounded Christians in all walks of life, there is one group of people that the authors have left out: The clergy. This book is the answer to the many criticisms about excluding the clergy in the woundedness category. From burnout to blatant hurts, healing is a necessary process, and some of us might say, even more so for the clerical vocation. Frequently, those in the ministry of helping others need help themselves. It is widely expected that pastors have to comfort others in their times of grief. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said the other way around. Who comforts them when they are grieved? In some congregations, expectations of pastoral perfection can even lead to unrealistic assumptions that pastors with special calling will automatically experience God's comfort. What if God is using ordinary people to help the hurting pastors? What if we recognize that not everyone is like the Bible heroes of old, like Moses, Joshua, David, etc, where God was their personal Comforter, Deliverer, and Saviour? God can use supernatural means to help, but we should not restrict God from using ordinary people via ordinary means. This book is one ordinary way in which pastors can find a way to heal from their wounds. Written in three parts, authors James Fenimore and Carol Howard write about this process.

Friday, December 1, 2023

"Light of the Word" (Susan C. Lim)

TITLE: Light of the Word: How Knowing the History of the Bible Illuminates Our Faith
AUTHOR: Susan C. Lim
PUBLISHER: Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2023, (240 pages).
The Christian faith is anchored on the Bible. Without the Word, we cannot know God and there is no Christianity of today. Without knowing the history of the Bible, we might not be able to fully appreciate the Truth. In fact, knowing the history of the Bible is to know the context of its formation. In Bible studies, one of the most important principles is to interpret the verses in context. That means recognizing the embedded meaning within the passage instead of mere verses alone. Context depends not only on literal meaning but also on literary forms. Other contextual considerations include cultural awareness, linguistic nuances, genre types, historical backgrounds, etc. Knowing the history of the Bible is like the study of the contextual origins of the Bible, that a good understanding will increase our faith and insight. It is the key to unlocking the Truth and build up our faith. Not only that, as far as the author is concerned, the Word has become her strength and refuge in many personal circumstances. Seeing the history of the Bible helps her to visualize her faith profoundly. In both her first and second confessions of faith, it was the Word that consistently guided and encouraged her. She begins with the angle of Scriptures and Salvation, to point out the reliability of the Bible even when many of us have expressed different types of doubts from time to time. Whatever it is, doubts do not negate salvation. Instead, they spur us to a deeper knowledge of the Word. She guides us through the origins of the canon, what it means, why it is important, and what it means for her personally.