One of my favorite scenes from C.S. Lewis’ legendary Chronicles of Narnia (from which I have many favorites), is the very last scene in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.
Edmund, Lucy, and Eustace have just completed an eclectic series of odd adventures and are looking for a way back home. In so doing, the trio come across a small fire with fish roasting over it and a lamb beside it who beckons them to “come have breakfast.” And then in a classic Narnia moment, the lamb transforms into the great lion, Aslan (Lewis’ symbol for Jesus).
This scene presents an unmistakable metaphor for Jesus being the true Lamb of God who beckons us to “Come have breakfast” as he did in John 7 when he shouted to the crowd, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink!” (verse 37).
“Come and Have Breakfast”
Katherine Forster (TheReb’s managing editor, by the way) echoes these cries of Jesus (and Aslan) in her new book for teens, Transformed By Truth: Why and How To Study the Bible For Yourself As a Teen.
With logic and precision, Katherine cuts right through the fog of the “checklist” mentality so many of us have toward Bible study and replaces it with the real reason to ever dig into the depths of Scripture: To know God.
Specifically, she appeals for young people to know God.
For Katherine, the purpose of Bible study is not to feel good about yourself or to show off your knowledge to your friends, siblings, or pastors. It’s about putting yourself in a place to discover and see the beauty and glory of God. To “taste and see that the Lord is good” (Psalm 34:8).
But before we get too far, let me gush a little about the aesthetics of the book. I’m a stickler for the physical presentation of books and Crossway has done it again with this one. The book is as sturdy of a paperback as they come and sits comfortably in your hands as you read it. If you properly break it in (and yes, there is a proper way to do that), it will lie flat–perfect for studying at a desk with a Bible and other resources close by.
Plus, the cover design is visually pleasing and attractive.
Anyways–back to the content.
Transformed By Truth is split into two simple parts: the “Why?” and the “How?” of Bible study. It creates a very easy-to-follow case for why a young person should study the Bible for themselves and provides practical tools for how to actually do it.
Why Study the Bible?
In the first part, Katherine explains the basics of “How God Reveals Himself” and how the Bible fits into that revelation, going very briefly into the structure, history, canonization, preservation, and so-forth of Scripture.
Katherine follows the nuts and bolts of how the Bible reveals God by diving right into the overarching narrative which runs through all of Scripture. She even gives a literature crash course on metanarrative and story elements, showing along the way how Scripture follows the same rising and falling arch every great story goes through.
Having this overarching narrative in our minds sets a great foundation for digging in and exploring Scripture for ourselves, which Katherine presents knowledgeable and practically in the second part of the book.
How to Study the Bible
In the second half of the book, Katherine presents young people with incredibly practical insights and tools she’s picked up through her own voracious study of the Bible. Again, she cuts through the fog of questions like “what time should I study” and “how long should I spend reading” that can so often distract us from actually sitting down and opening up Scripture.
She reminds us “the truth is, none of our obedience is perfect. Our Bible study, like everything else in our Christian life, will always be flawed by our own sin. But that doesn’t mean it’s useless” (page 91). And encourages us to “remember: Bible study is a skill. And like any other skill, it takes time to learn” (page 111).
Stressing the importance of prayer and relying on God’s grace–that he wants to reveal himself–Katherine introduces concepts such as “inductive Bible study” and its three pillars of observation, interpretation, and application; as well as context (biblical, historical, and cultural).
If You Want to See God…
I would one hundred percent recommend Transformed By Truth to any teen or young Christian who wants to dig deeper into discovering who God is and develop a better understanding for basic bible study.
I praise God for young people like Katherine who are willing to put themselves out there to equip and inspire thousands of young people to know God. I can’t wait to see how the church at large is shaped and strengthened through the message of this book.
If you are a teenager or young Christian hungry to know more of God and discover what makes him so glorious, I encourage you to heed Katherine’s call and “feed on his word.”