Reviewing Abraham: Following God's Promise

Recently I was given a copy of Logos Bible Software's new church curriculum entitled Abraham: Following God's Promise. Logos is probably the largest Bible software developer and has built one of the most robust and multi-faceted ecosystems for selling ebooks in the Bible software marketplace today. A little over a year ago I switched to Logos from another Bible software and I haven't looked back one in regret one bit. My usage of Logos is daily, and I rely heavily on the iOS apps and desktop software for all my study and research. Here's what I liked about the curriculum:

  • It's scalable. It comes with a full guide, a leaders guide, and a set of videos. A person can use it for personal study, a leader can take a Sunday school class through it, or a small group can watch the videos and discuss the content.
  • It's engaging. The graphics and slides for the presentations are well designed and informative. They don't drive the content, but they don't get in the way either.
  • It's thorough. The curriculum crosses the line between pop-Bible study and academic research rather well. The authors have endeavored to bring as much of the context and historical situation into the material as possible without it being completely dry and inaccessible.
  • It's Biblical. It's a character study (more on that later) and yet it manages to handle the content of Genesis and Abraham's story well.

For it's upsides here are a few things however that will probably keep me from using it, or buying the other character studies in the series

  • It's a character study. These aren't inherently bad but many of them can tend towards moralism if they don't have a clear connection and demonstration of Jesus being the greater and better hero of the study. I didn't get a sense from my walk-through that it was overly moralistic, but then again I didn't see too much of the centrality of Christ and the gospel. That's my bias of course.
  • Theologically Where? Here's the struggle of the publishing industry these days. How do they sell content? How do they turn a profit? This is even more difficult for a Christian publisher because the range of what is considered "evangelical" is so wide that no body is going to be happy, even if you try and make everybody happy. If I am going to purchase a curriculum I want to know right up front that the theological trajectory of the material is in keeping with mine. Not because I am a rigid "can't-think-out-of-his-tribe's-box" guy, but because I am going to be using it to teach the people I lead. I'll read outside of my tribe all the time personally, most of that won't see the light of day when I am teaching my people. So this brings me back to this curriculum study. I have no clue where it sits in terms of the underlying theological worldview. I know they are Christians. That's good, but not good enough for me to buy it sight unseen, and then use it with my church. This of course, is my bias.

Those two biases against this sort of material sink the ship for me. For some I imagine this will be helpful curriculum for their Bible studies and churches, for me however, the well designed graphics and presentation don't overcome the unknown content on the interior.

 

 

 

 

FTC Disclosure: Logos Bible Software has provided me with a copy of Abraham: Following God's Promises for purposes of providing a review. I received Abraham: Following God's Promises at no charge to me and I am under no obligation to return the product but can keep it for me own personal use.

The Kindle and Accordance

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I received an Amazon Kindle for Christmas and I have to say at this point that I love it. For me it is almost the perfect reading experience. I don't think it will replace actual paper and ink books in my life (and I don't want it to) but it does make getting around with many books a lot easier. After having the Kindle for close to two weeks now I have found it to be one of the most profitable tools for reading in my life right now. To date I have been able to keep up with my Scripture reading plan and read several other very helpful Christian books in a steady manner. I really enjoy it.

Today however I discovered an unintentional benefit of my Kindle. For a long, long, long, long time I have wanted to be able to read a book, highlight particular sections of the book and then be able to catalog those highlights for future reference and for sermon prep. One friend told me his method of reading, highlighting, typing the quote into his computer and then having it index that quotation. That seemed rather long and tedious to me and the one time I tried it I got sidetracked by typing the quote and lost track of reading the book.

This is where the Kindle and my favorite Bible software created the perfect combination. When you read on the Kindle you can highlight and mark particular quotations in a book. The Kindle then makes a .txt file of those highlights, marks and even your own personal notes. I can copy that .txt file from the Kindle and create a new User Note in Accordance that will allow me to search through and archive my notes. So now when I finish a book (or a chapter in a book) I pull the .txt file and throw the quotes into my User Note and away I go. If I want to search something I can search by any text I put in that file. It's amazing, and a very helpful tool by both the Kindle and Accordance.