Book Review: Eat This Book

by Jonathan Bailey

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Eat This Book
Eugene H. Peterson 

Wow! This is one of Peterson’s best books hands down, definitely when it comes to the Spiritual Theology series. This book is only 176 pages and it is packed with incredible insight into our scriptures. I want to highly recommend this book to all who have a serious desire to read and devour Scripture.

The book is broken down into 3 sections, Eat this Book, Lectio Divina and The Comapny of Translators.

The “Eat This Book” section is really dedicated to coming to the understanding, that we shouldn’t use or think about the Bible as “Having and defending and celebrating, but instead receiving, submitting to, and praying the Bible.” What Eugene is trying to do is help us remove the “Holier-Than-Thou” mentality that comes with the Bible, and see it as a book for the common everyday man or woman. Peterson is perfect for this as he says, “for over fifty years I have been vocationally involved in getting the Christian scriptures into the minds and hearts, arms and legs, ears and mouths of men and women.”

But he says that he has not found this an easy task. The main problem is people don’t read the Scriptures to live, they read for information. One of his greatest analogies is of a dog eating and chewing and burying a bone so he can do it all over again the next day. He says that is the way we should read our Bibles, chewing, biting, burying, over and over.

The second section of the book is dedicated to Lectio Divina. Which he defines as, “a way of reading that guards against depersonalizing the text into an affair of questions and answers, definitions and dogmas. It is really good. He helps dust off some of the Catholicism that people tend to associate with  that style of reading the Bible. I think most Protestants will be pleasantly surprised. 

The final section is called The Company of Translators. It gives concise and informative history behind some of the translations and translators of history. He gives great lesson on translation 101. He also shows how translation is not just about matching words in dictionaries but into languages. He makes a compelling argument for paraphrasing, and his reasoning for writing the Message (a ten year project). I was a skeptic of the Message, but now I see why he wrote it and why it is important to the Christian community.

I really can’t say enough good things about this book. I give it 5 stars! I highly recommend it to you! Go out and get a copy today.