Now that it’s almost December, it’s the right time of year to begin thinking about the new devotional reading you’d like to tackle in 2014. While the Bible should always be primary in our devotional reading, I’ve found it greatly beneficial to add a few additional books to my devotional/quiet time reading stack throughout the year.
Throughout 2013, I’ve spent a lot of time with a particular devotional book focusing on the writings of the Puritans. In 2014, I’m excited to journey even further back in time with writings from the early church.
James Stuart Bell has put together a wonderful collection of 366 devotional readings from the church fathers in a new book published Zondervan, titled Awakening Faith: Daily Devotions from the Early Church. One concern many readers have when considering a devotional book based on the writings of historic figures like the Puritans and early church fathers is archaic language. That is not a concern with this volume as Bell and Kelly clearly put a significant amount of time into simplifying and updating the language in order to make these devotional readings easily accessible to any modern reader.
The layout of the book is straightforward. Each day’s reading is one page in length, containing a key theme, Bible verse, and a related reading from the writing of one of the church fathers. The particular church father whose writing you’re reading that day is noted at the bottom of each page. Should you want to find out more about each of these church fathers, you can consult the section at the back of the book titled “Church Fathers Featured in Awakening Faith.” A scripture index is available at the back of the book as well.
I received a copy of the print edition of Awakening Faith for review and it is a nicely bound hardcover edition with a ribbon marker and slip cover. My one critique of the book is that it doesn’t specifically state which part of each church father’s work these writings were taken from. I’m the type of person who always wants to find out more, so this is information that I would have found extremely useful. However, since this book wasn’t necessarily intended for an academic audience, I suspect that this was intentional.
Awakening Faith is a great devotional resource to ease your way into the writings and thought of the early church fathers.
My overall rating is 4 out of 5 stars. Recommended.
About the Author:
James Stuart Bell, Jr., is a former director of religious publishing at Doubleday, executive director of Bridge Publishing, and executive editor at Moody Publishing. The writer, editor, or compiler of more than 140 books, he owns Whitestone Communications, Inc., a literary development agency, and makes his home in the western suburbs of Chicago. Bell is married with four children.
This product was provided by Zondervan for review. The reviewer was under no obligation to offer a favorable review.
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