Have you ever purchased a piece of furniture, a bike, or a barbeque that required instructions? Did you try to assemble the item with or without reading the instructions? Be honest.
Let’s face it. All of us skip the owner’s manual and instructions from time to time thinking we can do it on our own. And while that principle may work when it comes to assembling a small item like a blender or lamp, it doesn’t hold true when it comes to putting all the pieces together in something as large and complex as life. We need an owner’s manual. We need someone who knows how it all works --- inside and out. God gives us His Word, the Bible, and invites us to read, study and discover Him and how life is meant to be lived.
Charles Swindoll believes the Bible is the only true “Owner’s Manual for Christians” and the only source of reliable truth from God. In his latest book, this bestselling author encourages readers to view THE OWNER’S MANUAL FOR CHRISTIANS as a “quick start guide.” It is designed to be an easy-to-read, essential guide to some of the most foundational passages of Scripture.
Swindoll begins the book by looking at God’s character and the foundation of faith, diving into topics such as grace, love, joy, fellowship and God’s will before tackling the idea that what is true about God also becomes true of you. He invites readers to look at the importance of intimacy with God, prayer, humility, surrender and self-control as they grow in their knowledge of God. Yet the journey of growing in God doesn’t stop there. We must also learn to develop a Godly moral compass, overcoming the failures, suffering, temptation and guilt that come with living in a fallen world. We must learn to move beyond shame and doubt, and what it means to live sacrificially.
Throughout the book, Swindoll draws heavily on Scripture from the Old Testament as well as the New. He’s not afraid to explore the stories of lesser known prophets and characters like Micah, as well as draw on the rich teachings of Jesus. Known for being a highly effective storyteller, Swindoll laces his book with colorful illustrations and anecdotes from history as well as experiences from his own life. In addition, poignant quotes dot his writing and the introduction to each chapter. Yet Swindoll never loses his practical approach to life and faith. He writes:
“Prayer is classic proof that we don’t master spiritual disciplines easily. Developing the discipline of prayer while breaking the habit of worry will call for great mental effort. It will take time for you to master this new way of thinking. Stay with it. After persistent, continual conversation with the Father, mixed well with waiting for Him to work, you will receive what has been promised you. After doing your part, God will do His. Count on it!”
Overall, THE OWNER’S MANUAL FOR CHRISTIANS points you to the real owner’s manual --- the Bible, issuing an invitation to get to the author better than ever and calling you to remain faithful in your Christian journey.
Reviewed by Margaret Oines on June 2, 2009