66 Love Letters… A book review

Recently I had the opportunity to read the book titled “66 Love Letters – A conversation with God that invites you into his story” by Dr Larry Crabb. Thomas Nelson provided this book as a complimentary copy. I selected this book from booksneeze.com from a list of available titles.

Dr Crabb opens the book with a discussion of how precious letters written during his courtship and early days of his relationship with his wife were to receive and read. And in an analogy he draws the reader to understand the bible is God’s love letter to us. Yes, I agree with him on this point. He approaches each of the books of the bible by asking God “What does this book say to me? What did you intend me to learn from this book” and in a straight forward approach he writes a personal dialog to the reader answering this question from God’s perspective. He boils down the essence of each book in a distilled few pages per book of the bible. Each book is another love letter, serving a distinct purpose or carrying a portion of the overall thesis that God loves us and has a plan for our good. I agree with this also.

I have to be honest in telling you that I have picked this book up and read a bit, then set it aside to digest what he said. In my rumination of his writing one thought continued to rise to the surface. The actual bible is a written perfection of a plan God layed out for us because he loves us. But Dr Crabb writes from the perspective of a counselor and psychologist. As a purist in my theology I shudder when I think that someone would try to rewrite the bible in any form. My initial reaction was to remember that this book is not God’s word, but much like a commentary, it is Dr Crabb’s attempt to break down the contents in a more personal fashion and present it filtered through a counselor’s unique vantage point. To this end he is effective at capturing the essential truths, while bringing hope to the dispairing, and peace to the restless soul. As love letters there were many points that resonated of the love God has for me. That was nice. But I found it a bit ackward to accept the thought that God and the author would dialog in this manner. I am firm in my believe that we can and do have intimate conversation with God, but I felt like I was eavesdropping on the conversation Larry and God were having with each other. I am not sure what I was hoping for, but the theologian in me wanted to slam the book shut and pick up my actual bible as a preference. I worry when we begin to merge Psychology with God’s word, and I worry that we are watering down the purety of God’s word when we begin to rewrite the bible into boiled down essence summaries of God’s master work.

Would I recommend this book? Yes and No. Yes, for a seasoned christian who knows the bible well, and is looking for a comfortable read that is not a theological treatise. Yes, for the weary christian who has all but lost their focus on the love and saving care God has for us because this book with refocus you back to that truth that God loves us. He deeply, passionately loves us.

And No, I would not recommend it to young or unseasoned christians because it is Larry Crabb’s perspective of what God is saying in the bible. Young and unseasoned christians should study the word of god first. If I could draw on an old example, many banks train their staff to recognize counterfit paper money by holding, touching, examining, and working with the real thing. Once they are very familiar with all of the nuances of the real paper money it is very easy to spot a counterfit. Likewise, young believers need to focus on the pure word of god first, then they can take some of the “christian counselor does the bible” but not until they first know what the word of god says.

I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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