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Guarding the Treasure: How God's People Preserve God's Word (Biography) Paperback – July 20, 2011
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About the Author
Linda Finlayson is a Canadian living in the Philadelphia area of the USA. She has enjoyed working with children in schools, churches and children's clubs. Bringing together her love of books, children and history has given her the opportunity to write the adventure stories of real people. Linda is married and has one son.
Top customer reviews
This book was a delight to read. Directed at a young audience, this book recounts church history through the theme of guarding the treasure of Scripture. Beginning with the writers of Scripture and describing how the Canon was established, the book goes on to recount significant events in the course of church history using the theme of preserving the Scripture. It ends with the details surrounding how Wycliffe Bible Translators came into existence. In between there are numerous stories of how men and women throughout history worked to translate, preserve, and protect the gift of the Scriptures. For example, there is a chapter recounting how Jerome came to translate the Bible into the common language of the people; a chapter about how the King James Version came into being, a chapter telling of the work of John Wycliffe, and of course chapters devoted to the Reformers. The task of translation, and just how difficult and laborious it was, is something that stands out in this book.
At the end of each chapter, there is an "FYI" which adds an interesting tidbit of information related to the chapter. The "FYI" at the end of the chapter devoted to Martin Luther provided some interesting information about illuminated manuscripts. The chapter about Athanasius gave an insight into what a monastery was.
The book reads like a story, and is engaging and interesting. The historical figures are brought to life and seen as people who lived and worked and served God. I think this book would be an excellent resource for a Christian school or a homeschool. If I was still in the business of homeschooling, I could see myself using this book as the guide for a Church history study. I would read it aloud to my students, and use the topics in each chapter as a starting place for extra research. The chapter about the Council of Nicea could involve discussing a study of the Nicene Creed. The chapters about the Reformers could utilize the excellent number of historical fiction and biographies available for young people. And of course, it could just be a really great read aloud all on its own.
I think the study of Church history is important for young people to learn. Too often, it consists of hearing about the apostles, moves on to the Reformers, and that's it. Knowing how the Scripture was given, guarded and spread is important in giving young people an appreciationg of this treasure. The end chapters give details about the numbers of cultures that not only lack the Scriptures in their own language, but even lack a written language itself. Wycliffe has been responsible for developing written languages simply because the missionary had to develop one in order to give that culture the Scriptures in their own tongue. To foster an appreciation and to learn to value Scripture is important for young peole, and I think this book is a great introduction to that study; a study that would hopefully continue to grow as the student got older.
In Guarding the Treasure, Ms. Finlayson tells of the authors, translators, authorities, smugglers, linguists, teachers, missionaries, and others who God has used to bring His Word to people. Through history, Ms. Finlayson also gently acquaints her reader with ideological issues and raises questions that are still relevant today. For example, in 1564-1611, Richard Bancroft and Laurence Chaderton debated varying worship styles. Here's a peak at the discussion:
"Laurence shook his head and sat down in the only chair in the room. 'The Church of England is full of the same ceremonies and rituals that I grew up with in the Catholic Church. According to Calvin, we should worship God simply in spirit and truth, with praise, prayer, Scripture reading, preaching and the sacraments.'
'No, no!' Richard replied, punching the pillow for emphasis. 'God is holy, majestic and beyond our understanding. Would you come into his presence as if you were speaking to the butcher? We don't just stroll into the palace as if the Queen is of no importance. How much more should we approach God with all reverence and awe!'
"...Laurence gave a small smile and reached over to put a cloth marker in the book he had been reading. This debate between them was not new. Richard strongly believed that the Anglican Church was following the right way to worship God and especially because it had been ordained by their good queen, Elizabeth. But Laurence was more convinced that the simple Puritan approach was right. The church didn't need all the other ceremonies. Neither would give ground to the other as they enthusiastically debated the issue" (pg. 160-161).
Ms. Finlayson is sensitive to varying doctrinal positions and doesn't add personal commentary as she presents these types of secondary issues. As a result, you will be able to think through them with your children and discuss what the Bible says.
Although Guarding the Treasure brings to light sacrifices made by those who have gone before us, there is a more important reason to study history: to see God's faithfulness to all generations. He loves us so much that He has given us His Words and has preserved them for all of us. Even when the challenges seemed insurmountable by human standards (like getting 50 guys to put aside their differences to work on translating God's Word), God showed that nothing is impossible for Him. We can trust Him because He has always been faithful, and He never changes. We can speak the truth without fear, and we can make sacrifices, not because of who we are but because of who He is and what He has done for us in Christ!
In conclusion, Ms. Finlayson notes that the work of preserving God's Word is not done; we are part of the story. So far, God has used Wycliffe Bible Translators to translate the Bible into over 700 languages. "They estimate there are still over 2,000 languages without the Bible and Wycliffe Bible Translators plan, with God's help, to translate the Bible into every one of them" (pg. 213).
"But what is most important is that we, like Christians throughout history, value our Bibles just as they did long ago. We must read God's Word and obey it. The Bible has come to us through the mighty work of the Holy Spirit and the obedience of God's servants through the ages. We have been given a treasure, a precious and valuable book from the Creator of the universe and the One who loves us. It is the most important book in the world" (pg. 214).
Guarding the Treasure will teach your children to value and respect their Bibles. Although it was written for children aged 8-12, people of all ages will find it interesting and will be encouraged to read the Word daily and learn how God wants them to live their lives. I highly recommend this book!
*Many thanks to Christian Focus Publications for sending me a copy of this book for free in exchange for my honest opinion!