How to Lose a Kingdom in 400 Years: A Guide to 1–2 Kings (Guides to God's Word) Kindle Edition
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Whitworth has actually achieved the goal of communicating both the scholarly and practical application of what is often an unapproachable genre of biblical literature. Throughout the text he presents arguments for and against certain passages, or conflicting scholarly opinion, and then brings it back on track with common sense and balanced scholarship.
The book is replete with scholarly sources for a reader to continue outside the text, or to make a quick reference to consider a passage.
The greatest strength of "How to Lose a Kingdom" is in the fact that it is an enjoyable read. Whether you are new to Bible study, or even if you have a graduate or doctoral degree, this text presents the biblical narrative in a fresh, yet doctrinally sound manner.
I only give the book 4 out of 5 stars, primarily because there are times when Whitworth states a point, and then takes two or three paragraphs to explain what he is going to talk about, before outlining his next point. It is a little annoying to have to turn a page or two, before picking back up on the second or third point. It would have been preferable to have short paragraph outlines, and subtitle headings at those places. (This is one of my personal preferences, it may not bother some).
For the cost of this commentary, against other commentaries on the same books, you will not find a more approachable and affordable book to add to your library (IMHO).
When roaring good times fade away, hazy nostalgia leads you to remember how good times used to be. Recounting boring stories of things that seemed important at the time leads to a sober realization: you may never have understood what real good times truly are.
It’s easy to see the danger of resting on one’s laurels when someone else succumbs to pride and takes the fall. But it’s much harder to spot that same pride in our own lives. It seems that taking your blessings for granted is an all too common weakness for many people. How can we learn not to assume that things will not just always be as good as they currently are? How can we teach ourselves to wake up and see the signs of fading glory and make a course correction before the things that are good in our lives are gone? And when those good things are gone, how do we learn from mistakes and seek restoration that leads to genuine wellness in life- not just a counterfeit pursuit of pleasure that masks the pain of having to chase the lost glory days.
These are the issues Michael Whitworth tackles in “How to Lose a Kingdom in 400 Years.” The book is an examination of Israel and Judah’s fall from glory in the books of 1st and 2nd Kings. Over and over Whitworth reminds us that “The Word of the Lord stands forever.” God will be proven true though every man be proven a liar- especially when we are incapable of being honest with ourselves. Whitworth begs us to heed the Word of the Lord in our own lives before we, our churches, our communities, and our nations reap the inevitable harvest of a misspent sowing season.
You might wonder how anyone can make Old Testament History relatable, but Whitworth has an amazing knack for captivating illustrations and practical application. He does an excellent job of getting into the nuts and bolts of historical context so that the reader can get into the mind of a 7th century BC audience. Yet he keeps all the necessary technical details in the footnotes so that they don’t distract from the main message. I was pleased to see several maps that help make events that happened in distant, unfamiliar places more concrete in the readers mind. At the end of each chapter, Whitworth includes some important talking points that zero in on contemporary issues addressed by the text. All of these things helped bring the message of 1 and 2 Kings to life in a whole new way.
Every honest review needs to discuss strengths and weaknesses. There is one particular quibble (and it is a quibble) that I have with the work. On a couple of occasions Whitworth is briefly, but perhaps too blunt in his criticism of sectarian Christianity. And while there are some legitimate issues with sectarianism that should be taken up, the author does not deal with them in a substantive way. This makes blunt criticism less effective, and limits the appeal to a wider audience. Every reader should be aware that Whitworth’s primary audience are members of the Churches of Christ and be aware that these short, blunt comments will be understood by members of this fellowship, but will leave the wider audience scratching his head, wondering “what did he mean by that?”
On the whole, I highly recommend this book. It is an incredibly relevant discussion that contributes to the church’s understanding of sections from the Old Testament that do not typically get nearly as much attention as they deserve. “How to Lose a Kingdom in 400 Years” is reasonably priced at $16.99 for paperback and $9.99 for the Kindle edition. It is available from the author’s website, www.start2finish.com and from amazon.com.
In the interest of full disclosure I will note that the author provided me an advance copy of the book (though I had already pre-purchased it) with the request that I write this review. He did not ask for a positive review.
I believe that the church of Christ will stand as God said it would, however there are some lessons in 1 and 2 Kings pointed out in "How to Lose a Kingdom in 400 Years..." that we as individual members of the Lord's body would do well to take heed to, particularly given that the church IS the kingdom. I recommend this book to anyone willing to learn, grow and take heed. Thank you Michael for shedding some insight on these books.