Joel R. Beeke
Reviewed by: K. Dale Collison
Tough Questions about the Bible, by Joel R. Beeke. CF4Kids, 2013. Paperback, 128 pages, list price $8.99. Reviewed by OP pastor K. Dale Collison.
When I received this book to review, I thought, "Another book dealing with tough questions." As I looked through the table of contents, I was not impressed. As I began skimming in various places, I was not impressed. I tried to find an introduction or explanation for why Joel Beeke wrote the book. There is none. I wondered for what audience he intended the book. I asked a few friends what they thought. Without fail, they said the book was for children—that was clear from the cover.
But at children of what age is the book directed? I looked at the endorsements. The first endorser mentions his seven- and ten-year-old children. The third one uses the word "children." And the fourth refers to "young people." So I am back to my question: at children of what age is the book directed? I stopped skimming and began reading.
There are a couple of places where Beeke seems to be writing for teens (especially question #56). But for the most part, I think he has in mind the ages of eight to twelve. However, there are some words and concepts mentioned that might cause trouble in understanding for this age group. (For the most part, though, he does a good job of explaining difficult things.)
I think this would be a good book to use in a family setting, reading it and then talking about what was read. Beeke gives many Bible references, which can be explored. He mostly uses the Heidelberg Catechism.
I must admit that I began reading this book with skepticism because so many books of this type have been published. However, I was very impressed with it. After many of the questions, he gives a call to repentance. That is a great plus. Does Beeke do it too often? I do not think so. The question of salvation and living an obedient life is of great importance. To have our children think about it is good—and good for us adults as well.
If you are looking for a book to read with your children that will help them understand some of those tough questions, I would recommend this one. It gives much help. And, as I already mentioned, it provides a continuous challenge: how is your heart? The author begins this challenge with the first question, and it continues throughout the book.
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