Monday, November 8, 2010

Book Review: A Way With Words

I recently read the book, A Way With Words by Christin Ditchfield. I think the greatest asset of this book is the Bible Studies that were included at the end of each chapter. The reflection questions were thought provoking and the suggestions for Scripture memory/meditation helpful. I like how this book lends itself well to group and/or personal study and how the reader is encouraged to keep a journal. Furthermore, I think it is great that Ms. Ditchfield encourages the reader to slow down her reading and take time to apply what she's learning by spending a week with the Bible Study questions and Scriptures. I also enjoyed the way that she opened each chapter with an engaging story from her life or from Scripture. These made the book a pleasant read and helped illustrate the points well. I really appreciate Ms. Ditchfield’s honesty, transparency, and humility.

In spite of all of these good things, I think that the book could be improved. I liked the chapter on how words reveal what is in our hearts and would have liked to see that incorporated more throughout the book. I also thought that the Gospel message could have been more clear and that the book would have benefited from the use of more Biblical language (rather than talking about how my speech is going to shatter hopes, dash dreams or damage self-image--pg. 21). As Christians, we speak differently as a result of who we are in Christ. We are ambassadors and agents of reconciliation for God and His Kingdom. At times, our mission will require us to use Biblical words to "damage self-image". Take for example , "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23, ESV) or the fact that our "best deeds" are like a polluted garment or filthy rags (Isaiah 64:4-9). These things aren't said to protect our "self-image"; they're said so that we might know our deep need for a new identity in Christ.

Additionally, there were a number of quotes scattered throughout the text. I found these more of a distraction than an asset. Furthermore, there were times when they seemed to be at odds with Biblical truth like this one from Sojourner Truth: "If the first woman God ever made was strong enough to turn the world upside down all alone, these women together ought to be able to turn it back, and get it right side up again!" (pg. 10) Only Christ can restore this broken world.

Again, I think the most helpful portion of this book was the way Christin Ditchfield helps her readers think through the Scriptures pertaining to speech and asks relevant application questions. However, I have been more challenged by other books which were more Gospel-centered and focused more clearly on heart change.

Many thanks to Crossway for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion!

1 comment:

Becky said...

Thank you for posting this review! I saw the book and was considering buying it,now I know will.

Blessings on your day!