I have said it before and I will say it again, how important it is for our children to read great Christian biographies. Not just our children but for us too. They remind os of our christian heritage of men and women that very often struggled to to make the church what it is today. They very often show folk that will stand up for what they believe under very trying circumstances and out our own struggles into perspective.
Why read Christian Biographies:
- They Provide a Cultural Heritage: So often the gap between our bibles and life in bible times and our lives seems so vast but christian biographies can provide us with the bridge that we need from there to here down the steps of time.
- They are a Good Read: They provide us with stories of men and women who often lived extremely exciting lives… No-one can read the life of Gladys Aylward and not want to know more details… simply one adventure after another unfolds as the story continues. These are stories about real folks lives that we can relate too.
- They Enliven History: They provide a time and space snapshot of history… more than just a name on the timeline, these books enliven the era and bring reality to the person they are about. It is easy to forget when and where someone lived if they are just a name. It is harder to forget when you know about their brothers and sisters and if they went to school. Somehow the story fills in the picture that ignites our memories.
- They Inspire Us: Sometimes we feel so burdened by the work of our daily lives… it is good to read about famous men and women in history that worked so much harder and gave up so much so that we can enjoy something as simple as attending church on a Sunday. Can you imagine Eric Liddell saying he was too tired to take one more step… unthinkable really!!!
- They Give us Hope: God can and does use all sorts of folk to build His kingdom… we all have this perception of someone that looks “not a bit like ourselves” that has been called to His service. The more biographies you read the more diversity you see in the kinds of men and women that God has chosen to help build his church. You can’t help noticing that God uses all sort of folk including those just like ourselves.
- They keep us faithful: When the going gets tough these folk didn’t pack up and leave. In fact, they also got tired and felt overwhelmed with their daily lives and yet they persevered.
- They Remind us of God’s Faithfulness to Us: How often we think that we have been left all alone, a quick read of George Muller and how he raised thousands of children on faith alone… will encourage us and remind us that God does not leave His children ever.
- They are a Relatively Easy Read: This last point is important in a world that can seem so rushed and so full of information that is difficult to digest we may not be ready to read a theological tome or a vastly detailed historical saga; but biographies tend to be fairly easy to digest. It is an easy way to absorb historical truths
And the Se7en + 1th thing:
Recently Christian Focus 4 Kids asked us if we would like to review “George Whitefield: The Voice That Woke the World by Lucille Travis.” It is one of the books in the Trailblazer series, which are series of Christian biographies written for children. I used to let my children read them on their own but after reading one of them myself I have become quite eager to read them all myself… So at the breakfast table we read a chapter or two a day. These books make a great read – don’t be misled by the fact that they are written for children these books are packed with facts… packed. And yet for all those facts they are very easy to digest as the story wraps around and intertwines through all the data. As my kids say these books are “information-rich.” The books in this series are not written down to children at all, my kids like that.
George Whitefield had very humble beginnings, his father died when he was young and he, one of se7en kids(!), was raised by his mother, who kept an inn. Whitefield had a phenomenal talent for public speaking and was able to speak to vast crowds at a time. He attended Oxford University we he was friends with the Wesley brothers and part of their Holy Club. He finished university and began his career as an itinerant preacher. He preached in both England and America. Folk came from far and wide to hear his message. He often spoke to several thousands of people at a time… and his words had an incredible life-changing impact on those who heard him.
At the end of the book are a couple of “digging deeper” type questions, making this a good book for a bible study – for your self or for a small group. There is also a timeline to help you place the era of the book in perspective and to see what world events were occurring at the time of his life. This book was a great read and brought the story of George Whitefield to life.
Once again thank you to Christian Focus for Kids, who provided us with an e-copy of the book for review. We were not paid in anyway to review this book and our opinions are as usual entirely our home.