Today I get the privilege of bringing you a book review on a fantastic topic: encouragement. I received the book, The 100 Most Encouraging Verses of the Bible by Troy Schmidt, last month. It came to me in the middle of a season of tough stuff that I’m still navigating (sometimes, very poorly). It’s been a blessing to remember that there is goodness, there is light, and that there is hope in the face of trials. Let’s face it: sometimes, you just need a little encouragement. Sometimes, I need a lot.
This book is similar to a devotional, and though it doesn’t loudly proclaim to be one, the back cover blurb says it’s “perfect for daily devotions.” For each Bible verse, there is the verse printed at the top of the page, then below is a short reading about how the verse applies to your life and why it is encouraging. This book would work great as a short morning or evening devotional, where you could spend 10-15 minutes with one verse a day, reading and then meditating on how the reading applies to you specifically. I didn’t get to read it this way, as I don’t have 100 days to read a book before I get the review posted on my site, but you could use it that way. In fact, I will probably pick it up again in the future and go through it one day at a time, one verse at a time.
Overall, I like the idea of the book. The formatting is easy-to-read, and it’s a small enough book that you can take it with you anywhere. It easily fit into my purse, where I could pull it out while waiting to pick up the kids from school or while waiting in line somewhere while running errands.
Some negatives (in my opinion) are:
The verses Shmidt uses are from many different translations – ESV, NIV, NASB, and NKJV. I’m not sure why the author chose to do this, and I won’t get into a debate on translations, but I found it to be an odd choice. I didn’t read it alongside a copy of the Bible I usually read for study (ESV, if you care), but I’m curious how (if at all) the book would be different if the author chose one translation and stuck with it, or how I would interpret each daily reading alongside my Bible.
In addition, some of the verses weren’t particularly encouraging to me. They are great food for thought, but they aren’t all verses that I would give to someone who is hurting and who needs encouragement. For example, “So the Lord said to Satan, ‘Behold, he is in your power, only spare his life’ ” (Job 2:6, p. 26). The reading after that verse talks about how we can share our tough times with others who are going through them and they can see God’s goodness within them, and that through this verse we can tell that Satan is not all-powerful. To me, this is not very encouraging. It’s like being sick and having someone say, “Well, at least you’re still alive!” (Job’s friends, anyone?) True, but also not super helpful. I personally find the book of Job to be an interesting read (albeit a downer, admittedly), but I’m not going to try to encourage others with the book of Job. Ever. That’s just me.
In conclusion, I like this book as a short devotional to use daily for 100 days. It’s not all sunshine and rainbows, but there are many good reminders about what the Bible says about God’s character and how He loves us. That’s where this book shines.
If you are interested in buying a copy of The 100 Most Encouraging Verses in the Bible, you can click here. If you’re interested in blogging for Bethany House, click here to visit their book blogger’s page. See you next time!
Note: I received a free copy of this book for review purposes. Opinions contained within my blog are my own, and I’m in no way required to write a positive review ever. Thanks for reading!