Skip to main content

Book: John Newton

Today’s Book Review is brought to you by Cross-Focused Media.

Bitesize Biographies is a series from EP Books. The goal is to provide a quickly readable introduction to the life of an individual, sort of as an appetizer to digging in to deeper studies on the individual. I have previously looked at Renee of France in this series.

Today, we look at John Newton. Newton’s story is vaguely familiar to many of you, especially after the recent film Amazing Grace. Newton started life as a sailor, became a slave trader, and then became a committed Christian who wrote such songs as Amazing Grace. He further went on to play a supporting role to William Wilberforce who helped end the slave trade in the British Empire.

It light of that, there have been a good many biographies of Newton in recent years. The question ahead of us is, does John Crotts’ Bitesize Biography of John Newton stand out as worth grabbing? What makes this John Newton worth grabbing?

First, there is the length: John Newton weighs in at 137 pages. It’s a week’s worth of reading if you read a chapter a day, and that knocks out the introduction to Newton’s life. That is a benefit. Many times, a hefty biography is intimidating. This one, not intimidating.

Second, as far as I can tell by comparison, there is accuracy: this should be assumed, but Crotts appears to have the facts right. That is necessary.

Third, there is an innocence-friendly presentation here. By that, I mean this: it is clear that Newton was a sinner in need of a savior, but the horrors of the slave trade are not fully detailed here. This improves the usefulness of the text for introducing a younger audience, perhaps right around pre-teen, to Newton’s life. Eventually, one should read material that shows just how bad the slave trade was, but this allows one to learn about Newton without delving too deep into those horrors.

Fourth, there is a good weighting of the biography past the writing of Amazing Grace. True, that is one of the highlights of Newton’s life, but there is much more, and Crotts brings it to us in this book.

Fifth, there’s a decent “further study” bibliography. This helps alleviate the necessary weakness of a short biography—there is much more to say, but it cannot be said in this span. Recommendations are presented so that the curious reader can move on.

I enjoyed reading this John Newton and encourage others to take a look here.

Disclosure: Free book in exchange for the review.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Book Review: The Heart Mender by @andyandrews (Andy Andrews)

The Heart Mender: A Story of Second ChancesEver read a book that you just kind of wish is true?  That's my take on The Heart Mender by Andy Andrews.  It's a charming story of love and forgiveness, and it's woven into the historical setting of World War II America.  For the narrative alone, the book is worth the read, but the message it contains is well worth absorbing as well.However, let's drop back a minute.  This book was originally published under the title Island of Saints.  I read Island of Saints and enjoyed it greatly.  Now, Andrews has released it under a new title, with a few minor changes.  All of this is explained in the Author's Note at the beginning, but should be noted for purchaser's sake.  If you read Island of Saints, you're rereading when you read The Heart Mender.  Now, go ahead and reread it.  It will not hurt you one bit.Overall, the story is well-paced.  There are points where I'd like more detail, both in the history and the geog…

Curiosity and the Faithlife Study Bible

Good morning! Today I want to take a look at the NIV Faithlife Study Bible. Rather than spend the whole post on this particular Study Bible, I’m going to hit a couple of highlights and then draw you through a few questions that I think this format helps with.



First, the basics of the NIV Faithlife Study Bible (NIVFSB, please): the translation is the 2011 New International Version from Biblica. I’m not the biggest fan of that translation, but that’s for another day. It is a translation rather than a paraphrase, which is important for studying the Bible. Next, the NIVFSB is printed in color. Why does that matter? This version developed with Logos Bible Software’s technology and much of the “study” matter is transitioning from screen to typeface. The graphics, maps, timelines, and more work best with color. Finally, you’ve got the typical “below-the-line” running notes on the text. Most of these are explanations of context or highlights of parallels, drawing out the facts that we miss by …

Foolishness: 1 Corinthians 1

In Summary: 1 Corinthians opens with the standard greeting of a letter from the Apostle Paul. He tells who he is with (Sosthenes) and who he is writing to. In this case, that is the “church of God that is in Corinth.” He further specifies that this church is made up of those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be saints. 
He then expresses the blessing/greeting of “grace and peace” from God. From there, Paul reflects on his initial involvement with the Corinthian people and the beginning of the church. After that, though, there are problems to deal with and Paul is not hesitant to address them. He begins by addressing the division within the church. Apparently, the church had split into factions, some of which were drawn to various personalities who had led the church in times past. There is no firm evidence, or even a suggestion, that Paul, Cephas, Apollos, or anyone else had asked for a faction in their name. Further, the “I follow Christ” faction may not have been any le…