Cole-Rous provides interesting backgroound - the story behind the story - in a popular style, punctuated with an assessment of the surprising significance of the subject, and application to daily life.
I was struck by the immense amount of research woven into Cole-Rous' work. Add skilled writing and useful application and you have a book worth reading ... and rereading.
Read God's Honorable Mentions for inspiration or study. It is top-notch for both.
- Ken Horn, Editor
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George M. Flattery, Ed.D.
President Network211, Past President Global University.
When we read their stories, it brings to mind the woman who came to Jesus with an alabaster vial of costly perfume and pure nard. She broke the vial and poured the contents on the head of Jesus. Some were indignant and complained that the perfume should have been sold and the money given to the poor. However, Jesus told them that they have the poor with them always and can help them any time they wish, but He would not always be present. Referring to His death, Jesus said the woman has anointed me beforehand for the burial. Then, He said: “And truly I say to you, wherever the gospel is preached in the whole world, that also which this woman had done shall be spoken of in memory of her.” (Mark 14:9)
James Cole-Rous writes about those whose names have been recorded. He spent over four years doing the research for this book in the Bible and with well-known and respected sources. Each of the people named has a special place in the biblical narratives. Jim applies important truth to our lives from these intriguing people. His chapter titles name the people that are given honorable mention. Here are some of the titles:
The Ethiopian Woman
Caleb One in a Million
A Man David Feared
Simeon the Just
Gehazi-Testing a Prophet
The Family of Jesus
John the Baptist
Woman With a Past
As an example, Jim takes us to the Garden of Gethsemane where the disciples slept while Jesus prayed. Jim asks, “Who recorded these happenings if the disciples were all asleep? His answer is “The Man in the Shadows.” He concludes that this man was John Mark who was writing about himself when he said: “And a certain young man was following Him, wearing nothing but a linen sheet over his naked body; and they seized him. But he left the linen sheet behind, and escaped naked.” (Mark 14:51-52)
Jim explains why he believes that this young man was John Mark who wrote the Gospel of Mark, who joined the Paul and Barnabas missionary team, and who separated from them and returned to Jerusalem. Later the apostle Paul asked Timothy to bring John Mark with him. (2 Timothy 4:11) Jim draws the lesson from this that we need to keep our eyes on Jesus, be patient, and trust Him to guide us.If you have ever wondered about some of the lesser known people God worked through, read this book!
Jim Cole-Rous gives excellent background to some of the characters and events of the Bible that really helps the reader to understand that the sovereign hand of God has been at work throughout the history of the Bible.
Each story is a reminder that God is in control and is still guiding people to a personal relationship with Him through His Son, Jesus.
The brief chapters are especially helpful to those who must read in bits and pieces, enabling the reader to easily complete a given character treatment in just a few minutes.
As a Pastor with over 30 year's experience, I realize I bring a different perspective than some others might. However, it seems to me that this is a valuable read for every Christian from scholar to novice. It well may be of value to non-Christians with an interest in Biblical history, also.
There is enough depth of scholarship and content to make it both enjoyable and useful for the serious Bible student. However, even a Biblical novice, who may miss the impact of some of the allusions in Rev. Cole-Rous's writing, will come away with a better understanding of the humanity of people in the Bible, the context of their lives, and the relationships among Biblical characters which are not readily apparent in a casual reading of the text nor usually amplified by consulting commentaries.
I especially appreciate the brief and low key life application material at the end of each character's treatment.