Personally, I was not too impressed with this book. I was expecting something a little different than what I read. However, someone else might think this book is one of the better devotional books on John Calvin one can read. I say that to inform you do not let this review keep you from reading the book for yourself because even though it is not one I will pick up often, does not mean it will be the same for you.
When I first noticed this book, along with the title, I truly thought it was going to be a compilation of writings by Calvin himself with maybe a little commentary here and there by the editor/author. What I found was little snippets of writings by Calvin, followed by longer commentaries from the author himself. This style is not necessarily bad, it is just not what I was expecting or hoping for. I was looking forward to reading a book that was a compilation of thoughts from Calvin which I could then take and contemplate them for a while and allow God’s Spirit to lead me to the truth of the statement. Instead, the author takes this upon himself to inform the reader what John Calvin was meaning when he wrote the different portions herein mentioned. Once again, this does not mean this book is not written well, it is just not what I was looking or hoping for.
With that said I do not want to only write negatively about this book because from the beginning of the book, you can see that Donald McKim has the best intentions, understands Calvin and brings worthwhile insight. McKim is not bringing any pride to this book nor does he believe that his insight is better than Calvin’s own words. In fact, he is rather humble in his writing and expresses hope that this book will “enhance our theological understandings and our piety” to use McKim’s own words. Through that statement, the reader can rest assured the author is not trying to make himself more important than John Calvin himself. Rather, he sees the value in Calvin’s writings and wants to help those who might not have been exposed to his work get that exposure in hopes that it will challenge and enrich their spiritual lives.
Either way, even though this book was not one of my favorites, it is still a book that could be worth your time and investment. For those of you who have not had much exposure to Calvin’s works, this might be a good starting point for you to whet your appetite for his works. For those of you who have studied Calvin extensively, this book might be good for you to see another’s perspective and understanding of what Calvin wrote. However, if you want a devotional book mostly made up of Calvin’s writing by themselves, then this book is not for you.
Thank you for taking the time to read this review and I am thankful to Westminster John Knox Press for providing this copy for me to review.