Author: Francis Chan
Publisher: David C. Cook
Reading Level: Leisure
Chan and Beuving have given a primer for discipleship. If you’re familiar with Francis Chan’s writing you’ll get more of the same. Easy to understand theology conveyed in a passionate down-to-earth tone.
The book is broken up into five parts but roughly two emphasis. The first is part one and two where Chan and Beuving are arguing and urging us towards discipleship. In the foreword, David Platts defines discipleship,
From the start, God’s design has been for every single disciple of Jesus to make disciples who make disciples who make disciples until the gospel spreads to all peoples. (p. 7)
In chapter one, Chan and Beuving answers basic questions like What is a disciple? and How do I become one? They move on to target the program discipleship mindset so prevalent in the American church. Even they write a book about discipleship target for use in groups, they understand completing a book like theirs isn’t the sum total of discipleship. They end this hard sell for biblical discipleship by placing discipleship squarely in the context of the local church. For those who might have murmured about Chan leaving the local church structure for a looser definition of church, Multiply answers that concern head on. Throughout these guys are intentionally and robustly for the local assembly. This section was good. However, in the scope of the entire book it felt slightly out of place. More on that later.
The second emphasis is on how to study the Bible. They provide a helpful overview of different techniques and way which Christians study. They also fervently advocate for incorporating prayer into your regular Bible reading. They say,
If our bible study is not saturated in prayers, then we are not studying the Bible the way God intends. The Scripture are full of the wisdom of god, and we are absolutely dependent on the Spirit to reveal that wisdom to us and establish it in our lives. (p. 114)
Great way to unpack our utter dependence on the Spirit while reading his word. They also encourage Christians to study the bible within the larger context of chapters, books, and the entire storyline. They then begin to move through the basic storyline of the entire bible. They start with creation and loosely move through the entire narrative of the bible. I don’t recall finding another discipleship book which takes this approach and covers so much ground concisely and understandably.
The chapters moving from the how of the study to the narrative expositions fit so neatly together it made the first part of the book seem out of place. A minor complaint for an overall excellent book. If you’re looking to give a new believer a good overview of the gospel story you should look no further. Chan is a skilled communicator and his passion seeps through. They’ve also included study question (which you might expect) but they’ve added them throughout the chapters after the relevant sections. So you don’t lose track of what section the question belongs to by the end of the chapter. If you’re looking for an entry level discipleship tool you won’t go wrong here.