Twelve Unlikely Heroes, Book Review

Twelve Unlikely Heroes
by John MacArthur

God does have a way of raising up and using the unlikeliest of “heroes.”  We see it in Scripture consistently, when he chooses younger sons over the ones with birthrights, a teenage shepherd over his stronger older brothers, fishermen instead of religious leaders, and a church persecutor known for his murderous rage.

MacArthur chose 12 of these unlikely heroes in Scripture to highlight in this book and some of them proved more interesting choices than others.  Unfortunately, the non-interesting choices weren’t so much that there stories weren’t powerful or full of lessons.  The issue instead was the overwhelming emphasis on retelling the same story that most of us have heard 100 times before.  It didn’t seem to me like MacArthur had anything new or enlightening to say about Samson, Gideon, Jonah, Jonah, Enoch and Joseph.

In fact, I found myself skimming very quickly through these chapters, hoping to find something–anything– I could apply to my life or learn from.  Mostly, though, he just stuck to retelling the story that Scripture tells us.  That wouldn’t have been such a pitfall if he had then dug into some meaty application at the end of each chapter.  But, he didn’t.  He just threw in a few paragraphs of thoughts on the stories and that was the end of that.  In essence, these chapters read like a Bible story book.

The book isn’t totally superficial.  The chapters on Miriam, John the Baptist, and James gave some fresh perspectives on their stories.  The chapter on Esther filled in a great deal of historical information that helps us understand that book of the Bible better.  As a resource for a Bible teacher, those chapters in particular might be helpful at providing supplemental information.

Overall, though, I just felt like the book was generally un-fresh, un-inspiring, un-challenging, and uninformative beyond basic facts that many long-term church folks would already know.  I wouldn’t use this as a study for my Bible group for that very reason.  However,as a book for someone new to the faith who has no Biblical literacy background, this could be a perfect fit.

I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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