A guest blog by Lisa Bakewell
Editor, writer, and researcher Lisa Bakewell provides section-by-section comments regarding Walk with Matthew: A Personal Journey for Spiritual Discovery.
The introduction was very helpful and welcoming to me. I think that anyone who has used a Bible study journal before will appreciate the author’s backstory, but I also feel that those who are using a Bible study journal for the first time will feel at ease after reading the introduction. It reassures the reader that “previous experience” is not needed when using this journal. The introduction welcomes the reader to begin at their own “beginning” with the Word.
“Walk with Matthew” Busy, harried, confused? Who isn’t?
This section, again, is very welcoming to the reader. I enjoy the conversational, reassuring tone of the text and the step-by-step guidance in choosing a Bible for the reader who is unfamiliar with all of the different versions of the Bible. I took time to review Which Good Book: An Impartial Guide to Choosing a Bible Translation to see if it would be helpful in choosing an appropriate Bible to study. It was, and it also added another layer of reassurance to the newcomer to Bible reading—that they could start at their beginning point, and there were no expectations of previous Bible knowledge.
How to Use This Journal
The conversational tone and the author’s insight into daily demands are comforting when reading this section. The instructions are very easy to follow, and the insights reassure the reader that there is no “perfect” way to use this journal. I also like that this section cautions the reader NOT to get caught up in busy work and over-researching the verses. The calming, reflective nature of this Bible study journal is just what’s needed in today’s harried, over-stimulated world.
The step-by-step nature of this section is easy to follow and offers thought-provoking insight as to the types of details that the reader may pick up on and want to explore/ponder in more detail. It’s apparent to the reader that the author has personal experience in learning to listen to the Lord and His teachings. Again, the conversational nature of the text makes the reader feel like they are in the presence of a friend sharing their personal experiences with the reader, which makes the reader feel at ease.
Need Help Getting Started?
The sample journal entries are helpful. Again, I like that the author anticipates thoughts that might occur to the new reader, but that the examples are not too simplistic for more experienced readers.
The journal pages offer ample room for notes and thoughts. Personally, I like the way that the pages are sectioned off for each of the “WALK” steps. I also appreciate the “A Brief Word” and “Companion Conversation” sections of the page. As a researcher by nature, I will find the companion verses especially interesting—fulfilling my need to know more, without getting too far off track.
I love the spiral binding used for this journal. I like that it lies flat—and that it can be folded all the way back to take up less space.
After reviewing this journal, I’m pleasantly surprised. I realize that I focused a lot on how accessible this journal is to the new Bible reader, but I think that’s the beauty of this journal. The Bible can be very intimidating to a new reader, and I think that the author has gone the extra mile to make even the newest reader comfortable—and competent—to start listening to Lord and learning from the Bible. That said, I believe that this journal is an asset for readers of all experience levels. Though the friendly, conversational tone makes the new reader feel comfortable, it also makes the experienced reader realize that the author has personal practice walking with the Lord, listening to Him, and absorbing His teachings. This journal is a win-win for the reader of any experience level!