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Review: Deeper into the Word by Keri Wyatt Kent

Deeper Into the Word, Keri Wyatt Kent, 978-0-7642-0842-3

 

Deeper into the Word: Reflections on 100 Words from the New Testament  is a remarkable Bible study tool that enhances our understanding by clarifying 100 English New Testament words  and their context. An entire chapter is devoted to each English word and the Greek word or words it is based on, with many examples from the New Testament as well as explanations of word meanings and cultural assumptions.

The author Keri Wyatt Kent is not a theologian.  Rather, she?s an ordinary Christian whose passion is to encourage others to slow down and pay attention to the Bible.  Encouraging us to spend time studying the Bible, to read it slowly, to understand and apply its message, and to learn how to do word study by ourselves are among Keri?s goals for this book.

Ideally, of course, we would all be able to read the Bible in the original languages.  Fine nuances of words are often lost in translation, leading to misconceptions and misunderstandings.  That?s why Keri uses Greek words in this book, but there is nothing intimidating about her method.  She uses our ordinary alphabet and defines each Greek word clearly.  Then, in a chatty casual style, she shows how each Greek word is used in various texts, leading to many unexpected discoveries.

In Galatians 6, for example, we are told to ?bear one another?s burdens? or baros and in this way fulfill the law of Christ. A few verses later we are told that ?each one should carry his own load? or phortion.  This is difficult to understand unless we realize that baros refers to a heavy weight pressing down on someone while phortion simply refers to something carried.  Then the author points out, ?We need others to help us with our baros, but we can each, with God?s help, handle our own phortion.?

Another interesting point, brought up in the chapter entitled ?Fellowship? as well as in ?One Another,? is that the word ?you? used in the New Testament is almost always plural, as in the Southern term y?all. Throughout the New Testament, a context of community is assumed. However, since ?you? in modern English is both plural and singular, we often misread the Bible in an individualistic way, although ?the Christian life is not meant to be lived in isolation.?

We modern readers often forget that Jesus was a Jewish rabbi.  We need to know more about Jewish customs, thought, and daily activities.  Keri?s word studies of the rabbi-disciple relationship, vines, Pharisees, the Way, and yokes help us understand what Jesus said. 

Obviously, any book about the words of the New Testament will include theology.  Keri touches on some big disputed ideas as they come up in word studies.  Rather than becoming involved in controversy, though, she simply provides insights into relevant texts during each word study.   After all, she is an ordinary Christian rather than a theologian, and that is an advantage in this case.  I think that Deeper into the Word will encourage all Christians to think more deeply about God?s Word, no matter what their background is.

At the end of the book, Keri discusses helpful word study resources and how to use them. She also includes an index of the Greek words used.  However, in her simple and practical style, she points out that the most important Bible study tool is prayer.

My only negative comment about this book is that occasionally concepts are phrased awkwardly, although I could usually understand what Keri was trying to say. 

I highly recommend Deeper into the Word as a resource for a high school Bible course as well as for any Christian to use personally or in a study group.  As people of the Word, we should all learn more about the words used in the Bible.

Disclosure:  This book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. and is available at your favorite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group.
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3 Comments

  1. Hi Annie Kate
    thanks for the lovely review! My prayer is that people will use this book as a companion to bible reading. It’s also a great resource for small groups. thanks again!
    Keri

  2. Annie Kate says:

    Thanks, Keri, for your kind comments. And thank you for writing this book.

    Annie Kate

  3. I’m holding a contest right now on my blog, come on over and leave a comment, you could win a copy of this book!

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