Writing a book of any length is a daunting task. Writing a book that is almost 700 pages is a labor of love. And Dr. Jervois Firmin is clearly in love with scripture as he waxes theological in this prodigious book of 682 pages.
In Our Wonderful Bible, the author offers personal commentary on both the Old and New Testaments in an attempt to show the delicate, loving, and demanding relationship between God and his people. Rather than a scholarly approach to the text, Firmin is interested in sharing his personal, layman’s thoughts about the Bible. His intention is to illuminate the Word of God in an unintimidating way for general readers. Topics include covenant, kinship, the Last Judgment, the Pascal mystery, prophecies, and baptism, to name a few.
Firmin has a gentle, avuncular, and conversational style—no pretention in these pages—and his summaries of different events in the Bible make for easy reading overall. But this loose approach to his material has its problems. Firmin’s explanations can seem long-winded and hampered by the sort of awkward phrasing that might be forgivable in casual speech but is confusing on the page (e.g.: “We must always remember that we are dealing with spiritual concepts, but have to use words to describe them which are defined and picked originally to deal with physical things and the use of them certainly point initially to physical ideas”). The author’s transitions are also problematic. He often uses the word “So” to move from one thought to another without fully connecting his thoughts. Lastly, the book contains numerous syntactical and grammatical errors.
Unfortunately, all of this adds up to a missed opportunity. While the author’s effort is apparent and his dedication to his material is noteworthy, the work requires a professional editor to help sculpt Firmin’s insights into a cohesive experience for a general audience.
Also available as an ebook.