August 11, 2014

The Case for the Real Jesus, Student Edition {A Review}

Having just finished The Case for the Real Jesus, Student Edition, by Lee Strobel with Jane Vogel, I am ready to pass it on to my oldest son, who happens to be in tenth grade. I think the book will be perfect for him. Yep, that about sums up my review. However, you may want to read on for some more details as to why I will be passing it on to him.

The Book
Essentially, the book takes 6 current challenges to Christianity, describes them, questions them, and concludes if they have any truth to them. The challenges are presented separately in individual chapters. Readers could skip about the book, but the book is meant to be read in order.

Short real life stories are included to introduce each challenge. Although these stories are about adults, they are easily relatable to teens as well. Through these real life stories, Strobel sets the stage for the challenge and illustrates an important aspect of the challenge. For instance, when exploring the challenge to the validity of Christianity's beliefs being copied from pagan religions, Strobel begins the chapter with a work related incident of plagiarism. Though the event happened in the workplace, teens can easily relate to the concept of plagiarism, how it is wrong, and the severe consequences of it.

Once Strobel introduces the challenge, he moves on to discussing his investigation of it. Through research and interviews, Strobel sets out to either prove or disprove a challenge. The investigation of each challenge is the bulk of each chapter. These investigations are presented mostly in a narrative  form with a good deal of dialogue, which is easy to read and follow. I appreciated how Strobel included his own thoughts, observations, and questions as they occur to him, throughout the text.

Throughout each chapter, tables, timelines, brief bios of the interviewee, and definitions of unfamiliar words are scattered throughout the text. These reader helps are set off by a slight grey background. Though some of these may not be necessary for every reader, it is particularly helpful to clearly define, illustrate, and support the text. It also helps the student to explore topics further on their own.

The book ends with a conclusion tying together all the challenges presented and websites for further investigation.

My Thoughts
The book is about 200 pages long. It's length is an asset to encourage more students to read it. However, don't let the length fool you. A lot of ground is covered in these pages. It is, to use the term, 'meaty.'

Students who read the book, will appreciate Strobel's respect and earnest desire to understand and know the truth. Also, the tone of the book is respectful to the reader. It is not 'dumbed down.'

Strobel uses a logical progression of thoughts and counterpoints. He isn't afraid to ask the hard questions that everyone is wondering. This will be appreciated by teens as well.

The challenges presented are current. Some of our current culture has presented a different view of Jesus than the Bible presents. Teens are bombarded with information about who He is and what He did on earth. This book can help clarify these different views and allow students to think through the current challenges logically and effectively.

Overall, it is a good presentation of the current challenges to Christianity for students.

~ Dorie

Fine Print: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a review. The thoughts and opinions voiced in this review are my own.

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