Book review: In Christ Alone

in-christ-aloneI received a lot of good books for Christmas, and one that I have been slowly reading is ‘In Christ Alone’ by Sinclair Ferguson.

There are three reasons for reading a book slowly:

1, it is boring, but you feel you must read it.

2, it is complicated but brilliant, so you take your time to make sure you understand it.

3, it is simple and beautiful and thus needs to be cherished and savored.

‘In Christ Alone’ is such a book.

The book is a collection of 50 short chapters on Christ and our life in Him. The chapters can sometimes seem slightly random and disjointed, but that is because this book is primarily a collection of articles written over the last 20 years for various publications. However, the vast majority of the chapters point you to Christ, sharpen your understanding of Him, and encourage your faith.

This is not a dry book, and it is not a light book. Many chapters are short, insightful, and practical. Indeed, a stand out chapter for me was ‘The greatest of all protestant heresies?’ in which Sinclair looks at assurance and explains some key passages in Hebrews. I found the chapter warming and sustaining.

What you find in the book is a great understanding of the overarching Story of Scripture, some acute explanations of significant passages, and some well crafted sentences to help you understand and remember Jesus more – indeed I am tempted to say that he is a model of writing a structure for sermons.

In all, a great book on Jesus. Not a classic systematic or an in-depth work. But a book you can enjoy, read bit by bit, learn some new stuff, and be encouraged in the faith.

Worth a read.

Here are some great quotes:

Here are wonders upon wonders: the Strong One is weak; the Infinite One lies in a manger; the Prince of Life dies; the Crucified One lives; the Humiliated One is glorified.

We must never allow ourselves to drift from daily contemplation of the cross as the irrefutable demonstration of that love, or from dependence on the Spirit who sheds it abroad in our hearts.

True discernment means not only distinguishing the right from the wrong; it means distinguishing the primary from the secondary, the essential from the indifferent, and the permanent from the transient. And, yes, it means distinguishing between the good and the better, and even between the better and best.


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