Most Christians, I suspect, will be interested in learning about biblical promises, especially since God’s promises are guaranteed to come true. By studying these promises we gain reassurance of God’s future commitments as we see how He has kept the commitments that have already come to pass. In short, it’s a faith-building exercise. Carl Laferton’s Promises Kept is an adequate guide in this respect and the book provides a good overview of the Bible story.
There are nine studies in the guide, spanning the Bible timeline from Creation and the Fall to Christ’s return. Within each category are headings such as “Talk about”, “Investigate”, and “Apply.” These guide the user (and the group, if the book is being used in a group setting) to take a deeper dive into the Scripture under consideration. Thought-provoking questions are asked to stimulate thought and discussion. A helpful feature of each category is that it begins with a brief synopsis of “The story so far” so that as you go through the book you are following a timeline that keeps the topics in context.
Over one-third of the book is the Leader’s Guide. This helpful section provides tips and insights for the leader of the group in order to keep the conversation going and in the right direction. All told there are 111 pages in this study guide, and along the way are aids for keeping the study focused. These aids include things like word definitions, timelines, and maps.
One criticism I have is that it’s hard to discern that his book is actually a group study guide. This fact is not mentioned in the book’s brief description or in its subtitles. Only if you pay attention to one line on the back cover are you alerted to the fact that is a study guide where it says, “For use with individuals or groups.” Well, I missed that line so I was a bit disappointed.
However, I think that the most important aspect of a Christian book is the theology that the author teaches and holds. After all, if the book is structurally good and interesting to read, but it contains spiritual errors, it will do more harm than good. I was pleased, therefore, to see that Promises Kept is written by someone who knows the Bible and is in agreement with what it teaches. As I read through the Leader’s Guide, I quickly came to the conclusion that Laferton is doctrinally sound and holds a high view of Scripture. This, combined with the overall message and layout of the book, allows me to recommend it to anyone or group looking to dig a little deeper into the character of God and His work throughout history.
Barry Dysert has been a Christian for over 45 years. He is a writer for his church, a technical writer, and the author of “A Chronological Commentary of Revelation”. He is also a Bible teacher and enjoys writing about Christian books as they relate to the Bible.