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Apr 10, 2013

One Perfect Life by John MacArthur

One Perfect Life: The Complete Story of the Lord Jesus by John MacArthur
Thomas Nelson Publishers, March 5, 2013
Hardcover 480 pages
Review copy provided via publisher/Booksneeze
Burton Book Review Rating: 4.5 stars

Read the best news the world has ever been given about the most significant life in all history—Jesus Christ. In One Perfect Life, Dr. John MacArthur shares with us the complete story of the Eternal Christ from Genesis to Revelation. Using Matthew as the base text, Dr. MacArthur blends the gospels and other biblical material about Jesus into one continuous story that will help you better understand Scripture and grow stronger in your faith. No other harmony of the Gospels includes such extensive study notes to help you unpack the meaning of each verse.

The moment I saw this book, claiming the complete story of Jesus Christ, I knew this would be a great companion to reading the gospels. I was especially pleased that it takes the scriptures from my version of choice, the New King James version. This book studies the gospels chronologically - taking the exact text from the bible and puts them in an easy to read format with no extra narrative provided by the author besides the notes, which range from not too explanatory to a small bit of depth. As I was beginning the book, I was a little taken aback at the structure as I was learning how it flowed, but just a few chapters in I felt I was settled and could organize my thoughts alongside this presentation of the gospels.

Example of topics from Table of Contents, which were also separated into parts

I say easy to read only because the text is separated my mini-topics, sometimes leaving blank spaces where the text would be and at the bottom are the notes. So while the 480 pages as a whole might look like a lot, taking into account much of the blank space throughout the book it reads swiftly. Because of the many references if you are flipping line by line back and forth it is not going to read 'easy', but if you overlook that  hindrance, overall the book is worthwhile. It is not adding any new information then what is already provided in the bible, but it is the portrayal of the bible verses that makes this different.

Sample page, notes shown beneath the line

I loved how the text incorporated the verses from across the gospels to create the harmony of the story, and that is what the book is all about: a look at Jesus and his ministry WITHOUT adding an author's take or interpretation of the bible. The entire book is a blending of the bible (from Matthew to Luke for instance) in the same paragraph, but using their words from the New King James version to create a cohesive look at a particular event or teaching of Jesus. For example, with the topic of The Transfiguration of Christ (Chapter 88) the text incorporates the biblical verses from Matthew, Luke and Peter.

For those readers looking for a narrative on Jesus in story format, this is not it. This is a study bible focused on Jesus's ministry which puts together all the gospels in one page when portraying a particular event.
One Perfect Life succeeded in its task to present the life of Jesus using the Scriptures as its beginning and end, and it should be an inspiring tool for those readers who have read the bible but wanted to focus their bible studies on a more central theme of Jesus and his ministry. Because of the format, I also think it is a book that can be referred to over and over so the reader can highlight the passages that are important to their journey of faith and use One Perfect Life as an excellent companion to their bible.

I review for BookSneeze®
 Thank you to BookSneeze for providing me a complimentary of One Perfect Life in exchange for this honest review.

*I am aware that there are 'religious topics' out there that show John MacArthur vs. Joel Osteen, as well as MacArthur being a prominent figurehead of his religious views; this review in no way reflects that reality. I feel that this work from John MacArthur presents an unbiased account of Jesus using the bible.