Extraordinary is a new book by John Bevere. It deals with the theme of living the way God really wants you to live – not an average life, but a truly extraordinary life lived by faith. And while that summary can make it sound like it is going to be a “prosperity gospel” style account of how to have your best life now with just a few prayers and plenty of donations due your nearest televangelist (a fear I had as I started reading it) this is not the case. This is a biblically solid book all about faith, what the Bible has to say about it, and how we can live it out.
This is a book packed full of scripture – every point made is careful backed up by a selection of verses so you can be sure the Bible supports the points he makes. And while this is good, at times it does expand the length unnecessarily. There is a lot in the book, and while all of it is biblical and true, a lot of it is also repetitive from one chapter to the next. John quotes from a variety of Bible translations to support his points, so if you don’t like authors who jump from one translation to another you might want to skip this book. On a formatting issue the scripture quotes blended in with the main body of the text making it hard to distinguish when quotations end and commentary starts.
In Extraordinary John raises a good point about the judgement we as Christian will face and how it won’t be for our sin (as Jesus took the punishment for that) but we will be judged based on our good deeds and that will determine our heavenly rewards – a challenging thought that is worth giving thought to. He also is unafraid early on to speak clearly on the issue of heaven and hell.
One really great thing John does is end each chapter with three questions that make what he has been writing personal and focus on how it applies to your life. These are great, deep, probing questions that cause you to not just casually read through the book but to really think it over and apply it.
A good illustration he uses in some depth for God’s grace is how it is like a gun – the true power of the gun is only seen when you pull the trigger, merely holding it isn’t enough, likewise grace is about so much more than just forgiveness of our sins.
If you are looking a book that fully explains faith and grace, and how they can be lived out, this is a very biblically solid option. It is a bit long and could benefit from more illustrations from John’s personal life (there is one chapter that took that approach, and it was much more readable – it can get a bit dry and scholarly in other places.)
Disclaimer for legal reasons: Waterbrook Multnomah provided me with a free copy for this review, this has not influenced my opinions given in the review.