I recently signed up to become a book reviewer for Moody Publishers. Moody sends me free books and I tell you what I think about them. The first book I have received is 20 Things We’d Tell Our Twenty-something Selves by Peter and Kelli Worrall. This husband and wife duo share life advice from their personal experiences as well as from years to teaching and counselling college students.
Before discussing the content of their advice, I want to make a note about Bible translations. If you’re like me, the first thing you do when looking at a Christian book (or a box of cards) is find out what version of the Bible is used. If it is the Message, I automatically put the item back on the shelf. The Message is not an authoritative translation of the Bible and so I doubt the legitimacy of anyone who uses it. The Worralls predominately use the ESV; however, in Chapter 18 they use the Message for I Peter 1:3-5. Since this is a review of the book and not a treatise on the failings of the Message, I will not give a point-by-point analysis of the differences between the versions. You can use Bible Gateway to see for yourself. Sufficed it to say that I don’t understand why they did it.
20 Things is like a cross between a devotional, a self-help book, and an advice column. The Worralls address the physical, mental, and spiritual aspects of life. The book is only 246 pages and the chapters are fairly short; it can easily be read in a sitting or two. But I recommend taking on one chapter per day to give yourself time to actually think about what the authors have to say. Because the chapters are so short, the Worralls don’t delve as deep into some issues as they could have. And they know that. Each chapter ends with “Actions to Consider,” “Questions for Reflection,” and “Other Things to Read.” What surprised me about the reading suggestions is that they were not all Christian works. Along with passages of Scripture, sermons, and other works by Christian authors were classic secular novels such as A Tale of Two Cities, Les Miserables, and Frankenstein as well as more psychological works The Power of Habit and Alone Together.
As you read 20 Things, keep in mind that is a collection of advice learned from the authors’ lives. They share several personal stories about their struggles and successes. When I read this book, there were some chapters that I found incredibly helpful. They made me think about issues from a new perspective and analyze how I can change for the better. But there were also chapters that didn’t apply to me.
One particularly good insight that Peter has in Chapter 19 is looking at sin (in general, but this chapter dealt with pride) as a zombie. As Christians, we have put our sinful desires to death. But they creep up on us and we are tempted. We must fight sin like we would fight zombies.
Despite my disappointment over the use of the Message, I am glad I read this book.