I have to admit that I was skeptical when I was told about this book by a friend; three days later I received an email from the book’s publisher with an invitation to review the book. I was still dubious about its format, but was rather intrigued over the fact that I heard the title The Greatest Words Ever Spoken mentioned to me twice in just under 72 hours. Sharing a little about the book might help to explain my doubt and my curiosity. A portion of the book description directly from the editor follows:
“For the first time ever, all of the statements Jesus made in the New Testament have been brought together and organized under more than 200 topics. When you want to know his will in a specific area of life, or you’re seeking the answer to a perplexing question, or you are desperate for his encouragement, comfort, or wisdom-you can easily find the help you need.”
Now, I don’t know about anyone else, but that type of description gets my “spidy-senses” tingling. Maybe I’m just a bit cynical from the saturation of “New and IMPROVED” advertisements that flood our senses from every direction or perhaps I was just a little put off by the sense that the teaching and Spirit of Jesus could be distilled down and marketed as a potion for the answers to life’s questions. Nonetheless, my interest had been captured and I agreed to review the book.
I am now into my second month with The Greatest Words Ever Spoken and my feelings about the book have changed dramatically. I am no longer dubious about the content or the method that it has been compiled. In fact, I am very impressed with the accuracy and assignment of the topics (this sharing my opinion) and words spoken by Jesus. While there is some natural overlapping for topics and discourses by Jesus, I did not perceive any agenda or glaring contextual errors on the part of the author. To be sure, I think the author, Steven K. Scott, is to be commended for the effort and detail that he has put into this work. As mentioned, the book is organized by topic; not unlike some of the helps included in the appendices of study Bibles and very similar to the Nave’s Topical Bible; it is a meticulously detailed (and time-consuming I’m sure) effort.
My personal observations and takeaways…
I have several thoughts, observations, and personal comments about this book. First, I think it is an excellent addition to the pastor-teacher library. I have used this book in lesson preparation and sermon writing and found it to be a not only a time-saving addition to my resources, but a tool of enlightenment as well. Having the words of Jesus topically indexed has helped me to remember passages that might not have included in my presentations. I also found that it acts as a supplement and support when studying the synoptic gospels (I have a parallel synopsis, Kurt Aland).
Second, I’m finding the topical indexing is useful and edifying as a devotional reading tool. It has been helpful to focus on a single teaching and follow the multiple ways that Jesus presented the thoughts to his disciples.
Another thought I had was how this might be a great suggestion for a book reading group, a devotional opener and conversation starter for a small group, or a supplemental reader for a group or individual practicing the spiritual disciplines.
In my final analysis, I am finding that I enjoy The Greatest Words Ever Spoken very much. With each time that I take the book in hand, I think of additional edifying (as well as practical) uses for it. I am thankful for Steven Scott’s efforts and I am confident to recommend the book with the highest of praise.
About the Author
Steven K. Scott is the best-selling author of The Richest Man Who Ever Lived, Mentored by a Millionaire, Simple Steps to Impossible Dreams, and A Millionaire’s Notebook. After failing nine jobs in his first six years after college, he learned the laws of life success by studying the book of Proverbs. As a result, Scott and his business partners built more than a dozen multimillion-dollar companies from scratch, achieving billions of dollars in sales. He is the cofounder of The American Telecast Corporation, Total Gym Fitness, and Max International. Scott is a popular international speaker on the subjects of personal and professional achievement and the application of biblical wisdom to every area of life.