This book was not at all what I (Helen) expected. When I heard about Multiply, I assumed it was a book about evangelism. Is it just me, or is that not what the title suggests? In any case, this is not a book about evangelism, so I felt a little thrown for a loop throughout my reading of it. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy the book, or that I didn’t get anything out of it, but I just couldn’t quite shake the unmet expectations I had coming into it.
Another aspect of this book that makes it difficult to review is that I am not the intended audience for this book. In the introduction, Francis Chan states that this material is firstly, meant to be taught, and secondly, meant to be read in relationship with others. The ideal way to read this book is in twos, with one person being the “discipler” and the other being the one who is being “discipled.” Perhaps a better approach to this book than the one I took is to view it as curriculum, rather than something to be read personally.
Because Multiply is so different, I’m taking a different approach to my book review today – a sort of question and answer style. Hopefully this will help me get past some of the obstacles I had coming to this book.
Multiply is broken into five sections: Living as a Disciple Maker, Living as the Church, How to Study the Bible, Understanding the Old Testament, and Understanding the New Testament. The first two sections address the practicalities of the church’s mission and living in a way that draws others into a deepening relationship with Christ, the third section is about Bible study methods and reasons for studying the Bible, and the last two sections are basic Bible overview.
Who is this book for?
As I mentioned earlier, this book is meant to be read in twos – in discipleship relationships. The author assumes that those reading the book are church-goers and have a relationship with God. This book is for those who want to deepen their walk with God in practical ways, and for those who want to help others to do that. I think this book would be ideal for someone who has just come through Alpha and has committed to following Christ, and is attending church regularly. It would be a great way to follow up with those who have made the decision to follow Jesus, helping them to determine the answers to questions such as “What’s next?” “What should my life look like now that I’m a Christ-follower?”
Favorite parts of the book?
I found the first three sections to be the most impacting for me. The “How to Study the Bible” section was a great reminder of why I do what I do in SBS, and I felt convicted to check some of my motivations for studying Scripture – it’s not just a Book to be studied so I can teach it, but a Book that is read to deepen relationship with God, to exalt Jesus, and to prepare us for the mission He has given us. Very basic stuff, yes, but it was a helpful reminder! I also really liked the conclusion, in which Chan reminds the reader that reading about the Bible is no substitute for reading the Bible itself.
Least favorite parts of the book?
I think the whole book was a great introduction to deepening one’s faith, but considering I was reading the book outside of the context it was meant to be read in, it was difficult for me to engage with Multiply. This is through no fault of Chan’s, however.
Would you recommend this book?
I would definitely recommend this book for someone new to their faith, or for someone who wants to walk alongside someone who is new to following Jesus. Each chapter ends with the suggestion to watch a video by Francis Chan and David Platt – the videos are geared towards someone who is in the process of discipling others. For the more seasoned believer, Multiply is a good reminder of the “whys” behind the church’s and the believer’s responsibilities and privileges as part of the body of Christ, but it isn’t really anything new (we are dealing with timeless truths, after all).
Overall, I have no major criticisms of Multiply. It just wasn’t the book I expected it to be, and for some reason, I couldn’t get past that. If you’re looking for a book to read with a friend who has just committed to following Jesus, this would be a great option, both for you and the new believer.