How my book came to be

Many years ago, thinking about the question of biblical literacy, I asked myself, What would I think the 100 most important Scripture passages are? This resulted in the beginning of a list (which I still have somewhere). There was also some dialog with a friend on this question.

Fast-forward several years, and I began to think about writing a book. Eventually I thought I could pick up my old idea and modify it. 25 Bible Passages You Should Know was born. I even worked up a mock-up cover and selected passages for consideration.

I began to write and wrote the chapter on John 1:1-18. For the most part, the structure of that first effort became the format for all the chapters to follow, with some editing later on.

It was at this point I discovered two things: one, my first chapter was much longer than I’d envisioned when I was thinking of writing about 25. Two, I realized that some of my selected passages would form a theological framework of understanding the Bible, while others would form a historical framework. The two different frameworks would necessitate different writing styles.

So I decided to turn my focus to theological passages only, and my Table of Contents was now reduced to 13 passages. Since I’d been thinking of the term “framework,” I began to play with that as the title. Again, a cover mock-up followed, this time following a blueprint motif.

Let me add that the idea of doing mock-ups of cover art might seem premature at the early stages of writing, but creating them allowed me to engage in some right-brain activity, which was a break from the very analytical left-brain act of composing the chapters. Plus, I would print and display these art pieces as a way to visualize the end product which was highly motivating for me.

After writing about 5 chapters, I really began to question the product I was creating. Should I continue to write as I had been, or should I turn this book into something else? A friend gave me some great feedback that could possibly change the focus of the end product. Should I make a Bible study guide? A picture book? This could have paralyzed me but instead, I decided to soldier on in the form in which I had begun. Once I finished I could then choose how I would ultimately package my content.

As the result of some discussion with another friend, I made the decision to cut my content to 9 main chapters, organized loosely into 3 sections. I also went back and added some focus on the methodology of studying passages of the Bible. But it remains a book more about doctrines than about methods.

Finally, as I wrote the Introduction last, the concept of “organic” understanding of Bible passages came to me. I wrote of the difference between systematic theology and the expository theology I was writing about. Once the term “organic” surfaced, it changed the whole motif of the artwork from a blueprint to a growing plant. Even the color scheme on the artwork morphed into earth tones.

Isaiah 37:31 – And the surviving remnant of the house of Judah shall again take root downward and bear fruit upward – has long been a mantra for me as I learn and teach the Bible. This verse dove-tailed right into what I was doing with writing this book, and so the title – Take Root, Bear Fruitcame to be.

It is my passion to see God’s people transformed by God’s Word. This book is written out of that passion, and I pray that you will be helped by it.

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