Mark time — The Book (4 CD set)
Day One Publications, 176 pages, £15.00, ISBN: 978-1-84625-284-6
When Rico Tice, author of the Christianity Explored programme which is based on Mark’s Gospel, says that from now on this is the first commentary he will reach for, you know it will be good.
Your view is reinforced when you realise that Gerard Chrispin is the author. He is a good and clear Bible teacher. This is an innovative and creative concept: a simple commentary on Mark, with well explained studies and study questions for each of the 52 sessions that focus on application.
All the material, except for the study questions, is on four accompanying CDs. Then there is a correspondence course structured on two levels. The basic level mostly comprises a series of easy multiple choice questions on each of the 52 studies, with an advanced option (largely the study questions from the book). Then there is a discussion course, a small booklet aimed at promoting group studies of the 52 sections, involving the same study questions.
Anything that will encourage people, individually and collectively, to get into the Scriptures is to be applauded and Gerard Chrispin has done great work here.
However, I do wonder whether it is somewhat over-complicated. I am not sure of the value of having all the book material in both written and CD format. Apart from anything else, it prices the 175 page book at £15.
Also, while I like the concept of a correspondence course, I wonder whether, in this day and age, an online, more interactive version would have been the way to go.
There are other niggles, I confess. I found the abbreviations and explanations for them for all the different formats and versions annoying, and I have not worked out why they have used four different Bible versions at various stages in the course, rather than just sticking with the same one all the way through.
The whole thing has been attractively and thoughtfully packaged and the content is superb, but I fear suffers from overkill and is expensive. A single book or CD option would have been better and cheaper, along with suggestions for discussion groups and details of an online course.
John D. Brand
Faith Mission Bible College, Edinburgh