“Isn’t it common for Christians to talk about Jesus with far less interest than we show for our favorite team, music, or food?” (22)
If God doesn’t speak to you in any other quote from God Breathed by Rut Etheridge III, He will through this one. At least, Etheridge’s question spoke to me. Think about it: when someone speaks against your favorite food or football team, you instantly jump in to defend it. Do we do the same when someone attacks our faith?
God Breathed is not a book I would normally read. Its size is intimidating, and I did not think it was relevant for me. However, it surprised me.
Etheridge states his purpose in writing God Breathed in Chapter Five: to “separate the soul-crushing behavior of some Christians and their fraudulent claims to know and teach the Bible, from the soul-freeing person of Jesus himself, and the life-giving words that all tell us of him” (155). He also states that his main audience for the book is “people who’ve had no experience, or a very bad experience, with [the Bible]” (155). While I agree that these statements accurately assess the book, God Breathed applies to anyone who wants to learn more about the Bible.
God Breathed is about the Bible, its power, and its relevance to everyone. Chapters Five and Six are especially relevant for writers, as Chapter Five addresses the power of words and language, and Chapter Six addresses the importance of stories and teaching biblical truths through them.
The beginning of God Breathed is gripping but a little hard to get into at the same time because of the book’s formidable size and amount of information. However, much of the size includes recommended readings and end notes, which are helpful but not necessarily crucial to reading the book (though I recommend reading them). The beginning sections’ lengthy sentences also make the book hard to get into, but the more I read, the more I appreciated Etheridge’s style. I enjoyed the forward by Lacey Sturm, and her explanation of the title shows how the entire book is focused on the Bible. Sturm tells how Scripture itself is God-breathed, and Rut Etheridge then tells readers how to encounter God, weaving the title throughout the book.
I enjoyed this book’s complexity. The sources, famous authors’ and philosophers’ quotes, and historical references contributed to my understanding of the content. Rather than just stating humanity’s problems, Etheridge traces them to their roots. He supports his beliefs with evidence from the Bible and other scholarly resources. Despite its intricacy, the way in which the book is sectioned makes it manageable for readers.
Sample Question from God Breathed
Chapter 2 (from which the opening quotation is taken) speaks to me:
“So let’s make it personal: if you’re a Christian, how much practical difference would it make to your daily routine if you no longer had access to the Bible?” (24)
These thought-provoking questions cause you to reevaluate your life. Is God at the center of your life?
I found that much of God Breathed is applicable to me or to someone I know. I recommend this book to teens and young adults but acknowledge that it takes a while to read and understand, so you need time to devote to reading it. Adults can benefit from reading God Breathed as well, though I feel Etheridge is specifically addressing young adults and new believers. God Breathed will have you cheering along with the parts you agree with, ruminating over what you disagree with, and deeply moved by areas where you discover you need to change. This book is a wake-up call to all believers and non-believers as well. God Breathed has the power to change your life, and it’s up to you what you will do with it.