Sometimes it’s simple enough to know what a book is, but a little more difficult to know what it’s meant for. Understanding a book’s contents is sometimes a bit simpler than knowing how to use it. And I’d say that’s exactly the case for A Divine Tapestry by Ryan McGraw.
A Divine Tapestry is simply summaries and memory verses from every chapter of the Bible. In other words, it is divided into 66 chapters, one for each book of the Bible. Each of these is divided into as many sections as there are chapters of that biblical book, and for everyone there is a summary and a suggested key verse (or, sometimes, several key verses). And that’s it—that’s the book. Simple enough. But what’s it for and how might you use it?
To answer that, it would be helpful to understand its genesis. In the Introduction McGraw (who is a professor of Systematic Theology at Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary) explains that it began as a means to introduce children to the Bible and its big story, first by memorizing some of its most important verses, but also through brief summaries of each of its chapters. But then seminary students heard about the resource and began to ask for it as they prepared for their ordination exams. And then church members requested it so they could come to better understand the Bible. And eventually it grew into this book.
The best way to use this book is to have it open while reading through the whole Bible. Each chapter can encourage readers to keep going as the summaries and memory verse train them what to look for and how to read better. Reading through the Bible in families, with this book as a companion and guide, can also help parents pass along what they learn to their children. Older children and students can work through it themselves.
If there is likely to be a common critique of the book, it is one the author anticipates in the Introduction: the use of the NKJV. I will not summarize his defense except to say he believes its consistency with the KJV represents a more faithful translation and that using a derivative of the KJV provokes clearer connections to the historical creeds, confessions, and catechisms. Either way, it does not significantly detract from the book.
And so A Divine Tapestry is a book that demands just a bit of explanation. But once you understand what it’s all about, you can’t help but be impressed both by its scope. If you buy it and use it I think you’ll agree that it’s a wonderful resource.