You probably would like to understand the Bible better. However, most people don’t really find themselves reading multiple commentaries on books of the Bible in pursuit of a deeper understanding. This might not be true for you, but I have a feeling that reading reference works for pleasure is a spiritual gift only given to some. Commentaries, lexicons, background texts are all valuable resources for understanding scripture better, but for most Christians, this type of reading isn’t that inviting.

Tethered to Scripture, Ramsey’s words leave breathing room for an imaginative approach to Passion Week.

What if there was a way to gain many of the insights from reading a commentary, but in a more accessible prose style? One such book is Russ Ramsey’s Behold The King of Glory, which Crossway has made freely available to members here at Christ and Pop Culture. The book has 40 chapters, each about 1500-2000 words. It could easily serve as Lent/Easter devotional, much like Ramsey’s previous book, Behold The Lamb of God, was setup as an Advent devotional. Or, since Easter weekend is behind us, this book could serve well as a way to simply understand the gospel story better and start seeing the world through resurrection eyes. Ultimately, we commemorate the actual day of the resurrection this time of year, but we celebrate the cross and resurrection every Sunday we gather for worship. Ramsey’s book can serve to help strengthen and deepen that celebration.

While Ramsey may “engage in some speculation in this book, imagining how certain conversations happened, how particular characters felt, and what various scenes looked like,” his choices and imaginings are based on the desire to “to offer a story that would drive readers relentlessly to the empty tomb by way of the cross” (14). Along the way, Scripture is rarely quoted at length. Rather, Ramsey paraphrases freely and imagines more detailed dialogue in many parts of the story.

In reading Ramsey’s book, readers will find themselves exploring a familiar story in a perhaps unfamiliar way. Behold the King of Glory is a fresh, synthetic exposition of the Gospel story, ushering the reader into the narrative in a creative yet faithful fashion. Tethered to Scripture, Ramsey’s words leave breathing room for an imaginative approach to Passion Week. And at the end of the day, that is the kind of theology and biblical studies we need. Of the writing of scholarly monographs and commentaries there is no end, and many of us rejoice because of that. But there is not a wide range of books like this that distill all the historical, cultural, and literary backgrounds of a commentary into creative prose aimed for a general audience.