Book Review: Transformed by Truth by Katherine Forster
This excellent new resource would make a great back-to-school gift. Because the book is written by a teen for teens, we asked our Rooted summer intern Jackson Sharman (age 19) to review it for us:
Reading the Bible is an essential part of being a Christian and living a life of faith, but consistently reading the Word is easier said than done, especially for teenagers. That’s why National Bible Bee champion Katherine Forster wrote Transformed by Truth: Why and How to Study the Bible for Yourself as a Teen. Forster, herself a teen, offers a guide in the book on reading the Bible as a young Christian.
I have felt this struggle in my own life, especially in high school, when the pressures of maintaining good grades, a social life, and athletics took up the majority of my time. It was hard to make time to read the Bible, but when I did, my relationship with God and my overall spiritual wellness was undeniably better.
Forster’s knowledge of this battle that many Christian teenagers go through is what makes this book so effective. Her message is authentic and sincere because she incorporates her own experience struggling as a young teen to read the Bible. She correctly states how it is not always an easy task to read the Bible, but it is crucial to growing in faith in Jesus. In chapter 1-5, she details the why of Bible study. In chapters 6-11, she offers practical advice on the how of Bible study.
A strength of Forster’s writing is that she is blunt in getting her message across. She writes that, “Reading the Bible is essential to your spiritual growth.” She encourages her fellow teenagers to make an effort to try and understand God’s Word for themselves instead of solely relying on pastors and parents to communicate the Christian message. Forster uses a great metaphor to get this idea across. She writes that if you are sitting inside a house and some of your friends are watching the sun set, you can see a picture of the sun setting and hear your friends tell you about it, but it is a more enriching experience to see if for yourself. So it is with reading the Bible for yourself.
Forster offers an encouraging message to go along with the daunting task of reading books in both the Old Testament and the New Testament. She says we can learn about the different parts of God’s nature and how He relates to us by reading the different stories. “As we study God’s word, we get to learn our Creator’s design for us and his purpose for our lives. This is such an important aspect of our Bible study—yet it’s easy to misunderstand or approach it the wrong way.”
Forster offers a message that Christian teenagers need to be constantly reminded of: God is the only one who fulfills us. She writes that “we were so created that we can only be fulfilled in God. All our desires for intimacy, for fulfillment, all our desires to be known and seen, can only be satisfied through a relationship with our Maker. We can seek to fulfill those desires in this world through money, popularity, friendship, romance, or achievements, but in the end all those things will fall short and we’ll be left looking for more.” This is an encouraging message to spend less time on social media and more time in communion with God.
She prefaces strategies for reading the Bible with another blunt message: “When something is our priority, we’ll do everything we can to make it happen. So if studying the Bible is our priority, we’ll set aside time to do it. That may look different for different people, but the heart will be the same: making time to dig into God’s word.” She says wanting to read the Bible is the bottom line, especially when we do not feel like it. But she does offer some good practical tips like finding a good time of the day to read the Bible and getting into a routine so it becomes a habit.
Reading the Bible is essential as a practicing Christian, and Forster’s clear writing gets that message across. Truly embracing and living in the Word is a message all Christians, not just teenagers, would benefit from hearing more.