Twelve Unlikely Heros by John MacArthur

A book review by Kim Newhouse (my mom 😉 )

I was hoping to give this book a good review…I usually love MacArthur’s writing, I relate to the unlikely heroes God chose, and I’m dedicated to studying the Bible. Alas, I felt the book to be repetitive and unenlightening in many ways. Yes, there was some historical context, description of Jewish tradition and MacArthur’s own embellishment of possibilities in the characters’ lives to supplement the Bible stories we all know, but glaring errors made me distrust the facts. The carelessness of the editing is inexcusable–even my children caught Biblical issues as I read aloud to them. Here are 2 examples:
From Miriam’s life story:
(p. 45) “His wife, Jochebed, was pregnant with their third child….That child was indeed a baby boy. And they named him Moses.”

Excuse me? We do NOT know what they named him…Moses means “drawn out of the water” and that name was given to him by the daughter of Pharoah who found him in the Nile AFTER he was weaned and came to live with her! (Most of us know the story so I’ll just put the verse that proves this point.)
Exodus 2:10 And the child grew, and she brought him to Pharaoh’s daughter, and he became her son. So she called his name Moses, saying, “Because I drew him out of the water.”
Another example, from the story of John the Baptist:(p. 156-7) “Having used his voice to express sinful doubt, Zacharias would be unable to use again it until his son was born.” (I kid you not, that typo is indeed in the book.) “When he saw his newborn son for the first time, his tongue was instantly loosed.”
Read the Scriptures…that is NOT what happened:
Luke 1:57 Now Elizabeth’s full time came for her to be delivered, and she brought forth a son. 58 When her neighbors and relatives heard how the Lord had shown great mercy to her, they rejoiced with her.
59 So it was, on the eighth day, that they came to circumcise the child; and they would have called him by the name of his father, Zacharias. 60 His mother answered and said, “No; he shall be called John.”
61 But they said to her, “There is no one among your relatives who is called by this name.” 62 So they made signs to his father–what he would have him called.
63 And he asked for a writing tablet, and wrote, saying, “His name is John.” So they all marveled. 64 Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he spoke, praising God.

I have John MacArthur’s study Bible–chock FULL of study notes through every chapter of the Word of God. How could he be so careless in this book? Makes me think someone else wrote it and put his name on it! Or is that the case with the study Bible? Just doesn’t make sense.

Although this book had great potential, I wouldn’t recommend it until another fact-checked version came out….


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255

3 thoughts on “Twelve Unlikely Heros by John MacArthur

  1. Good points! I honestly missed those ones. I was unimpressed with it, so I did a lot of speed reading and skimming. Good for you for catching these.

  2. Great review, and good scholarly studies to point out errors. Your questioning of John MacArthur is something lacking around him I am sure. He’s been preaching so long that he has carte blanche to write whatever he wants, and publish it, because the publisher knows he’ll generate a predictable amount of revenue. What I’ve noticed from past MacArthur books is that someone will extract a sermon series and viola! We now have a book. My guess is that is what happened here. Good for you for an honest and researched review.

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