Review of Kristen Wetherell's book 'Help for the Hungry Soul'

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Review of Kristen Wetherell's book 'Help for the Hungry Soul'

A book review by Kyria Smith

All around us is a world that is never satisfied. There seems to be a hunger in all of us – a seemingly insatiable craving that the things of this world can’t curtail, an unsettling feeling that there must be more to life. In the same way that we were created with a physical appetite for food, so was our soul fashioned to desire our eternal Creator. But how often do we reach for the wrong ‘food’ to satisfy our needs? Help for the Hungry Soul was written to help us redirect our need towards the word of God, the only source of true satisfaction.

Consistent and edifying Bible study can often be an area of discouragement, guilt or defeat for Christians. Whether it’s been years since you opened a Bible, you’ve never read it before, or your regular routine is starting to feel like a chore, Kristen Wetherell seems to have written this book with you in mind. She helps the reader get back to the reason why we need the Scriptures – not to gain proficiency or fix our problems, but to bring us closer to an actual person: ‘The whole Bible points to Jesus, for he is the point of the whole Bible.’

Packaged into eight encouragements, Wetherell uses searching questions, practical ideas and moving testimonies to spur an appetite for God’s word. There is teaching on why we should treasure the Bible, taking us back to basics and reminding us of the truths we may have forgotten or taken for granted. There are interactive elements that promote personal reflection and habit growth, while the impact of God’s word on real lives provides fresh perspectives that inspire and motivate us to engage practically with the Bible.

There is wisdom and biblical foundations in much of Wetherell’s advice. She brings out the truth that God is more than capable of achieving the impossible through normal, everyday encounters with his word. Even more than this, Wetherell has managed to tackle this topic without bringing up the oftenencountered side effects of guilt or legalism. Her suggestions of creative ways to feed ourselves go deeper than just recommending that obligatory ‘quiet time’. Through highlighting types of spiritual hunger and common hinderances to Bible reading that we might encounter, Help for the Hungry Soul works hard to get us to understand ourselves better and thus more accurately discern how we might grow. In a book about the Bible, Wetherell doesn’t shy away from relying on relevant and promising scriptures to illustrate her thoughts, pointing us to consider and apply them.

The invitation to recognise God’s revelation as a privilege is a particularly touching angle that is so often missed in books of this kind. The list of God’s promises to cling to while engaging with Scripture similarly stands out. Once you finish navigating the treasures of this book, you are left with no excuse (or desire) to continue neglecting your Bible. Wetherell dedicates an appendix to directly tackle the quandary, ‘I want to read my Bible more, but I don’t know where to start.’ Recognising that one short book can’t hold all the answers, there is also a list of Bible-based books that explore the nature and trustworthiness of the Bible, how to approach and engage with the Bible, and how to study the Bible.

More than just a well-written, interesting read, this book holds potentially life-changing guidance. The practically helpful analogy of physical hunger helps us to visualise an effective approach to Bible study. Wetherell is both a skilled and reliable guide, engaging the reader on a personal level. Regardless of the season we are in, God himself delights in stimulating, sustaining and satisfying our spiritual hunger by giving us the gift of his word and his presence. These short, content-rich chapters will remind you afresh that God delights in filling the hungry with good things. No one will come away from this book without that spark of wanting the transformative power and significance of Scripture in their lives. This book is truly a hopefilled encouragement to those who long for more of God and yet constantly feel unable to find the time or energy to follow through.

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Help For the Hungry Soul (Hard Cover)
Kristen Wetherell
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