|The Purpose Driven Life
by Rick Warren deserves the description “provocative.” The author presents
some good principles on the purpose of life. The book is a good example
of the Scripture: “And let us consider one another to provoke unto love
and to good works.” (Hebrews 10:24 KJV) But it also has some major flaws.
A primary rule of Bible study is : Never use paraphrased versions of the Scriptures to establish belief and practice. The author uses mainly quotes from paraphrased versions to make his points. He also dogmatically states these verses say things some of them do not say in more literal translations. Paraphrased Bibles are useful in shedding light on archaic language as long as the phrasing is checked against more reliable versions. But these versions are always more commentary out of the author’s background than reliable Scripture.
The author is also inconsistent in his application of his interpretation of the doctrine of predestination. Christians do not agree on the extent of God’s intervention and control in individual lives. The author is not clear about his own.
On the other hand, Rick Warren’s perspective on God’s purposes for human life and for each individual Christian has the potential to motivate the reader to live life with purpose--according to God’s purposes. I found the Question to Consider at the end of each chapter made me uncomfortable because I fall short of God’s standards. These questions are an excellent aid to self-examination.
In his concluding chapter, Rick Warren writes, “One day God will review your answers to these questions. Did you put Jesus at the center of your life? Did you develop his character? Did you devote your life to serving others? Did you communicate his message and fulfill his mission? Did you love and participate in his family? These are the only issues that will count.”
In spite of the book’s flaws, the careful
and cautious reader can benefit from this experienced pastor’s insights
on spiritual growth and practice.