Book Review: Multiply: Disciples making Disciples by Francis Chan

“Multiply” by Francis Chan is a well-written, engaging book on an overview of the Bible story.  As Francis continues to minister to thousands of people around the world, he has provided an excellent volume to establish the story line for new believers to Christianity and Jesus Christ.  It is written so that anyone can read and understand the thrust of the message.

What is especially helpful in the book are the three parts preceding the overview of the Old and New Testaments.  The first part describes “Living as a Disciple Maker” and highlights from the beginning our responsibility to Jesus Christ to grow and make disciples ourselves.  The second part describes “Living as the Church” and the importance of life in the church, especially when the church is filled with imperfect people.  The third part describes “How to Study the Bible” and gives excellent principles of how to study and prayerfully obey it.

The last two sections cover an overview of the Old and New Testaments.  He works through important aspects of each Testament in God’s story of creation, fall and redemption.  His gospel presentation is clear; his emphasis on the sin failure of man is evident.  And he ensures God is glorified as the only means of redemption from man’s fallen state.

I appreciate how in the section on “How to Study the Bible” and specifically “Studying Logically,” he emphasizes interpreting Scripture by finding the plain meaning of the text.  He wisely places emphasis on the context and understanding the difference between interpretation and application.  His next two portions define “Find the plain meaning” and “Take the Bible Literally.” (pp. 129-133)  I agree with him completely.  These are accurate tools for interpretation. 

However, it doesn’t appear that he does that in his overview of the Old and New Testaments.  For example, it appears he takes the prophecies of Ezekiel 36, which he identifies given to Israel, but applies them directly to believers in the Church (pp. 279-280).  Those are prophecies given to Israel and will be fulfilled with Israel when the Lord comes back at the Second Coming.  There is truth about how the Holy Spirit will transform hearts of unbelievers in the Church Age, but not in fulfillment of Ezekiel 36.  Another example is identifying Jesus’ return at the Second Coming to be the end of the world (p. 316-318).  If a person looks for the plain meaning and interprets literally, Jesus’ return at the Second Coming precedes a thousand year millennium, which Francis does not identify.  Francis graciously identifies differences in end time perspectives (p. 317), but he takes a symbolic view of interpretation for many things rather than take a plain, literal interpretation. 

With that being said, Chan’s passion for discipleship and reaching the world for Christ is almost unparalleled.  I am convicted in reading this volume and pray that I might also seek to reach the world for Christ to the extent or manner that Francis Chan has.