With any book published, the authors hope that readers walk away with the feeling that the time spent in its pages was indeed a good investment.
It could be due to the life lessons learned, the shear entertainment factor, the writing style, or the inspiration from larger-than-life characters.
It could be all of that and more.
Author, Minister, Husband and Father Travis J. Bookout will share his latest book, “Christ Cruciform: 52 Thoughts on the Gospel of Mark,” which mirrors the Book of Mark, one of the Four Gospels of the New Testament, 6 :30 – 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday 5 April. “Cruciform Christ” has just been released. Bookout will hold a book signing on April 5 at his church, Maryville Church of Christ. Included will be a brief talk on this second Bookout book. The editor will also be present.
The book has 348 pages, divided into 52 sections, so it can be used as a weekly study of this Bible book. The reflections are between 1,500 and 2,000 words long, Bookout said, and they all end with two rounds of reflection questions.
“These questions invite the reader to dig deeper and embark on their own reflective journey through the gospel,” the author explained. Questions like why would Jesus spend time with tax collectors and sinners? and why would Jesus let his name be dragged through the mud to spend time with strangers?
Thinking and searching for answers is exactly how her first book was born. Bookout, husband and father of two boys, now ages 5 and 3, began his own personal quest to learn more about the Gospel of John and its author. He said the more he learned and shared, the more people encouraged him to write a book.
“It started as a personal journey to study John,” Bookout said. “I spent a year thinking, reading and writing about John. It was during this process that people started encouraging me to make a book out of it.
This first book is called “Kings of Glory: 52 Reflections on the Gospel of John”. He wrote it while leading his congregation, teaching at school and working on his Master of Divinity degree, which he completed late last year.
And now that he has received an in-depth study guide for two of the gospels, he is moving forward with books on the other two, Matthew and Luke. The authors each tell the same stories but in very different ways, Bookout said.
“Mark is the quickest and shortest gospel,” the author said. This follower of Christ jumps immediately from one story to another and even uses the word “immediately” several times in his writings. Mark also asks questions in his text but doesn’t always answer them, Bookout pointed out.
Bookout went on to say that Mark uses the Old Testament in subtle ways and tells stories in cryptic ways. “Mark expects his readers to ponder the minor details of the story and dig deep for answers and meaning. This makes Mark a fun, fast-paced, nonstop adventure. You’ll travel Jesus at the speed of lightning.
It’s possible to get a glimpse of who these gospel writers were through their writings, Bookout said. Matthew is more direct than Mark, he said, and provides more detail than Mark. It is Matthew who records more of Jesus’ teachings and answers more questions.
“Matthew is more likely to explain details that Mark leaves ambiguous,” the minister said.
As for the Gospel of Luke, it is the longest of all. It’s the introduction to the book of Acts, Bookout said, and its author tells the story of Jesus with a focus on the movement of the Spirit, prayer and the ways Jesus reaches out to neglected members. of the society.
The last of the gospels, written by John, uses symbolism in its stories about Jesus, Bookout explained. “There is a deep mystery in the portrayal of Jesus and everything Jesus does has meaning beyond the valley. John emphasizes Jesus’ divine pre-existence and oneness with the Father more directly than the other three gospel writers, although it is certainly present in all four.
As for who will enjoy or benefit from his thought-provoking books, Bookout said this will hopefully include new New Testament teachings. He also had in mind pastors, teachers, and campus pastors who could use his books for group study.
These two books came together as Bookout, his wife and sons recently moved to Blount County. Bookout became a minister at Maryville Church of Christ in early 2021. His first book came out last May. They’re thrilled to be at the base of the Great Smoky Mountains, he said. They are often found on the Maryville Greenway.
The books are available in print or on Kindle and on booksellers’ websites.
“The hope is that you will have a better understanding of what the gospels are about and also that you will be challenged to imitate Christ in the way you follow him.”