Book Review: Johann Sebastian Bach (Christian Encounters Series) by Rick Marschall

In 1 Corinthians 10:31, the apostle Paul writes, “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God (ESV).” The author makes it clear throughout this book that the master musician – Johann Sebastian Bach – set out to do this very thing – make music to the glory of God. I think the author does a good job of balancing the personal, professional, and lasting legacy of arguably the greatest musician who ever walked the face of the earth.

I have listened to a lot of Bach’s music before reading this book (particularly through the masterful guitar playing of Christopher Parkening). However, I really enjoyed everything about the book. I liked hearing some of the technical stuff (as a non-musician), it was very interesting. I also liked the way the author inserted historical and cultural aspects related to Bach’s life. The reading was a little bit choppy and sometimes tangential, but held my attention, because of the man he was writing about.

Overall – I am inspired to learn more, and read more about Bach. I finished the book with a longing for more Bach’s in our own time. Reading this book challenged me to pray for more geniuses and hard workers who will penetrate our culture with master pieces in music, the arts, inventions, all to the glory of God!

I long for those who (like Bach) would pray and write “Jesus help me” (Jesu, Juva) before they begin their work, and “to God alone be the glory” (Soli Deo Gloria) when they finish their work. Bach certainly is an example of someone who took to heart Paul’s words to the Colossians, “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men (3:23, ESV).” We would do well to “go and do likewise.”

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the 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: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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