Reviewed by Leigh A.

In depth, down-to-earth, and meticulously researched, Original Sinners: A New Interpretation of Genesis is the best theological read I’ve come across in ages. It’s no wonder with an author like John Coats, who has been a Master of Theology, an Episcopal priest, and leader for the ‘More To Life’ training program.

Coats puts all his theological training to excellent use in Original Sinners, asking if the Bible – and the characters within it – are still applicable to modern times. By weaving his own personal stories in with biblical tales, Coats shows how the characters in the bible act like most humans would when faced with fantastic situations. And in dissecting the motivations of the biblical characters, Coats shows us what their actions may be able to teach us about how we live our lives.

While the research is wonderfully compelling, Coats’ narrative is perhaps the strongest aspect of the book. He tells us why certain characters in the Bible held more meaning to him than others, and why he was able to understand their stories better as he went through similar experiences in his own life. Coats refreshingly never holds himself up as an utterly righteous source, mainly because he recognizes that even biblical heroes were just as human as the rest of us. At one point in our lives we may all be a wronged Noah, a fleeing Jonah, or a proud Jacob, just waiting for the right twist of fate.

It’s a rare joy to find a book that lovingly examines the scripture in a manner that neither preaches nor scoffs at the material. For anyone who enjoys a good theological debate, the book is a calm, easy read by someone who knows his stuff. For anyone who is trying to examine their faith or, just find a new perspective on it, this is a pleasant journey through familiar territory that is likely to make you think again about where your journey leads.

Leigh is a fearless writer who never met a genre, subject, or format she didn’t like. She has written professionally for the past six years and enjoys biking, exploring odd corners of Northeast Ohio, and discovering those good books she hasn’t read yet.

This book was provided free of any obligation by FSB Associates. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.