Review of The Name Quest, by John Avery

John Avery - The Name QuestThis review is in answer to John Avery’s request for reviews on LinkedIn.  He graciously sent me a free paperback copy of his book to facilitate its review.  Thank you John.

My first impression as I flipped through the book, was the amazing amount of research that went into it!  He’s given each researched tidbit or quote of information a number, which leads to the back of the book where the footnotes take up an entire section to themselves.  In addition, he’s put together a handy index at the back so that if you want to check out the meaning of one of God’s names without reading the whole book again, you can simply go to that name’s page(s).

I was impressed with how John wove the names of God into a running narrative that flowed smoothly from name to name or from example to example.  Examples ranged from experiences on the hiking trails to experiences of the men and women mentioned in the pages of Scripture.

One bit of information/observation mentioned early on in the book about who Melchizedek worshipped is later very clearly contradicted when discussing another name of God later in the book.  This may simply have been a missed comparison in the research archives because the remainder of the book sticks with the second iteration of who we know Melchizedek to be honouring when he met Abram.

John does an amazing job of displaying the commonality behind many terms before they were applied to God, and the drastically changed understandings that developed after their application to God.  This lends a more human view to the people, places and situations found in Scripture as they learned of God and grew in their faith-walk with Him.

If I had anything of major note to say against the book, it has nothing to do with the content.  The layout of the book made it hard to read at times.  The use of sidebars to encapsulate lists of names of God beside their expounding paragraphs worked in most instances throughout the book, but every now and then, the strict adherence to where these sidebars were placed left some paragraphs appearing unfinished until I realized their final sentences trailed between two sidebars.  Frequently, paragraph sentences were allowed to have just two or three words trail onto the next page or stay behind on the previous page, a situation known as orphaning.  While this did allow for the paragraph to otherwise remain intact, it would have been perfectly ok to either break up the paragraph or simply move the one or two lines left on the previous page over to the next page to avoid orphans.  However, in light of the overall content of the book and how well it was written, such formatting issues are largely trivial.

This book gets a solid 4 out of 5 stars!  I highly recommend it and it would make a great companion to my new book, “A Year in Prayer With Jesus” as you learn about 365 names, titles and attributes of God in the first point, “Hallowed by Thy Name”.

Well done John!  This book was a pleasure to read!