Having written about Christian music for more than a decade, I've become familiar with all sorts of recording artists, including Michael Card, who is best known for writing the songs "El Shaddai" and "Immanuel." His new book, Luke: The Gospel of Amazement (InterVarsity Press), confirms what I suspected: he's more of a scripture scholar than a musician who sings about the Lord.
I've seen Card in concert twice, and both times I remember how he was always asking questions of himself, of the audience, and about God. He is what you'd call a "thinking man's musician." If I had to describe Card to another person, I'd say he looks like your high school science teacher who probably likes hiking, camping, nature, gazing at the stars at night, and pondering the big questions of life.
It's no wonder that Card has written an exhaustive look into Luke's Gospel; he takes Luke's biblical account of Jesus and all that happened way back when, and offers readers detailed context, as if he studied theology and history in college (which he did) and wanted to help others "get" who Luke was, where he was coming from, and what it was like at the time when The Gospel of Luke was recorded for all of history to cling to as God's divine Word.
Card earned a master's degree in biblical studies from Western Kentucky University, and his primary teacher there, Dr. William Lane, instilled in Card the idea that one should approach the reading of scripture with this key word: imagination.
In Luke: The Gospel of Amazement, which is more than 250 pages divided into chapters based on twenty-four verses in the actual book of Luke, Card offers his learned insight to readers, filling them in on the intricate details of why certain words were used, why certain information was included or excluded, and how Luke's background as a smart physician affected his overall writing style.
If you were to gather with others to do a Bible Study about the book of Luke, Card's book is a meaty collection of thoughts to chew on. Just like he does in his thoughtful songs, Card asks a lot of questions in the book, causing you to ask them as well, to open up your imagination to better sense the richness of scripture.
Look for future Michael Card books covering the other Gospels individually, as Luke: The Gospel of Amazement is the first installment in a planned series to be published in the years to come.