Charlie March worked as a finish carpenter for 20 years while also serving in the local church as a Sunday School teacher. He has earned an MA in Biblical Studies at Fuller Theological Seminary as well as a PhD in Classics and Archaeology at Royal Holloway College, University of London. His time as a carpenter and Sunday School teacher has led to the writing of A Carpenter’s View of the Bible.
Divided into fourteen chapters, March approaches the Bible as a general contractor approaches a job site: beginning with the creation (design) of what is to be built and moving along until the job is finished and the last bit of material is swept and cleaned. Along the way, March offers a biblical theology of sorts from the perspective of one who builds and creates each day.
The basis of the book is the creative attribute of God that is shared by man. In other words, we have the ability to create because God has the ability to create. The difference being that God spoke and His words alone created. We, on the other hand, must use existing material to create. Nonetheless, March shows how we can and should glorify God with our creative minds.
Throughout the book, you will take a look at the importance of communication on the job sight through the lens of the story of the Tower of Babel and will glean a new understanding of walls in the story of Rahab the prostitute and the fall of Jericho. His chapter on the Tabernacle was most interesting and helped to bring to light some deep truths that are often overlooked.
In what I have artificially separated into a second section of the book, the chapter on a carpenter’s view of Jesus launches the reader into the New Testament. Here, we are treated to the parallels of Christ as a carpenter and his work as the savior…again, insight that until now, I had never noticed.
The book then concludes with chapters on the house church and heaven with the last word being about the importance of tying up loose ends on the jobsite.
I am sure some who would read A Carpenter’s View of the Bible would laugh and mock the author for stretching the Scriptures to say what he wants to say. I am not that person. Having been a construction worker myself, I found the insights presented by Charlie March to be refreshing and enjoyable. For example, I will never look at the story of Rahab the same again.
What is more, his insight into archaeological findings and studies proved to be extremely valuable in teaching the reader the importance of the carpenter’s view. Much understanding has been added to the way Jesus Christ lived his life before entering into the ministry. Since not much is said in the Bible concerning the first thirty years of his life, we must lean heavily on archaeological evidence and March does a wonderful job of weaving that information into the message while maintaining a Scipture alone approach to our understanding of what the Bible teaches.
I commend Charlie March’s creativity in writing this book. Even more, I commend him for staying true to the Word of God on every page.
If you are a carpenter, then you will most certainly want to pick up a copy of A Carpenter’s View of the Bible. In so doing, you will find that after reading it, you will begin to see the Bible from a totally different perspective. I also believe you will find that you will be more ready to share your faith with your fellow carpenters in a contextualize manner that does not strip away the meaning of the message. Even if you are not a carpenter, you will definitely find this book to be an interesting read.