Second Reformed Church

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Review: "Ingredients for Success"

            Simply put, exegesis is drawing out of a text what it means; eisegesis is reading into the text what you want it to mean.  Joseph James Slawek’s Ingredients for Success: 10 Best Practices for Business and Life is more eisegesis than exegesis.

            Slawek uses the Parable of the Ten Virgins, the Parable of the Bags of Gold (better known as the Parable of the Talents), and the Parable of the Sheep and the Goats from Matthew 25 to eisegete his “10 best practices” (2-6).

            Jesus ends Matthew 24 warning His followers to be about obedience to God and the Gospel when He returns and not to take His delay as an excuse not to be about Kingdom Work.

            The theme of the Parable of the Ten Virgins is to be ready for whenever Jesus returns, because the time is coming when there will no longer be an opportunity to receive Him – it will be too late and the “door” will be shut.

            The theme of the Parable of the Talents is that God has given all people abilities and blessings to use for the Lord and His Church; those who do will be rewarded, those who do not will be punished.

            The theme of the Sheep and the Goats is that believers who are branches of the Vine, Jesus, will bear fruit, and those who do not bear fruit will evidence their lack of belief, not matter what else they may had done or said, even using the Name of Jesus.

            Slawek writes clearly and in an engaging manner, using anecdotal examples, and he has used his “10 practices” (7-8) to his benefit and the benefit of his company – and these practices could well be used in anyone’s life and company:

            1, Boldly, yet compassionately, tell the truth.

            2. Plan ahead but be ready for surprises.

            3. Know, develop, and use your unique abilities.

            4. Use your talents responsibly or you’ll lose them.

            5. Be ready for the accounting.

            6. Invest your talents fruitfully for maximum return.

            7. Aim for excellence, not perfection.

            8. Be strong and courageous.

            9. Redistribute unused talents and resources.

            10. Express gratitude to God and others.

            Despite that being the case, it makes this reader very uncomfortable as he explains that these are the points of the parables.  One can see how he derives them from the text, but they are not the central point of the text. 

            I am glad that he is a caring businessman who has instilled morality and hard work in his employees, but the Scripture is always pointing to Jesus and His Gospel, and neglecting to show that in his presentation of these parables, I cannot recommend this book.
[I received this book free from Handlebar Publishing in exchange for my honest review.  This review has been posted on my blog and on]

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