Whisper by Mark Batterson :: A Book Review {www.boldlytanya.com}


How to Hear the Voice of God

By Mark Batterson

224 pp. Multnomah


Having never read anything by Mark Batterson, I wasn’t sure what to expect. He has authored eleven New York Times bestsellers, and his book, The Circle Maker, is wildly popular. Though I try to stay away from other people’s opinions about a book I am reviewing, I did glimpse a plug by Christine Caine lauding Whisper as a book I wouldn’t be able to put down. So, I dived in with great expectations.

After the first chapter, I wanted to throw Whisper out the window. For me, reading this book was like trying to have a conversation with a know-it-all.  Good information exists somewhere within all the words, but it’s hidden among facts and tidbits and a minutia of extraneous information. Almost like the speaker (or author) is trying to prove how smart they are, or how qualified. Clearly, Mark Batterson is ridiculously smart or well researched. Probably both. But there are so many pretentious factoids in this book, I could not hear his intended message. Ironic for a book about how to hear the voice of God.

Or maybe Batterson wanted readers to practice discerning important messages hidden clutter.

Or maybe I am not very smart.

Within the first 50 pages, readers learn nifty trivia regard the eruption of Krakatoa (p. 14), the effects of noise in a classroom (p. 15), the composition of Beetoven’s Fifth Symphony (p. 17), the electron shell of a carbon atom (p.17), the Hubble telescope (p. 21), the mechanics of the human voice (p. 25), the difference between ultrasonic and infrasonic (p. 25), facts about the expanding solar system (p. 26), the engravings over Carl Jung’s door (p.32), the layout of Washington DC (p. 32), statues in the White House (p. 37), and the inverse square law (p.43). (And I only listed the highlights.)

There are 32 Notes for the eleven pages comprising Chapter One. Subtracting the ten scriptures leaves 22 notes or two per page. That is a lot of references in my opinion.

Granted, most of these specifically relate to sound and were likely included to demonstrate vital points or underscore the validity of Batterson’s claims. However, said claims are but a whisper amidst the cacophony of fiddle-faddle.

But true seekers don’t give up. They recognize the initial trial only exists to weed out the weak and uncommitted. And I truly wanted to learn how to hear the voice of God.

The initial test ends on page 88. The reward for passing is a list of caution signs helping believers discern if our desires are from God or from ourselves. The italicized key points act like navigational beacons in a sea of triviality. The fog doesn’t lift, but at least we can steer.

Batterson asserts God has seven “love languages” (offering no shout-out to Gary Chapman). They are Scripture, desires, doors, dreams, people, promptings, and pain. Excluding the chapter on Scripture, I feel Batterson eventually explains how God speaks through these “languages,” but I don’t think enough information was given for a non-native speaker to learn how to hear God’s voice.

Batterson’s style isn’t for me. If you are a trivia buff or enjoy slogging through impersonal rhetoric in search of secret knowledge, I highly recommend this book. Maybe you can make it to the end with a greater understanding of how to hear the voice of God and win the ultimate prize: the actual ability to apply the author’s knowledge in a practical and meaningful way.

But people like me, who enjoy candid and relatable non-fiction told in a simple and humble way, might want to skip this one.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.