The Purpose-Driven Life focuses on helping readers answer the question, "What on earth am I here for?" Warren sets out to help readers become the people that God wants them to be.
He elaborates on five truths to answer this question of why we are here. According to Warren, we exist for the purposes of worship, ministry, evangelism, fellowship and discipleship. He states that in fulfilling these roles on earth, we find and fulfill our purposes.
This is a comprehensive book about how to live the Christian life successfully. It discusses most of the major themes of The Bible. Warren cites over 1,000 scriptures in the book. He rarely makes a point without quoting from the Bible. The messages of the chapters are relevant for new and mature Christians.
The book is formatted in 40 chapters. Warren suggests readers study a chapter a day for 40 days, so that the reader can take time to reflect and meditate on each chapter's lesson. Each chapter ends with a main point to consider, a scripture to remember and a question to answer. I found these questions to be thought-provoking and meaningful.
This book is an excellent tool for study groups to read and discuss. It emphasizes the importance of Christian character development and of becoming an active member of a community of believers. Warren provides reasons and practical ways for the reader to serve others inside and outside the church.
For a church wanting to develop individuals excited and prepared to do ministry, promoting studies of The Purpose-Driven Life would help to meet this objective. Warren concludes the book by addressing each person's mission within the church and world. He also includes an appendix with further questions to initiate discussion among readers.
In citing 1000 scriptures throughout the book, Warren uses 15 different Bible translations interchangeably. He explains that all translations have limitations and that he uses various translations to present scriptures in a fresh way. The references for the scriptures he quotes are in endnotes, so I was continually turning to the back of the book to discover the version and verse of a scripture. To a minor extent, I think this undermines the integrity and flow of the book.
I always try to keep in mind when reading a book like this that the author's opinions are not infallible like the Bible. I say this because there are a few times while reading this book when I disagreed with an opinion of Warren's which was stated as a fact. Readers should keep in mind that opinions of Christian authors are debatable and not gospel.
I don't think these two criticisms detract much from the value of this book.
Warren writes that "The purpose of your life fits into a much larger, cosmic purpose that God has designed for eternity. That's what this book is about." In The Purpose Driven Life, Warren has written indefatigably about this purpose, and I think reading it will help you identify and fulfill your purpose.