"Knowing God By Name"

"Knowing God By Name" is the second Girlfriends in God Faith Adventure book authored by the GiG trio of popular conference speakers and online devotion writers, Sharon Jaynes, Gwen Smith, and Mary Southerland.

The book is an eight-week study of the names of God, to read individually or with a small group, and it includes daily devotionals {each beginning with Today's Truth, the Bible verse corresponding to the day's name, continuing with Friend to Friend, the devotional, and finishing with Let's Pray}, a weekly Now It's Your Turn guide with questions and thoughts, and blank lines, for further study, reflection, discussion, journaling, and prayer, and also a pronunciation guide for Hebrew and Greek names. {Sneak peak: read chapter 1.}

From the back cover:

Redeemer. Healer. Provider. How will you encounter God today?

Throughout Scripture, God reveals His complex character by identifying Himself by different names—names that shed light on who He is and how we should relate to Him. In this engaging book, the popular Girlfriends in God devotional team introduces you to forty of those names, each of which invites you to glory in a different aspect of our amazing God.

In each day’s reading you’ll encounter personal, inspiring stories and biblical truths that lead you to a deeper understanding of who God is and what He does on your behalf. You’ll be fed with Scripture that you can apply to your unique circumstances. And most important, as you come to know Him by name, you’ll draw closer to God and learn to trust Him more fully.

"Knowing God By Name" is an easy read and makes great strides toward its authors' purpose and prayer that as women "reflect on the various names of God, [they] will experience Him in fresh ways and with deeper intimacy" (4). I enjoyed each author's individual writing style and, even more so, appreciated the fact that they all wrote clearly and thoroughly without the content ever being long and drawn out or "fluffy" {regardless whether or not this is simply an aspect of the devotional genre versus full-length book, I always admire and appreciate writing that gets to the point and isn't just text to fill up pages}. The personal stories add "life" to the devotionals, while the Biblical context, historical background, and language explanations help give some weight to the reassurances and reminders for women of the truths and promises of God, who He is, and His sovereignty and goodness in our lives.

For instance, one devotion that I found interesting was "The Potter". After writing how God is "faithful and so patient" and "never tires of His work", and that we must trust God to shape us and remain pliable in His hands, the author recounts a story of a woman who visits a silversmith to learn about the process of refining silver, and the meaning of Malachi 3:3 {"He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver"}. The silversmith took a piece of silver, which appeared to the woman's eye already beautiful, and placed it in the hottest part of his fire in order to burn away the impurities; when asked if he had to sit and watch the silver constantly, the silversmith said, "'I cannot take my eyes off the silver. If it is left in the furnace even a moment too long, it will be destroyed'" (170). And whether as a Refiner or The Potter, God always watches us and is patient to mold us into the image of His Son, if we trust His work and His faithfulness.

Though I found "Knowing God By Name" to be a neat concept and interesting book, I realized at the outset that it is very much a "personal" study, and I had to remind myself that the point of the book is not theological per se, but relational {in order for women to know God more deeply}. As the Introduction mentions, the authors' purpose is "not to cover every name of God mentioned in the Bible or to study every theological nuance of the names we do cover" (4). Also, the book covers "different names and attributes of God..." (4, emphasis added). Nonetheless, I was disappointed that, apart from the first week or two, there were disappointingly few Hebrew or Greek definitions and explanations of the names {especially considering how enlightening it was when included, I felt the content lost depth when devotions consisted of just stories}. Also, personally, some of the "names" seemed a bit of a stretch {i.e., My Portion, My Song} despite all the possible choices in Scripture. On another note, the Now It's Your Turn guide's reflective and personal application questions are sometimes thought-provoking but in general, I think they would be better discussed with a Bible study group.

Overall, I appreciated "Knowing God By Name" for its specific purpose {and I thought it wise that the authors were clear about it} being a study for women to grow closer to God. In each devotion, Biblical truth and promises are woven together with personal anecdotes and thoughts to remind women of the greatness, goodness, and loving care of God. While the book is obviously written for women, it does not fall into stereotypical "female" issues but instead focuses on who God is and how a better understanding of Him helps us have a closer relationship with Him and trust more fully. For women, either an individual or especially a small group, interested in a personal, thoughtful study and not necessarily hard-hitting theology and book knowledge, "Knowing God By Name" would be a beneficial eight weeks. "Begin today with Knowing God by Name—and grow closer to the One who knows you by name" (back cover).

Disclaimer: This book was received for free from Blogging for Books in exchange for my review.

No comments :

Post a Comment