Monday, January 11, 2016

Philippians - Discovering Joy Through Relationship by Sue Edwards - REVEIWED

About the Book:
A "how-to" study for finding joy in authentic relationships and community 

Women long for healthy, deep relationships with those around them. Knowing what those look like can be tricky, however. Where do we go to seek them? How can we approach them? How can we maintain those relationships, despite our own weaknesses? 

Sue Edwards is happy to lead the way through Scripture to discover and maintain beloved, organic friendships. Paul's letter to early Christians is an ideal place to find these answers. This short letter highlights the skills that strengthen authentic connections— skills like trust, humility, healthy self-sacrifice, a generous spirit, and more. It also sheds light on how to overcome toxic connection-killers like envy, comparison, and critical attitudes. 

Philippians: Discovering Joy Through Relationship works its way through Paul's words as a model for deep, authentic community and healthy relationships between believers. When readers reach the end, they’ll have a thorough sense of the content of this ancient letter, and of its relevance for today. Although Paul was under house arrest, he was able to draw joy from his relationships, and we can do the same, no matter our circumstances. Edwards strives to ensure that this Bible study will do more than transfer intellectual information; it will also transform hearts and inspire practice and application. 
My Thoughts:
Phillipians is, indeed, a book rich in relationships.  This church had humble beginnings in Lydia’s household, but grew to be a church dear to Paul and a congregation that kept a close relationship and helped him physically and financially as he was persecuted and jailed for the sake of the gospel. Sue Edwards has created a powerful, in-depth study of this book of the Bible. 

Going through a chapter verse at a time gives you time to really consider both the content and context of the message.  Edwards offers many other notes, quotes and deeper reference to all of Scripture to make sure full understanding is available to everyone who goes through this study.

This study was intended for a group, but can be done individually as well. I worked through this by myself, and the study gave me lots of opportunity to take fresh insight of God’s Word and share it with my friends. I enjoyed the opportunity to make practical application to my own life and consider how Paul’s relationship with and encouragement to the people of Phillipi could teach me how to have deeper and richer relationships within my own friendship circles.

This study also challenged me to stay more in tune with my own spiritual leaders.  What I face is the challenge of being a member of a large congregation, but the people of Phillipi stayed in touch with Paul and his circumstances no matter where he was.  To me, that was an encouragement that I can find a way to know how to pray for the leaders of my church even though I am only one in a very large congregation.
I am eager to recommend this study to anyone who really wants to dig deep into God’s Word and learn the truths God has for each of us throughout Scripture.

About the Author:
Sue Edwards (MA, Dallas Theological Seminary; D.Min., Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary) teaches full-time in the Christian Education Department at Dallas Theological Seminary. She has more than twenty-five years of experience teaching, pastoring, and directing women's ministries. In addition, Sue speaks at retreats, conferences, and seminars across the country, and is author of the Discover Together Bible Study Series.

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