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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Family of Jesus by Karen Kingsbury Review
The Family of Jesus by Karen Kingsbury offers a fictional view of six of the family members of Jesus (Mary, Joseph, Jesus’ brother James, John the Baptist, Zechariah, and Elizabeth), all anchored by Scriptural truth, creating a life-changing and unprecedented emotional connection to the Bible.

I was really excited to read The Family of Jesus by my friend,...
Published 8 months ago by Zac

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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I have read a lot of great reviews of this book and yet no one has ...
Someone please answer a question for me: How can Elizabeth and Zechariah be Jesus' aunt and uncle? Mary and Elizabeth were COUSINS so that would mean that Jesus would be her cousin too. He would not be a nephew to Elizabeth. Can anyone explain how this could be otherwise? I have read a lot of great reviews of this book and yet no one has pointed this out. It is now...
Published 7 months ago by dasha1


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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Family of Jesus by Karen Kingsbury Review, July 1, 2014
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The Family of Jesus by Karen Kingsbury offers a fictional view of six of the family members of Jesus (Mary, Joseph, Jesus’ brother James, John the Baptist, Zechariah, and Elizabeth), all anchored by Scriptural truth, creating a life-changing and unprecedented emotional connection to the Bible.

I was really excited to read The Family of Jesus by my friend, Karen Kingsbury. At first, I was a little skeptical as I know how I feel about fictionalizing Bible stories, but I felt Karen nailed it! Karen begins the book with a reader letter. I felt her heart and motive in writing this book and this really set me at ease and allowed me to fall in love with the story.

I normally do not cry in books, but Karen really pulled a heartstring when she wrote about Joseph. The Bible does not give us a lot of details about Jesus’ earthly father. This is where the fiction came in and Karen took what we do know and then tried to imagine if it could happen. What would it have been like to be Joseph? Imagine what it would have been like, in that time period, to be Joseph and the girl you are to marry comes and says, “I am pregnant.” Joseph knew it was not his baby. Now think of how you would react to Mary saying, “this baby is from God.” Of course, Karen tells it better than my brief example, but I never took the time to think about what really might have gone through Joseph’s head as he heard this news. We are told in the Bible that he wanted to divorce Mary.

As I read this whole story, I fell in love with the characters in the Family of Jesus. In fact, these are individuals in my family and in the family of Christians. Karen took me to a place I did not know existed as I felt like I got to know these individuals on a personal level. Of course, this is not the Bible. There are parts that are fiction and parts that are Scriptural truths. I think it is important to read a book like this, with discernment and prayer, but when I allowed myself to let get lost in the story and then evaluate what I just read, that was when the book really came alive.

I think this is one of Karen’s best books yet and I am excited to see how God uses it in the lives of those who read it.

I received a copy of this book for free. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions are my own.
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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bible Study From Karen Kingsbury: Joseph, Zechariah, John the Baptist, James and Mary, July 1, 2014
By 
Christine Abraham (San Francisco California, USA) - See all my reviews
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There are two books in this Family of Jesus series by Karen Kingsbury. The book shown here with the light cover is the "trade book" and the second book has a dark cover and is called the "6-session Bible study." The trade book is 304 pages and the Bible study workbook is 158 pages.

This beautifully written Bible study is based on the lives of Joseph, Zechariah, John the Baptist, James and Mary... family of Jesus. The trade book is written in storytelling format (example): "He rounded the corner and saw her house, on a modest lot of land near the edge of town. Often at night Mary would be out back, staring at the distant valley, praying to God or dreaming of the days ahead," The Bible study book is written in an instructive and informative format (example): "In Old Testament times, a divinely-appointed task was often connected to an office such as prophet or king." (followed by questions): "Now think about your life. How have you grown in godliness? In what ways do you struggle with the same temptations or sins?"

The storytelling format of this book is history rewritten and told from the view of one author. Kingsbury is a fantastic writer and uses great visual descriptions to bring the characters to life; in this case, the Biblical characters and historical figures related to Jesus.

The trade book shown here does have a short study guide at the end of each chapter. It's rather confusing unless you have both the trade book and the 6-week study guide side-by-side for comparison. Yes, the trade book does have five days of questions and group discussion questions for each chapter of the book. No, the trade guide does not have a deeper Bible study format. My general opinion is that the trade book study questions are similar to a book club format, and the workbook format is similar to a church Bible study format.

Don't let the format confuse you, just pray and see which book the Lord directs you to read and study. These are the recommended participation levels:

Level #1 Read the trade book alone
Level #2 Read the trade book and watch the six related videos from Lifeway
Level #3 Read the trade book and complete daily lessons in the workbook for six weeks
Level #4 Complete the daily lessons in the workbook for six weeks without the videos
Level #5 Read the trade book, complete the daily lessons in the workbook for six weeks, watch the videos
Level #6 Read the trade book and complete the trade book questions with a book club group
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I have read a lot of great reviews of this book and yet no one has ..., July 20, 2014
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This review is from: The Family of Jesus (Life-Changing Bible Study Series) (Hardcover)
Someone please answer a question for me: How can Elizabeth and Zechariah be Jesus' aunt and uncle? Mary and Elizabeth were COUSINS so that would mean that Jesus would be her cousin too. He would not be a nephew to Elizabeth. Can anyone explain how this could be otherwise? I have read a lot of great reviews of this book and yet no one has pointed this out. It is now hard for me to continue the book because of this.
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15 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars FAMILY OF JESUS COMES ALIVE!, July 1, 2014
This review is from: The Family of Jesus (Life-Changing Bible Study Series) (Hardcover)
The Family of Jesus by America’s favorite inspirational storyteller Karen Kingsbury is a fictional account of the lives of six of the closest earthly family members of Jesus which will make you laugh and cry, as you connect more deeply to the Bible. Written in her trademark heart-tugging style, the book will renew the reader’s interest in Biblical characters and pave the way for a deeper understanding of God’s Word.

The book brings the following biblical characters to life:
-Joseph – The Protective Father
-Zechariah – The Knowing Uncle
-John the Baptist – The Chosen Cousin
-Elizabeth – The Faithful Aunt
-James – The Doubting Brother
-Mary – The Loving Mother

In the book Karen Kingsbury has painted a sweeping portrait of each of her characters in such a way that it pulls one’s mind to the scene, enabling us to picture it as the story narrated unfolds. Karen’s vivid imagination coupled with her writing skills pulls one along as the characters come alive right before your eyes through the pages of the book. And as Karen writes: So sit back and let the sights and sounds and wonder of the family of Jesus fill your heart.

#Received advance uncorrected reader’s proof for review.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book that will definitely stand out among the rest, July 1, 2014
This review is from: The Family of Jesus (Life-Changing Bible Study Series) (Hardcover)
I am so excited about this book! Karen Kingsbury wrote an amazing story that takes us into the life of so many characters in the Bible. I have always wondered about so many of these characters and their emotions. This book made me want to pick up the Bible and go back and read more chapters and see their stories in there! I love that Karen took on these characters and you could really see her devotion to God and the story He put on her heart. This is a book I could read over and over and never get tired of! My 6 year old and I are reading it again and doing the Bible study along with it. Thank you Karen for this amazing book and I hope people really love it as much as I do!
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Karen does what she does best, allow readers to view beloved Bible characters with fresh eyes...", July 1, 2014
This review is from: The Family of Jesus (Life-Changing Bible Study Series) (Hardcover)
Karen Kingsbury, queen of inspirational fiction, enters the nonfiction arena with six fictionalized accounts of Jesus' relatives in The Family of Jesus scheduled to release July 1. She is careful to only take "literary license" with the "possible," she says, otherwise her stories are "anchored in Scripture" and what is known about the life and times of Jesus.

The collection of short stories, written from the perspective of those closest to Jesus, can be read as standalone narratives or used as a Life-changing Bible Study series on the lives of:

• "The Protective Stepfather—Joseph"
• "The Knowing Uncle—Zechariah"
• "The Chosen Cousin—John the Baptist"
• "The Faithful Aunt—Elisabeth"
• "The Doubting Brother—James"
• "The Loving Mother—Mary"

For example, readers join Joseph in the opening story as he works on a small "prayer table" made from select pieces of olive wood he's spent hours polishing "until the grain shone like glass" for his beloved Mary. He could hardly wait to give it to her when their customary year of betrothal was over and they would marry. While he worked Joseph dreamed of the years ahead with a smile on his face, unaware that Mary would soon break his heart with the words, "Joseph...I'm pregnant."

Karen's compelling writing allow readers to feel what it might have been like for John the Baptist to dedicate his life to preparing the way for Jesus. To understand the worry and fear James felt for his older Brothers safety and sanity when Jesus "started telling people He was God." Or the painful problem of infertility Elizabeth and Zechariah suffered that set them apart from their neighbors who had dozens of children. Or the final story, when we see Jesus through the eyes of His mother Mary in the final weeks of his life. Her pain, her suffering, her sorrow and her joy when she understood, Jesus was far more than her Son, he was "her Lord. Her risen Savior."

Karen's poignant stories equip readers to view familiar Bible characters with fresh eyes and understand they were people just like us who lived through extraordinary times and miraculous events. Except for Jesus, who was the Reason for it all.

While the narratives focus on Jesus' relatives and their struggles, the last third of the book contains chapter-by-chapter "Scripture readings and questions for further reflection." The Bible study segment is for individual or group use with chapter-by-chapter study quesitons. If used within a group the "Group Discussion questions" offer guidance, direction and conclude with a "Homework question."

Karen does what she does best, allow readers to view beloved Bible characters with fresh eyes and imagine what life might have been like for them, while her Bible study encourages thought-provoking reflection and spiritual growth. Visit Karen Kingsbury's website for more information.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Biblical Fiction at Its Best, July 1, 2014
By 
Carolyn Warren (Seattle, WA, USA) - See all my reviews
In the Bible, stories are told with such brevity that a person can’t help but wonder about the details. For example, we know so little about Joseph, the man married to the mother of Jesus. There is not one quotation by him in the gospels. It leaves a lot to the imagination.

Karen Kingsbury, New York Times bestselling novelist with over 20 million award-winning copies of her books in print, is up for the challenge. In this beautifully produced book, she has filled in the details and dialogue for scenes from six people who were close to Jesus. The result is biblical fiction at its best.

The first chapter opens with a scenes that shows Joseph distracted from his carpentry work by the wild orchids. He picks a bouquet to take to his fiancée Mary when he goes to visit her at her parents’ house. The orchids become a symbol for his love. Later, after he learns of Mary’s pregnancy and he thinks she has been unfaithful, he “walks past a field of fading orchids.” At the end of the chapter when Joseph is dying, he wishes he could have one more day to pick orchids for Mary. What beautiful story telling!

Reading the chapter sent me straight to the gospels to read again exactly what the Scriptures do and don’t say. Did Mary really disappear without a word to her fiancé Joseph when she traveled a five-day journey to visit Elizabeth? It seems odd and out of character to me, for her to abandon the man she’s in love with, leaving him wondering and worrying for three whole months. But who’s to say? The Bible doesn’t reveal the details. I respect the fact that Karen Kingsbury had her pastor check the stories to make sure there were no contradictions with the Scriptures.

As I read on, other questions arose. Did Mary and Joseph know one another since they were kids? Were they lifelong friends who fell in love? For me, that doesn’t seem as romantic as meeting at the market and feeling the spark of attraction from the first moment their eyes met, with Joseph looking a little too long and inquiring among friends as to who the beauty is, and Mary secretly hoping to run into him again. But who can say how they met and fell in love? Maybe Kingsbury is right, and they were childhood friends.

Other chapters are about Zechariah, Elizabeth, John the Baptist, James, and Mary.

For each chapter there is a corresponding Bible study with historic facts, Scriptures, and thought-provoking questions. This is my favorite part of the book. This is where I felt like I got to know the real Joseph as the loving husband, stepfather, and follower of God.

I recommend this book for those who enjoy biblical fiction. I am grateful to the publisher for sending me an advance copy of the book in exchange for my candid review.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars but once I got started I was so glad that I kept reading, January 16, 2015
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This review is from: The Family of Jesus (Life-Changing Bible Study Series) (Hardcover)
At first I was unsure about reading this book, but once I got started I was so glad that I kept reading. I love how Karen Kingsbury made the family of Jesus so real. Have you ever thought how did Joseph feel when he found out that Mary was pregnant. What was going through Mary's mind? What about Zechariah and Elizabeth? This book just made it seem so real and like they were every day people with the same type of feelings and emotions that we would probably wonder about. Excellent book and so worth the purchase. You won't be disappointed...I know I wasn't.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars WIll bless your faith!, October 23, 2014
Get to know the family of Jesus in a whole new way with the first installment of Karen Kingsbury's "Life Changing Bible Study" series. I wasn't quite sure what to expect when I cracked open the cover of "The Family of Jesus", but I greatly enjoyed getting to know the familiar Bible characters of Joseph, Zechariah, John the Baptist, Elizabeth, James and Mary in a whole new way. Kingsbury has done a great job at getting into the hearts and minds of these men and women in scripture, giving me a greater appreciation for who they are. Although of course the stories she has written are fictional, they are true to the Biblical facts as much as is possible and they breathe with an authentic air that reflects the culture of the time. I also really enjoyed the studies that accompany each story, allowing me to delve deeper into God's word by providing scripture references to look up and questions that challenged my own walk with God I found myself pondering whether I am bold like John the Baptist in sharing my faith, no matter the cost. And for the first time I thought about the type of father Joseph was to Jesus, and why God chose him of all earthly fathers, to raise his very son. Am I that type of father? Although I worked through the devotional studies on my own, they also seem well suited to sparking conversation in a group setting as well. I appreciate that the author has satisfied my love of fictional stories while also providing me with the opportunity to stop and really think about those family members who were in Jesus' life and what we can learn by their examples.

I encourage you to grab a copy of Kingsbury's "The Family of Jesus", a wonderful combination of fictionalized accounts and devotional studies. If you are like me, your walk with God will truly be blessed. 4 out of 5 stars.

Book has been provided courtesy of the publisher, Howard Books (Simon & Schuster Canada), for the purposes of this unbiased review.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Family of Jesus, August 3, 2014
By 
The Family of Jesus
Karen Kingsbury

Book Summary: America’s favorite inspirational novelist offers a fictional view of six of the family members of Jesus, all anchored by Scriptural truth, creating a life-changing and unprecedented emotional connection to the Bible. Through The Family of Jesus, readers will develop an emotional connection to the family members of Jesus, learning about their lives and falling in love with Scripture along the way. Bible studies and devotionals abound, and in churches everywhere people gather to seek a deeper understanding of God’s word and its application to their lives. But too often these studies engage only the analytic approach to Bible learning. In The Family of Jesus, #1 New York Times bestselling novelist Karen Kingsbury will make you laugh, cry, and ultimately care more deeply about the Bible by helping you grasp the truths in Scripture not just with your mind, but with your heart. The characters in these short stories were among those closest to Jesus—Mary, Joseph, Jesus’ brother James, John the Baptist, Zechariah, and Elizabeth. Each has a compelling tale to tell. Kingsbury intersperses fictional, emotionally gripping details anchored in Scripture with historical and theological insights and questions that will guide soul-searching and reflection. The Family of Jesus not only provides a deeper understanding of the relatives of our Savior, but also helps readers acquire tools that will draw them closer to Christ, to the Scriptures, and to each other.

Review: I find Karen Kingsbury to be a talented writer and this book puts flesh on the people surrounding Jesus and puts the dust on your face and leaves sand in your mouth from the skillful way she weaves a story.
I would like to thank Net Galley and Howard Books for allowing me to read and review this book in return for a free copy and I was never asked to write a favorable review by anyone.
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The Family of Jesus (Life-Changing Bible Study Series)
The Family of Jesus (Life-Changing Bible Study Series) by Karen Kingsbury (Hardcover - July 1, 2014)
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