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Flawed Families of the Bible: How God's Grace Works through Imperfect Relationships Paperback


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 236 pages
  • Publisher: Brazos Press (March 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1587431556
  • ISBN-13: 978-1587431555
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.6 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #516,674 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

"And you thought that your family was messed up! For all you abusers and abused, addicted, raped, codependents, and control freaks, Good News. God loves to work with families like yours and mine. Here are 'family values' God's way--a messy assortment of marriages and families that only God could love. And God does."--William H. Willimon, coauthor of Resident Aliens: Life in the Christian Colony

"A profound reflection on how God relates to, works with, and loves families whatever their circumstance. The Garlands escort us on a tour of some of God's more interesting biblical families, always with an eye to exposing their fully flawed humanity. This book will challenge and change the way many read the Bible--not because it focuses on failures and difficulties, but because it shows that our true greatness is not so much of our doing, but of the God who is much more that we deserve."--David M. Thomas, codirector, The Bethany Family Institute, UK and USA

"Diana and David Garland have pooled their combined expertise in scripture studies and family ministry to create a wonderful, wise book. Flawed Families of the Bible challenges all our pious platitudes about the life of faith and the 'perfect' family, opening us up to a radical transforming vision of real redemption experienced in the midst of confusion, failure, and pain. This gracious and grace-filled book surprises us into seeing God and our family lives anew."--Wendy M. Wright, author of Seasons of a Family's Life: Cultivating the Contemplative Spirit at Home

"What does the Bible say about families? What is a 'normal' family? Let two of the wisest guides around help you explore these questions with insight and care. Be warned, however, as it is with most things biblical, the truth will both enlighten and disturb you. Flawed Families of the Bible opens wide our eyes--and our hearts even more--as we see both the pain and the promise of family life. Most of all, we catch a glimpse of how large God's grace is and what it means for all of us."--J. Bradley Wigger, author of The Power of God at Home

About the Author

David E. Garland (Ph.D., Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) is associate dean for academic affairs and William M. Hinson Professor of Christian Scriptures at George W. Truett Theological Seminary, Baylor University. He is the author of numerous books, including award winning commentaries on 1 Corinthians and Mark. Diana R. Garland (Ph.D., University of Louisville) is professor and dean of the School of Social Work at Baylor University and founding director of the Baylor Center for Family and Community Ministries. She is the author of Sacred Stories of Ordinary Families: Living the Faith Everyday and Family Ministry: A Comprehensive Guide. David and Diana are also coauthors of Beyond Companionship and Marriage for Better or Worse.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By J. B. Hood on July 25, 2007
Format: Paperback
What the previous reviewer has labeled fluff is generally regarded by scholars as "close reading" of the text, paying attention to details in the text which we might otherwise ignore. Granted the Garlands go beyond the text on (rare) occasion, asking questions the text doesn't seem particularly interested in asking. But this does not detract on the whole from what is otherwise a careful, insightful project.

This readable book is easy to read and is for anyone interested in the Bible, especially those struggling with family problems or suffering because of relationship difficulties or traumatic life events.

For example, the chapter on Michal provides insight into her shame at David's dancing, insight which most readers (including the present reviewer) tend to miss without special attention to her story elsewhere in Samuel. We miss such insights because of many factors, but particularly due to failure to read the Bible closely and our cultural assumptions which may reflect Hollywood more than the Holy Book (i.e., that Bathsheba seduced David, an assumption the authors rightly refute). There are two antidotes: going back to the text to see what it really says, and asking careful questions to ensure that the text is saying what we think it's saying.

As the Garlands note, when we pay careful attention to those who are "damaged goods" in Scripture, the simple act of hearing that one's trials are also found in Scripture provides enormous encouragement to the suffering. For those of us who live around others who are suffering, hearing oft-ignored stories from Scripture helps us hear the cries and needs of those who suffer in the present. The Bible isn't just about heroes, and it's certainly not about perfect families and lives--it's about people in need of mercy and grace and restoration.

Well done, Garlands!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Davie Harrington on April 14, 2007
Format: Paperback
This was a good book with lots,well some, pretty good life lessons (forgiving pages 151-152 ). But there could have been more examples of flawed families and way less fluffing out of the few examples they did include in the book.It was nice to know that Biblical families are as dysfunctional as 21st century families. Would I buy it again? Absolutely just so I could refer back to the passages I underlined.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Eric J. Swanson on September 6, 2007
Format: Paperback
In a world of books that presents ideal Christian families as the norm, it's easy to forget that God's plan was realized through a lineage of flawed families! This book is a refreshing change and a source of hope for all broken and flawed families!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jayne P. Bowers VINE VOICE on July 12, 2009
Format: Paperback
It's almost commonplace to hear someone say, "Oh, my family's so dysfunctional." After reading and enjoying Flawed Families of the Bible, I realize more than ever that all families have their little quirks, skeletons in the closet, weird relationships, crazy old uncle (or aunt), and situations that kind of make you say, "HUH?" Nevertheless, the book conveys a clear message that God works through imperfect people and their imperfect relationships...people just like us.

While debating whether to buy it or not, I opened right to "Dinah's Story" and wondered how a person would feel if her brothers took such brutal, bloody steps to avenge a "rape." In that same chapter, I read about Tamar being raped by her own half-brother. Not only did her "loving" father do nothing to avenge assault; neither did he try to comfort her or offer any compassion. I flipped to another chapter and skimmed the pages about Leah and Rachel. How would it feel to NEVER come first in your husband's affection? Then there was Bathsheba, and for some reason, I'd never really thought that much about her feelings of abuse (?) and loss.

Garland and Garland tell the stories and then apply them to our lives today as we struggle with envy, distrust, favoritism, rejection, and a host of other emotions and situations. It's well-written, thought-provoking, and educational. What more can you ask for in a book?
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