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Formed for the Glory of God: Learning from the Spiritual Practices of Jonathan Edwards Paperback – June 2, 2013

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Editorial Reviews


"A sobering book, a book which focuses the mind and heart on the 'means of grace,' and a book which is practical, it stands recommended." (Christine Farenhorst, Christian Renewal, December 11, 2013)

"In a time when so many 'spiritual but not religious' seekers turn away from empty religious formalism, seeking instead a stirring vision of glorious transcendence that captures the heart, who would have suspected that Jonathan Edwards would emerge as a man for such a time as this? Strobel's book deserves a wide readership for establishing Edwards' place at the table of great spiritual guides of the church." (Andy Nagal, Presbyterian Outlook, August 2013)

"We read Augustine, Calvin, Edwards and a host of other great theologians as if they wrote theology only to inform us, failing to realize that they wrote their works, as they preached their sermons, to form us, too. We thus do them an injustice if we see their books as providing us with nothing more than information. Kyle Strobel addresses this essential problem in the way he wrote about Jonathan Edwards. Formed for the Glory of God is not a practical book about Edwards's spiritual practices, nor is it a theoretical book about Edwards's theology. It is both at the same time, which is just as Edwards would want it. Strobel thus writes about Edwards as Edwards himself wrote. His attention to Edwards's theology of glory and beauty and love informs and shapes his exploration of Edwards's spiritual practices, which in both cases orient us toward God. This book did more than teach me; it awakened longing for God. It introduces Jonathan Edwards as the luminous, pastoral, passionate and deeply Christian man that he was. I heartily commend it to you." (Gerald L. Sittser, professor of theology, Whitworth University, and author of Water from a Deep Well)

"We sometimes imagine that spiritual formation--the Spirit's work of conforming us to the image of God's Son--is something accomplished on our own. But in reality, God has graciously given us the gift of teachers and the community of saints. These wise guides can lead us and help us, through their teaching and example, pointing us to Christ. We could not ask for a more profound guide than the great theologian Jonathan Edwards. In these pages his gifted interpreter Kyle Strobel shows us a better way--a way less traveled--for how to live the Christian life bound to the Son in love. A feast awaits all those with eyes to see." (Justin Taylor, managing editor, ESV Study Bible, and coeditor (with John Piper), A God-Entranced Vision of All Things)

"If you are among those either unacquainted with Jonathan Edwards or simply afraid to read him, this book is for you. As best I can tell, what Kyle Strobel has done here is largely unprecedented in Edwardsean studies. With Edwards as tour guide, he has taken us on a journey, both deeply theological and eminently practical, into what it means to live Christianly. If biblical spirituality is something you cherish and long for, you can do no better than join Strobel, together with Edwards, in this profoundly life-changing exploration. Highly recommended!" (Sam Storms, Ph.D., lead pastor, Bridgeway Church, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma)

"Jonathan Edwards was the most brilliant mind America has ever produced. I once took an entire year to read through his complete body of work. The wisdom was staggering. Now, another brilliant mind, my dear friend Kyle Strobel, has made Edwards accessible to everyone, on the critical issue of spiritual formation through godly habits and attitudes. This is an important book that can change your life." (Dr. Rick Warren, Saddleback Church)

"In too many minds, Jonathan Edwards's reputation has been associated with a single passage in a single sermon: Jonathan Edwards in the hands of angry sinners. Kyle Strobel has written a deeply thoughtful and informed primer on spirituality that is based on Edwards' theology and life. From the 'sovereignty principle' to an Edwardsian retreat, Kyle has given a gift that will be a means of grace for many." (John Ortberg, senior pastor, Menlo Park Presbyterian Church)

"Through a careful study of the spirituality of Edwards's sermons and various tracts, Kyle Strobel has produced a rich distillation of this remarkable American divine's spiritual vision. The end product is an extremely helpful volume that delineates what a distinctively evangelical piety has looked like in the past and why that pattern is still of great value today." (Michael A. G. Haykin, professor of church history and biblical spirituality, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary)

"We can learn much from Edwards, and Kyle Strobel is an excellent guide to have along with us." (Rev. Prof. W.D.J. McKay, The Covenanter Witness, September 2014)

About the Author

Kyle Strobel (PhD,University of Aberdeen) teaches spiritual theology for Talbot's Institute for Spiritual Formation and Spiritual Formation Focus programs. Strobel has published Jonathan Edwards' Theology: A Reinterpretation and Formed for the Glory of God: Learning from the Spiritual Practices of Jonathan Edwards. He has also published in the Harvard Theological Review, Journal of Spiritual Formation & Soul Care and Relevant magazine.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: IVP Books (June 2, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0830856536
  • ISBN-13: 978-0830856534
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #52,549 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Thank you for looking into my books! I have just released a new book about living with God who is always with you, called Beloved Dust: Drawing Close to God by Discovering the Truth About Yourself (co-written with Jamin Goggin). We are very excited about this book. There is a DVD curriculum and Study Guide available as well. For more information, go to

I am a father and a husband, seeking to be faithful to the call set before me. My "day job," so to speak, is being an assistant professor of spiritual theology and formation at Talbot School of Theology, Biola University. I also helped co-found Metamorpha Ministries. For more on Metamorpha Ministries go to I tend to write in the areas of spiritual formation, theology and on Jonathan Edwards's thought specifically. I am working on "The Jonathan Edwards Project," which is a series of books turning to Edwards as a guide and prophetic voice in his own right. I hope I can make Edwards accessible and utilize his thought for the church today. I teach theology, spiritual formation, and ministry classes and love the opportunity to walk alongside future ministry leaders.

For more information on my writing go to or follow me on Twitter @KyleStrobel

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Godandculture on June 10, 2013
Format: Paperback
There is more to Jonathan Edwards than "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God." Much more. What most of us do know about Jonathan Edwards is limited to our junior high history class's reading of his famous sermon. If this is all you know about Edwards, you may "mistakenly believe that Edwards was somewhat obsessed with hellfire and brimestone." And you would be wrong.

In his new book, "Formed for the Glory of God," Kyle Strobel introduces us to the Jonathan Edwards we never knew, but not intentionally. He does so by exploring the spiritual practices of Jonathan Edwards, the pastor-theologian of pre-Revolutionary Colonial America. As the book progresses, we learn - almost serendipitously - that Edwards was not obsessed with the wrath of God at all. He was overwhelmed by, and a captive of, the glory of God expressed through His absolute love for His creatures. Kyle helps us see that only those who themselves are captivated by God Himself as the fountain of love can ever hope that their spiritual practices will result in a deeper relationship with this God. This is the beginning point of spiritual formation - and its end.

Most every book I have ever read on the spiritual disciplines begins and ends with the disciplines themselves: meditation, prayer, fasting, simplicity, solitude, worship, et al. The thesis of these books tends to point inward - to the self and to what we who are practicing the disciplines are doing - and the practices become ends in themselves.

Not so with Kyle Strobel's "Formed for the Glory of God." Kyle makes the point (and makes it well) "...that spiritual formation is not simply doing spiritual disciplines. Spiritual formation is about a life oriented to God in Christ by the Spirit.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By J. Nitta on June 15, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
My hats off to Kyle Stobel! His latest book Formed for the Glory of God is actually a gift from God to all of us and helpful for a number of reasons. The first way this book is helpful is it makes Edwards accessible to more people. Frankly, Edwards, one of the smartest philosopher/theologians in the history of our country, can be a very difficult read for people. There is a place for über-academic works on Edwards, but Kyle does a great job of taking complex thoughts/concepts and explaining them in a way that allows more people to appreciate the great mind of Edwards.

The second way the book is helpful is it captures the devotional life for us as not just what we do in private but how a vital faith is lived out. Edwards was not only a brilliant thinker but his Christian faith was deeply devotional. While much of modern Christianity tends to split good thinking and emotions (head/heart split) Edwards seems to seamlessly connect the two. The life of the mind is important because it serves to help us make good distinctions in order to live well. As Kyle rightly emphasizes, the devotional life is a life of wisdom.

The book is helpful in a third way - it's not just an exposition on Edwards. It actually led to an exploration of my heart. I've had that same refreshing experience with a book I read recently about Mother Teresa. As Kyle spends the first three chapters laying the foundation of Edward's devotional life, I sensed my own heart stirring in a like manner. It's one thing for a writer to merely explain. It's a whole different thing for the reader to be taken into the narrative, to have his/her heart stirred.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Shane Copeland on July 9, 2013
Format: Paperback
"For many, the Christian life has been so oriented around themselves and fixing their problems that 'growth' necessarily entails seeng yourself as holy, good and true. Edwards tells us a different story. There are two divergent emphases that drive Edwards'understanding of the Christian life. First is the idea of true growth, which is greater dependence upn God. Second is the idea that as we grow we become more aware of our depravity."

I've read a number of books on spiritual disciplines and formation over the past 10-15 years. A lot of have been helpful and challenging, but most of them tread similar territory. Kyle Strobel does something a little different by reaching back to Jonathan Edwards: he casts the journey of formation through a Reformed theological perspective. He does this by breaking the book into two parts: the vision and the practical. Both are helpful.

In the first part, Strobel, through Edwards, holds up the love, beauty and glory of God as our "destination." He states, "Spiritual formation, Edwards tells us, is about learning the song we will sing for eternity." And, "as the saint comes to know God, and the union between them grows greater and greater for eternity, the saint is upheld and made fully himself or herself. God's purpose is not to overtake us, but to fill us with his life and love. God calls us to partake in the happiness he has known for eternity past and will continue to know for eternity future." Knowing your destination gives you what you need for the journey in this earthly life.

The second part is answering the question of "How do we learn this song?" That is what spiritual disciplines are for. Here Strobel is especially helpful. He recasts the disciplines as Means of Grace.
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