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The Gospel of Ruth: Loving God Enough to Break the Rules Paperback – January 26, 2011


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The Gospel of Ruth: Loving God Enough to Break the Rules + Lost Women of the Bible: The Women We Thought We Knew + When Life and Beliefs Collide
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Zondervan; Reprint edition (January 26, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0310330858
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310330851
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.6 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (68 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #107,261 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

The Gospel of Ruth sparkles with cultural insights and contemporary illustrations that bring the biblical story of Ruth into direct contact with the lives of women in the twenty-first century. -- Robert H. Gundry, Professor, Scholar-in-Residence and Professor Emeritus, Westmont College, Santa Barbara, California

Carolyn Custis James refuses to reduce Ruth to a pretty story with a nice moral lesson. Instead, she makes this ancient woman of faith come alive for women--and men--today. A work of theological insight and practical Christian wisdom. -- Timothy George, Dean of the School of Divinity, Founding Dean of Beeson Divinity School of Samford University and a senior editor of Christianity Today

In her gutsy profile of biblical Ruth, Carolyn Custis James challenges old religious mind-sets about gender, how God uses women, and how men should respond to the Holy Spirit's work in women. The Gospel of Ruth is one of the richest and most insightful books I've ever read about any woman in the Bible. Carolyn is to be commended for making such a valuable contribution to biblical theology. -- J. Lee Grady, Author, Author of 10 Lies the Church Tells Women

This is not a woman's book...it is a powerful book that I wish every man and woman who call themselves Christian would read. Carolyn Custis James peels back the familiar story of Ruth and shows us the undeniable story of courage, equality, and partnership that reflects the gospel and that the world is hungry to see. -- Nancy Ortberg, author of Looking for God and Founding Partner of Teamworx2.

Writing in an engaging and winsome style, Carolyn Custis James considers the intriguing question, "Is God good for women?" through an in-depth study of the book of Ruth. Women who want to live for Christ will appreciate her critique of the biblical concept of submission in light of the gospel. But don't leave the men out! They, too, will better understand what it means to be a Christian man through her solidly Christian discussion of male-female relationships in Christ. -- Karen H. Jobes, PHD/Gerald F. Hawthorne, Professor, Professor of New Testament Greek and Exegesis, Wheaton College --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

In her gutsy profile of biblical Ruth, Carolyn Custis James challenges old religious mind-sets about gender, how God uses women, and how men should respond to the Holy Spirit's work in women. The Gospel of Ruth is one of the richest and most insightful books I've ever read about any woman in the Bible. Carolyn is to be commended for making such a valuable contribution to biblical theology. -- J. Lee Grady, Author, Author of 10 Lies the Church Tells Women --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Carolyn Custis James (M.A. in Biblical Studies) is an evangelical thinker who loves God enough to break the rules--rules of cultural convention which attempt to domesticate the gospel message of the Bible.

Carolyn is president of WhitbyForum, a ministry dedicated to addressing the deeper needs which confront both women and men as they endeavor to extend God's kingdom together in a messy and complicated world. She is the founder of the Synergy Women's Network--an exciting new ministry for women in ministry leadership. www.synergytoday.org

Her books have been described as "provocative", "honest", and "deeply moving". A new one is coming out soon!

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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This is a very thought provoking book.
J. L. Sasnett
It tells us so much of God's redemptive plan and His ways of building His kingdom through ordinary people who will join Him wholeheartedly.
Edith H.
After reading The Gospel of Ruth by Carolyn Custis James I felt drawn to share the book as an online womens bible study.
Christine Smith @LifeVerseBooks

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

138 of 155 people found the following review helpful By L. Wiggins VINE VOICE on December 15, 2008
Format: Hardcover
My first real experience in the book of Ruth came as a single college student. My RUF girlfriends and I spent one summer reading Ruth and discussing how to be a "Ruth" in order to catch the attention of a "Boaz." Let's be honest, we attended college for our educations and careers, but we also hoped to meet our husbands at the next social. By the end of our study, we were all praying for a romantic, fairy-tale ending just like Ruth's. Today, more than ten years later, I am learning that Ruth isn't simply a romance nestled between Judges and 1 Samuel. Rather, Ruth is the story of Naomi and her daughter-in-law who will risk everything to rescue her. "This is the book I was born to write," writes Carolyn Custis James of her latest, The Gospel of Ruth: Loving God Enough to Break the Rules.

James wants to answer two questions through her study of Ruth: is God good for women? and what happens to men in the presence of strong women? On the way to answering those questions, James must also teach the reader about men, women, the culture of the day, widowhood, barrenness, and the important themes that occur in Ruth, like compassion, love, and selflessness versus self-preservation.

I enjoy James' writing style; she is concise and interesting. As I read, I made lots of notes and highlights. She is very good at translating the lessons from Ruth to the 21st century. I noted a few things I wanted to go back to and think through more deeply. For example, God has specific purposes for widowhood and barrenness in all of our lives. James writes, "The widow is and has always been a litmus test to measure how much theology we've truly absorbed and how much is just talk.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By E-Cowboy VINE VOICE on April 14, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I started reading this book a bit skeptical that a whole new perspective of the story of Ruth was going to be revealed by Carolyn James, but I was profoundly mistaken! This is a fascinating book, and James has done a tremendous job in researching and explaining the biblical text.

By expertly teaching about the historical context of ancient Israel, James reveals the deep meanings and undertones found in the book of Ruth that remain hidden to the typical reader. James also bridges the time-gap by applying the truths and principles found in Ruth to our lives. Many times that sort of application can feel like a stretch, but not here.

Okay, but is this book just for women? Definitely not. First, it's wonderful exegesis of biblical text. Granted the story of Ruth contains women, but that shouldn't impact the readership. Yes, many of the applications are for women, but not exclusively. Think that submission, love, kindness, generosity, etc. are primarily female virtues...then you need to read this book! Highly recommended.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By L. Tam on April 15, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The biggest "problem" I had with this book is the amount of guesswork storytelling that happens in it. Certainly there is much that can be reasonably assumed from well known cultural contexts - that Naomi and Ruth faced certain difficulties and discriminations being widows, and Ruth childless. They were probably presumed to be sinful women to have found themselves in such a dire situation. However, the following passages will help to illustrate my point:

No one knows whether Boaz was a decorated military hero, but given Israel's frequent bloody clashes with neighboring nations during the period of the judges, that is entirely possible.

As Ruth explains everything that happened to Naomi, Boaz is already heading for Bethlehem's gate, where he will keep his word. He may have had cold feet in the night, but as morning breaks across the Judean horizon his heart is deeply warmed by hesed.

Even if Boaz were a soldier in the military, we have no reason to believe he was either decorated, or a hero. And we have no idea if he had cold feet, or that if he did, his heart warmed as he walked. Maybe he was terrified, but stuck to his grits. The point is, we have NO IDEA about these things, but the writer makes up a lot of possible - even probable, but entirely unsubstantiated stories to fill in the blanks. As someone who carefully studies and scrutinizes the Bible critically, this was very distracting throughout the entire read.

However, that is not to say this book does not offer value; the guesswork storytelling, though aggravating to someone like me, does not detract from the central core of the story of Ruth.
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12 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Karen on February 26, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I was very encouraged as I read "The Gospel of Ruth." Carolyn's descriptions of "hesed" took my understanding of God's love to a deeper lever. I was challenged to truly believe and live out the fact that God is constantly and intimately involved in all areas of my life. I was riveted to the pages of this book and highly recommend it to others.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By J. Brown on July 9, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This book is a serious, scholarly dig into the Bible's book of Ruth, but reads so easily it was almost novel-like. I've read Ruth, studied Ruth, and even read other books on the topic, but this book brought my understanding of it to a new level altogether. Carolyn Custis James does an amazing job of setting the cultural backdrop, which really puts the story into a different light than I've ever heard before. She challenges "traditional" views regarding submission, the role of women in God's story, and even what the book of Ruth has to offer.

This book tells the tale of Ruth - her pain, her courage, and her dedication to her mother-in-law Naomi - while still demonstrating that God is at the center of the story. Instead of focusing on the love story between Ruth and Boaz, James shows the relationships between them, as well as Naomi, in a completely different light. She reveals how their actions were risky, courageous, and deeply self-sacrificing, done out of love for and trust in God.

James, through examining the well-known story, seeks to answer the question, "Is God good for women?" Even poor, barren, widowed women in a patriarchical society? Can God still have a purpose, and see it through, for women in painful circumstances? Instead of trivializing pain and giving trite answers, the author delves into the sorrows of infertility and losing a husband, and even shares about her own pain. In a very seamless and authentic way, she then leads the reader to examine Ruth's story, where God's purposes prevail against all odds.
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