February 22, 2021

Reviewed by Ethan C.

“The Good and Beautiful God – Falling in Love with the God Jesus knows” by James Bryan Smith is a book about learning more about God and His character by studying Jesus’ life. Each chapter “deals with false concepts [about God] and the true one, namely, the narrative of Jesus” (pg. 14). In addition, there are sections called “Soul Training”, with the intention to help us “see and understand the world as Jesus did” (pg.14). These “Soul Training” exercises remind me of “Celebration of Discipline” by Richard J. Foster. And guess what? James Bryan Smith was close friends with Richard J. Foster for over 20 years! Much of what Smith learned from Foster, as well as many other mentors, are embedded in this book, as he mentions in the intro. However I would consider this book definitely an easier read than “Celebration of Discipline”, although a bit less in depth. Regardless, Smith is able to explain different topics with simple language and funny stories. I really enjoyed how plainly Smith can present his ideas and the truths of the Bible consistently throughout each chapter. Even though I read this book for my own enjoyment, it would be great to go through with a small group and Smith even suggests to do so as he also included reflection questions at the end of each chapter.

This book is the first book out of three in the Apprentice series – the other two books are “The Good and Beautiful Life” and “The Good and Beautiful Community”. I definitely would recommend reading this book! I’ll be keeping my eye out for the other two.
Tags: Christian Living / Spiritual Growth (LIV or DEV), ethan c, james bryan smith
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