les Davey de France

Alan and Pat live and work in Bordeaux. Alan is a pastor and Pat was a nurse. Now we work with UFM worldwide. Read on! (If you'd like to know what took us to Bordeaux, then start with the archives from September 2004)

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Book Review : A Vine-Ripened Life, by Stanley D Gale

Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

Isn't that a LOVELY picture of Christian character. It's the fruit that the Spirit of God produces in the life of the Christian, pictured for us by Paul in Galatians 5:19.

Stanley Gale has taken this picture of the fruit of the Spirit and grafted it onto two chapters about abiding in Christ, the true vine, based on John 15. Afterwards there follows one chapter each for each characteristic of the fruit of the Spirit. Then two more chapters are grafted on, about humility and grace.

I think it's important to survey and understand the table of contents before launching into the book, because it is not at all an exposition of John 15, and I thought it was. I was puzzled, disappointed and confused until I realised how the book was structured and where it was taking me.

Once you get that the book is a useful, practical, helpful discussion of the fruit of the Spirit, with discussion questions at the end of the chapter. I can imagine the book being used helpfully for home groups, for small group studies or for one-to-one studies. You could even preach sermons on the different characteristics of the fruit of the Spirit and use the book as back-up for reflection, prayer and personal application.

If the book has a weakness it may be that the horticultural and agricultural imagery is sometimes pressed a bit far. Humility acts as chlorophyll to a plant. Grace is like organic fertiliser. Yes. OK.

But the book is biblical, wholesome, helpful and useful. And if you read it it will do you good.

I received this book free from the publisher in electronic format through the Cross Focused Reviews book review programme. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

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