Book Review: Family of Jesus

Family of Jesus Bible StudyThe Family of Jesus by Karen Kingsbury is a brand new Bible study by this popular author. There are two books in this Family of Jesus series by Karen Kingsbury. The book shown here with the light cover is the “trade book” and the second book has a dark cover and is called the “6-session Bible study.” The trade book is 304 pages and the Bible study workbook is 158 pages.This beautifully written Family of Jesus Bible study is based on the lives of Joseph, Zechariah, John the Baptist, James and Mary… family of Jesus. The trade book is written in storytelling format (example): “He rounded the corner and saw her house, on a modest lot of land near the edge of town. Often at night Mary would be out back, staring at the distant valley, praying to God or dreaming of the days ahead,” The Bible study book is written in an instructive and informative format (example): “In Old Testament times, a divinely-appointed task was often connected to an office such as prophet or king.” (followed by questions): “Now think about your life. How have you grown in godliness? In what ways do you struggle with the same temptations or sins?”The storytelling format of this book is not unlike the paraphrase style of the Message Bible. Scripture is rewritten and told from the view of one author. Kingsbury is a fantastic writer and uses great visual descriptions to bring the characters to life; in this case, the Biblical characters and historical figures related to Jesus.

The trade book shown here does have a short study guide at the end of each chapter. It’s rather confusing unless you have both the trade book and the 6-week study guide side-by-side for comparison. Yes, the trade book does have five days of questions and group discussion questions for each chapter of the book. No, the trade guide does not have a deeper Bible study format. My general opinion is that the trade book study questions are similar to a book club format, and the workbook format is similar to a church Bible study format. And yes, it is very confusing because they both use the “daily format” and the “discussion questions.” The trade book calls this the “Weekly Application and Group Discussion” and it’s found in the back of the trade book, one study guide for each of the six chapters.

Don’t let the Family of Jesus format confuse you, just pray and see which book the Lord directs you to read and study. There are the recommended participation levels:

Level #1 Read the trade book alone
Level #2 Read the trade book and watch the six related videos from Lifeway
Level #3 Read the trade book and complete daily lessons in the workbook for six weeks
Level #4 Complete the daily lessons in the workbook for six weeks without the videos
Level #5 Read the trade book, complete the daily lessons in the workbook for six weeks, watch the videos
Level #6 Read the trade book and complete the trade book questions with a book club group

Decide on your commitment level, get the appropriate book (s) and dig into the family of Jesus!

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