Book Review – A Beautiful Design by Matt Chandler
A Beautiful Design is a Bible study book published by LifeWay in conjunction with The Village Church in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. This book is designed to be a discussion guide for small groups and coincide with a video series that you can find at LifeWay . The stated purpose of the study is to provide evidence that God’s plan for gender is revealed in scripture and is not only the ultimate design but also a part of a “greater purpose for humanity and leads to our greatest joy”.
A Beautiful Design is divided into nine sessions beginning with God’s creation and image within gender roles followed by three sessions on man’s purpose, hurdles, and redemption and then three chapters on women’s purpose, hurdles, and redemption. The book concludes with a session called Together for the Gospel in which the author pleads for a coming together of the genders in order to better proclaim the glory of God.
Men and women have been created in the image of God. By their very nature they share a fundamental identity as equal participants in imaging God, equal responsibility to spread the glory of God, and equal recipients of grace. Men and women have been created in distinct ways and entrusted with complementary purposes that come together in a beautiful way for the going forth of the gospel.
One of the things that I really appreciated in A Beautiful Design was the way in which Matt Chandler included a page called Family Discipleship at the beginning of each session. The family discipleship pages start off with a statement about God’s purpose for the family in discipling the next generation and then include ideas for family discussion under the categories of Time, Moments, and Milestones. I thought this was an important inclusion because the most important small group we can participate in are our very own families and any discussion on God’s design for gender would be incomplete without the inclusion of family. In addition to the family discipleship page each session also begins with a short introduction to the session theme and a scripture passage on which to meditate. The session chapters include questions to answer while watching the videos and discussion questions to guide the small group into discovering Biblical truths about the general topic. The questions included in each session are intended to apply the teaching (and sometimes include self assessments) and to challenge the participant to think seriously about how they are conforming to the Biblical pattern. Chandler also includes prayers fort he participants throughout the book which reveal his sincere desire to recapture the design for men and women.
After reading through this study I would recommend it for use in small groups rather than as individuals. Although it can certainly be used on an individual basis the questions are intended to produce a certain amount of accountability within a small group. Ideally this would be used within the context of a family gathering, perhaps as a supplement for a daily family worship/discipleship. Homeschool students will benefit from the intimate discussions that this fosters and will help to infuse a practical teaching for those whose focus is perhaps more academic than character centric. It is best suited for older children, perhaps 12 and up although younger children can certainly benefit from hearing the truths and setting a foundation for their later years.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from LifeWay Press in exchange for an online review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
About the Author
Matt Chandler serves as Lead Pastor of Teaching at The Village Church in Flower Mound, TX. Alongside his current role, Matt is involved in church planting efforts both locally and internationally through The Village and strategic partnerships. In 2012, he became the president of Acts 29, a network of churches planting churches, and he speaks at conferences throughout the world. While the author of many books and Bible studies including The Explicit Gospel (2012) and The Mingling of Souls, Matt counts his greatest joy outside of Jesus as being a husband to Lauren and a dad to their three children, Audrey, Reid, and Norah.
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