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Book Review – Portraits of Faith


Book Review – Portraits of Faith

Portraits of Faith is a book by Joel Beeke about the faith of five people from scripture who are not your typical ‘heroes of the faith’. Instead, Beeke focuses on ordinary sinners like you and I and shows how God is at work to produce faith within them. The effect that this had on me as a reader was to magnify the glory of God as I found myself more and more convinced that God is indeed at work in me; “both the will and the deed even of his good pleasure”.

Starting with Adam and Eve, Beeke shows how the promised lineage of faith would bring about the Promised One who would bring life to those who were born into death. The one whose sin altered the course of human history and propelled us on the path of death was also the one who, upon hearing the curse of the serpent, seized upon the promise of life contained therein and  named his wife Eve (‘life’). This was a profound expression of faith and trust in the good character of the God whom he had known since the beginning. Eve too seized upon this promise and looked forward to its fulfillment. From here Beeke moves on the the Shunammite woman whose faith in the God of Elisha was so sure that she insisted that it was well in the midst of profound tragedy. Then there is the Canaanite woman who, upon an initial rejection by Christ, persisted in faith and insisted that even the dogs eat the crumbs from their masters table. This was an incredible profession of faith as she recognized her lowly stature but also saw that God, in Christ was reconciling lowly people to himself. Finally, Beeke points us to Caleb; a supreme example of persevering faith.

Those familiar with Joel Beeke will at once recognize his pastoral love and grandfatherly affection for the church in this book. Those who are not yet familiar with him will be encouraged by his care for sinners. Portraits of Faith will encourage you in your walk and will point you to Christ to strengthen your faith. Beeke includes study questions for each chapter at the end of the book with the aim of pointing us away from ourselves and to the one who justifies, sanctifies, and glorifies his people. I would recommend this book to just about everybody. Each of us have times and perhaps even seasons in which we feel as if our faith is week. Portraits of faith provides a remedy for this by pointing us to the one who (slowly but surely) works faith within us.

Portraits of Faith: What Five Biblical Characters Teach Us About Our Life with God from or click here to Search Amazon for the lowest price

About the Author

Portraits of FaithDr. Joel Beeke is president and Professor of Systematic Theology and Homiletics at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary, a pastor of the Heritage Netherlands Reformed Congregation in Grand Rapids, Michigan, editor of Banner of Sovereign Grace Truth, editorial director of Reformation Heritage Books, president of Inheritance Publishers, and vice-president of the Dutch Reformed Translation Society. He has written, co-authored, or edited seventy books (most recently, A Puritan Theology: Doctrine for Life, Living Zealously, Friends and Lovers: Cultivating Companionship and Intimacy in Marriage, Getting Back Into the Race: The Cure for Backsliding, Parenting by God’s Promises: How to Raise Children in the Covenant of Grace, Living for the Glory of God: An Introduction to Calvinism, Meet the Puritans, Contagious Christian Living, Calvin for Today, Developing a Healthy Prayer Life, and Taking Hold of God), and contributed 2,000 articles to Reformed books, journals, periodicals, and encyclopedias. His Ph.D. is in Reformation and Post-Reformation theology from Westminster Theological Seminary (Philadelphia). He is frequently called upon to lecture at seminaries and to speak at Reformed conferences around the world. He and his wife Mary have been blessed with three children: Calvin, Esther, and Lydia. You can follow Dr. Beeke at his blog, Doctrine for Life.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Reformation Heritage Books 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.”

4 thoughts on “Book Review – Portraits of Faith

  1. Oh my goodness I LOVE Joel Beeke! He preaches a lot on faith and how God works faith into his children. I love how he stresses that this is a gradual working not an all at once dramatic experience changed overnight kind of thing. Most of the time.

  2. Vivian

    I never thought of Adam and Eve as having great faith. Always presented as the ones who blew it and had no faith.

  3. Maureen

    Ordinary sinners. Yup lol! That’s the only people who have faith since there aren’t any other kinds of people. It’s funny though how we do think of the faithful ones being s strong and super human. But reading their stories shows just how like us they are!

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