I've heard good things about Kay Arthur, so when I had the opportunity to read and review one of her books I jumped at the chance. Granted, this is not a full fledged, narrative style, exposition of a topic; it's a question and answer style study. It doesn't reveal her skill as a writer, but it does reveal a part of her theology.
If the validity or accuracy of some of the answers seems questionable, you can gently and cheerfully remind the group to stay focused on the truth of the Scriptures. Your object is to learn what they Bible says, not engage in human philosophy. Simply stick with the Scriptures and give God the opportunity to speak. His Word is truth (John 17:17)! (Breaking Free, page vi)
One of the marks of a good teacher is how they view God's Word. Many will claim that their teaching is based on the Bible, but the real test is; do they actually preach from it? Kay Arthur follows through in this study.
Each section starts with scriptures relevant to the topic. In this case she pulls a multitude of scriptures dealing with fear. She is also careful not to pull single verses, but rather sections of text to maintain some context.
Kay also encourages Bible highlighting, inductive studying, rather than just cursory glances at the scripture. She encourages familiarity with the text.
With all that coming right at the front I was able to tackle this book with confidence. It was going to be a joy, rather than a struggle. In other words, I was ready to face my fear of examining a book dealing with an emotional topic.
Kay follows through on her stated premised of sticking to scripture. Each week of the study starts with a scripture passage, asks questions about that passage, and ends with a brief wrap-up by Kay. That's a proper balance. More of God, less of the teacher.
The questions themselves drive you back to the text first. There is no doubt that Kay wants you to understand what the Bible says first.
Kay follows through on the topic. She starts by revealing the types of fear mentioned in the Bible, the sources of those fears, the reaction to those fears both good and bad, and what options God gives us in dealing with those fears. For a short study, she covers a lot of ground and while the study is not exhaustive it is useful.
Any study on fear has it's own problems; few of us want to face our fears, fewer want to face those fears in a group, and fewer still want to touch the question about the fear of God.
The study does have a couple of those difficult to answer "describe a time in your life when" questions. Maybe it's just me, but when those questions come up in a group study my mind goes blank and I end up trying to find anything in my life that might possibly fit just so I'm not the odd man out not saying anything. If you don't have that problem feel free to move this paragraph up to "The Good" section.
Some of the questions can get repetitive. There were portions of the study where I caught myself saying, "Didn't I just answer that?" There can be good reason for this; to thoroughly examine the topic, to approach the text from different angles, or different words trigger different thoughts in different people. All these can be good which would likely imply the study is better in a group than on your own.
Kay does talk about the fear of death which brings up the topic of salvation. While she does explain that Christians need not fear death because the Christian will be with the Lord she doesn't quite close the loop on why. This can leave the door open to other avenues to find eternal life. What if I believe in Jesus, but I also follow the path of Krishna? In truth, there is no other path to God except through Christ. Our sins have separated us from God and as the Just Judge of the universe God must punish sin. We could never atone for our sin because we are sinful. The reason we need Jesus is because He was sinless. His death was the only sacrifice that could atone for our sins. His resurrection proved it.
In Kay's defense, my guess is that she fully believes that, it's just not clear to me in this book.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline. (Proverbs 1:7 NIV84)
Kay hangs her study-of-fear hat on this verse and I couldn't agree more. The starting point, progression of the text and questions, and finally trusting God's wisdom far and away about her own is the mark of someone who has put a lot of time into studying God's Word. This is a valuable study that doesn't dwell on how you feel, but rather on how you react. It identifies the problem, explores the solution through scripture, and motivates trust in the Lord to overcome it.
Breaking Free From Fear, written by Kay Arthur, is a topical Bible study that demonstrates to its participants how to confront their circumstances with strength and courage instead of being frozen by the clutches of fear.
Fear is a powerful emotion that grabs at our hearts and steals our energy, causing us to question our very existence. Fear brings into our lives one of its favorite companions: stress. When we are walking a fearfully stressful existence, we are just merely existing.
Is your life controlled by fear? Are your actions being guided by fear? Are your words being spoken out of fear? Is fear draining you physically and emotionally? Most of us at some point have succumbed to fear, but this doesn't have to occur. This biblical study on fear will help guide its participants through the presence of fear and into the hands of God.
Set up in a manner that can be utilized personally or in a group setting, this six week Bible study will definitely fulfill its claims to help its participants to start Breaking Free From Fear. Thus it is a recommended tool for all Christians.
As a Pastor who leads Bible Studies, I am always on the lookout for new material and thoughts about different ways to engage those who attend. With that in mind, I thought this would be a great opportunity to read through Kay Arthur's study, Breaking Free from Fear. This study comes from her Precept Ministries. It is designed to be a 40 minute Bible study, accomplished with no homework. I'm not sure I like that idea, but I understand her purpose is to help the busy person to engage in Bible study as opposed to saying I don't have the time, so I can't do it.
Kay's style is to have the reader mark their book with different symbols, such as putting circles, squiggly lines, triangles, crosses, underlines, etc. around certain words or phrases. That seems to take away from my flow of reading. But that can always be adapted to the readers style and preferences.
Overall, as I read through this book on helping each person break free from fear, I found it helpful as she used a great deal of scripture to help the reader gain a better understanding of Jesus' place in their life. This is an open ended book, with thoughtful questions, related to the passages, as she hopes to move the reader beyond being a slave to fear. Her conclusion is our way to resolve our fears is to have a healthy fear of the Lord. She begins each chapter with a short thought and ends with a Wrap Up section.
I believe this would be an excellent resource to help people move through life with a healthy fear of the Lord and reduced fear of the world.
I received this book from Waterbrook Multnomah for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own.
I love Kay Arthur and her studies and this one did not disappoint. I thoroughly enjoy how she takes you through scripture so you can clearly see from many examples what it means to Fear the Lord. I also appreciate how she takes you through the opposite of the Fear of Lord which means you are fearing man. This study is meant for group study and discussion with others and since I did it on my own I missed out on the group discussion but it was still very valuable information. It was encouraging for me to do this study and realize that if your worried or afraid you are not fearing the Lord. He is in control and is our refuge and strength. It's amazing how much scriptural content is in such a small book! I highly recommend this study or any of the 40 minute studies.
I received this book free from blogging for books in exchange for my review.
Breaking Free from Fear is a six-week Bible study that covers many aspects of fear. Topics include fear of the Lord, man, the future, "what ifs" and death. Each week begins with an introduction paragraph and an observation section where the leader instructs the group to mark-up passages with crosses, triangles, underlines, etc. The studies include scriptures, discussion questions and a summary. The format may work for many groups as it is designed to take forty minutes and there is no homework. The study is meant to be completed with the group. However, if someone wanted to do a more in depth study they could certainly do so. The scriptures are printed on the sides of the pages which will save some time looking up scriptures.
I thought this was a good Bible study as it addressed many fears that so many of us battle each day. I also liked the format of the weekly studies. I personally do not care for the marking up of the passages but that does not impact the study material. I would recommend this for a group or even individual study.
*I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.