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Publication Date: 2011
Walking in the Spirit is a journey into what the Bible teaches about life in the Holy Spirit. Author Kenneth Berding uses the apostle Paul and his words in Romans 8 to model what it looks like to live both empowered and set free by the Spirit.
Written at an accessible level, Berding speaks to a wide audience as he seeks to connect readers to the life of the Spirit. His practical guide covers a variety of topics, showing readers how to set their minds on the things of the Spirit, put to death the deeds of the body, be led by the Spirit, know the fatherhood of God, and hope and pray in the Spirit.
Berding applies the Bible to life through many of his own personal experiences, helping readers make connections to their own spiritual journeys. Discussion questions for each chapter facilitate personal reflection and small-group study.
Katie OrrAge: 25-34Gender: female5 Stars Out Of 5Solid, Biblical Teaching with Helpful ApplicationOctober 13, 2011Katie OrrAge: 25-34Gender: femaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5It wasn't until my freshman year in college that I began to understand the role of the Holy Spirit in my life. Fifteen years later, and I still have much to learn.
So when the opportunity came along to review Walking in the Spirit. I jumped at the chance. Walking in the Spirit, by Kenneth Berding, is a great resource for those who long to know better how to keep in step with the Spirit of God.
Walking in the Spirit provides solid, Biblical teaching and helpful application tips in order to understand exactly what walking in the Spirit is to look like in our own lives.
"Walking in the Spirit is the central metaphor for describing what it means to live as a Christian. Life lived according to the Spirit is not simply trying to do the right thing. Nor is it simply trying to live according to God's Law. Life as a Christian is cooperating with the Holy Spirit in a daily walk." p. 19
Filled with real-life examples and other great analogies, Kenneth Berding teaches on practical doctrines like how to be led by the Spirit, how to put to death the deeds of the flesh, and how to set your mind on the things of the Spirit, to name a few.
"If you want to be someone who brings glory to God (and I pray that there is nothing you desire more!), you must learn what it means to walk according to the Spirit." p. 16
If you are, like me, desiring to figure out how you can better depend on the Spirit of God on a daily basis, this book is for you.
Dave JenkinsCaldwell, IdahoAge: 25-34Gender: male5 Stars Out Of 5Timely, thoughtful & biblicalOctober 3, 2011Dave JenkinsCaldwell, IdahoAge: 25-34Gender: maleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5Walking in the Spirit is written by Dr. Kenneth Berding, Professor of New Testament at Talbot School of Theology at Biola University and author of numerous books. In this book, Dr. Berding examines Romans 8 and what it means to walk with the Holy Spirit. As the author explores Romans 8 he also fills the pages of this book with stories from his own experience of walking with Jesus. This book explores what it means to walk in the Spirit, set your mind on the things of the Spirit, mortification, being led by the Spirit, the Fatherhood of God, hope in the Spirit, and praying in the Spirit.
The most helpful chapters in this book in my opinion were chapters three, four, and seven. Chapter four addresses what it means to be led by the Spirit; a topic in my opinion that needs to be taught on more. While explaining what it means to be led by the Spirit; in chapter four the author grounds his readers in the Word of God which he says "is foundational to all facets of the Spirit's leading and is the anchor for anything that can be referred to as leading. (Berding, 57). This is an important point and one worthy of exploration as many believers often base their lives not on the Word of God or upon the foundation of Christ's death, burial and resurrection, but sadly often base their daily lives on "how they feel" that day. The point the Dr. Berding makes in the above quote is important, because in order to be led by the Spirit the believer needs to be grounded in the Word of God; knowing, studying, mediating and reflecting on what it means and applying it to their lives. Sadly many believers go through their entire Christian lives only living on the milk and never growing into the meat of God's Word.
There is much to take away from Walking in the Spirit so rather than focusing on all of its contents, I want to briefly tell you why I think you should read this book, and then tell you where you can get it. The first reason you should read this book whether you are a new or mature believer is to think through and examine whether you are walking in the Spirit or walking in the flesh. The second reason to read this book is to grow not only in knowledge of God's Word but in how to apply the Truth of God's Word. The author through his examination of Romans 8, and his stories exemplifies for us how to take God's Word and not just be a hearer of the Word but a doer of the Word. Finally you should read this book most of all because it is thoroughly biblical and immensely practical.
I recommend you get a copy of Walking in the Spirit to learn and to think through what it means to put sin to death, walk in the Spirit, set your mind on the things of the Spirit, being led by the Spirit, and praying in the Spirit. In reading this book, I believe you the reader will be challenged, and confronted by ministry of the Holy Spirit whose ministry exists point people towards the person and work of Christ so that His kingdom may advance to the praise and glory of God.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Crossway as part of their Blogger Review Program. 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."
Life Long ReaderHoward City, MIAge: 25-34Gender: male4 Stars Out Of 5Clear book on an often muddied concept!September 30, 2011Life Long ReaderHoward City, MIAge: 25-34Gender: maleQuality: 4Value: 4Meets Expectations: 5Have you ever seen couple that has been married for many years? You may have one in your neighborhood or at church. You may see them take walks together in the park, hold hands and sit on a park bench while reminiscing about the past and what they would do if they had another 50 years together. You know the couple I am describing. You could characterize them as having a unified mind and spirit about their lives together. They are walking in step with one another. But it didn't happen overnight. It took their entire marriage to get to this point.
This picture of a unified mind and spirit as the result of a long fruitful marriage is a good description of the kind of relationship Christians should have with God as they walk in the Spirit. In his new book, Walking in the Spirit, Kenneth Berding takes us through Romans 8:1-27 and helps us to gain a better understanding of what Paul means when he tells us to "walk according to the Spirit (Rom. 8:4)."
This is not a book offering 7 steps to a new walk with God by next week. Berding is quick to point out that a life of walking/living in the spirit is the result of a life of walking/living with the spirit. "There is no shortcut to learning how to keep in step with the Spirit (p. 19)." There is much to learn about walking in the Spirit but it must be learned as we actually do it. Walking in the Spirit is an active act of obedience. It is not a hands off approach to the Christian life.
As a happy marriage of fifty years takes time so it is with the Christian life that is characterized by walking in the Spirit. "The Spirit-ual walk is the sum total of a lot of little steps taken in submission to God's Holy Spirit (p. 23)." These many little steps over time help to build a strong walk in the Spirit. We must continually set our mind on the things of the Spirit. We must continually say no to sin when tempted. We must continually allow ourselves to be led by the Spirit by following the Spirit when He leads us in one direction or another. Our hope in the redeeming and sin freeing work of Christ as applied to us by the Spirit must remain daily in our hearts and minds. We must never give up on praying for steadfastness in our walk with the Spirit.
There is only one issue I would take with Berding. In his discussion on the leading of the Spirit and how God accomplishes that today he rightly argues that God leads all believers broadly in many of the same ways but also specifically according to His plan to each person. I agree with this 100%! However, he goes on to state that "the Holy Spirit sometimes puts forward more direct communication in various ways, as the Bible records again and again (p. 57)." Some examples he cites are God verbally calling Abraham in Gen. 12:1, Elijah in I Kings 18:1 or Cornelius in Acts 10:5. He also cites references "when God puts something into their hearts or minds to do something" like Nehemiah 2:12 or Paul in Acts 20:22 (p. 58). In response to those who believe that these are special cases for a certain time in redemptive history Berding states, "I believe that God can and does still lead in these ways today, though I don't know of anywhere in the Bible where the claim is made that God will always do so for every decision we make (p. 58)." I think this is missing the point though and is arguing against a claim that someone like myself is not making. God's verbally speaking to the saints of old the way He did was necessary in order to communicate His will for their lives because there was no written revelation from God to direct them in those cases. For the New Testament Christian, Hebrews 1:1-4 is clear that though God spoke to the prophets and fathers in many ways "in these last days he has spoken to us by His Son." What I disagree with is that God still verbally speaks to us today (which seems to be what Berding is implying) as he did to Abraham in Ur, Moses in the wilderness and Paul on the road to Damascus. Christ is the final prophet and is the very word of God. He has given His word to us in Scripture which the Holy Spirit leads us into understanding (John 14:15-31). It is interesting that in all of the personal examples that Berding gives of the Spirit leading his decisions they all fit into the category of God directing his heart or mind and none in the category of God verbally speaking to him.
Despite this small quibble Walking in the Spirit is a good book for any Christian. Berding's many personal examples as well as those of others he has worked with on this issue are very helpful towards seeing the concept of walking in the spirit more clearly. I would especially recommend this book to a new believer or a more seasoned Christian who is feeling discouraged about their walk with God because of sin in their lives. The book is written in a devotional style and has study questions at the end making itself easy to use in a small group setting.
ToddOklahoma City, OKAge: 25-34Gender: male5 Stars Out Of 5I better understand the Holy Spirit nowSeptember 22, 2011ToddOklahoma City, OKAge: 25-34Gender: maleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5This little book is a look at Romans 8 and how to base life on the Holy Spirit. The author sprinkles in many of his own personal stories throughout the book and with that shows how the spirit-ual walk really looks.
In Chapter 1 Berding says we are to walk in the spirit. Sounds like a simple starting place for this concept, but he goes deeper into what that really means. Walking in the Spirit really means that we are abiding in the Spirit. Further it means that we are setting our mind on things of the Spirit, hoping in the Spirit, praying in the Spirit, being led by the Spirit, and being discipled by the Spirit. In fact this is the starting place for all spiritual growth. When we walk in the spirit we grow in fullness of the Spirit and our desire to sin gets shoved out by the Spirit.
Berding, in chapter 2, uses an illustration of getting a song stuck in your head to show what setting our minds on the things of Spirit really means. However setting our mind on things above is more than just focusing intently on those things. We have to train our minds to stay on the things of the Spirit. We do this through constant prayer, songs of worship, meditation of scripture and by living the words of Philippians 4:8 by thinking upon whatever is true, noble, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, and praiseworthy.
Chapter 3 is all about putting to death the deeds of the body by the Spirit. The reality is we cannot get rid of our sin on our own. We are incapable of it, if this were not so then Jesus would not have had to come and die in our place. We need help in dealing with our sin that is where the Holy Spirit comes in to play. The Spirit frees us from condemnation and makes it possible to live lives pleasing to God instead of defined by the flesh.
Chapter 4 is where Berding tells us what it means to be led by the Spirit. This is more than just being led by broad Biblical wisdom. Although that is one aspect of how the Spirit leads, being led by the Spirit refers to a deeper more specific leading. It is where there Spirit actually leads us to go and do and say certain things. This type of leading is sadly foreign to the experience of many Evangelicals but why? Sometimes it is because we don't want to be labeled a mystic or charismatic. But isn't it better to remain Biblical and that is the point Berding is making here. We are told repeatedly by Paul to be led by the Spirit. To be led by the Spirit we have to be walking in the spirit, setting our minds on things above, and putting to death our old self. Otherwise we are not in a place to always clearly hear the Spirit's lead.
Knowing God as Father is the fifth way of walking in spirit and the topic of chapter 5. The Holy Spirit teaches us to know God as our Father. Last night I was up in the middle of the night feeding my three month old son. After he finished eating I was trying to get him back to sleep and starting talking to him in what was really more of a prayer. One of the things I said to him was that I prayed he would know that his daddys arms were always a place of love and trust for him. I want him to know that dad is a safe place where he will always be loved and that I will always seek the best for him. Sadly many of us come from backgrounds and experiences where this is not what we think of when we think of fathers. The Spirit knows this and knows that we all have varying issues with trust and intimacy because of our former slavery to sin. So the Spirit disciples us and teaches us what it means that God is our Father.
The final two chapters address what it means to both hope in and pray in the Spirit. Hoping in the Spirit takes our minds from whatever suffering or hardship we might experience here and reminds us of our eternal security in the presence of the Glory of God. When we pray in the Spirit, our prayers turn from being focused on ourselves and somewhat selfish to being about the Glory and advancement of the Kingdom of God. Praying in the Spirit takes the focus off ourselves and rightly places it upon God.
The review questions at the end of each chapter alone make this book worth whatever price it might cost you. I highly recommend this book to all Christians. It has helped me to learn to understand more of the Holy Spirit's role in my life and I know it will do the same for you.
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