Beeke, Joel R. Portraits of Faith: What Five Biblical Characters Teach Us about Our Life with God. Reformation Heritage Books; 2015. ISBN: 978-1-60178-447-6
What is a good description of faith? How do you capture the many facets of what faith entails? Joel Beeke, in Portraits of Faith: What Five Biblical Characters Teach Us about Our Life with God, chooses to survey several aspects of faith by highlighting five biblical figures. As he writes, “You can best understand faith by seeing how faith operates by the Spirit in the lives of fallen sinners like us.”
Beeke briefly examines the examples of Adam and Eve, the Shunammite woman, the Canaanite woman, and Caleb to demonstrate what faith is like. Through them, we see the simplicity of faith, the submission of faith to various providences, ways faith is matured, and a picture of persevering faith. Like many pastors’ sermons, stories and illustrations are also used to further describe the aspect of faith presented. (This book is, after all, a result of addresses made at an evangelical conference.) This is not a scholarly exegetical work, and it is not meant to be so. We do see a brief glance of Beeke’s Presbyterian theology when discussing children, but it does not deter credobaptists from gleaning the crux of the message.
While a short book, each chapter has study questions for further reflection. According to the preface, this was done so that this book could coincide with two other books of addresses Beeke has written. If one were to use this book for a formal group study, they may want to look into the other books as well. Portraits of Faith would work well as a study with relatively new believers. This would also be an easy, refreshing devotional read for a more seasoned believer. As Beeke points out, his purpose is not to focus solely on faith, but to use the characteristics of faith to point us to the Savior. In that he succeeds, and thus I recommend this book.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through Cross Focused Reviews.