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Book Review – Step by Step: Divine Guidance for Ordinary Christians by James C. Petty

27 Jan

Good Pastoral Wisdom For Biblical Decision Making

If you are looking for a non-charismatic, non-traditional, presentation of the wisdom view articulated in a more condensed format than Gary Friesen’s book – “Decision Making and the Will of God” – this book is an excellent choice. Even if you disagree with some of Petty’s conclusions, his understanding of God’s sovereignty and providential working in the Bible, history, and our individual lives is very insightful and exegetically sound.

Some of the helpful statements Petty makes on divine guidance are as follows:

“I believe that guidance comes when you learn to apply the Word of God to your life in the wisdom provided by the Holy Spirit.”

“Knowing God’s will is the fruit of a transformed mind.”

“God, I believe, does far more than reveal his general purposes and then leave us to link ourselves to them or pragmatically calculate the most edifying outcomes”

“Guidance is given by God when he gives us insight into issues and choices so that we make the decisions with divinely inspired wisdom. Guidance comes, in short, by God making us wise.”

“He chooses to guide mediately because of the illuminating power of that Spirit.”

“The Bible, properly understood and applied by the Holy Spirit, is completely sufficient for the guidance of the believer.”

“Guidance is knowledge of the will of God, which comes by wisdom and understanding.”

One of the most helpful sections in the book is in part four where he delineates seven ways to apply biblical wisdom in the process of decision-making. There is a very solid emphasis on obeying the delineated moral will of God, and when you do that – it’s much easier to narrow our choices and decide. He gives some very practical illustrations of how to handle real life decisions that we all have to make. Petty is very pastoral, and comes across as a wise counselor himself in this book. I highly recommend that you make this one of your top reads as you seek to be wiser in the process of seeking God’s guidance and direction in your life – especially in the “hard” decisions you need to make.

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