Author: Karen Kingsbury
Publisher: Howard Books
ISBN: 978-1-4767-0737-2

She could do nothing to stop the tears as she reached the others, but none of them seemed to notice. Mary was glad. Long ago, she had needed time to ponder the birth of her son. Now she would need time to ponder His death,” Karen Kingsbury writes in her book, The Family of Jesus.

First of four in the “Life Changing Bible Study Series,” this three hundred and four page hardback targets those that enjoy fictionally enhanced stories of the Bible, along with devotional studies for personal or group application. Using mainly the New International Version of the Bible, also the KJV is referenced.

Different from most of the author’s storytelling works, this one is uniquely laid out with six short novellas of family members close to Jesus: Joseph, Zachariah, John the Baptist, Elizabeth, James, and Mary. Next are six weekly corresponding studies on these characters that have five days’ each of devotionals including Bible verses, bullet points, and fill-in the blank activities, followed by group discussions.

While the stories are not totally based on Biblical facts, Kingsbury takes ample liberty establishing the emotional and personal connection the relatives have with Jesus. Each blends different perspectives of Christ’s birth, baptism, miracles, crucifixion, and resurrection from a human viewpoint.

More importantly is the study guide in the second half of the book. Each day has a Bible reading suggestion listed at the top of the page and a theme gleaned from the story, with two or three personal questions including lines for answers. The group discussions also start with Scripture verses and ask what can be learned from the individual. More paragraphs encourage deeper study, and there is a homework assignment.

Take the final story of Mary giving birth to Jesus and seeing Him do miracles but remaining quiet, remembering the wonders, and hiding her pain when He died for being the Messiah. The study guide examines her love, faith, praise, and peace as she survived losing her son. Groups discussion concentrates how she willing gave up control, understood her value in God, and constantly communicated with Him. The homework is to start a prayer journal.

If readers know the Biblical differences between fact and fiction in the tomes, they will recall the angst, frustration, and love these people had being related to Jesus. With engaging stories and studies in the Word, Kingsbury offers a tender reminder God became man to save us from our sins.

Thanks to Howard Books for furnishing this complimentary book in exchange for a review based on the reader’s opinions.

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