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Surprised By Grace: God's Relentless Pursuit Of Rebels
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Surprised By Grace: God's Relentless Pursuit Of Rebels

4.16  ·  Rating Details ·  558 Ratings  ·  66 Reviews
God's compassion and pardon are utterly shocking in their lavish abundance--that's a lesson God himself pounded into the epic life-story of one man who kept resisting in whatever way he could. Surprised by Grace retells that man's true story--in a gripping presentation that will open readers' eyes wider than ever to God's relentless, purposeful, and inexhaustible grace.

Hardcover, 192 pages
Published 2010 by Crossway
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Julie Biles
Jan 03, 2013 Julie Biles rated it it was amazing
While Jonah is a familiar story, Tchividjian's retelling is refreshingly unique and amazingly insightful. The themes of the the book of Jonah, I have always heard have been primarily about this prophet and his disobedience: how he ended up in the belly of a big fish or whale for three days and then was miraculously spewed out. Then he went on to the evil city Nineveh, though he did not want the people to really repent nor did he want God's anger to relent, he only wanted justice! He was all abou ...more
Feb 09, 2011 Nathan rated it really liked it
In many ways, this is the OT equivalent of Tim Keller's NT masterpiece, Prodigal God. Tullian walks us through the book of Jonah and shows morally self-righteous rebels our desperate need for grace. He builds on the work of men such as Jack Miller, Tim Keller and Jerry Bridges by bringing the gospel into all of life. Christians of all generations should read this book. It not only confronts self-righteous rebellion, but it also offers gospel-centered hope. The gospel is the power of God for salv ...more
Apr 22, 2012 Meredith rated it it was amazing
For those who have been a rebel or have a child who has rebelled, this book is full of hope. At the core, we are all rebels who have been pursued by God's grace and redeemed. This book takes the reader through the OT book of Jonah, pointing out that all Christians are Jonahs. We cannot escape God's grace and His pursuit of us. This book give s a clear presentation that the Gospel is so much more than what most of us think. The Gospel empowers Christians to live daily in the shadow of the cross. ...more
Jul 19, 2010 Kara rated it it was amazing
Pastor Tullian Tchividian's newest book, Surprised by Grace: God's Relentless Pursuit of Rebels, published by Crossway, is a unique, gospel-centered study of the book of Jonah. After encouraging us to set aside "the notion that Jonah is primarily a story about a man gulped down by a fish", he takes us verse by verse through the book, showing us that the story of Jonah reveals both God's heart and our own, explicitly contrasting them in a way no other story in the Bible does. Through the use of l ...more
Dec 09, 2012 Bryon rated it really liked it
"The gospel doesn't just ignite the Christian life; it's the fuel that keeps the Christian going every day."

Tullian Tchividjian brings fresh perspective to the Old Testament story of Jonah in his new book, Surprised by Grace: God's Relentless Pursuit of Rebels. The central character in Tchividjian's book is Jonah the prophet. The story does not begin with Jonah as a hero nor does it end that way. In fact, Jonah's story ends rather abruptly as Tchividjian points out a little more than halfway thr
Dec 19, 2013 Travis rated it really liked it
Tullian Tchividjian is a name that not everybody knows and almost nobody can spell, but his impact on the work of the kingdom is growing rapidly. In Surprised by Grace, this author/pastor walks his readers through the book of Jonah with an eye to the gospel impact of a well-known but not well-understood Old Testament book. Throughout the work, Tchividjian points his readers to the amazing, pursuing, overcoming grace of God.


Tchividjian has a great handle on the grace of God, and that gr
Mar 06, 2015 Nat rated it liked it
Shelves: christian-living
Knowing a little of the background of the author, I honestly thought that this book would be a little auto-biographical. However, this book is about Jonah.

But in turn, Tullian ultimately uses the book to cause the story of Jonah to be about God. A strong selling point is that God could have used any other prophet or person to go to Nineveh, but why did he keep going after Jonah--especially when it doesn't seem that Jonah gets it? He's doing all these actions on the outside, but his heart is not
Jan 27, 2011 Matthew rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
It’s one of the most familiar stories in the Old Testament. All Christians know it. Most non-Christians have at least heard of it (if they’ve watched the movie Master and Commander, for example). Some may mock it, but there’s a fascination with the story of Jonah. God tells this guy to go preach doom to some people. He doesn’t want to go and leaves on a ship so God works it out so a whale swallows him alive. After praying inside the whale, the guy is spit out on the beach. Then, he goes to preac ...more
Jon Stephens
Aug 02, 2013 Jon Stephens rated it really liked it
In preparation for an upcoming sermon series on the Book of Jonah I read Tullian Tchividjian’s book “Surprised by Grace: God’s Relentless Pursuit of Rebels”.

Surprised by Grace has a great flow to it and goes through the Book of Jonah chapter by chapter and verse by verse, but it doesn’t read like a traditional commentary. Although there is plenty of explanation of cultural context and words, there is also plenty of application and it reads smooth like a book and not just a reference resource.

Sep 13, 2016 Audrey rated it liked it
Although this book was somewhat different than I had expected, and I generally liked it, there was one outstanding chapter which the author entitled, "The Larger Scene - The Gospel According to Jonah." In this chapter, the author talks about the "big three" and he notes that the book of Jonah, as a story representing the Gospel, reveals three things: our sin, God's grace, and God's mission. "The gospel is the good news that in Jesus all things are made new."

I particularly appreciated what the au
A.C. Bauch
Mar 08, 2015 A.C. Bauch rated it it was ok
I enjoyed the leisurely journey through the book of Jonah, as well as the included artistic depictions of the story. Phillip Ratner's sculpture Jonah particularly captivated me.

However, this book was compiled from a sermon series, and it often reads as such. I felt the text suffered from an overreliance on quotations from other sources, which made the book seem more like a graduate thesis and which I found distracting. If I had interest in knowing what so many other authors thought about Jonah,
Feb 15, 2015 Stuart rated it it was ok
I'm a fan of Tullian. His voice is an important one, and he gets and preaches grace more than most. That said, I did not like this book. It reads like a middle of the road evangelical devotional with simplistic understandings and emotional appeals that have all the subtlety of a study bible.

Plus, I reject the outstanding premise that comes up over and over: love God, or he'll fucking kill you and send you to hell. But, shouldn't we live as if there is a God and be wrong, then live as if there is
Feb 16, 2013 Brandi rated it it was amazing
"The story of Jonah shows us that this gospel of the cross--the good news that God relentlessly pursues sinners in order to rescue them--is just as much for Christians as it is for non-Christians. Jonah's life proves this, because Jonah, who knows God, obviously needs divine deliverance as much as anyone else in the story. In fact, his need for rescue gets far more emphasis than anyone else's. it's his destitution , not that of the Ninevites, that gets the most play. That alone should be enough ...more
Feb 25, 2015 Kory rated it it was ok
This book has misnomer written all over it.

The whole book is written about the story of Jonah, which is one of the more powerful stories of grace in the Bible. But ultimately, the book isn't really about grace, it's just about Jonah. Grace is simply here mentioned on various occasions.

Not really impressed with the depth of this book. All I would say is that I think the theology behind it is reliable, and it's a short read. Someone will like it and benefit from reading it, but there are a lot of
Jun 26, 2011 Aaron rated it really liked it
Shelves: christian-living
My full review can be read at Blogging Theologically:

he book of Jonah is one of the most captivating in the Old Testament. The rebellious prophet has inspired more art than nearly any other Old Testament figure, and his story has been told and retold repeatedly in the centuries since the events first occurred.

But Jonah is not only a tale of a prophet on the run—it’s one of the clearest depictions of the gospel in the Old Testament. And in Surprised by Grace: God’s Relentless Pursuit of Rebels, T
JenNSteve Dalton
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 17, 2011 Brett rated it it was amazing
Surprised by Grace: God's Relentless Pursuit of Rebels (Tullian Tchividjian; Crossway 2010). Pastor Tullian moves artfully through the book of Jonah, pointing out gospel landmarks and Jesus-sightings along the way. Surprised by Grace is moving and powerful as it reminds us that it's grace all the way down - God's unthinkable grace to Jonah; His scandalous grace to the Ninevehites; God's amazing grace to you and me; His immeasurable grace both to reckless rule-breakers and legalistic rule-makers. ...more
Feb 12, 2011 Dan rated it really liked it
The author did a good job breaking down the book of Jonah and I gleaned a few insights I had never before considered. Most of the book is really just a compilation of quotes from other sources, which is alright but I was also hoping for more original content. It's mostly just a compiled bible study on Jonah. This doesn't invalidate it, though. He does a nice job tying in the Gospel and pointing to Jesus throughout the book, which is good. Overall, it would be probably be a good book for a group ...more
Mar 05, 2011 Philip rated it it was amazing
The writer takes his readers on a picturesque journey through the book of Jonah. Fascinating historical details and excellent illustrations are made that all point the reader to a deeper understanding of this wonderful book of Scripture. All in all, Tullian expresses that sin is man running from God and grace is God chasing him. Grace, then, is found in the storm, in the fish, and in the heat of the sun. Though fugitives from grace, we find mercy by turning, as did the Ninevites, to Him alone!
Pamela Hubbard
Sep 26, 2015 Pamela Hubbard rated it it was ok
This study of Jonah focuses on God's grace despite our constant sin and heart issues. It was an interesting study and I appreciated aspects of Tullian's thoughts, but overall, the book lacked tightness and focus. It felt a bit all over the place and it was sometimes hard to follow the thoughts. There were also many moments where it felt like the author was on the verge of some major deep thought or revelation, and then he just switched to a new idea. It was thought-provoking, but not what I expe ...more
Becky Pliego
Apr 01, 2012 Becky Pliego rated it really liked it
A favorite. Loved how he goes through the story of Jonah.
I appreciated very much the art images through the book.

"When we run away from God, his response is more likely to be stormy and upsetting than quiet and subtle."

"Jesus is really God's 'great wind,' his 'mighty tempest' in response to human running and rebellion. Jesus is the storm. Jesus is God's gracious intervention for those who are enslaved to themselves. He comes loudly not subtly, with an aggressive affection to pursue fugitives li
Chad Jowers
Nov 07, 2013 Chad Jowers rated it liked it
As most of his works, Tchividjian (no one can spell that without looking" helps us realize what Robert Capon made clear...that we are the saints that should be "blind, staggering drunk because they had discovered, in the dusty basement of late medievalism, a whole cellar full of fifteen-hundred-year-old, two-hundred proof Grace–bottle after bottle of pure distilate of Scripture, one sip of which would convince anyone that God saves us single-handedly."
Jul 15, 2013 Cassie rated it really liked it
This book has transformed the childhood tale of 'Jonah and the Whale' into one of my favorite stories in the bible because of how it exemplifies the true essence of humanity. God allows us to make choices, and to ultimately make mistakes through our own self-centeredness, so that we experience His love and wisdom through grace.
James Kim
A fantastic read on the book of Jonah. Jonah is much more than a story about a man who got swallowed up by a giant fish. No other book in the Bible is as clear on why God sent Jesus to die for a rebellious people. Jonah is the clearest explanation of God's amazing grace. The reality is that our sin is great, but God's grace is greater.

A fantastic book on grace. Well worth a read.
May 17, 2012 Michael rated it liked it

The art criticism was a waste of pages. I don't see how studying artistic interpretation of Jonah in paint and statue helps us understand the text. Also, it sometimes reads like free-association journal entries based on reading the text of Jonah, instead of a systematized commentary progressing through the text.
Jul 25, 2011 Bill rated it liked it
I picked up this book because I was preaching through Jonah, because Tullian T has a good reputation, and because it was in the bargain bin! It turned out to be a great combination -- verse by verse examination of Jonah coupled with a Christ-centred examination of grace and rebellion. I enjoyed his references to Jonah inspired artwork too.
May 19, 2016 Meredith rated it really liked it
The irony in reading this book was the situation the author now finds himself in and my approach to him. This was a great reminder of who God really is and the grave he offers. A humbling read as I was reminded of how quickly I may want God to extend judgment but really we get his mercy and should desire that.
Bauer Evans
Nov 01, 2011 Bauer Evans rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Great read ... this is my second time through Surprised by Grace. The author's exceptional descriptions ability capture effectively God's missionary heart for his people towards the world, all told through the life of this runaway prophet. This is a book I am giving away to friends!
Billy Schiel
Mar 16, 2011 Billy Schiel rated it it was amazing
Tullian does a great job shining the light on the Gospel theme of Grace through the narrative of Jonah. Tullian has a deep grasp on the Gospel and has the ability to apply it to every area of Christian life. I read anything Tchividjian puts out there.
Jun 19, 2014 Terence rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: christian-read
Tullian combined many thoughts on the story of Jonah, from art and other theologians including Pipe and Keller. I enjoyed the book but I didn't get a lot of original/new thought from it.

Worth reading, especially if you are interested in learning more about the meaning of Jonah's story.
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Tchividjian is the grandchild of Reverend Billy Graham & Ruth Bell Graham & the son of Gigi Graham Tchividjian.

William Graham Tullian Tchividjian (pronounced cha-vi-jin) was the Senior Pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. A Florida native, he is a visiting professor of theology at Reformed Theological Seminary and a grandson of Billy and Ruth Graham. Tullia
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“God's ability to clean things up is infinitely greater than our ability to mess things up.” 39 likes
“God's capacity to forgive is greater than our capacity to sin; while our sin reaches far, God's grace reaches farther. It's a message revealing the radical contrast between the sinful heart of mankind and the gracious heart of mankind's Creator.” 18 likes
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