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Fathered by God: Learning What Your Dad Could Never Teach You

4.32  ·  Rating details ·  1,778 ratings  ·  143 reviews
There is a path leading to authentic manhood, cut by men who have gone before us, sons following in the footsteps of their fathers, generation after generation. There are perils along the trail, even disasters—all the more reason to rely on the guidance of a Father who has gone before.

But in an age when true fathers are in short supply, how do you find the path to manhood?
Paperback, 240 pages
Published April 20th 2009 by Thomas Nelson (first published 2009)
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Nov 11, 2009 is currently reading it
The first chapter is about boyhood, the earliest stage of our life when the world is a place of adventure and suprises, when we are learning and exploring. Eldredge says that the most important thing for a boy is that he feels like he is the beloved son. Not just approved of in his fathers heart, but adored and prized completely by his father. For a lot of men, we were wounded in our boyhood. Some of our fathers didn't spend much time with us. Some never taught us anything important and we felt ...more
Jul 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
Good read. Interesting take on manhood and the journey through different stages and what is to be learned at each point. Also discussed the negatives for spending too much time in one stage and not progressing as your experiences grow.

Would recommend it to young men or parents with boys. Very short and easy read.
Phil Lemons
Dec 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: man-up, 2016-reads
Strong medicine

This book has some strong soul medicine. However, I wouldn't recommend reading this until after reading Wild At Heart. Its like starting with the second book of the series. While you can figure it out, it doesn't come as naturally.

The overall theme on the stages of masculinity is an interesting concept. I appreciate the approach Eldridge takes to explain that the stages are not rigid timelines, but are fluid based on a man's personal journey.

Deeper still are points that apply sa
Joe Colley
Apr 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
If Wild at Heart reveals something deeper about you and places a desire within you to reclaim your identity, then this book gives you a sense of direction to be able to do that. A tremendously insightful book into what it means to live as a son of God and how to learn and grow in each stage of life. I first thought Eldredge’s different stages were gimmicky but quickly realized how accurately they apply to my life and where I have felt incomplete.
Dec 18, 2020 rated it liked it
Buried under a myriad of cliches and fluff, there are some genuinely inspiring nuggets of information in this book. Those moments are potent enough that I'd highly recommend this book, albeit with a large asterisk.

His writing style is unusual - almost jarringly so at times. it's hard to describe exactly how, but the author throws in a lot of informal jargon and tropified language that can be distracting.

He doesn't claim to be an expert, but instead draws from what he's learned in his own experie
Brandon H.
An updated version of Eldridge's "The Way of the Wild Heart." Very, very good. I still haven't found a book on manhood that surpasses this one. ...more
Jan 22, 2013 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Young Christian Men
Eldredge does a very good job here of outlining what masculinity looks like, though I wonder if he ends up to culturally biased with his anecdotes of fishing, hiking, camping, and mountaineering. His earlier stages (Boyhood, Cowboy, Warrior) do a solid job anyway of outlining the stages and the Biblical basis for them. This likely also has something to do with Eldredge being old enough to reflect on and write about these stages with some authority and distance. The later stages, however (Lover, ...more
Gabriel-paul Israel
Aug 08, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. I've often found that the books that are written specifically for one gender are highly beneficial to both genders. I find that the sections of the book that are expository for the benefit of the reader by a grown man about having moments of feeling incometent are incredibly important. Reading about the different stages of masculinity are usually not thought about by the average reader and they are just as important for women to know as they are for men to know. I find that th ...more
Jennifer Harshaw
I really love John Eldredge's writings I had just finished Wild at Heart and dived into this one. It flowed really well at first but after a bit I had a hard time finishing it out, until getting to the last chapter. It seems the last chapter of every book I read of his corresponds to the current events I am dealing with in my life now. He wraps it up well. I liked Wild at Heart better this was more in depth, but I am a female, though I am a female I do feel either the information is still pertin ...more
Gerald Thomson
Feb 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
Though the message is similar to Wild at Heart, I enjoyed Fathered by God much more. Maybe I am in a better place to receive Eldredge’s message. It also felt like there was a bit more humility in this offering. Maybe time has been good for Eldredge. His view of the masculine journey certainly gets one to take pause and examine where you have been and where you are going. If you have not read Eldredge, this is a great place to start. This would also be helpful for parents of boys.
Jan 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This was the first book I read after my divorce this past summer. It helped me to process through some of my pain and realize that I have a loving Father in Heaven who only wants me to come to Him. I feel that I have much to learn about what my mortal journey holds, nut this book helped me realize that I needn't do it alone. For that, I'm grateful.
Nov 19, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Sometimes it's hard for a son to see flaws in a father who seems perfect. Eldredge's book quickly shows that my love for my son, and my father's love for me, pails in comparison to God's love. This book is a great read for fathers. ...more
Dec 14, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This book has been amazing for me! About to begin a second time through with a study guide. It is helping me better understand some of the gaps from my childhood and how to relate to God as my heavenly father.
Greg Delaney
Sep 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
"Fathered by God: Learning What Your Dad Could Never Teach You" is the second book by John Eldredge that I have read, begun on the heels of my completion of the author's "The Way of the Wild Heart". Eldredge guides the reader along the "path to authentic manhood" from a Christian perspective; highlighting the fact that God is our father. The "map" to follow is described by the stages of a boy's/man's life, from boyhood to "Cowboy" to "Warrior" to "Lover" to "King", and finally ending at the "Sag ...more
Isaiah Walker
May 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book— for any Christian man, young or old— is one to study and meditate on. It brings to light what true manhood is in the eyes of God. In these modern times we have been corrupted and tricked into thinking manhood is large muscles, big trucks, tobacco using, alcohol drinking, and one night stand kinds of men. Fathered by God enlightens us and shows that these are not real men at all— only males that have so much insecurity and fear within them they have to disguise who they really are by t ...more
Daniel Kephart
Jan 17, 2021 rated it really liked it
Eldredge borrows a quote from George MacDonald that wonderfully sums up thsi text: "Because we are the sons of God, we must become the sons of God."

There are some passages Eldredge takes a bit out of context (he reads Christ's journeys into the desert as seeking masculine solitude, when the Jews viewed the desert as places of spiritual desolation where one could confront true evil). Not all of the examples are so compelling as in Eldredge's earlier work, "Wild at Heart." And there is a distincti
Apr 21, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This book met me where I find I’m hurting. As a father, I often feel stuck and unprepared, at a loss to know how to love my wife and children as they need. It has blown open the doors to my childhood and lack of both fathering and grandfathering. In short, there was no male presence to teach me how to be a man. When this happens, you teach yourself and are left with a lot of gaps and mistakes, buried hurt and shame. The book requires more than one read, so I’ll be going back through it.

If you re
Michael Evans
Apr 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Everyone receives differently. Some want the type A seven steps books. I’m different. I need the philosophy & the why behind the what of life. If you want to know about manhood, why we are who we are & where we are going, this book will take you on the path of life spoken of in Psalm 16:11.
My suggestion is read Wild by Heart first, then this book and then The Way of the Wild Heart last which is an amalgamation of both. If you can share with someone else or read it with another man or a few. I d
Bill Bell
Apr 20, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This book gut punched me over and over and over again, not by hard truths but by digging deep into my heart and plucking all the strings. I have felt my deep need for fatherly love in my own soul and this book addressed that need in profound ways. In fact, I downloaded the study guide and will be re-reading it along with the guide for the good of my soul. I feel like Eldredge gets the heart cry of a man and how he needs to find it.

Now, a whole lot of the book is physically-oriented, like rock cl
May 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Good book for men, if you are a Christ follower. This book will remind that their is more to manhood than simply age. There is a process in the life of a man that if followed will lead to better understanding, and if neglected can cause wounds and issues. He notes that every man begins as a boy who asks himself the question "Do I have what it takes?". This is a slightly different represented version of the well known book "Wild at Heart" (which the author acknowledges). I would recommend you sta ...more
Jun 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
The real content of this book is valuable, but it is buried underneath dozens of illustrations, references, and purple prose. Wild at Heart spoke powerfully to me as a new believer in Christ, but I haven't read any other Eldredge in nearly 10 years. After seeing this book recommended as a follow up to Wild at Heart, I felt like diving back in to see if this kind of material would still stir and lead to reflection - it definitely did. However, towards the end of the book, I was skipping towards t ...more
Dec 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fatherhood
This is thought provoking book that describes the role of fatherhood in it's various stages and connects it to our heavenly Father and the ways he Fathers us. My father was not a great example of a man in many areas but Eldredge made me reflect on my own father, his role, weaknesses, and even strengths that I was reluctant to acknowledge. When you realize that the Heavenly Father fathers you through His Words, as well as other men that he places in your life to help guide you in the journey and ...more
Michael Roy
Mar 05, 2021 rated it liked it
My 100 year old Dad an I just finished Fathered by God. What a blessing to share with my Dad. He lives in Colorado and I live on the island of Maui. I would read and he would follow along. What a great bonding experience. I could feel the presence of my mom watching from heaven. It took us about a month. I learned more about him and he learned more about me. He enjoyed the book as did I. Some constructive criticism. My Dad said the over all feel was too condescending and absolute. I agree. That ...more
Gary B
Jan 31, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read_2020
John traces the desirable (God-ordained) path a man needs to take from boyhood through a cowboy stage, to a warrior, lover and king - hopefully eventually arriving as a sage in the 60+ age group.

There was some helpful material and observations in the book. I can see some areas where my "fathering" wasn't adequate or complete. John outlines some approaches and prayers that can move us along if needed.

Some people (John included) suggest one should read Wild at Heart first. I tried reading that a d
Tim  Franks
Mar 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is the best book that I believe the author has written. The purpose of this book is understanding why we are hurt and have wounds as men, fathers, and husbands. He looks at the stages from childhood to the sage at the end of life. I was struck by the reasons we often fail as men beyond just the broad idea of the sin nature. Many things come from how we were raised and pass on to our own wives and children. I struggled some with John's focus on his likes as defining men and often falling int ...more
Brooks Lemmon
Apr 19, 2021 rated it liked it
I’ve heard a lot of people talk about John Eldredge, but had never read anything by him until now. This book highlights the general stages men go through over the course of their lives. I would maybe give this book a higher rating, but I recently learned about some of the material shared so I didn’t learn much. I could see how this book would be transformational for some readers, but it wasn’t quite that for me. I love transformation and growth and especially how they affect the believer over th ...more
Abe Nagy
May 20, 2021 rated it liked it
I would give this a 3.5. It has a lot of great stuff, but Eldridge has a very strong tendency to use only outdoor adventure, war, and those types of things to describe how you can take those initiating steps into the different stages of manhood. He mentions that they can happen different ways, like a warrior being a teacher fighting to help their students, but he focuses on the kind of manly man stuff, which I do like and enjoy, but I do not think is the way that all men can or should live out t ...more
Jul 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book is a solid book. It will speak to men louder in different sections of the book depending on the time of life one is in. Reminds us who we should strive to be as men and what we should get rid of in our lives. It has a bit of doctrinal error perhaps in referring to Christ as our older brother... our relationship is different than that he is the Son, we are sons. We have been adopted but I wouldn't say the Bible gives precedence for saying that he is our "older brother". He, Christ, is o ...more
Oct 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Today "Man" is being torn apart and destroyed. There are nothing but boys being raised without Fathers. Childlike temper tantrums thrown at adulthood is what we see in the streets because what it means to be a man is no longer being lifted up. This is a must read for all men throughout whatever stage of life they are in. Without question this book is a great start to bringing us men back into the right way to be. ...more
Blake Atwood
Apr 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audiobooks
Eldredge's seven stages of manhood are an insightful and transformative way to understand yourself as a son and as a father. As I now wear both of those labels, I found this book to be restorative and challenging—a call to maturity I needed since I now bear the responsibility of guiding my little guy down the path of becoming a man who, hopefully, wants to seek God above all others. I'll be listening or reading this one again. ...more
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John Eldredge is an author (you probably figured that out), a counselor, and teacher. He is also president of Ransomed Heart, a ministry devoted to helping people discover the heart of God, recover their own heart in his love, and learn to live in his Kingdom. John grew up in the suburbs of Los Angeles (which he hated), and spent his boyhood summers on his grandfather’s cattle ranch in eastern Ore ...more

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