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Scouting the Divine: My Search for God in Wine, Wool, and Wild Honey

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  522 Ratings  ·  67 Reviews
The Bible is full of clever plots and compelling stories, laced with historic insights and literary beauty. Despite its richness and depth, many of us struggle to close the gap between the ancient world and our own. What does it mean to know that Jesus is the Good Shepherd when the only place you’ve encountered sheep is at a petting zoo? How can you understand the promise ...more
Hardcover, 219 pages
Published September 29th 2009 by Zondervan (first published September 18th 2009)
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Paul McDonald
Aug 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
While a different flavor than some of Margaret's other books like Wonderstruck or Fight Back with Joy, Scouting the Divine invites you to a join her on a pilgrimage. Our world is disconnected from the agrarian society of Biblical times, and Margaret takes us with her on her journey to understand the Bible better. How do shepherds care for their sheep? What can we learn from vintners about our own lives? What do bees have to teach us about the Promised Land? Scouting the Divine was like listening ...more
Willie Krischke
Oct 27, 2009 rated it liked it
Margaret Feinberg visits a shepherdess, a beekeeper, a farmer and a vintner to understand the symbolism and references in the Bible. Feinberg really did her homework on this one; she is able to approach each of the "experts" with a list of good questions and emerge with productive, insightful conversations. It is surprising to realize how out of touch we are with the agrarian world in which the Bible was written; the depth and richness of its metaphors are mostly lost on us. It makes me wonder w ...more
Aug 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-this-again
Feinberg takes us on her journey to discover deeper meaning in the Bible through better understanding vineyards, shepherds, farmers, and bee keepers-- and their relationship with their vines, sheep, crops, and bees. There are four sections, and if I had my own copy of this book I would read one section at the beginning of each season. Not because they represent each season, but to spread out the analogies so I can read more slowly and savor the impact of each.

She includes a set of songs in the
Jan 25, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I loved this book. I rarely read non-fiction because I find a lot of it tedious. This book was far from tedious. The information was fresh and so interesting. I especially enjoyed the chapters on shepherding and winemaking. Feinberg does an amazing job of drawing parallels between the everyday responsibilities of these vocations and what is in scripture regarding them. I found that scripture that I have read many times suddenly came to life with new meaning for me.
Robin O'Brien
Jan 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
Wonderful book for Christians to read. A personal look at many of the trades referenced in the Bible. I now do and will continue to understand the Bible on a deeper level. My hat goes to this author who personally went to the location of these people and observed them and allowed them to speak from their hearts. Thank you Margaret Feinberg, her husband and all those who welcomed her into their lives allowing her to write a deeply, insightful book.

Apr 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobooks, christian
A very neat look at the Bible from a modern agricultural viewpoint. It's so true that we have very little personal experience with some of the agrarian references in the Bible and considering them makes the stories and promises that much more colorful and impactful. I've listened to a few author as narrator audio books I disliked, but Margaret is perfect for telling this personal narrative in her own voice.
Nov 19, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: christian
Wow Margaret Feinberg is a great writer. Her colorful and poetic discriptions of travels she made writing the book are truly delightful. Sometimes she describes the food she is going to eat and it makes me salvitate. She has a wonderful gift to take parts of the world I have ignored and brought it to life. She visits a sheep herder, farmer, bee keeper, and a wine maker and brings a deeper understanding of their labor as it reflects on God. I look forward to reading more of her works.
Apr 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
Insightful read that is beautifully written. Love how the author has taken what had to be an immense amount of learning and shared the most precious parts with the reader in a way that left me fascinated and delighted.
Ana Cray
Mar 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I learned so much from reading this book!! Highly recommend!!
Nov 02, 2011 rated it it was ok
I'm maybe 2/3 of the way through, and I'm not going to finish. It's too bad b/c I really love the concept of the book, but it's just poorly executed. It's sloppy. Bummer.
Denise Ballentine
A thoughtful gentle read exploring the biblical motifs of shepherding, harvesting, honey, and wine. I enjoyed being taken along on her personal scouting journeys, and her thoughts about how these things were related to biblical times. She has a way of storytelling that helps us understand the meanings God was trying to convey to us.
Kathy  Bailey
Aug 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A delightful book with insightful information on sheep, honey and wine that gives deeper meaning to mentions in the Bible.
Jun 01, 2018 rated it did not like it
tried to read. too many adjectives.
Brian Christensen
Jan 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: faith
A great book weaving knowledge of wine, wool, harvest and honey with the images of those in scriptures. Plenty of insight into several passages that use those as a way to convey a spiritual truth.
May 28, 2012 rated it liked it
This book was an enjoyable read about the author's adventures throughout the US in places like Alaska, Colorado, and Nebraska as she explored the richness of the Bible's parables, metaphors, and historical events that reference the agrarian culture God's people lived in. For the vast majority of the Western world today, we live in societies that have no context or appreciation for the lessons and beauty of Scripture.

As the book's description puts it, how can we understand a land overflowing w/ h
Dec 07, 2009 rated it really liked it
I received this book as a review copy from the publisher. "Scouting the Divine" is Scripture-focused and a fast, enjoyable read. About half of the book was spent describing (in a "as it happened" style) how she found the expert, arriving and getting to know the expert, and what the author's day with them was like. She then would ask the shepherd/farmer/beekeeper/vintner questions about verses in the Bible that related to sheep and shepherding, farming, beekeeping, and growing grapes. They would ...more
Mar 10, 2010 rated it it was ok
"When I embrace a life that is pleasing to God - one that chooses righteousness over being merely right, one that chooses kindness in the face of rejection, one that chooses love rather than silent withdrawal - something comes alive in my heart and in the hearts of my community. "
Galatians 6:7-8 "Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit wil
Sep 17, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: needs-2nd-review
Per Sue Bates:

The author explores "pastimes" that were specific to biblical times, such as sheep herding, winemaking, etc. She does a good job of creating great visuals and connections to the text through these ancient tasks, which will appeal to certain styles of thinkers. It felt like at times that her connection with the parable to modern day was a bit of a stretch, and she took some liberties.

She takes parables and ancient biblical practices, and draws conclusions on what God intend
Feb 16, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: devotional
Very conversational. A pleasant journey with the author as she visits with a shepherdess, farmer, beekeeper and winemaker....discovering new ways to understand Bible passages related to these endeavors.
Georgia Herod
Dec 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I came across Feinberg on Ann Voskamp's website--and then I read that Feinberg was recognized by World Magazine as one of 50 younger Christian voices that are making an impact for Christ in the modern world. Then the title grabbed me.

The first chapter, Wonderment, drew me in. "When Scripture comes alive in our hearts, it doesn't inform us as much as transform us. As I read I'm discovering that faith isn't about becoming good--it's about becoming godly characters in a greater Story. Somehow, word
Josh Cosby
Mar 01, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I can't say enough good about this book. I've never met Margaret Feinberg. Yet, after reading this book I feel like she and I have been friends for a long time. Maybe one day I'll have the honor. Her writing is honest, raw, descriptive, and even humorous at times. I appreciate her transparency. Margaret is open about her struggles and lack of ability to understand the mysteries of God. I am a huge fan of her attempts. Through the mind of a farmer, shepherdess, vintner, and bee keeper, Margaret d ...more
Jennifer Lassiter
Oct 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Overall, I loved this book. I knew nothing about it when I bought it. I had just heard Margaret speak at E-Women conference, and was blown away at her ability to "preach".

The first section about her time with a shepherd was the best part of the book. I cannot quit thinking about all the incite she drew upon the scriptures and the information shared by the shepherd. I think that reading this book has deepened the meaning of what it means for me to be apart of the great shepherd's flock.

I loved
Feb 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Along the lines of Philip Keller's A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23, Margaret Feinberg's devotional explores Biblical truths in "wine, wool, and wild honey." I would highly recommend this book to anyone looking for nuggets of truth to tuck away for continual pondering. My favorite example comes from the vineyard. "Looking back, I see times in my life when I have let my relationship with God go--the weeds sprouting up and stealing nutrients, runaway branches taking away from my fruitfulness. God is f ...more
Cherie Lowe
Feb 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Probably my favorite of Margaret's works (there are several favorites in the list), this was one of the very first books that I read written by a woman a faith where I felt like I could truly relate to the author. Exploring passages of the Bible about sheep, wine, beekeeping, and farming with a shepherdess, a vintner, a beekeeper, and a farmer to unleash their power, Scouting the Divine turns familiar verses into new treasures. I have read this work rice already and would read it again (and agai ...more
Nov 20, 2010 rated it really liked it
Growing up in modern, urban America must leave us with some intellectual gaps when reading the Bible, right? The author visits a shepard, a winery, a farm and a bee keeper to see if she learns anything new which will add depth to the many biblical references to all things agricultural. And she does learn new things. A beehive can make 2 pounds of honey per day, among other things. She is a poetic and thoughtful writer.

I was introduced to her work when she spoke at our church. If you get a chanc
Oct 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
Feinberg took the themes of wool, wine, and honey from the Bible and in turn visited a sheep herder, a vineyard, and a bee farm to see the actual workings of these professions. She was amazed to see how the inner workings of each of these three places interfaced with God's word. She is a lovely writer and really brings to life her subjects. She was able to get in with her hands and do the work of each of these three professions. God's word came alive to her and to me.

I am reading another of her
Clay Leonard
May 01, 2015 rated it liked it
3.5 Stars

I think this is a pretty good. It's the first one I've read from Margaret Feinberg, and I didn't know what to expect. On the whole, I was pleasantly surprised. I would've liked more discussion and application of Scripture, and less "fluffy" details about what so-and-so was wearing, or the peppery flavor of steak she was eating on a given day. Those details tended to distract me from the overall purpose of the book. Nevertheless, I felt that the book was pretty well-written and did contr
Sarah K
Mar 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Margaret is a fantastic writer and makes you feel like you're listening to her stories instead of reading her book. Her experiences are life changing and this is the second book of hers I have read (and own). One hundred times better and deeper and more moving than the fictional eat, pray, love.. Scouting the Divine is a moving and believable journey to finding Someone bigger than yourself and leads to greater knowledge and comprehension of God's Word.
Keith Lewis
Jul 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
what a great book. Feinberg seamlessly relates 4 noble occupations found throughout the bible with everyday modern life and throws in a nice dose of spirituality and bible study along the way. I loved every step of her journey and hated to see it end. My favorite was probably the shepherd, but I paid close attention to the beekeeper since I am getting a hive next spring. Get it, read it, study it, and ponder it. Guaranteed you won;t forget it.
Loved the Feinberg decided to make the Bible more real by diving into specific Scriptures and practices so she (and ultimately, we) could better understand and connect to the text. This may be the most impactful book I've ever read on actual life application of the Bible.

Cannot recommend this book highly enough. I marked up my copy, will continue to come back to it AND check out her other writings.
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A self-described "hot mess," Margaret Feinberg is a popular Bible teacher and speaker at churches and leading conferences such as Catalyst, Thrive, and Women of Joy. Her books, including The Organic God, The Sacred Echo, Scouting the Divine, and Wonderstruck and their corresponding Bible studies, have sold nearly one million copies and received critical acclaim and extensive national media coverag ...more

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“Jesus knew that many of his listeners believed the old wineskin (or way of doing things) was good enough. They were comfortable with their beliefs and practices, but Jesus hadn't come to patch up old religious traditions. He was offering a new garment, a new wineskin, a way of life that didn't abolish the old ways, but fulfilled them.

The teaching illuminated my own need to remain pliable before God. I realize that I must have a softer housing for my growing faith, one that can flex and change as God is at work inside of me. All too often I find myself clinging to that which is comfortable and familiar, rather than embracing the challenges that emerge with change and growth. Sometimes I shy away from people who have strong views that differ from mine, even though sharing a great conversation... could temper both our viewpoints and deepen our relationship. Why do I run away from strong opinions and potential conflict? Am I too comfortable and unwilling to change? Such a realization highlights the need for the Spirit in my life not just to discern and distinguish, but also to illuminate and invite me to move forward into the fullness of life with him." -Scouting the Divine”
“And God did not just ask for the perfect sheep; He also wanted its wool. Deuteronomy 18:4 instructs shepherds to give the first shearing of the sheep as on offering to God. Above the crackling warmth radiating from the stove, I read the verse aloud to Lynne. "Is a first shearing a once-in-a-lifetime offering?" I asked. "Yes, everybody wants the first shearing, especially if it's from one of your best lambs. The first shearing is the finest fleese that's used to the best ask for that is a real sacrifice." ... For the first time in a long while, maybe ever, I had felt with my own hands what God desired from sacrifice. It was nothing like what I expected...In asking for the first fleece, God isn't asking for the biggest. He wants to smallest and the softest. He doesn't want more-He wants the best." -Scouting the Divine” 2 likes
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