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The Good and Beautiful Life: Putting on the Character of Christ
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The Good and Beautiful Life: Putting on the Character of Christ

4.23  ·  Rating details ·  1,273 ratings  ·  99 reviews
"I have never met a person whose goal was to ruin his or her life. We all want to be happy, and we want it all of the time." So begins James Bryan Smith in The Good and Beautiful Life. The problem is, he tells us, we have bought into false notions of happiness and success. These self-centered decisions lead us further into the vices that cause ruin: anger, lust, lying, ...more
Hardcover, 262 pages
Published December 11th 2009 by IVP Books (first published December 1st 2009)
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 ·  1,273 ratings  ·  99 reviews

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Nov 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: discipleship
This is a worthy follow up to Smith's earlier book, "The Good and Beautiful God." In this work he walks through the Sermon on the Mount showing how Jesus' teachings are not only relevant for us today but completely doable. In fact, he is careful to remind us, that as there is a cost to discipleship there is an even great cost to non-discipleship. We give up a life of peace and love for a life controlled by anger and avarice when we do not live in relationship with Jesus. It is a life built on ...more
Jun 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Our small group just finished this book over the last 6 months. It is book #2 in the series. Very practical tips for following God in your daily life. It starts with a good night's sleep and ending your day in prayer. We starting book #3 next week. Great book for a group to read together.
Apr 01, 2019 rated it liked it
Good book going through values from Christ's sermon on the mount. Excellent discipleship curriculum for churches.
Jan 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
None of us really WANTS to ruin our lives. Yet we often do, James Bryan Smith contends, because we don't build our lives on the teaching of Jesus and let him shape our character. In this book, the second in his Apprentice Series, Smith takes us through Jesus' Sermon on the Mount. His foundational contention is that the gospel of the kingdom Jesus preaches is not about getting us into heaven but rather getting heaven into us, the transformation of our lives as Christ's new creations, which is ...more
Aug 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
This book didn't speak to me as much as The Good and Beautiful God did, but it was an extremely easy read with good nuggets in each chapter. I love the soul exercises at the end of each chapter but really helped to drive the lessons home and apply them to my life. A few chapters really tugged at me, pointing out certain aspects in my life that need working on no especially loved the final chapter, how it pulled everything together.

I read this book as part of a yearlong leadership training. We
Jan 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is an amazing series. Wow. I am impressed with the author James Bryan Smith. Now I love any and all works by Dallas Willard. Sometimes Willard's work is hard to digest and apply to daily life. This author has clearly taken the works of his mentors and done just that. Clearly laid out in accessible and applicable chapters, this little book is packed with helpful insights and suggestions to apply the teachings of Jesus to your daily life. It is appropriately titled "The Apprentice Series" and ...more
Jul 03, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: church-related
I thought that James Bryan Smith's first book was wonderful. It really spoke to me. I thought this book was terrible. It was very negative (learning to live without things - lying, lust, anger). While certainly, living without those things is good, I would have appreciated a more positive approaching (learning to live with whole and healthy relationships, respect, etc.). I also felt that his spiritual practices didn't relate well to the issues. Our group stopped reading.
Apr 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
great book for a small group - really like the practical tips and variety of topics - leads to great discussion.
Dec 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing

Second in the "Good and Beautiful" series. The author continues to contrast the false narratives with alternatives that make for a good and beautiful life.
Eric Holman
Oct 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
You need to read this! And read it how it's suppose to be read. I did 1 chapter a month and actually did each activity at the end of each chapter. Trust me, you won't regret it.
Feb 20, 2015 rated it did not like it
This book was disappointing to me in several respects. First because Smith's ideas were often lacking in scriptural support. This doesn't mean that his ideas were against scripture, but that he often didn't lead the reader back to scripture to support was he was arguing for. Whenever I read a Christian book, I expect the author to lead me to a greater appreciation for the adequacy of scripture and to grow my dependency on scripture's sufficiency. This book inadvertently grows one's dependency on ...more
Karla Osorno
Apr 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Our Bible study group went through this (and the first book in the series) together. Each week we discussed the reading, biblical principles, and application. It was effective. This book is well written, based on truth, and provides powerful application suggestions (without being legalistic). Highly recommend as a group read for accountability. Friends can provide encouragement in understanding and practicing the disciplines - while God performs the inner transformation.
Tamara Murphy
Jun 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018
We read this together with our Sunday morning small group at church. It's the second title in a trilogy of "Good and Beautiful" books by James Bryan Smith. I continue to appreciate his balanced approach to embodying a healthy theology of God in daily spiritual practices. The Good and Beautiful Life approaches this conversation through the lens of the Sermon on the Mount.
Jason Kanz
Aug 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017
The Good and Beautiful Life is an exceptional book. I found it to be accessible, engaging, and thought-provoking. I've read a lot of books on discipleship, and this is certainly one of my favorites. Built around the sermon on the mount, Smith explores what putting on the character of Christ looks like. I cannot wait to read the other two books in the series.
Diana Davis
May 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Very inspirational and great ideas and perspectives on developing a relationship with God. I have put a lot of his tips to use and love the changes I have seen in myself. I look forward to reading the other books in this series.
Oct 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Amazing advice and clear guidance through the Sermon on the Mount. I loved the practical applications called Soul Training. A brilliant and essential read for anyone interested in living in the Kingdom.
Steve Beilharz
Feb 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: christian
The best book (other than the Bible) I read in a few years!
Mark Winner
Feb 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This series, though... I preached each of the books every other year and I'm about ready to dive back in again. Incredibly formational!
Dorothy Greco
Jul 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is the first of Smith's book that I've read. Positive I will be reading more. He's clear, encouraging, pastoral, and insightful.
Oct 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book has definitely helped me grow closer to God. The trick now is to continue implementing what I’ve learnt into my every day life!
Sep 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Read for adult discussion group in my church. Excellent for discussion!
Jul 21, 2018 rated it liked it
Good but not as good as the first.
Kayla Hollatz
Oct 30, 2019 rated it liked it
I liked the reflections and analysis of the Beatitudes along with the chapter on vainglory. All around good continuation of the series but I liked the first book best.
Alan Mauerman
Jun 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Great book if you apply it to your life.
The ultimate book to apply is the Bible.
I plan to read it again and go through the "Soul Training" exercises.
Mar 26, 2018 rated it liked it
Accessible. Practically goes through the sermon on the mount to investigate how its truths can and should characterize LIFE in the kingdom of God.
Jan 08, 2017 rated it it was ok
*2.5 stars*

I really wanted to like this book. And it started out so well.

Without Chapters 4-6, I would have given it 3 stars. The first few chapters were great and the second half was good, engaging the reader with some intriguing interpretations of the text and a few really good examples to illustrate his points.

I struggled with Chapters 4-6 on anger, lust, and lying. Three not small and not to be taken lightly subjects. And I feel like they were taken lightly, not intentionally of course,
Dec 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
I am always looking for fresh ways to explore who God is and how to live the Christian life. When I originally read "The Good and Beautiful God," I found some fresh ways of understanding who God is. That book is the first in a three-book set by James Bryan Smith. After finishing the first book, I wanted to continue to expand my views by reading the next book in the series, and InterVarsity Press graciously agreed to send me a copy of "The Good and Beautiful Life."

Where the first book attempted
Clint Walker
Apr 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I have been slowly reviewing the Apprentice Series by James Bryan Smith of the Aprentis Institute and Friends College in conjunction with Intervarsity Press. This is the second book in the series. I was able to read this book in the Audiobook format, which I found extremely helpful and well-done.

The Apprentice Series has three parts to the series. The first book in the series is about God, and our beliefs and ideas about who he is and what kind of relationship he wants with us. The second book
Aug 01, 2011 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book. It's the second in a trilogy, and I read The Good and Beautiful God first, which I recommend to other readers (the first volume delves a lot into the structure of the books, and this volume gives a brief overview and plunges in). My main complaint with the first book was that it was very basic, and while it served as a good reminder and a terrific discipleship tool, it had little purely instructive value for someone who has been a Christian for a while. This book does ...more
Greg Dill
Sep 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
Jesus taught more about the Kingdom of God than any other topic. This is seen most prevalent in His teachings found in the Sermon on the Mount and the Beatitudes. For centuries many people believed that the Kingdom of God is resigned to some future eschatological event. However, Jesus taught that the Kingdom of God is here now only to be consummated in full upon His return. Until then, we live in His kingdom, incarnating His life to others while living holy lives transformed by the renewed power ...more
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James Bryan Smith (M.Div., Yale University Divinity School, D.Min., Fuller Seminary) is a theology professor at Friends University in Wichita, KS and a writer and speaker in the area of Christian spiritual formation. He also serves as the director of the Aprentis Institute for Christian Spiritual Formation at Friends University.

A founding member of Richard J. Foster's spiritual renewal ministry,
“False Narrative: The Kingdom of God is Future No serious biblical scholar would deny that Jesus’ proclaimed the kingdom of God. However, many scholars conclude that Jesus was not talking about our present world but rather an epoch in history that has not yet begun.” 5 likes
“Wealth, power and possessions can easily numb us to our need for God and make us overlook the needs of others. The wealthy must be concerned for the poor. Eating gourmet meals when others have nothing to eat should cause us to reflect a bit. Pursuing pleasure in a world with so much pain creates uneasiness in those who follow Jesus. God is not against fine food or having fun, but we ought to think deeply about our decisions—what and how much we buy, what is truly important— because we live in a world of great disparity.” 5 likes
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