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The Shaping of a Christian Family

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Elisabeth Elliot, whose courage and faith have helped so many to follow Christ, is one of the most loved and respected Christian communicators of our time. In this book, she offers useful insights on the shaping of a Christian home and family. Christian parents have a responsibility to raise their children using scriptural principles. Using examples from her own childhood, Elisabeth Elliot, whose courage and faith have helped so many to follow Christ, is one of the most loved and respected Christian communicators of our time. In this book, she offers useful insights on the shaping of a Christian home and family. Christian parents have a responsibility to raise their children using scriptural principles. Using examples from her own childhood, the author shows how to do that in terms of trust, discipline, courtesy, and teaching by example. Parents seeking guidance for raising godly children will appreciate Elliot's emphasis on: € daily Bible reading and prayer € clear instructions on parental expectations € seeking instruction in Scripture and applying these to questions asked and answers given € benefiting from the model of a Godly and happy home New parents, experienced parents, and all who have come to trust Elliot's wisdom will find this book a wonderful resource of ideas and inspiration. Eight pages of black and white family photos are included. This book was previously published by Thomas Nelson.


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Elisabeth Elliot, whose courage and faith have helped so many to follow Christ, is one of the most loved and respected Christian communicators of our time. In this book, she offers useful insights on the shaping of a Christian home and family. Christian parents have a responsibility to raise their children using scriptural principles. Using examples from her own childhood, Elisabeth Elliot, whose courage and faith have helped so many to follow Christ, is one of the most loved and respected Christian communicators of our time. In this book, she offers useful insights on the shaping of a Christian home and family. Christian parents have a responsibility to raise their children using scriptural principles. Using examples from her own childhood, the author shows how to do that in terms of trust, discipline, courtesy, and teaching by example. Parents seeking guidance for raising godly children will appreciate Elliot's emphasis on: € daily Bible reading and prayer € clear instructions on parental expectations € seeking instruction in Scripture and applying these to questions asked and answers given € benefiting from the model of a Godly and happy home New parents, experienced parents, and all who have come to trust Elliot's wisdom will find this book a wonderful resource of ideas and inspiration. Eight pages of black and white family photos are included. This book was previously published by Thomas Nelson.

30 review for The Shaping of a Christian Family

  1. 4 out of 5

    Trace

    I likely would have given this book 5 stars but for one not-so-little thing... the author advocated spanking as a necessary form of discipline. Normally, once I encounter an author who is pro-spanking, I will not continue reading the book and I will choose not to read anything else from that author. Because normally I just can't take someone seriously who believes in hitting children and I certainly don't trust them. And if there is no trust - why choose to read their words? there are many other I likely would have given this book 5 stars but for one not-so-little thing... the author advocated spanking as a necessary form of discipline. Normally, once I encounter an author who is pro-spanking, I will not continue reading the book and I will choose not to read anything else from that author. Because normally I just can't take someone seriously who believes in hitting children and I certainly don't trust them. And if there is no trust - why choose to read their words? there are many other books and authors on my endless to-read list - why waste my time on someone who advocates for something that bothers me to my very core? BUT the esteemed Elisabeth Elliot did such a wonderful job of describing her home life growing up and the various things her parents did to shape and raise their Christian family. As a first generation Christian, I often feel overwhelmed and ill-equipped to raise a young man who seeks hard after God! It was really quite the opportunity for to peek in the life of The Howards (Elisabeth Elliot's familly). They raised 6 children who all became adults determined to share God's love to the ends of the earth....and more than that - the warmth and love they all had (and still HAVE) for one another is something to behold! The author includes letters that were sent among family members and they are so priceless to read.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Bob

    This book wasn't what I was expecting: It's mostly Elisabeth Elliot's parents' biography, interspersed with parenting advice. The biography part was okay, but since it wasn't what I was expecting I was a little disappointed that it took so much of the book. The parenting advice was good, but kind of the nostalgic "back in MY day" kind of advice that just seems to bemoan that the world changes over time. I took away a few good lessons from the book, but overall I wasn't very impressed.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Camy An

    This is the second time reading this book for me. After years of busily raising a large family and getting a caught up in the hurried matters of daily life, a review of the principles of a truly peaceful home are in order for me. This books strips away the extras and gets right down to the foundation. I think it is the simple, no-nonsense approach of Elisabeth Elliot (and her family) that appeals to me because I am the exact opposite.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Victoria

    An easy 5 stars. This book was more biography than instruction --"description, not prescription". But what a description!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Anda P

    I read this in small snippets. The first few chapters were a bit confusing, I had a hard time keeping the different family members straight. After that I found a lot of encouragement to continue seeking to glorify God with my family life. Where I live I don’t know many families living this way so it was nice to get inspiration from her family.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Bambi Moore

    This is my second, perhaps third, reading of this book. It greatly shaped me when my oldest children were small. When I met Elisabeth Elliot in 2002, she signed my copy of this book that God has used so powerfully in my life. It’s a very special book and a wonderful way to end 2017. God be praised for his help and faithfulness to us, using others’ testimonies to build us up. Part biography, part practical instruction, full of hope and faith. The first few chapters document the meeting and courtsh This is my second, perhaps third, reading of this book. It greatly shaped me when my oldest children were small. When I met Elisabeth Elliot in 2002, she signed my copy of this book that God has used so powerfully in my life. It’s a very special book and a wonderful way to end 2017. God be praised for his help and faithfulness to us, using others’ testimonies to build us up. Part biography, part practical instruction, full of hope and faith. The first few chapters document the meeting and courtship of her parents. The middle of the book is pure gold. The last few chapters I read with a perpetual lump in my throat.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Krista

    Let me explain the 3 stars......the material is amazing. It has great insight to raising a wonderful Godly family which seems to be a lost art in most families...however, the style of writing was extremely hard to keep my attention...at little too frilly for me. The journal entries were a bore to me. :-)

  8. 5 out of 5

    Abbi

    A sweet and touching book describing Christian family life of nearly 100 years ago! Though much has changed in the world since then, there are so many things to be learned about how a Christian family operated so long ago. Some of my favorite Elisabeth Elliot quotes come from this book. While reading it, I continually meditated on Proverbs 14:26, “In the fear of the LORD is strong confidence: and his children shall have a place of refuge.” What a wonderful legacy was left in that family! May god A sweet and touching book describing Christian family life of nearly 100 years ago! Though much has changed in the world since then, there are so many things to be learned about how a Christian family operated so long ago. Some of my favorite Elisabeth Elliot quotes come from this book. While reading it, I continually meditated on Proverbs 14:26, “In the fear of the LORD is strong confidence: and his children shall have a place of refuge.” What a wonderful legacy was left in that family! May godly parents now be encouraged to fear the Lord in the same way!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Parker Dalton

    I’ve never read an Elisabeth Elliot book that I didn’t really enjoy and this is another great one. It was an extremely timely read for me and one of my favorite books she has written. Almost an autobiography of her family growing up and a testament to her parents who raised six kids, many of which became missionaries all over the world. I also love how she shares truth from beyond just what our current culture deems appropriate. So many good nuggets in this book; highly recommend it.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Go2therock

    Give to all my children when they marry. If they forget what we've taught them, it's in here. I've found it to be such an inspiration.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Christin

    I liked a lot of the principles in this book. However, her preface and afterword that this is just one way of being a Christian family seemed to get lost in the litany of how this was the ideal way to raise Christian children. Personally I felt burdened reading this—there’s no way to raise post-Depression era children in the year 2018 and I am firmly convicted that we don’t have to do so in order to “train up a child in the way he will go.” She did state that you can’t control your children’s sa I liked a lot of the principles in this book. However, her preface and afterword that this is just one way of being a Christian family seemed to get lost in the litany of how this was the ideal way to raise Christian children. Personally I felt burdened reading this—there’s no way to raise post-Depression era children in the year 2018 and I am firmly convicted that we don’t have to do so in order to “train up a child in the way he will go.” She did state that you can’t control your children’s salvation but then in her examples she would almost seem to believe the contrary. I also felt like some of her opinions (kids these days have too many toys, your house must be sparse, etc) would got categorized as Christian principles. For example, I think a home can be godly without having OCD neatness and that a woman can work and still value motherhood. I definitely disagree with her idea that letting a newborn go hungry and cry is the first step in Christian obedience for children. There were also several things I agreed with (training a child young, valuing knowing your children) and I am convicted to truly know more scripture as I read her parents’ letters and saw how scripture as encouragement flowed out so easily. I liked the part of the book that spoke about her parents’ formative years, too. The format of switching between her and her mother was a bit messy and the font for excerpts would get really tiny. Overall, I don’t think I would necessarily recommend this but I am sure I will benefit from reading it, if only to drive me closer to scripture.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Katherine

    I have long been inspired by the life of Elisabeth Elliot (and her husband Jim, of course) and have read many of her books (A Chance to Die: The Life and Legacy of Amy Carmichael being one of my favorites). She states multiple times that this book isn't a "how to," but rather a description of one Christian family's life - descriptive, not prescriptive. However, there were many moments when she failed to stick to that commitment, making judgmental comments about any Christian family who would cho I have long been inspired by the life of Elisabeth Elliot (and her husband Jim, of course) and have read many of her books (A Chance to Die: The Life and Legacy of Amy Carmichael being one of my favorites). She states multiple times that this book isn't a "how to," but rather a description of one Christian family's life - descriptive, not prescriptive. However, there were many moments when she failed to stick to that commitment, making judgmental comments about any Christian family who would choose a different path than the one her family took. If these were Biblically based, I could support that, but most of those statements were made about areas of Christian liberty, so that was frustrating and discouraging. I did take away some helpful nuggets and enjoyed reading about her childhood and family, but if you're going to read it, keep those "warnings" in mind.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Amanda Emerson

    I'm fairly certain that at the end of the year this will be one of my favorite books that I read in 2016. Elisabeth Elliot shares what it was like to grow up in the Howard family as a child. Not only was this book incredibly interesting, but it was inspiring! I felt so encouraged in my role as a mother to be intentional in the type of home life that Brandon and I provide for our children. I hope and pray that one day all of our children could look back and say that their parents did all that the I'm fairly certain that at the end of the year this will be one of my favorite books that I read in 2016. Elisabeth Elliot shares what it was like to grow up in the Howard family as a child. Not only was this book incredibly interesting, but it was inspiring! I felt so encouraged in my role as a mother to be intentional in the type of home life that Brandon and I provide for our children. I hope and pray that one day all of our children could look back and say that their parents did all that they could to nurture their faith. This is a must read! (Don't let the dated cover stand in your way.) Elisabeth Elliot has been one of my favorite authors for probably the past 15 years. I have been so blessed by her writings and inspired by her life. I've also tried to introduce as many of my friends as possible to her writings!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jamie

    It took me nearly a year to make my way through this book. It was excellent. Many wonderful ideas, lots of great encouragement for parenting. At the same time, it is very much ONE family's particular story, and as it is told from Elisabeth Elliot's perspective as an adult after many years had past, it is definitely not a manual for how to have a Christian family... just one family's story. But it is a good one. I did find myself discouraged in several places, feeling like I could never do as well It took me nearly a year to make my way through this book. It was excellent. Many wonderful ideas, lots of great encouragement for parenting. At the same time, it is very much ONE family's particular story, and as it is told from Elisabeth Elliot's perspective as an adult after many years had past, it is definitely not a manual for how to have a Christian family... just one family's story. But it is a good one. I did find myself discouraged in several places, feeling like I could never do as well as Elisabeth Elliot's parents did. She speaks to this at the end, though, and somewhat throughout the book, reminding the reader that it is the LORD who enables us to raise our children well.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Ieva Andersone

    The book is a real life story of the author's childhood. As such it is a good read, offering an insight in the life of a religious family between the world wars. There are things and ideas to take away from their life even if you're not a Christian: how to keep an orderly life, how to not get insane and in chaos when raising 6 kids. Lots of useful advice for Christians: keeping regular prayers, reading scripture. However, it is not a parenting advice book and should not be read as such. Certain The book is a real life story of the author's childhood. As such it is a good read, offering an insight in the life of a religious family between the world wars. There are things and ideas to take away from their life even if you're not a Christian: how to keep an orderly life, how to not get insane and in chaos when raising 6 kids. Lots of useful advice for Christians: keeping regular prayers, reading scripture. However, it is not a parenting advice book and should not be read as such. Certain practices endorsed by the author (as used in her family) in my opinion do not have a place in a contemporary Christian family or in any loving family.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Shannon

    If you've ever wondered what Elisabeth Elliot's growing up years were like, or what kind of home and family she was part and product of, read this book. It's primarily the testimony of her life and family, and it is a beautiful picture of a God-honoring one. If it were merely the story of those days, it would contain plenty of material to aid and inspire any family who seeks to honor God. Additional to the powerful testimony are many Scripture passages and quotes from other good sources as well If you've ever wondered what Elisabeth Elliot's growing up years were like, or what kind of home and family she was part and product of, read this book. It's primarily the testimony of her life and family, and it is a beautiful picture of a God-honoring one. If it were merely the story of those days, it would contain plenty of material to aid and inspire any family who seeks to honor God. Additional to the powerful testimony are many Scripture passages and quotes from other good sources as well as a list of recommended reading for parents and spouses at the end.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Andrea Jardon

    Wow! Every book I have been reading this year is just incredible. This is a biography of Elisabeth Elliot's childhood, how her parents raised her and her 5 siblings according to God's will for their family. It is such an encouragement and awakens incredibly a desire for my family to experience the same! Definitely recommend for encouragement to all those believers out there looking for an example of how parents raised their children in Christ and the amazing outcome of 6 God-fearing children bec Wow! Every book I have been reading this year is just incredible. This is a biography of Elisabeth Elliot's childhood, how her parents raised her and her 5 siblings according to God's will for their family. It is such an encouragement and awakens incredibly a desire for my family to experience the same! Definitely recommend for encouragement to all those believers out there looking for an example of how parents raised their children in Christ and the amazing outcome of 6 God-fearing children because of their faithfulness.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Olivia

    I enjoyed reading this book. It was full of Elisabeth Elliot's normal family life as a child and growing up. Of her parents life before they were married, of how they nurtured their children to live right, and how even after their children were grown they encouraged them in the Lord. It was a great example of a godly family. Be guaranteed to learn much through yet another wonderful book by Elisabeth Elliot. *Only thing that bothered me was the four or so different Bible versions used throughout t I enjoyed reading this book. It was full of Elisabeth Elliot's normal family life as a child and growing up. Of her parents life before they were married, of how they nurtured their children to live right, and how even after their children were grown they encouraged them in the Lord. It was a great example of a godly family. Be guaranteed to learn much through yet another wonderful book by Elisabeth Elliot. *Only thing that bothered me was the four or so different Bible versions used throughout the book.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Josh L

    You can find my full review at Quieted Waters. “No amount of talking penetrates as deeply as example,” writes Elisabeth Elliot, and the pages of this book are permeated with that philosophy. Elliot frequently reminds the reader that this is simply a memoir of how one family raised honest, disciplined, godly children — it is not to be taken as a step-by-step how-to guide. You can find my full review at Quieted Waters. “No amount of talking penetrates as deeply as example,” writes Elisabeth Elliot, and the pages of this book are permeated with that philosophy. Elliot frequently reminds the reader that this is simply a memoir of how one family raised honest, disciplined, godly children — it is not to be taken as a step-by-step how-to guide.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Sheila

    I have read this book at least 5 times and it is always a fresh read. Building character into your family through daily living and example. Elliot's book read as more of a memoir of her parents' families and their lives. However, in the end, it provides some wonderful examples for parents seeking to establish a Godly home where young hearts are inclined to Him and His ways all their lives.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    lovely! I thought this was going to be a 'how to do it book,' but I was pleasantly surprised that Elliot simply told the story of her family, and elaborated on the special training that her family had. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who's starting a family, or who just wants to know how Eliot grew up.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Clarissa

    This is a lovely look into the life of a Christian family. It is not to be prescriptive for all but merelyl descriptive of the author's upbringing. It was encouraging, challenged me in some areas and was just an inspiring read. I look forward my next Elizabeth Elliot book. I am thankful for these older women who, in true Titus 2 fashion, encourage the younger women.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Kappi Hamilton

    I have always been curious as to what made Elizabeth Elliot the giant of faith that she is....even a little intimidated by her seemingly unswerving faith. This book made her more human to me...in a great way. It is a story of family in which she grew up....a godly family...

  24. 4 out of 5

    Ashley

    Wow. I have applied several lesson from this book to my relationship with Mike as well as raising my girls. I have given this book as a baby gift several times and highly recommend it to anyone with a family or any one who one day wants a family. Incredible.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Lindsay

    The first few chapters are hard to read because she goes into a lot of family history, but after breezing through those the rest of practical biblical encouragement on child training is fabulous. A great resource that has stood the test of time!

  26. 5 out of 5

    Amber

    Such an amazing glimpse into the day to day of an American Christian household, raising children, trusting God and living life. Creating an atmosphere of acceptance and love at home, while still instilling a Godly heritage has not been lost to us through time. It can still be done!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Stacy Durham

    What an incredible teaching on raising a family with the honor and respect the Lord deserves. Gained much wisdom from this book:)

  28. 4 out of 5

    Darrah

    Such an encouraging testimony of a family's devotion to the Lord.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Crystal

    Inspiring!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Virginia Knowles

    I'm not sure I'll ever live up to this book, but I can try!

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