Fearfully and Wonderfully

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 15 Oct 2019

Member Reviews

The talent of Philip Yancey meets Dr. Paul Brand's professionalism  in this wonderful and well written book. It was a pleasure to read it, to learn a lot of new things from it and to let it teach me about the wonders of the human body and the Body of Christ.
As a Christian teacher I will surely use the information I learned from this book in my lessons and in my discussions with my students.
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The human body is most fascinating. It is a wonder how the body functions as one whole. Even medical science, for all its advances could not explain everything. Today, we are still uncovering countless secrets and learning about how the body works under various circumstances. At the same time, some people use the human body to learn about life. This is what authors Dr Paul Brand and Philip Yancey have done. Using the underlying presupposition that human beings are made in the image of God, they reveal some of the most profound meanings about life and spirituality through the lens of how the body works. From cells to tissues, body parts to physiological systems, we are constantly reminded that the way our body functions is a powerful metaphor to teach us and our communities how we ought to live. Researchers even call the human body as "generator of diversity" (GOD). So powerful is the human body immune system that doctors would readily agree that no science nor medical knowhow could beat the natural immune system. The problem of AIDS is a classic example. When the human immune system breaks down, it speeds up fatality. From the health of a single cell, we learn how that impacts the way the immunity functions. From the diversity of the various body systems, we learn about groups, communities, villages, and nations. The authors make a case for the starting point of any community: Diversity. This is simply because we need one another's uniqueness and gifts. This should propel us toward a greater sense of belonging. The more we appreciate and cherish one another's diversity, the greater is our unity. Brand talks not just from his own experience and knowledge, he shares with readers insights from many other medical professionals. For example, while talking about homeostasis, he relates to us the discovery of Japanese Yas Kuno whose research on sweat shows us the wonders of the human body to adapt body temperature; Dr Walter Cannon's work on the wonders of the body to correct imbalances. Learning to accept diversity cultivates an atmosphere of acceptance. Our five basic human senses also have a lot to teach us.


Other areas studied include the largest organ in the body, the skin. Certain parts of our body are more sensitive than others. It reflects our community where some members are more sensitive than others. Jesus is especially sensitive to such vulnerable members of the community. From the study of bones in us, we recognize the hidden strength in us. While bones are not visible from the outside, it strengthens us from the inside out. Bones are dependable and the skeleton reminds us of the basic foundations of faith. When young, our bones are soft. When we get older, they become brittle and easily broken. The authors critique the ancient ways of beating up our own bodies such as the famous fifth century Simon Stylites who lived an extreme form of asceticism to prove his faith. Such views are like the exoskeletons of crustaceans. Lose them and one becomes vulnerable. The human body has no exoskeleton. The strength comes from within. Every chapter oozes with rich teachings on both the human body system and spiritual thoughts. It is a fascinating journey.

This is one of the best books that combined the teachings of human physiology and Christian spirituality is through the writings of Dr Paul Brand and Philip Yancey. The first edition of "Fearfully and Wonderfully made" was published in 1980. Combed from the journals of Dr Paul Brand, it describes the individual cells and parts of the body and how they interact with one another. A second book, "In His Image" was then published in 1984 to showcase the interactions, the connections, and how the body parts were created to work together. In both books, we learn about body functions, about the miracles of the human physiology, and how we could see the connection between humanity and divinity. Throughout the books, we see the constant comparison between the human body and the Body of Christ. Dr Paul Brand died in 2003 but his knowledge of the human body remains an invaluable addition to the teaching of what it means to be made in the image of God. Co-author Philip Yancey wants to update not one but both books to make it more relevant for the modern reader, especially the younger ones among us. Let me offer three thoughts on this book.

Three Things
First, the authors use the human body as a metaphor to teach us about our spiritual life. Just like how Paul uses the body to describe the body of Christ, Brand and Yancey takes the idea and develops it further through modern discoveries and knowhow, to expand on our understanding of what it means to live as one people. I appreciate the way Yancey says that the community is: "not an organization but rather an organism." Throughout the book, the authors connect what they describe at the micro-levels of the body to the overall macro-level of both the human system and our communities. Each system is a powerful message in itself.

Second, take care of the body especially when the body is healthy. Healthcare continues to be a major concern throughout the world. As costs continue to rise, the book reminds us once again that no scientific progress or medical advancements combined are able to match the natural body immune systems. Good health is not something to be taken for granted. We need to remember that the best medication is to be healthy in the first place. Thus, even as we gain insights about the human body in this book as a metaphor to teach us about community and diversity, we need to constantly remind ourselves the importance of personal care and hygiene. Don't risk our health unnecessarily, whether through careless diet or harmful activities. Taken in the light of a community, as we take care of our own bodies, we become an asset instead of a liability for our communities.

Third, let this book remind us the wonder of God. We may become so infatuated with the latest scientific discovery or the successful clinical trials of a wonder drug. We may even be thrilled with what the modern medical equipment could do. Have we thought about depending on the creator of our human bodies in the first place? This book may not exactly be an evangelistic book. However, one cannot help but marvel at the way God has created us. A healthy body is more valuable than all the riches of this world. What good is it for one to gain the whole world but loses one's soul? We could all appreciate the wonders of the human body. Let us not stop there. If the body itself is so wonderful, what about the creator of such a body?

This remains one of my favourite books by Dr Paul Brand and Philip Yancey.

Dr Paul Brand is a world-renowned hand surgeon and leprosy specialist. He has served as a clinical professor emeritus at the University of Washington. He has co-authored with Philip Yancey three books: "The Gift Nobody Wants," "Fearfully and Wonderfully Made," and "In His Image." Dr Brand passed away in 2003.

Philip Yancey has served as editor-at-large for ChristianityToday magazine. He has written several godly medallion award winning books and is a highly sought after author and speaker.

Rating: 4.75 stars of 5.

conrade
This book has been provided courtesy of Inter-Varsity Press and NetGalley without requiring a positive review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.
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This book was truly powerful. Combining the intricacies of the human body, the good design of the Creator, and the missionary faith of the author, this book reveals so much about what it means to bear God's image, and to live out your faith. The author utilizes his extensive knowledge of the human body to talk about God's creation, and his order and healing plans for now and the future. His example of sacrificial love, and medical work serving those with leprosy is also inspirational and challenging. Overall, I highly recommend this book to anyone.
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Are you ready for some Good Biology and some Good Theology? If your answer is yes, then grab a copy of this book and dig in. Start reading, start thinking and start learning. As you read, think and learn, your faith will grow.

As humans, we have so much to be thankful for as we acknowledge that we are fearfully and wonderfully made. While reading through this enlightening book, I am encouraged to be thankful for the very cells that make up the various and complicated systems that make living as a human an awesome adventure.

I loved when the author shared his thoughts about the vast amounts of specialized, individual cells that cooperate with and compliment each other to form human bodies, much like so many unique individuals with specialized skills and talents make up local churches. On a grander scale, each local church with its preferred style of worship, teaching and nurturing, contributes greatly and diversely to the greater Church.

I loved the lessons and analogies of human skin and the church. Skin is the first visible thing that we notice human to human. What does the skin of the church look and feel like to outsiders and newcomers? Is it warm and touchable? Do these same outsiders and newcomers see the fruit of the Spirit on our skin? Or, are they met with skin which has been hardened with callouses and is devoid of any much needed empathy?

I was intrigued by the rewording of the 10 commandments. They were presented and offered as positive affirmations, while explaining the reasoning and wisdom behind the original forbidding commands. They are a strong, reliable guide to living our best life in freedom while being protected with healthy, wise and safe boundaries. I will definitely be sharing these ideas with others.

What really drew me in were the author's thoughts on legalism and its dangers. He put into words and explained so very well, the feelings and beliefs that I already had.

While reading this book, I was challenged and reminded to use my existence to present God’s presence to our hurting world by being there for others, by loving others and by touching them. All of us are fearfully and wonderfully made.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from InterVarsity Press through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
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Little did I know, when I began Fearfully and Wonderfully by Dr Paul Brand and Philip Yancey, what an insightful and informative book I had picked up. Those who are disturbed by medical discussions of body parts may find the descriptions upsetting so do be careful. I found them fascinating.

Written from the perspective of a Christian missionary doctor who spent his life working with those suffering from leprosy, each function of the body is examined, explained and related to Christianity, It is both enlightening about the body and the faith.

Pain, being my companion through my CRPS, gained descriptions I have sought in my desire to share my experience. I also developed a deeper appreciation for the pain I do have which leprosy patients don’t which causes so much of their disability and isolation. One such description highlight how pain should have a volume control. “Apart from this volume switch through which sensations pass, I could not wear wool or other coarse clothing; my body would incessantly remind me of its scratchy presence and I could hardly concentrate on anything else.” so well explains how my clothes feel in a CRPS flare-up.

Dr Paul Brand eloquently shares his appreciation for pianists and their magnificent performances which only further endeared him to me, being a pianist myself and loving classical music.

Some of my favourite lines include:

“It is a supreme mystery that God has chosen to convey likeness through millions of ordinary people like us.”

“Somehow he [Jesus] moved compliantly among diverse groups without compromising his good-news message of love and forgiveness.”

”But if we fail to find fellowship in our mutual obedience to Christ, our actions will be seen not as the counterbalancing forces necessary for movement, but as spastic, futile contractions.”

”In the spiritual Body, a cell must submit to orders from the Head, for only the Head can judge the needs of the whole Body.”
It is inspiring, captivating and easy to read from start to finish. I highly recommend it and give it a five out of five on the en-JOY-ment scale.
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An amazing book that has so many rich details and information to absorb in one read-through.  This is a book that I’ll need to read each chapter again individually and absorb the information.  What a wonderful book that gives testimony to our Creator.  You’ll come away agreeing that we are “fearfully and wonderfully” made.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher. All opinions are my own.
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First sentence: A curtain screened my group of interns and medical students from the rest of the forty-bed ward at a training hospital in Vellore, India.

Fearfully and Wonderfully Made is an updated and combined edition of two classic books: Fearfully and Wonderfully Made and In His Image. I have not read either book before so I'm not sure exactly how these two are merged together. (I am curious though!)

The book is one doctor's perspective on the human body and its Creator. What can learning about the human body teach us about our Creator? What spiritual lessons can be gleamed from the natural world? One thing is stressed throughout the book: we are God's image-bearers. The church especially has the unique opportunity to do God's work on earth and be a blessing to the world. In the first chapter he writes, "we can take on God’s qualities—compassion, mercy, love, gentleness—and express them to a needy, broken world. As spirit, God remains invisible, relying on us to make that spirit visible. It is a supreme mystery that God has chosen to convey likeness through millions of ordinary people like us. We bear that image collectively, as a Body, because any one of us taken individually would present an incomplete image, one partly false and always distorted, like a single glass chip hacked from a mirror. Yet in all our diversity we can come together as a community to bear something of God’s image in the world." Towards the end of the book, he shares, "When God seems unreal, we can demonstrate that reality to others by expressing Christ’s love and character. Some may see this as God’s failure to respond to our deepest needs: “My God, why have you forsaken me?” I see it as a calling for the rest of the Body to unify and to embody the love of God. I say this carefully: we can show love when God seems not to."

I enjoyed reading this one. I did. I liked hearing his personal stories--stories about his family, his experiences on the mission field, his experiences with patients, his experiences as a student, etc. I liked his insights as well. He offers much food for thought.
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A masterpiece by one of the greatest Christian writers of our generation. Phillip Yancey teamed with Dr. Paul Brand to write a book about Dr. Brand’s treatment of leprosy patients in India. The passages about the wonder of the human body are fascinating. The writers use the physical body as an illustration of the church, the Body of Christ. The book is fascinating reading, even if you are not interested in the spiritual issues. As the Psalmist wrote, we are fearfully and wonderfully made. 
Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for providing a prepublication copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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I had read several of Philip Yancey’s books and was familiar with who Dr. Paul Brand was, so when I saw this book it intrigued me.  This is a reissue and update of two books published a number of years ago.  It will be of benefit to any Christian with an interest in health or science to learn more about the wonders of the human body as designed by God.  I think it would also be a good resource to give to a non-Christian who was open to learning more about God, especially if they have a health background.  
As a nutritionist and committed Christian I highly recommend this book.
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"Fearfully and Wonderfully" is a combined and updated edition of two of Dr. Paul Brand's previous books: "Fearfully and Wonderfully Made" and "In His Image." I've read other books by Dr. Brand, but not these two, so much of it was new to me. He talked about various parts of the body (bones, blood, brain, skin, etc.) and each of the senses. His descriptions create a sense of wonder at how marvelously God designed the human body. He also told stories about people he has helped that didn't have a properly functioning sense of pain (like his leprosy patients) or hearing or kidney or whatever. For each body part, he connected this information to references in the New Testament to the Body of Christ. He explained how understanding the human body has helped him better understand how the Body of Christ should function, and he shared theses interesting insights. I'd highly recommend this interesting and insightful book.
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An intimate and moving look at what it truly means to be made in the image of God, fearfully and wonderfully. Very gripping stories that show what truly unites us in a time of rampant division based on race, class, gender, jabs just about everything else. 

I can’t express how grateful I am for this anthology of sorts. Especially the global perspective that it provides. Very readable despite the complex nature of the subject. Some of the stories will never leave me but ultimately all pointed back to God himself. 

Highly recommend
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5 stars
This is probably one of the most interesting and fascinating Christian books I have read in a very long time.  I love how Dr. Brand sees the beauty and pain in life through his work with leprosy patients and yet he also connects it all to God. Brand recounts his work and God’s presence within every segment of his life. He is truly a fascinating man and had an incredible impact on both the secular and the Christian world. Phillip Yancey has done a remarkable job of relating this man’s astonishing life and legacy.
I highly recommend this book to anyone and everyone!

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher and NetGalley. The views given are my own. #FearfullyandWonderfully #NetGalley
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I received an advanced digital copy of this book from the authors, Netgalley.com and the publisher. Thanks to all for the opportunity to read and review.

Equal parts missionary memoir and New Testament devotional. Beautifully written and thoughtful book on faith.

4 out of 5 stars. Recommended reading.
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This book tells the story of Paul Brand, the son of missionaries who served in India. Paul describes how his father would use gloves to help leprosy patients and burn anything they had touched in order to prevent anyone from catching leprosy. 
God led Paul to become a surgeon for patients who suffered from leprosy.
In this book you will share the lives of those who contracted leprosy, how they break fingers, legs, toes and other body parts because they do not feel pain! One of his Indian patients went home for a visit, slept on a floor mat, and had his finger half chewed off by a rat because he did not feel the rat chewing on his finger! Pain is necessary for us to know what is wrong with our bodies!
You will also learn how Paul was taught by his superior how to use his thumb to keep someone from bleeding to death by putting pressure on the area or to use the thumb to keep blood from flowing from someone’s throat to save their life!
Paul also discusses many other medical breakthroughs and treatments of patients with leprosy and other conditions.
Paul discusses how the church should treat those people who are like lepers and how Jesus treated people like them
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