Member Reviews

This is a really helpful book for those who want to grow in their Christian faith. So often in today's culture we look for quick-fix solutions and instant results. Peterson proposes that this is not possible in discipleship but that we grow gradually over time by developing good patterns of life. In this book he uses the Psalms of Ascent (Psalm 120-134) as the basis for looking at some of these patterns and encouraging us in how we too can "ascend" in terms of growing closer to God and living a life that reflects him. The book contains helpful exploration of the Scriptures as well as practical advice, examples and anecdotes which help the reader see how they can live it out.

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This is the 20th anniversary edition of Eugene Peterson’s book originally published in 1980. I found it very meaningful to read. In this book, Eugene Peterson walks through the 15 Songs of Ascents— Psalm 120 through 134. These songs were likely used when pilgrims came to Jerusalem for festivals. When he first wrote this book, Peterson attempted to put the Songs of Ascents into language that sounded like language people actually used in real life. You might say this book was the inspiration and first step into birthing Peterson’s later and perhaps most famous work: The Message (the New Testament version was published in 1993 and the entire Bible in 2003).

Peterson uses the Psalms as a backdrop for discussing various aspects of discipleship. Repentance, worship, service, hope, and community are some of the rich topics covered. Eugene Peterson was a pastor for many years, and this book shows his pastor’s heart— for congregants to go deeper in their walk with the Lord and with each other.

I appreciate the author’s deep love of scripture and his desire to spur his readers on in the long obedience.

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I cannot say enough good things about this book. Whether you're new to the faith or a Christian veteran or somewhere in-between, you will learn something new that will strengthen your walk with God. You'll be encouraged, you'll find new insights and you will see the Psalms in a whole new light. This book is the perfect accompaniment for devotional times, small group studies, and persons looking for Christian living books to grow their faith. The short chapters and constant scriptural inclusion make it an easy read that is incredibly edifying and faith-filled. I can't wait to read it again.

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This is my first time through this book and while it came recommended, I didn't know much about it, other than the numerous times I've heard discipleship quote as "a long obedience in the same direction." With the Psalms of Ascent (Ps 120-134) as the framework, the author describes different aspects of our discipleship. The topics ranging from worship, service, repentance, happiness and hope. I was really encouraged and I imagine it may be one I'll revisit again.

This is for the believer recognizing that discipleship is not instant, but a comprehensive, slow growth.

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First published over forty years ago, A Long Obedience in the Same Direction has proven itself to be a timeless classic, with lasting words of encouragement for the Christian life.

In a world of instant gratification we can easily loose sight of what it is to hold fast and persevere in faith, when there is not an obvious reward in sight. Wonderful everyday encouragement for every Christian going through life at every stage. I like how he challenges despondency and doubt with biblical truth in a an easy to digest, conversational tone.

Opinions are my own, I received a complimentary ecopy of this book.

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This book explores the Christian journey, focusing on perseverance and faithfulness. Peterson's writing makes complex ideas easy to understand. He challenges readers to resist instant gratification and commit to lifelong spiritual growth. By connecting ancient texts to modern life, Peterson offers timeless wisdom and encouragement.

Overall, this book is a valuable guide for anyone looking to deepen their faith and commitment to God. Thank you to NetGalley for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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In "A Long Obedience in the Same Direction," Eugene H. Peterson tackles the essential but challenging aspects of Christian discipleship. Drawing from the Psalms of Ascents, Peterson crafts a guide for believers who aspire to a lifelong journey of faith, characterizing it not as a sprint but as a marathon that requires perseverance, commitment, and a focus on eternal goals. This work emerges as a poignant counter-narrative to the instant gratification and transient values of contemporary culture, offering deep insights into the slow and steady grace of spiritual growth. Through a series of reflective essays on themes such as repentance, joy, and perseverance, Peterson invites readers to consider the rich tapestry of living faithfully through ordinary days.

Chapter 1: Discipleship

Peterson sets the stage for the book by comparing the Christian life to racing against horses, illustrating the challenges and the endurance required. He questions, "What makes you think you can race against horses?" This metaphor highlights the daunting nature of true discipleship. He adds, "The essential thing ‘in heaven and earth’ is... that there should be long obedience in the same direction," stressing the continuous and persistent effort required in following Christ, which shapes a life worth living.

Chapter 2: Repentance

In this chapter, Peterson discusses repentance as a critical first step in the journey of discipleship. He describes it as "deciding that you have been wrong in supposing that you could manage your own life and be your own god," which encapsulates the fundamental Christian concept of turning from self to God. Additionally, he paints a vivid picture of the constant struggle with sin: "I’m doomed to live in Meshech... My whole life lived camping among quarreling neighbors," highlighting the ongoing nature of repentance in daily life.

Chapter 3: Providence

Peterson reassures readers of God's constant care and protection with, "God guards you from every evil; he guards your very life." He elaborates on the comprehensive nature of this protection, "God guards you when you leave and when you return, he guards you now, he guards you always," underlining the theme of divine providence that ensures believers are never outside God's watchful eye, providing a foundation of security and trust.

Chapter 4: Worship

Worship is explored as a daily, continuous practice that transcends specific acts and becomes a way of life. Peterson encourages this lifestyle with, "Let’s go to the house of God." He further explains the communal and continuous nature of worship: "Like servants... We’re watching & waiting," emphasizing the readiness and humility required to live a life of worship, making it a central aspect of Christian discipleship.

Chapter 5: Service

Service is portrayed as an integral expression of worship and faith. Peterson encourages believers to be proactive and attentive in their service: "Like servants... We’re watching & waiting," indicating that service involves preparedness and alertness. He reassures them of God’s continual presence in these acts with, "Oh, Blessed be God! He didn’t go off & leave us," which reinforces the idea that service is not only a duty but also a privilege facilitated by divine support.

Chapter 6: Help

Discussing the theme of divine assistance, Peterson offers comfort and reassurance: "Oh, Blessed be God! He didn’t go off & leave us," emphasizing God’s reliability. He adds another layer of assurance with, "God encircles His people," suggesting that God’s help is both intimate and encompassing, surrounding His people with care and support in all aspects of life.

Chapter 7: Security

Security in God’s promises is a major focus in this chapter. Peterson illustrates this with, "God encircles His people," providing a powerful image of God’s protective presence. He deepens this assurance by stating, "He guards your very life," affirming that believers can trust in God’s promise to protect and sustain them through all of life’s challenges.

Chapter 8: Joy

Peterson links joy to the assurance found in God's presence and promises: "We laughed, we sang," capturing the spontaneous expressions of joy that arise from a secure relationship with God. He ties this joy directly to the believer’s security in God with, "God guards you from every evil," highlighting how understanding and trusting in God’s protective care can lead to profound joy.

Chapter 9: Work

In this chapter, Peterson underscores the importance of recognizing God’s role in all our endeavors. He warns of the futility of working without divine guidance: "If God doesn't build the house," and adds, "The builders only build in vain," to stress that all human efforts are fruitless without the blessing and involvement of God. This perspective calls believers to seek God’s direction and blessing in all their labors, ensuring their work aligns with His will and purposes.

Chapter 10: Happiness

Peterson articulates that true happiness in Christian life is derived not from worldly achievements but from recognizing and valuing God's blessings. He encourages believers to "Enjoy the blessing! Revel in the goodness!" illustrating that true joy comes from spiritual fulfillment and alignment with God’s will. He also adds, "True happiness is found not in direct pursuit of happiness but through living in the light of the blessings that come from God." This approach shifts the focus from secular definitions of happiness to a more profound, spiritually anchored joy.

Chapter 11: Perseverance

In this chapter, Peterson focuses on the virtue of perseverance, which is essential for navigating the long journey of faith. He reassures with, "They never could keep me down," emphasizing resilience in the face of trials and hardships. He advises, "Keep a steady pace in the race that is set before us," highlighting the importance of consistency and endurance in spiritual growth. This encouragement serves as a reminder that the Christian life requires ongoing effort and steadfastness, regardless of obstacles.

Chapter 12: Hope

Peterson describes hope as a proactive, dynamic aspect of faith. He explains, "I pray to God... and wait for what He’ll say and do," portraying hope as an active engagement with God’s promises. He deepens this understanding by stating, "Hope is not wishful thinking, but certainty in what God has promised to us," which reinforces the idea that hope in Christian terms is based on the reliable and unchanging character of God, not on the unpredictable nature of human circumstances.

Chapter 13: Humility

Discussing humility, Peterson identifies it as foundational to the Christian character. He notes, "I’ve kept my feet on the ground," advocating for a grounded, realistic approach to life’s challenges and successes. He elaborates, "Humility is not thinking less of yourself but thinking of yourself less," which challenges believers to adopt a selfless posture that prioritizes others' needs and God’s will over personal ambitions or ego.

Chapter 14: Obedience

In this chapter, Peterson explores obedience as a deliberate submission to God's will. He states, "How He promised God," indicating obedience as a response to God’s faithfulness. He further explains, "Obedience is the practical acceptance of the authority and will of God," emphasizing that obedience is not just about following rules but about embracing God's sovereignty in every aspect of life. This perspective encourages believers to align their actions and decisions with God’s directives as an act of faith and devotion.

Chapter 15: Community

Peterson highlights the importance of community in spiritual growth, using the metaphor, "Like costly anointing oil flowing down head and beard," to illustrate the richness and comfort that community brings to the Christian life. He asserts, "Community is God’s gift to foster courage, compassion, and wisdom," underscoring the notion that spiritual development is not a solitary endeavor but one that flourishes with mutual support and shared experiences within the body of Christ.

Chapter 16: Blessing

Concluding the themes of the book, Peterson calls believers to recognize and celebrate the blessings in their lives with, "Lift your praising hands," an exhortation to express gratitude and joy collectively. He reflects on the deeper significance of life's challenges, "Blessings are often disguised in the trials and tribulations of life, teaching us to see God’s hand in all things," which invites believers to adopt a perspective that views every circumstance as an opportunity to experience and acknowledge God’s providence.

This book is ideal for Christians at any stage of their spiritual journey, particularly those who are looking to deepen their understanding of and commitment to the foundational disciplines of Christian discipleship. It is also a valuable resource for church leaders and mentors seeking to inspire and guide their congregations or disciples in a life of faithful devotion.

"A Long Obedience in the Same Direction" stands as a profound testament to the beauty and challenge of Christian discipleship. Eugene H. Peterson, with his insightful and pastoral tone, guides readers through the Psalms of Ascents with a keen eye on the enduring practices that sustain believers. Each chapter serves as a reflective meditation on aspects of the Christian life that are both foundational and profound. Peterson’s book is not merely a manual but a companion for those who find themselves on the long road of following Jesus. It is an essential read for anyone committed to cultivating a deep, sustained, and mature Christian faith. As Peterson eloquently guides through the ancient rhythms of the Psalms, he also equips modern believers with timeless truths to navigate the complexities of contemporary spiritual life. This book is recommended for new believers who are just setting out on their journey, mature Christians who are navigating the midways of their faith, and spiritual leaders who guide others along the path.

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This is a commemorative edition of a well-known and well-loved classic book. I’m not clear what is new in the commemorative edition that differs from existing editions however, it is a classic that ever believer should read at least one time if not more. Psalms 121-134 operate as the themes and chapters and each one reviews a characteristic that that will enable a believer to grow in their obedience to God and Christ over their lifetime. it’s a journey not a destination.

#ALongObedienceintheSameDirection #NetGalley.

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Like many other readers, I am a person in development. For many decades, I have been working through my faith and spirituality and attempting to find ways to make my life meaningful. This is a useful guide for reflection and thinking about what it means to be a disciple in an always-changing society with many demands. I recommend this book is a devotional text and one that might be used for Bible studies.

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I received a copy of this book from NetGalley and the publisher. This is my honest review.
I thought this book was written very well. I loved how each chapter took a book in Psalm starting from 120 and going to 134. Mr. Peterson shared how we can live an obedient life for God by daily living a life that honors Him. Each Psalm had a different characteristic that would lead you along the road to obedience. This book was written beautifully and gave such encouragement for our walk with Christ.

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One of the best books about discipleship, period. If I could make every Christian study this slowly, I would.

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I love Eugene Peterson’s writing. I have my own copy of The Message Bible and will sometimes compare it to my regular ESV one. I’m originally from California so I like the straight forward approach to things and I felt like this was a commentary of sorts. The book is about the Psalms, chapters 120 through chapter 134.
This would be a good bible study because it’s written for such a time as this.
I thought it helpful and encouraging.
Thanks InterVarsity Press via NetGalley.

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I read this book for three times and I still found that it is really good book to start spiritual formation in our life as a Christion. Eugene Peterson remind us that obedience is not an instant way, but a very very long way, but we do it with other people in the same direction towards eternity. Hopefully, you can get benefit from this book, too.

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