Of No Reputation – Stephen Grant

Paperback, 90 pages, Published by John Ritchie Ltd, 40 Beansburn, Kilmarnock, KA3 1RH, Scotland. ISBN (ebook) 978-1-483522-30-2 (paperback) 978-1-909803-92-3.

The key theme of this book is that most Christians are ‘more like the people who received Paul’s letters than [like] the apostle who wrote them’. Grant explains how Christians should aspire to live quietly, as the Thessalonians were exhorted by Paul, 1 Thess. 4. 11. The author reveals his own experience of a gradual redirection of spiritual ambition from city-scale evangelism to personal godly living. He shows in clear terms, with supporting biblical exposition, how an ordinary life can bring pleasure to God.

Ten short chapters and an informal style combine to make this an easy read: the kind of book you might get through in a single evening, or pick up and put down at regular intervals. Personally, it helped that I knew some of the people and places mentioned throughout the book. Perhaps this made the many anecdotes more relevant and powerful. Nevertheless, the general thrust of this work will be universally challenging: are we living useful lives for our God? I enjoyed the way that Bible passages and themes are regularly woven into the text, with relevant and incisive commentary. The author ranges across the scriptures, but tends to select more quotations from Proverbs and Paul’s epistles. The context is clearly situated in the present day, with allusions to websites, including Google, Facebook and Wikipedia. This contemporary emphasis should help to interest younger believers. However, more mature saints will also appreciate the timeless advice on Bible reading, prayer, humility, and spiritual contentment.

In summary, this well-presented book on Christian living contains helpful and relevant scriptural lessons. Other books in the genre might include Piper’s Don’t waste your life and Ortberg’s The life you’ve always wanted. However, Grant is pragmatic, but decidedly undogmatic, attitude makes his latest work stand apart from the rest. It is available as an ebook, and is also produced in paperback.