Included in Christ Review

Book Review: 

If you are holding the Bible in your hands and trying to figure out which of its 66 books you should read, why not pick Ephesians – a book that one theologian calls “the most influential document ever written”?

Author Heather Holleman calls Ephesians a paradigm-shifting book – she says that Ephesians answers the most fundamental questions about our lives. In her new Bible study Included In Christ: Living A New Story From Ephesians, Heather reveals how Ephesians teaches us who we are, where we belong, and how to live included in Christ.

Heather Holleman is not your typical Bible study teacher – by day, she is a college writing professor who incorporates her creativity into her ministerial work – and Included In Christ is not your typical 8-week Bible study. Heather is interested in helping you to find creative ways to dig into Scripture and to uncover the great truths found within Ephesians, so that your life will be transformed by this overarching theme:

We are included in Christ, and this changes everything about how we experience God and ourselves in relation to Him.

She teaches that the words in Scripture are important, and she organizes Included In Christ around the following topics:

  • Included
  • Chosen
  • Seated
  • Strengthened
  • Renewed
  • Filled
  • Proclaiming
  • Living Your Story

This beautifully designed book is filled with weekly lessons that contain insight into the passage and word we are studying, along with 5 days of workbook-style lessons with personal questions, journaling space, charts and exercises to help you apply Scripture to your life.

What makes the Included In Christ study so unique, however, is Heather’s inclusion of Shadow Narratives and Savior Stories.

Drawing from her rich collegiate experience as a writing and memoir professor, Heather invites us to experience spiritual growth as we move through Ephesians by looking at our lives through a series of comparisons and contrasts – identifying what our lives looked like before and after Christ – in each of the 7 areas we are exploring.

She then invites us to identify our Shadow Narratives – the old stories we tell ourselves over and over again that keeps us from living out the stories that God wants us to live – and then composing our Savior Stories – the new stories that God has written or is currently writing in our lives.

She also invites us to choose images and objects from Scripture to remind us of the truths we are learning. For example, when we are learning about being seated with Christ in the heavenly realms, we can envision our actual seats as a way of remembering that truth!

If you have ever done any type of journaling or memoir writing for personal growth, you know what a powerful tool it can be on its own – so incorporating it into a Bible study such as this is truly transformational!

If you who are looking for a personal, creative Bible study that speaks to your heart in a life-transforming way, then Included In Christ is just what you are looking for!

I rate this book 5 out of 5 stars.