Book Review | Fully Alive by Dr Larry Crabb

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Fully Alive by Dr Larry Crabb
Baker Books | 2013

Fully Alive sets out to present, “A biblical vision of gender that frees men and women to live beyond stereotypes”. Larry Crabb is a psychologist and teacher and brings his experience in these fields alongside his own life journey as he explores what biblical masculinity and femininity look like.

His style is instructive and clear although, at times, repetitive. Some readers will be disappointed with the lack of direction as to how exactly to make changes. However, this does not detract from the fact that Crabb has presented a very thorough study of what the Bible shows to be feminine and masculine. He has a sound scriptural basis for his teaching and uses relevant case studies that illustrate the points he is making. It’s written without bias toward one gender or another and is suitable for those in any stage of life be they young singleton, married or widowed octogenarian!

Reading this book was a mixed journey for me. Crabb errs on the side of emphasising what’s wrong with the current picture and explaining what it should be, but without including clear steps or suggestions as to how to get there. There were definitely times when I got frustrated with some of the repetition of these themes. However, just as that would happen, he would provide a case study, which would re-capture my attention, or convict me, and encourage me to read on.

Whilst I didn’t find any quick solutions to living this biblical femininity, I did find myself challenged and convicted. At times I felt the book was too heavily negative and had not enough constructive help....but then I realised that there is no clear answer! The discovering ‘how’ is my ongoing journey with God and part of my sanctification. I saw myself reflected in many of the case studies and found myself asking God to speak further into my life to show me why that was.

With that in mind, I would definitely recommend this book to shed a new perspective and challenge both men and women alike in whether they’re truly living in the fullness of what God called them to be when he designed them male and female. It won’t leave you feeling empowered like Fashioned to Reign (for women), or validated and legitimised like the Eldredge books on this topic, but it will definitely challenge, convict and provoke further questions about the unique design of men and women and what it means to be made in God’s image. This, in turn, will cause you to go deeper with God.

Used by permission. Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications Inc. Available from Baker Books.