I wish we could walk together to the banks of the Bosporus in Istanbul where my search to understand blessing in the Bible began. I wish you could witness the way the horizon line dissolves in the dusky plum of twilight when only the blinking lights of tanker ships suggest the division between the heavens and the waters of the Sea of Marmara. It was there that I realized, like Jacob at the brook of Jabbok, I would have to wrestle to understand the true meaning of blessing.
Our family moved to Istanbul fourteen years ago. As we made a life there, I began learning to speak Turkish, a language with soft contours, vowel harmony, and consonants like pillows. Among other things, it’s a language in which spoken blessings are integrated into everyday conversation. One day, when a Turkish friend asked me about traditional Christian blessings, I was embarrassed to admit that I didn’t know any. Despite growing up in the church, I had never learned the language of blessing.
In Given I share my journey to understand the Christian meaning and practice of blessing. Along the way, I discover that blessing isn’t a possession; it’s a calling. Blessing isn’t something we own; it’s something we’re meant to become.
If you’re looking for a book that promises comfort, wealth, health, and safety, Given probably isn’t for you. But if you’re curious about how blessing is woven through the story of God’s interaction with the people he pursues, if you wonder how blessing is related to a call to follow, if you’ve ever been concerned about how it’s possible to obey Jesus’s confounding imperative to bless even our enemies, and if you’ve longed to experience the blessing of God’s abiding presence, then friend, Given was written for you.
Come with me on a pilgrimage into learning to love. We’ll travel across international borders and over centuries. You’ll walk through the hills around Assisi, explore mosaics in the ancient churches of Istanbul, witness the light playing across the landscape of Iona, an island in the Scottish Hebrides. You’ll meet people like Polycarp, Columba, and Amy Carmichael—figures who embodied the practice of blessing in their own times. You’ll follow a thread of blessing in Scripture that begins in Genesis and runs right through to Revelation. And you’ll encounter a God who invites you to rest in the blessing of his presence.
Given launches on June 4, 2019, but you can pre-order it on Amazon today.
What people are saying about Given
“I started reading Tina’s book like a freight train rushing to get to the destination. Instead, I found myself on a slow hike, immersing myself in the words that caused me to observe Scripture and principles of blessing in a new way. Her words left me captivated with a desire to be like Jacob and wrestle with God until receiving a blessing.”
—Kelly King, Women’s Ministry Specialist at LifeWay Christian Resources and author of Ministry to Women
“Our efforts to express blessing to others often becomes routine and trite. However, reading this book will awaken the spirit to the power of words of blessing.”
—Gary D. Chapman, author of The 5 Love Languages
“Given is a book that should not be ignored. In it, Tina Boesch explores the biblically significant notion of blessing. Rejecting both the prosperity gospel’s reduction of blessing to economic prosperity and many evangelicals’ reduction of it to some sort of vague future hope, she argues that the ultimate expression of blessing is the cross, where Christ gives himself on our behalf, blessing us so that we can bless others, even our enemies. In a delightful and surprising manner, Given not only explores the richness of biblical teaching, but also takes the reader on a journey through history and across the globe. Highly recommended.”
—Bruce Ashford, provost and professor of theology of culture, SEBTS, and author of author of Every Square Inch: An Introduction to Cultural Engagement for Christians and Letters to an American Christian
“Tina Boesch can bless in a wide range of modes: artist, art scholar, tour guide, theological teacher, evangelist, hostess, daughter, sister, friend, wife, mother, and more. This beautiful book comes from a heart ready to bless, a mind brimming with good things, and a mouth able to put things fitly, like apples of gold in settings of silver—all bundled with a strong back, capable hands, and a quick smile. Come and be blessed!”
—John G. Stackhouse, Jr., Samuel J. Mikolaski professor of religious studies at Crandall University, author of Humble Apologetics and Need to Know: Vocation as the Heart of Christian Epistemology
“Tina tells the biblical story with great attention to narrative detail and has chosen her examples astutely. Interwoven with all of this are many wonderful stories from her own and others’ lives which illuminate the themes she’s trying to get across.”
—Iain Provan, Marshall Sheppard professor of biblical studies at Regent College, author of Seriously Dangerous Religion: What the Old Testament Really Says and Why It Matters
“Tina has a tremendous way with the English language—her prose is redolent, Christ-centered, even pungent at times, but always winsome. And this book is no exception. I have long thought that blessings and benedictions are a lost art among evangelicals, and Tina’s book is the very thing we need to recover a vital part of our heritage. May it be read widely and appreciated and put into practice!”
—Michael A G Haykin, Professor of Church History, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, author of Rediscovering the Church Fathers: Who They Were and How They Shaped the Church
“In our day, “blessing” has sadly been reduced to a hashtag, frequently used in a shallow or braggadocio way. But in Given, Tina Boesch unpacks the richness of the biblical meaning of blessing. Her writing is exquisite, poetic and rooted in the biblical narrative. In the truest sense of the word, Tina has richly blessed the family of God with her book. I highly recommend!”
—Susie Hawkins, speaker and author of From One Ministry Wife to Another: Honest Conversations about Ministry Connections