Work matters : lessons from Scripture

by R. Paul Stevens

Paper Book, 2012



Call number



Grand Rapids, Mich. : W.B. Eerdmans Pub. Co., 2012.


Adam and Eve worked. Jacob and Joseph worked. So did Ruth, David, Daniel, Jonah, Martha, Priscilla and Aquila, Paul ? and most people in the Old and New Testaments. In Work Matters marketplace theology expert R. Paul Stevens revisits more than twenty biblical accounts ? from Genesis to Revelation ? exploring through them the theological meaning of every sort of work, manual or intellectual, domestic or commercial. Taken together, his short, pithy reflections on these well-known Bible passages add up to a comprehensive, Bible-based theology of work ? one that will be equally useful for seminars, classes, Bible studies, and individuals seeking to grasp more fully the theological dimensions of their daily labor.

User reviews

LibraryThing member mitchellray
Though the author takes a strong Christian perspective, this book will be of worth to anyone interested in a biblical interpretation of work. Stevens explains in clear prose how work is perceived in both the Old and New Testaments. According to Stevens, the biblical view of work is a positive one. Human fulfillment is found by doing good work. Such work promotes spiritual growth, builds community, and stewards God’s creation. Work is a blessing, a ministry, and an opportunity to co-create with God. Stevens ends each chapter with questions for discussion and reflection, making this a useful text for use with discussion or Bible study groups. He also provides an introduction before and a summary after each section, which facilitates understanding of what will and has been read. This is a thought-provoking book useful to anyone seeking to understand their own work within a Biblical context.… (more)
LibraryThing member acviramontes
Stevens provides a great biblical overview of work. In twenty accessible chapters, Stevens allows his readers to approach work through the lens of a plethora of biblical characters. This is a great book that could be used in a variety of settings including small groups.
LibraryThing member pmfloyd1
First, I received a proof copy of this book via the Early Reviewer program on Library Thing. I knew nothing of the author, although I appreciate his nuanced sensitivity to the whole of scripture - Hebrew and Christian. His approach is to discuss "work" from 20 different perspectives with a story from scriptures to highlight the aspect of work he is addressing (e.g. Good Work - Adam and Eve, Vocational Work - Joseph). This allows his text to be read in small bits (great idea).... and to be used as a discussion tool (small group book, sunday school text, school text, or just a brief read like a devotional. His choice of quotes is very diverse and broad.... yet spot on. From Studs Terkel to Michael Novak to The Book of Common Prayer to Jacques Ellul to Calvin, Luther and even Eugene Peterson. Stevens is (in his own words) semi-retired.... and has had many diverse and distinct careers (teacher, dean, pastor, worker etc.) and it is clear that he has read widely and is open to many "truths" and "wisdom" gained from reflection on much life lived and lessons learned. With all that said, I was disappointed in the list making approach of which there were many.... "what did we learn from this story, let me list them....... and hence, long lists in each chapter. Still, as a person who appreciates a solid Biblical Theology approach to the text... Steven's approach to discuss the text, the story and draw from it the points he sees in the text.. was refreshing and a good way for people with diverse world views to dialogue about the text and its meaning. Nice job and I would recommend the book to anyone open to considering how one's work and work in general fits into the Biblical scheme of things. Paul Floyd, Mpls, MN
ps... here is little bit about Paul Stevens taken from his website:

From 1999 until 2005 Paul was the David J. Brown Family Professor of Marketplace Theology and Leadership at Regent College, Vancouver, BC. His mission is to empower ordinary people to integrate their faith and life from Monday to Sunday. He does this through teaching, coaching, advocating and publishing. He is married to Gail, has three married children and eight grandchildren. Gail and Paul have resided in Vancouver since 1969 and travel to all continents (except Antartica) to teach, learn and contribute.
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LibraryThing member kurtabeard
In Work Matters Stevens creates a simple and accessible primer tot one of the most important aspects of everyday life. Stevens defines work and breaks it down by exploring it through the narrative of Biblical Characters. While there are many books in the field Work Matters is the right length and doesn't bog down in theological details.… (more)
LibraryThing member moses917
In his new book “Work Matters: Lessons from Scripture” R. Paul Stevens takes us along a journey through the Old and New Testaments exploring the theological meaning of every sort and type of work. The author R. Paul Stevens is professor emeritus of marketplace theology and leadership at Regent College, Vancouver, British Columbia, and a marketplace ministry mentor.

This marketplace theologian takes the reader through more than twenty biblical accounts of some of the character profiles in the bible and brings out the purpose of their work and how it fits into God’s plan for the world. Out of all the delightful stories in this book one of the many worth commenting on is that of Joseph. His account in the scriptures reads like a modern day soap opera. We see Joseph begins his career as a shepherd following in the footsteps of his father. Then Joseph after being sold by his brothers into slavery ends up in Egypt with a new job working as a slave in house of Potifphar. Then finally Joseph is elevated to the highs position in the land right under the pharaoh and this is where he finds his calling and final vocation. He is trusted with the task of caretaker of all of Egypt’s produce in order to be able to survive the foreseen famine that was to come to Egypt.

But his vocation served to not just protect Egypt but a people and not just any people God’s chosen people. His family being the sons of Jacob and the people of Israel would be care for by his vocation in Egypt. In this R. Paul Stevens reminds us that God is first constantly at work and that as people created in God’s image we to are coworkers with God as he accomplishes his purposes.

I believe in this volume by Stevens through his reflections of these well known Bible passages gives a biblical based theology of work to deal with the question that many who work may be wondering, “Why work? What is the point anyway?” I would recommend this is a great addition to any library as study help to assist in further understanding the Christian theological aspects of our daily labor.
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LibraryThing member baroquem
This book serves a useful purpose, exploring the purpose and meaning of work from a Christian perspective — an understanding that is sorely lacking in the contemporary world and workplace.

Through no particular fault of the book itself, it took me an excessively long time to work my way through it. Despite appreciating the overall message, the effort Stevens makes to approach the topic from several different angles, and a number of insightful passages I encountered along the way, I just couldn't seem to get into it for extended periods of time. I suspect that I am more at fault than the book itself, though, and so I would still recommend it to anyone interested in the topic.… (more)
LibraryThing member Lenow
Stevens offers his perspective on what Scripture says about work. He defines work as "any purposeful expenditure of energy--whether manual, mental, or both, whether paid or not." This very broad definition of work allows him to address a number of issues that some might find outside the scope of work in their own perspective. Most of the book is consumed with addressing a particular aspect of work (within Stevens' broad definition) from books of the Bible. The bulk of his attention is paid to Old Testament books. The chapters are brief and limited in their depth of treatment.… (more)


Physical description

viii, 176 p.; 22 cm


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