Intentional Integrity: Ten Life Strategies for Wholeness from the Book of Job
Nashville, TN: Randall House, 2011. Pp. x + 148. Paper. $11.99.
With thanks to Randall House for this review copy!
Intentional Integrity is one of the most practical books I’ve read in a long time. Garnett Reid takes the reader through a guided study of Job 31 and what it has to say about living a life of integrity. The book itself is brief containing a mere 108 pages of main text with another 40 pages of indices and end notes. Over the course of 11 chapters Reid focuses on 10 qualities of integrity gleaned from a close reading of Job 31. The first chapter introduces the reader to the book’s aims and the following chapters all examine a particular quality derived from a couple of verses in Job 31. They are (in order of chapter):
- Purity (verses 1-4)
- Honesty (verses 5-6)
- Contentment (verses 7–8 and 24–25)
- Loyalty (verses 9–12)
- Equity (verses 13–15)
- Compassion (verses 16–23 and 31–32)
- Worship (verses 26–28)
- Forgiveness (verses 29–30)
- Confession (verses 33–34)
- Stewardship (verses 38–40)
Each chapter is divided into three sections. The first section addresses what Job says and provides pertinent contextual information about Job’s particular situation. The second section compares Job’s situation to our own by discussing similar issues in the contemporary world. The third section offers up points of advice on how to navigate these situations in today’s world with integrity.
These recommendations for cultivating and maintaining integrity are the bread and butter of this book. Reid displays a clear pastoral concern and he offers up sound advice based on principles derived from Scripture. It’s all too common to write the Bible off as a book that doesn’t speak to modern concerns but Reid isn’t willing to concede any such thing. Throughout the book Reid makes it clear that Job’s actions and responses to his problems are representative of the Biblical worldview and he’s confident that we can put such practices into action in our time in response to our problems.
I thoroughly appreciated the manner in which Reid allowed the text of Job to form the substance of his message rather than allowing his predetermined message to dictate what we was going to do with the text. I also appreciated how incredibly practical his advice is. For example, his first point of advice for dealing with confession is “Determine to Avoid Sin in the First Place” (90). The point is a simple one; people don’t confess their sin for various reasons—generally a desire to hide it—but if we determine to avoid sin in the first place then we won’t put ourselves in a position to want to cover it up or to have to confess it. And lest anything think this is unbiblical or impossible I’d refer them 1 Corinthians 10:13 where Paul tells the Corinthians that with all temptation comes a way of escape. This is one of many points, but the vast majority of this book is full of such conventional wisdom.
If I were to lodge one complaint about this book it would have to do with a matter of form rather than substance. Substantially this is an extremely helpful volume that can be of use to just about anybody. I heartily recommend it to all since all should strive to live lives of integrity. But there is the issue of end notes, and not just end notes, but badly formatted end notes. One would expect end notes in a popular work such as this; no surprise there. The problem is that when you’re reading the text you don’t know that there are end notes. There’s no numbering system in place. When you do finally get around to the back of the book you discover the notes sitting next to corresponding page numbers, but they’re preceded by italicized parts of sentences that appear on the numbered pages. It’s much more difficult than it has to be, but in truth, one can skip the notes in this volume and not miss out on much.