Book Review | Wonderfully Made

In our secular age, there has been a loss of the body’s goodness, purpose, and end. Many people, driven by shame and idolatry, abuse their body through self-harm or self-improvement. How can we renew our understanding and see our bodies the way God does?

In Wonderfully Made, John Kleinig forms a properly biblical theology of our bodies. With the purpose to consider the body theologically and anthropologically, he writes in light of what God says about it in His Word, the Bible. As the author explicitly noted, this book is a pastoral-theological meditation written from a Lutheran perspective and classical Lutheran tradition.

Kleinig opens the books with a liturgy—a prayer for life in the body—as an invitation to read each chapter in the book as a devotional exercise for oneself. It is made up of Psalmody, a confession of faith, encouragement, and benediction from the Scriptures.

This book is divided into seven parts or chapters. Part one, “Body Matters,” lays the foundation by pointing us to the scriptures and starting with the gospel message. Kleinig affirms that we were created as God’s image-bearers, that human rebellion broke our fellowship with the triune God, and that God’s Son Jesus had taken on a human body to reclaim us bodily for fellowship with God the Father. This is also the central thought that will guide the rest of the book.

In part two, “The Created Body,” Kleinig dives deep into the mystery of the body, discusses physical union, and the naked body, and addresses the problem of shame after the fall. Part three, “The Redeemed Body,” highlights the gospel message and the incarnation of Jesus as the redeemer of our body. Kleinig also made an exposition of the sacraments in the Lutheran tradition and relates it to the body.

Part four, “The Spiritual Body,” talks about our body and soul in light of eternity and the afterlife. Part five, “The Sexual Body,” deals with human sexuality, and addresses topics such as chastity, idolatry, pornography, and adultery. Interrelated with it is part six, “The Spousal Boy,” which talks about the beauty of our body within the bounds of marriage. It also discusses controversial yet timely topics such as same-sex intercourse and attraction. Kleinig ends the book with part seven, “The Living Body,” by talking about our body’s ultimate destiny with God in heaven as he ordained.

Final thoughts

Wonderfully Made is a treasure trove of scriptures. Kleinig searched the whole counsel of God to form this biblical theology of the body. It is a fascinating subject and at the same time very timely. In our rapidly changing world—in a new era of sexual revolution—where people cry out “my body, my choice,” this book calls us for accountability and appreciation, helping us to see the beauty of human bodies—not as mere flesh but as God’s image-bearers since the time of creation and redeemed by the precious blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. Highly recommended!

Disclosure: A review copy of Wonderfully Made (ISBN 9781683594673) was provided for review by Lexham Press, from whom you may purchase a copy.

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