What Does the Bible Say About Suffering?, By Brian Han Gregg alt

What Does the Bible Say About Suffering?

by Brian Han Gregg

What Does the Bible Say About Suffering?
  • Length: 176 pages
  • Published: August 09, 2016
  • Imprint: IVP Academic
  • Item Code: 9353
  • ISBN: 9780830893539

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The quest for an answer to the problem of suffering is universal.

People often treat Scripture like a manual, looking for a single clear response that explains the presence of evil and suffering. Brian Han Gregg thinks we should take a different approach.

The Bible does not have one but many responses to suffering. To pick out one theme is to hear the sopranos but miss the choir. We need to listen to the whole biblical narrative to appreciate its multifaceted handling of the problem.

What Does the Bible Say About Suffering? explores twelve themes related to the issue of human suffering and reflects on what we can learn from the diversity of the biblical witness. Readable and informed by biblical scholarship, this book is a timely resource for students, small groups and anyone looking for a fresh approach to a topic of perennial interest.

"There's no one-size-fits-all solution to the problem of evil and suffering. How could a good God allow such bad things in a world he created? The answer depends on which part of the Bible we read. Indeed, there are different strategies within the Scriptures that deal with the complex problem of evil and suffering. That's the genius of Brian Gregg's approach to the question, what does the Bible say about suffering? He lets the voices within Scripture speak to the problem without treating the Bible as an answer book that solves every riddle."

Rodney Reeves, dean, Redford Professor of Biblical Studies, Southwest Baptist University

"In his remarkable overview of the Bible's teaching about suffering, Brian Han Gregg emphasizes the variety in the Bible's responses to this topic. This is coupled with a warning against getting fixated on one or two of these approaches, which may not be the ones that best provide insight and healing in a specific situation. A rich resource for those who struggle with suffering in their own lives and the lives of others."

William Hasker, former editor, Faith and Philosophy, author of The Triumph of God Over Evil

"Brian Gregg brings the insights of a biblical scholar to the experience of suffering in ways that speak to mind and heart alike. His sensitive reading of the Bible shows that it has a variety of things to say about life's greatest challenge, and each has important things to teach us. Even though no single view fits everyone's experience and suffering is always mysterious, there is one thing we can know for sure—God is always with us, always working for good."

Richard Rice, author of Suffering and the Search for Meaning

"In this remarkable book, Brian Gregg explores the mystery of suffering with the mind of a biblical scholar and the heart of a pastor and teacher. The result is a thoroughly scriptural and truly pastoral approach to the problem of pain. As Gregg shows, the Bible doesn't have just one answer to the question of suffering—but it does have answers. This book needs to be read by every pastor, every teacher, and every person interested in learning how to trust God with the answers he gives as well as the questions that remain."

Brant Pitre, professor of Sacred Scripture, Notre Dame Seminary

"Brian Gregg takes up the question of suffering with a full realization that Scripture provides not one but numerous ways of addressing this perennial issue. Examining each of these ways with insight and sensitivity, this book does not attempt an abstract philosophical answer to suffering but a way forward in its wake, a way that is marked by both biblical faithfulness and pastoral sensitivity. Such an approach will be appreciated by many."

Kimlyn J. Bender, George W. Truett Theological Seminary, Baylor University

"This book is engaging, relevant, and suitable for many settings. Gregg provides a fair treatment of a theological approach to suffering that will satisfy even the most curious readers. The content will be especially useful to pastors seeking to help their congregations make sense of suffering in their lives."

Ben Espinoza, Bible Study Magazine, January/February 2017

"Gregg's book is a wise, sensitive, and engagingly written introduction to the biblical theology of suffering, which will be of use to a broad range of readers, including students of theology, practitioners of pastoral ministry, and laymen. It will be a fine addition to the shelves of academic, public, and parish libraries."

Thomas M. Dousa, Catholic Library World, December 2016

"This balanced and sensitive treatment allows believers to have an appreciation of suffering that can prepare them for a positive response to the ills that beset us."

James Wetherbee, Library Journal, October 1, 2016

"This variety of biblical perspectives reflects and honors the many dimensions of the actual experience of suffering. . . . This volume will have much to offer readers who wish to explore the nuanced and profound biblical witness regarding the suffering and God's relationship to it."

Bible Today, March 2017

"The book . . . contains a practical and valuable message. This message can be used as an effective resource by individuals looking for wisdom about suffering and by pastors seeking advice on how to counsel other Christians who are suffering."

Daniel Boerman, Calvin, April 2018


1. Introduction
2. The Two Ways: Suffering and the God of Justice
3. Sin Is Lurking at the Door: Suffering and Choice
4. The Purposes of God: Suffering and the Sovereignty of God
5. The Accuser: Suffering and the Devil
6. I Am: The Mystery of Suffering
7. God Wins: Suffering and the Future
8. Running the Race: Suffering as Training
9. Confronting the Truth: Suffering as Testing
10. Jars of Clay: Suffering and the Power of Weakness
11. Pass It On: Suffering and the Comfort of God
12. The Cruciform Path to Glory: Following God into Suffering
13. To Suffer for Another: Participation in the Suffering of God
14. Conclusion
Subject Index
Scripture Index


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Brian Han Gregg

Brian Han Gregg (PhD, University of Notre Dame) is associate professor of biblical studies at the University of Sioux Falls in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. He is a contributor to the Blackwell Companion to the New Testament and The Westminster Dictionary of New Testament and Early Christian Literature and Rhetoric. His ministry experience includes college and missionary work with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship as well as pastoral ministry in California, Indiana and South Dakota.