If You Bite & Devour One Another, Biblical Principles for Handling Conflict, by Alexander Strauch, (Littleton, Colorado: Lewis and Roth Publishers, 2011) 173 pp., paper $11.96

If You Bite & Devour is a companion volume to Strauch’s earlier work, Leading with Love. While there is much overlap between the two books, this first one approached the issue of love within the body of Christ from the positive side and was based on I Corinthians 13:4-8. This volume comes at the same subject from a more negative angle. Based on Galatians 5:15 the author warns of the damage caused when Christians ignore God’s command to love and instead turn on one another. Strauch states early the theme of If You Bite & Devour:

When conflict arises, our attitudes and behaviors should reflect our new life in Christ given by the Holy Spirit who lives within us. We are to walk in step with the Spirit’s leading. We are to be Spirit-controlled and not flesh-controlled or out of control. Let us examine this foundational principle as it is expressed in Galatians 5:13-26; I Corinthians 3:1-4; and James 3:13-18.

The book is loosely divided into four sections: 1. positive actions rooted in the Holy Spirit, love and humility, 2. sins that lead to conflict such as anger, gossip and criticism, 3. the need to pursue reconciliation and peace, and 4. dealing with false teachers. A helpful appendix on the biblical meaning of the “flesh” is included.

This is another excellent, practical and biblical guide from the pen of Alexander Strauch. In my opinion it was not quite as good as his Leading with Love but is a nice complement to his previous book. With churches, Christian organizations and God’s people in general, far too often in violation of the clear mandates and instructions found in Scripture concerning peace, this book serves as an appropriate warning of what happens when we ignore God and bite and devour one another.

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