I love books that have a discussion guide. A chance to think deeply about a book and a chance to deepen relationships with others.
Download discussion guide
The discussion guide can be downloaded here.
This is a long list of suggested questions. Please feel free to choose a few, adapt them or add your own questions.
Healing & Suffering
• What methods do the Macdonald family use to gain healing? (chapter 11) —List at least 3-5 methods. What is their thinking
behind each method? Is their thinking correct? Back up your answer with references from the Bible (being careful of context).
• What are the dangers of placing a huge emphasis on God healing?
• Why do some people believe that God is there to bless and make life smooth? What parts of scripture might not support this idea?
• Why didn’t Esther recognise that Joy was talking the truth the first time they met? What factors ‘blocked her ears’?
• What was Esther’s worldview on the issue of suffering/hard times—prior to meeting Joy? How did her
view of God change? What impact do her views have on her life?
• How does her worldview change by the end of the book? How has her view of God changed? What impact does this have on her life?
• What things has God taught you through suffering?
Dealing with pain & conflict
Each character had different ways of responding to pain or conflict.
• William— you could also consider his teenage response to his brother’s death
• Naomi—to her son’s and husband’s deaths.
• What are the implications of each of their coping methods? How could they have responded in a healthier way?
• Why did Esther and Nick date and get engaged?
• What were the hints their relationship was in trouble?
• How can someone recognise when they’re in ‘love with love’ and not a person?
• Could Nick and Esther’s relationship have been saved? What needed to happen?
• Gina wasn’t chosen as a bridesmaid—how did she prove to be a true friend? What can you learn from her?
Naomi says, “We don’t start the way we turn out. We become what we are by a series of choices.” Trace the choices of someone in the book.
• What choices have made you the person you are?
• How might you have ended up if you’d made different choices?
Sharing the good news about Jesus
• How does Joy share the good news with Esther?
• What stops you sharing about Jesus with others? What could you learn from Esther?
• God used a cleaner in the hospital to share Jesus with Esther. Outline the flow on effect, that is, the other people who were touched by the gospel because Joy shared with Esther.
• Which of the Bible stories told in this book most touches/challenges/inspires you? Why?
• Have you experienced Bible storytelling before? What might be the advantages of it as a communication method?
• Joy used stories to share the good news but she doesn’t just use them for evangelism. How else did Joy use stories?
• The title of the Grace in Strange Disguise. Which characters in this book is this true for? How?
• When you look back at your life, were there any times when you were disappointed in God? How might his work have been ‘grace in strange disguise’?
• What impresses you about Joy? What are some of the factors that have led to her character?
• In what ways is Joy, ‘God’s grace’ to Esther? How can you encourage other believers in their walk with Jesus?
• Who is your favourite character? Why? OR Which character can you relate to? Why?
• What is something you learned from this novel that you could apply in your own life?