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The Bible Jesus Read Leader's Guide Paperback – June 24, 2002

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Zondervan; Ldg edition (June 24, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0310241847
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310241843
  • Product Dimensions: 11 x 8.4 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (91 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,733,325 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews Review

Philip Yancey, editor at large and columnist for Christianity Today, follows up his back-to-back bestselling books, What's So Amazing About Grace and The Jesus I Never Knew, with The Bible Jesus Read, an exploration of the significance of the Old Testament to today's Christian.

Given previous book titles--Where Is God When It Hurts, Disappointment with God, and The Gift of Pain--one might jokingly suggest that in the Old Testament Yancey has found his true home. He acknowledges that in studying key sections of the Hebrew Bible (he concentrates on Job, Deuteronomy, The Psalms, Ecclesiastes, and the Prophets) he found himself confronted by the core questions that haunt his Christian faith: Do I matter? Does God care? Why doesn't God act? As always, Yancey explores these central human questions with a style that is marked by directness, humor, and honesty. He writes not as theologian or mystic but as a questioning seeker. Rather than providing simple answers--he in fact says that "by no means did Jesus resolve the problem of pain"--he instead affirms the words of Thomas Merton, which he quotes in his Introduction: "There is ... nothing comfortable about the Bible--until we manage to get so used to it that we make it comfortable for ourselves."

Even as he finds the Old Testament a "companion for my pilgrimage," so is Yancey a companion for his readers, precisely through his willingness to ask --and his courage not to answer--all the hard questions. --Doug Thorpe --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Yancey is an astute author who challenges Christians' assumptions without alienating them. In The Bible Jesus Read, Yancey encourages readers to consider how Hebrew ScriptureAwhat Christians call the Old TestamentAis relevant to their own lives. His premise is that although many Christians tacitly consider the New Testament more important than the Old, the New Testament was written after Jesus' earthly ministry, making the Old Testament "the Bible Jesus read." Hebrew Scripture was the greatest influence on the mind and spirit of the founder of Christianity, a fact that, in the author's estimation, obligates Christians to know it well. Yancey acknowledges the difficulty of transcending the cultural gulf between modern civilization and ancient Israel and seeks to bridge the gap by highlighting sections of the Old Testament that he initially found hard to appreciate. The writings of the Prophets were particularly obscure to Yancey because of the nonnarrative style and assumption of a warrior culture. However, he gradually discovered the passages' deep relevance to, and resonance with, his own experience. He came to love these Old Testament books when he realized that many of their concerns, such as justice for the poor and faithfulness to God, are timeless. Yancey's lucid style and honest handling of difficult ideas ensure that readers who have enjoyed his earlier books will not be disappointed in this one. (Sept.) FYI: Zondervan will simultaneously release an audio version, read by the author (two cassettes, 2 hrs., $16.99 ISBN 0-310-22982-0).
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

I worked for 10 years as an Editor and then Publisher for Campus Life magazine. There I learned journalistic skills (there's no tougher audience than teenagers), but every year it seemed I wrote fewer and fewer words. In 1980 my wife Janet and I moved to downtown Chicago where I began a career as a freelance writer. (She has worked as a social worker and hospice chaplain--which gives me plenty of material to write about!) We lived there until 1992, when we moved to the foothills of Colorado. I've written around 20 books, most of them still in print, thankfully. Three of them I coauthored with Dr. Paul Brand, who influenced me more than any single person. My own favorites are "Soul Survivor" and "Reaching for the Invisible God" because both of them forced me to dig deep and get personal. I'm a pilgrim, still "in recovery" from a bad church upbringing, searching for a faith that makes its followers larger and not smaller. I feel overwhelming gratitude that I can make a living writing about the questions that interest me.

Please visit my website at for more information, essays, events, travel notes, and a blog.

There is also an official Facebook page at:

Customer Reviews

The Bible Jesus Read is by no means a complete survey of the Old Testament.
Like Yancey's other books, this one delves into the intellectual struggles that Christians have with God and His word, the Bible.
Ignatious Valve
As I've come to expect from Yancey, this book is well worth the time to read it.
Jason T.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

40 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Bill Thaw on December 12, 1999
Format: Hardcover
In The Bible Jesus Read, the main focus of the book is to attempt to show the great value of books such as Job, Deuteronomy, Ecclesiastes, the prophets, etc., books which are largely overlooked or misunderstood by modern Christians. Yancey tries to establish the importance of each book by explaining that Jesus Himself spent time in these books. Yancey also explains what he believes are the best mindsets to understand the purpose of the Psalms, Proverbs, and other previously mentioned books, so that we can better understand our God. For example, I found his summary of the Psalms particularly helpful as he explained how the Psalms were not purposed for doctrines and decrees, but they reveal the joy, anguish, worry in human authors who were pursuing the heart of God. (He does not deny that they are God-inspired works; some Psalms are prophetic whether the authors realized it at the time or not) I did find some minor faults in Yancey's book: he lightly ridiculed unnammed ministers who misunderstood a prophecy of the ten horns in the book of Daniel, and made it sound as though we shouldn't take Bible prophecy seriously, because we can't truly understand it. I don't think he found the true worth of the prophecies of the Bible. He also presented a very "Prince of Egypty-type Moses", with a speculative and somewhat inaccurate scenario. If you overlook some of these occasional wishy-washy accounts, and focus on understanding the purpose of the Old Testament books, you can come away from "The Bible Jesus Read" with new insight and interest in books that you previously found complicated, boring, or confusing. I give thanks for a new outlook on the Psalms, Job, and Ecclesiastes.
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36 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Tom Hinkle on January 17, 2001
Format: Hardcover
The title is somewhat misleading. Rather than a comprehensive analysis of "The Bible Jesus Read", that is, the Old Testament, the author deals with certain books of the Old Testament. And if you know Philip Yancey from his previous writings, you know that he will concentrate on the more difficult, disturbing, seemingly negative parts of the Old Testament. To me, that is one of Yancey's strengths. He takes an unflinching look at reality, not an idealized vision of what everyone thinks life in God is supposed to be. And here is what life with God really looked like to people such as Job and the teacher from Ecclesiastes. In the chapter on Psalms, he deals especially with the imprecatory, or "cursing" Psalms, which seem difficult to reconcile with later Christian teachings on forgiveness and loving one's enemies. The chapter on the prophets is helpful concerning how to generally interpret them. In the final chapter, Yancey points out how the increasing absence of God (according to the Hebrew arrangement of the canon) is designed to increase the spiritual hunger that anticipates the coming of the Messiah.
Previous reviewers have indicated that, in their opinion, this is not one of Yancey's stronger books. I believe, with the exception of one chapter, this book is as strong and interesting as any book he has written. Unfortunately, I had to rate it short of 5 stars because of the chapter on Deuteronomy. Portions of that chapter were taken from the companion booklet to the animated feature "The Prince of Egypt", and thus follows the storyline of the film and not the actual biblical storyline. The whole tone of that chapter just does not fit in a book such as this. If I wanted to read the flowery, overblown recounting of the storyline of the movie, I would have purchased it separately. If you get past the dross, there are valuable insights to be gleaned, but the dross shouldn't be there in the first place. Otherwise, this is an exemplary book.
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45 of 48 people found the following review helpful By Bill Thrall jr on November 18, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I have read many of Yancey's books, and "The Bible Jesus Read" may be my favorite. Yancey's ability to combine hard thinking, with practical implication, has never been better. He is not afraid to ask the hard questions about life, pain, suffering, the Bible, and God. As I read this book I felt that I had a soul-mate in my journey. Thanks Yancey for summarizing issues in such a way that I can ask deep questions, and still come away deeper in my faith. I will recommend this book highly, and return to it often myself.
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By ServantofGod on February 26, 2004
Format: Paperback
I am so ashamed of myself because before reading this book I had been quite proud of having read many spiritual books and the whole Bible four times. However, I still failed to realize that the title of the book simply meant the Old Testament, and that I was very ignorant of the Old Testament.
Back to the book itself. The author had expressed that he would like modern christians to re-balance their interest between the Old and the New Testaments, when most of us had certainly put our time on the later one, if we had read it at all. Afterall, Jesus did read and always quote from it. In this respect, I doubt whether his objective can be served because I really think those who had read the Old Testament twice could appreciate the insights that the author had observed and the majority had neglected. The fact that the author had focused only on Job, Deuteronomy, Psalm, Ecclesiastes and the books of the prophets as a whole made it an ordinary Bible commentary instead of the other Yancey works with clear central themes. Nevertheless, this book is still up to the average but still outstanding Yancey standard, perhaps except the part on Deuteronomy, which some other reviewrs shared the same not so positive opinion with me. Anyway, I would strongly recommend this book to all Christians, preferably if one had read the relevant books in the Old Testament at least once.
As usual in all my reviews, I would like to copy and paste some messages for your reference. Hope they would help you to better understand the goodness of the book.
""Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain." We usually interpret that commandment in a narrow sense of prohibiting swearing," said Webber, who then proceed to expand its meaning to never live as though God does not exist.
Read more ›
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