on March 4, 2011
"I am the bread of life." "I am the light of the world." "I am the gate." "I am the good shepherd." "I am the resurrection and the life." "I am the way, the truth, and the life." "I am the true vine."
You've probably heard of the seven "I AM" statements of Jesus, and you likely know at least one of them ("the way, the truth, and the life"), but do you know what Jesus means by them? Why is He calling Himself bread? Light? Well, okay, that can be understood, but gate? What's so significant about being a good shepherd? And, while we may know "way, truth, and life", what does that actually mean?
Jesus in the Present Tense, by Warren Wiersbe, aims to explain what Jesus meant by these sayings, and what this means for you and how it applies to your life. Each statement has a chapter dedicated to it, with other chapters giving context and other information you need. It is very in-depth, and there is a lot of meat here, so a warning is necessary: the book is not written for casual readers.
The book is filled with numerous Scripture references- I don't think I'm exaggerating when I say there may be over a hundred of them. Wiersbe digs through the Bible and comes up with as many verses as he can find that relate in any way to the topic at hand. This is great if you are actively studying your Bible with the printed book. However, I was casually listening to the audiobook while mopping the floors at work, and I found all the Scripture references to be a little distracting, as I kept losing track of Wiersbe's train of thought. I also learned that hearing "chapter" and "verse" over and over and over again gives me a headache.
The narrator, Maurice England, is very good. He is clear and engaging, and I really like his voice. My primary issue with the audiobook is the Scripture references. I think it would have helped immensely if he hadn't said "chapter" and "verse" so many times. "Romans one one" works just as well as "Romans chapter one verse one".
Jesus in the Present Tense is very much a book intended for study, and I think it serves an excellent study into the seven "I AM" statements of Jesus found in the Gospel of John. However, I do not think it is intended for casual reading- or listening, for that matter- so I'm not entirely sure how you would use the audiobook. Maybe you can use it to read along, or to refresh yourself on the study, but you need to stay focused (and be prepared to rewind and pause a lot). I do not recommend casual listening.
on March 16, 2011
Jesus was not as careful as we might think about concealing his identity as the Son of God. Modern religious academics may argue whether or not Jesus ever claimed to be God, but the first century religious academics knew without a doubt who Jesus claimed to be: I AM, the God of Now. Not a God of history. Not a savior for the future. Not entirely, for he is both. But a God purely of Now.
What does that mean? Warren Wiersbe, famous for his heartwarming lay-level Be Commentaries, unpacks a bit of this mystery by examining the I AM statements of Jesus in this new book Jesus in the Present Tense. Beginning with the God's statement to Moses in Exodus 3 and working onward through all of Christ's I AM statements in John's Gospel and then finally finishing with the concluding statement "I AM Jesus," Wiersbe paints a colorful tapestry that brings the historical Jesus out of history and into our lives today.
In his classic style, Wiersbe breaks down each of the statements, littering his commentary with anecdotes, stories, and references. He spends time both examining the passage in its context and holding it up to the present to see how that truth still functions today. That discussion builds to a crescendo when Wiersbe discusses how those truths played out in the life of Paul. He then takes that discussion and applies it to believers today. Powerful and convicting, Wiersbe challenges the Christian not to live a cold or lukewarm faith, but to be alive with the power of the Spirit--Jesus in the present tense.
The only things I take issue with this book are minor points. First, Wiersbe and I interpret Paul's "I Soliloquy" of Romans 7 differently. He holds to this being about Paul's struggle with his post-conversion while I tend to see it as Paul expressing his futility under the Law pre-conversion. This is admittedly a tough theological issue, and as it's mentioned as more of an aside than part of a core argument, I don't take issue with it. Second, Wiersbe speaks as if the worship experience cannot be "fun." While I understand the contrast to modern entertainment "worship," neither do I think or work of being dull or dreary. Fellowshipping with likeminded believers...Living in the power of the Holy Spirit...what could be more fun than that?
In conclusion, Jesus in the Present Tense is a great study of the I AM statements of Christ and their application to the present context in the life of the believer. Wiersbe has been gifted with the abilities of a teacher and he uses them well here. Traditionally, the I AM statements have been used to lend credence to Christ's historical deity, but Wiersbe looks at the statements from a different perspective that places it in the present. We are all the better for it.
on March 13, 2011
I am a voracious reader of any book written by Dr. Warren Wiersbe. The latest on my checked off list is `Jesus in the Present Tense: The I AM Statements of Christ.'
Here is the synopsis of this book:
God is in the present? Are you? Do you find yourself living in memories, imaginations, and fears more than in the current moment? As Dr. Warren W. Wiersbe writes, "My past may discourage me and my future may frighten me, but `the life I now live' today can be enriching and encouraging because "Christ lives in me" (Gal 2:20)."
In Jesus in the Present Tense, Dr. Wiersbe explores the I AM statements of God - from His burning-bush conversation with Moses, to His powerful reassurances to the Israelites, to Jesus' startling claims to be the Light of the World, the Good Shepherd, and the True Vine.
The better you understand God's I AM statements from both the Old and the New Testaments and apply these truths to your life, the more you will abide in Christ and bear fruit for His glory today. Then you will be free to live, serve, and know God more richly in the present tense - which is just where He wants you to be.
Here is the author's biography:
Dr. Warren W. Wiersbe is an internationally known Bible teacher and the former pastor of The Moody Church in Chicago. For ten years he was associated with the Back to the Bible radio broadcast, first as Bible teacher and then as general director. Dr. Wiersbe has written more than 160 books, including the "BE" series of Bible commentaries, which have sold more than four million copies. He and his wife, Betty, live in Lincoln, Nebraska.
In the Foreword, Michael Catt, senior pastor of Sherwood Baptist Church and executive producer of Sherwood Pictures (`Fireproof,' `Facing the Giants, and `Flywheel') said this about this book:
Joy in the Present Tense is a reminder that our Lord is not a distant deity, nor is He just a figure of history. He is the living God, the great I AM. Dr. Wiersbe guides us through a practical and applicable study of these statements. While these statement are familiar, we often forget that they are for us today, not just for those who heard them in the first century.
When you read this book, you'll love Jesus more. You'll see how the divine life is intended to work itself out in daily living. Many books today seek to water down truth to make it more acceptable, but not this one. This book will stretch you to look to the Lord daily for all your needs.
In a day when many are offering cotton-candy theology, Warren Wiersbe takes us to the meat, break, milk and honey of the Word of God. The content is sound and scriptural. May the I AM speak to you, as He did to me. (p. 10)
In the Preface, Dr. Wiersbe explains the power of Jesus:
No leader, no author, no organization, and no set of religious disciplines can do for us what Jesus alone can do, if we let Him. Even the book you are now reading can merely point the way to Jesus. Divine truth becomes dynamic life only when we yield to Jesus by faith and follow Him. If the founders of the world's philosophies and religious systems were alive on earth today, they could only say, "I was." They are dead, and they can't personally help you. Jesus doesn't say "I was." He is alive and says, "I AM." He can meet our needs today. He is alive this very moment and offers us a satisfying spiritual life in the present tense. "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever" (Heb 13:8). Past history, present reality, and future certainty all unite today in Jesus Christ, the great I AM. (p. 11)
Dr. Wiersbe explains that God explains Himself to His people in the Old Testament:
In nine places in the Old Testament, the Lord "filled out" or "completed" the name I AM to reveal more fully His divine nature and His gracious ministry to His people:
* Yahweh-Jireh: The LORD will provide or see to it (Genesis 22:14)
* Yahweh-Rophe: The LORD who heals (Exodus 15:26)
* Yahweh-Nissi: The LORD our banner (Exodus 17:15)
* Yahweh- M'Kaddesh: The LORD who sanctifies (Leviticus 20:8)
* Yahweh-Shalom: The LORD our peace (Judges 6:24)
* Yahweh-Rohi: The LORD our shepherd (Psalm 23:1)
* Yahweh-Sabaoth: The LORD of hosts (Psalm 46:7)
* Yahweh-Tsidkenu: The LORD our righteousness (Jeremiah 23:6)
* Yahweh-Shammah: The LORD is there (Ezekiel 48:35) (pp. 20-21)
These names apply equally to Jesus.
The book goes on to detail all of the name with which Jesus referred to Himself: `The Bread of Life,' `The Light of the World,' `The Door,' `The Good Shepherd,' `The Resurrection and the Light,' `The Way, the Truth, and the Life,' `The True Wine,' and `The Neglected I AM.'
I am involved with a women's ministry entitled Gracestoration ([...]). It focuses on Jesus as the Good Shepherd. So I will focus on that chapter. Dr. Wiersbe explains why Jesus called Himself the Good Shepherd:
Jesus calls Himself "the Good Shepherd" because He is the genuine shepherd in contrast to the false shepherds and hired hands who over the centuries had exploited God's people. Remember that civil rulers such as kings, princes, and governors were called shepherds, even though many of them were like wolves and robbers (Isa. 56:9-12; Ezek. 34). The promised Messiah was to be a loving shepherd (Isa. 40:9-11; Ezek. 34:20-24), and Jesus is that Messiah. The word translated "good" in "good shepherd" carries the meaning of "noble, praiseworthy, desirable, and pleasing to God." Jesus qualifies. (pp. 81-82)
Dr. Wiersbe goes on to discuss how the shepherd is very aware of each of his sheep: he owns them, he knows them, he calls them, he cares for them, and he gathers his flock. Jesus engages in all of these activities with His church.
Dr. Wiersbe encourages us that the Godhead is still active today:
History is so often being rewritten these days that we may not know exactly what has happened in the past; and since we are not omniscient, we cannot predict the future accurately. However, there is still good news: Right now, in this present hour, God gives us the privilege of making decisions that may alter some of the consequences of the past and also help establish some exciting new directions for the future. "I tell you, now it's the time of God's favor, now is the day of salvation" (2 Cor. 6:2). Now! Today!
God wants His children to live a day at a time, in the present tense, trusting in His guidance and grace. "Give us this day" applies not only to our daily bread but also to everything else involved in our day-by-day pilgrim journey. From the first day of creation, the Lord ordained that our galaxy function one day at a time as Planet Earth makes its annual trip around the sun. The next time you say, "I wish I had more time," remind yourself that we all have the same amount of time - twenty-four hours a day - and that perhaps we should be saying, "I wish I had more control over our time." This means being wise and "making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil" (Eph. 5:15-16) (p. 175-176)
I have reviewed several other Dr. Wiersbe's books on my blog: `Be Authentic: Exhibiting Real Faith in the Real World ,' reviewing the lives of the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (you can read my review here - [...]), `The Wiersbe Bible Study Series: It's Always Too Soon to Quit! - 1 & 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon' by Dr. Warren W. Wiersbe - Book Review' (you can read my review here - [...]), `Be Available: Accepting the Challenge to Confront the Enemy' (Judges - OT Commentary) (you can read my review here -
[...]) and `Pause for Power: A 365-Day Journey Through the Scriptures,' (the review is here [...]). Just as I did with those books, I recommend this one as well. Dr. Wiersbe writes with wisdom and authority, and the reader will always glean truth and grace in His writings.
This book was published by David C. Cook and provided by the B&B Media Group, Inc. for review purposes.
Reviewed by Andrea Schultz - Ponderings by Andrea - [...]
on April 13, 2011
It is seldom that a book's cover grabs me so firmly that I am compelled to read it, whether I know anything of the author and content or not. This was the case with Jesus in the Present Tense by Warren Wiersbe. The book covers all of the "I am" statements of Jesus in the Bible, including a couple most people would probably forget to include.
Warren opens with "Moses Asks a Question" (of course, the answer to that question is "I AM") and ends with "I Am Jesus", the self-revelation that took place during the confrontation of Saul on his way to Damascus. In between we find all of the expected ones: the bread of life, the light of the world, the door, the good shepherd, the resurrection and the life, the way, the truth, and the life, and the true vine.
I have to admit, I thought the premise for the book was inspired. While the cover art work piqued my interest, the direction of the book was compelling.
Warren Wiersbe demonstrates a wonderful grasp of the Old Testament and it's foreshadowing of--and later fulfillment in--Jesus. There were times when Warren reminded me a bit of Tim Keller in this respect.
My main critique is one of structure. Unfortunately, the book felt a little like a devotional to me. The chapters were lacking a flow one to the other, and even thoughts within the chapters seemed to be lacking a sense of direction.
There were also times when the author lost me in stretching an analogy just a little too far (the thin flakes of manna like frost on the ground= "white" speaks of purity and "small" speaks of humility, both which describe Jesus).
on May 29, 2014
While teaching through the "I Am" statements of Jesus from the gospel of John, I was thrilled to stumble upon Warren Wiersbe's "Jesus in the Present Tense," which promised to cover the very same ground I hoped to use in our teaching series. Having heard Wiersbe's name for years, I was glad to finally read one of his books, and I expected that it would be most helpful.
Unfortunately, I was largely disappointed by "Jesus in the Presence Tense." It's not that I disagreed with much, or even anything, that Wiersbe wrote in the book. To be sure, his writing is nothing if not biblical, with Scripture references generously peppering every paragraph. And Wiersbe is clearly a preacher and Jesus-follower with much wisdom and insight to share.
My disappointment is that the book seemed like little more than a randomly collected string of theologically true statements. It didn't grab my heart. It didn't challenge my mind. It didn't motivate my actions. It didn't offer anything substantially new or profound or unique. It didn't take me anywhere. And that's exactly why I am so captivated by great writing, because the best of books mess me up and inspire me and encourage me and embolden me to feel differently or think differently or do things differently. This book had no such effect.
The final evidence of the meandering and purposeless nature of this book was the final chapter, which hardly even mentioned the "I Am" statements of Christ. It's as if Wiersbe had a bunch of stuff that he wanted to say, but not being able to force those thoughts into one of the preceding chapters, he just dumped them into a random, final chapter. Quite simply, I expect more purpose and intentionality from such an esteemed author.
In summary, for readers who are satisfied with a bunch of true statements, feel free to check out this book. Wiersbe is no fool and no heretic, and he has many good points to make. But having finished the book merely a few weeks ago, I truly can't remember a single thing that I read. That's the sign of a book that lacks teeth, as far as I'm concerned. I've not given up hope that some other entry in Wiersbe's voluminous catalog of books might be helpful to me, but this one certainly failed to satisfy, and I'm not able to recommend it.
on January 30, 2011
God is in the Present. Are You? In Jesus in the Present Tense, Warren W. Wiersbe intimately and extensively expounds on all the I AM statements made by Jesus. I AM is a present-tense title, indicating that Jesus is alive and with us at all times.
The Great I AM statements include: 1) The Bread of Life, 2) The Light of the World, 3) The Door, 4) The Good Shepherd, 5) The Resurrection and the Life, 6) The Way, the Truth, and the Life, 7) The True Vine, and The great I AM in John 8:58.
The Bread of Life encompasses compassion. The Light of the World touches on being in the light or in darkness spiritually; life or death. The Door has numerous analogies that reach into our inner being. The Door is not just a means of getting from place to another, although that is an important issue. The Good Shepherd is about intimacy, being cared for, and being part of the flock. The Resurrection and the Life is about eternity, being a new creation, and a living hope. The Way, the Truth and the Life is about where we walk, Who we trust, and eternal life. The True Vine incorporates fruit bearing, abiding, and obedience and the source of power to help us in each of these areas.
Warren's discourse is thorough and encompasses areas that one may not always associate with the I AM titles. They will touch you and convict you. They can give you peace and a sense of belonging. They are truth, something you cannot pick and choose from.
Warren describes the settings for each I AM statement made by Jesus for context, to help us incorporate these great truths into our lives. He uses examples about the earth that we can easily identify with to help explain the meanings more in-depth.
The book is completed by exploring the process of living and serving in our everyday life according to the works God has ordained for us to do. I have only covered a very minute overlay of Warren's discussions. And minus a couple of doctrinal issues I do not agree with, this is a very well-written and researched book. It's great for Bible study group, Sunday school or personal use.
I highly encourage you to pick this book up and ponder on each statement slowly, as it's chuck full of spiritual truths. Based on reading Warren's book, I believe he has a close relationship with the great I AM. He extends that invitation to you in his book!
on March 4, 2011
God doesn't want us to ignore the past. He wants to use it as a rudder to guide us. Not an anchor to hold us back. Nor does He want us to neglect planning for the future, so long as we say, `If it is the Lord's will'... The better we understand the Lord's I Am statements, and by faith apply them, the more our strength will equal our days.
If you are living in memories, imaginations, and fears more than in the current moment, then JESUS IN THE PRESENT TENSE is a book that you will want to read. Dr. Wiersbe writes, "My past may discourage me and my future may frighten me, but the life I now live today can be enriching and encouraging because `Christ lives in me.'"
In JESUS IN THE PRSENT TENSE, Dr. Wiersbe takes the I Am names to reveal more fully the Lord's divine nature and His gracious ministry to His people. The more we understand God's I Am statements, the more we will realize God's peace and joy. Then we'll be free to live, serve and know God more richly in the present tense.
Jesus matters forever--and who He is is vitally important. I enjoyed reading -and learning more about who God is in this book as Dr. Wiersbe explored the names of Jesus, from Yahweh-Jire--the Lord who provides, Yahweh-Rophe--the Lord who heals, Yahweh-Nissi--The Lord our banner, and others, some of which I never heard of before. I'll want to read this book over more fully now that I finished it for review, and study it more extensively. This is a wonderful book. A study guide is included at the end of the book.
on June 11, 2015
I read one of Wiersbe's books from his 'Be' series years ago and enjoyed it, so when I saw this on sale I downloaded it. As the title says, he examines the various I AM statements of Christ by chapter and then relates how their biblical meaning can be relevant to our lives today. Hoping to show us that Jesus is the same today as He was yesterday, if you get my drift. It was a fairly easy read, only about 208 pages and his in depth explanations had a number of scripture references as well as personal anecdotes. I liked it.
on April 3, 2015
This book does not disappoint. Warren makes spiritual truths very easy to understand. He uses many references (ex. John 3:16) so you may want to have your bible handy when you read this book. I used this book extensively when preparing a lesson for our high school ministry.
on February 25, 2011
Karen Davis with the B&B Media Group, Inc. sent me a copy of Jesus In The Present Tense: The I AM Statements of Christ for the purpose of my review. The book's author is none other than Dr. Warren Wiersbe, an internationally known Bible teacher, author of the popular "BE" series of Bible commentaries and the former pastor of The Moody Church in Chicago.
Dr. Wiersbe writes:
"My past may discourage me and my future may frighten me, but 'the life I now live' today can be enriching and encouraging because 'Christ lives in me.'"
Jesus doesn't say, "I was" or "I will be", but He says, "I AM"!
Dr Wiersbe also says:
"God doesn't want us to ignore the past; the past should be a rudder to guide us, not an anchor to hold us back...The better we understand our Lord's I AM statements and by faith apply them, the more our strength will equal our days...We will abide in Christ and bear fruit for His glory today - now."
One thing that I appreciate so much about Dr. Wiersbe's writing is that he doesn't overwhelm the reader. He uses concise statements packed with amazing truth and points his readers straight to God's word for ultimate clarification. In this most recent book, he explores in detail the I AM statements of Christ in the New Testament:
I AM the Bread of Life, I AM the Light of the world, I AM the Door, I AM the Good Shepherd, I AM the Resurrection and the Life, I AM the Way, the Truth and the Life, I AM the True Vine
He also presents what he calls the "neglected I AM" found in Psalm 22, the messianic psalm that describes Jesus in His suffering and His resurrection glory.
Jesus In The Present Tense could be used to enhance your devotional time or it could be an excellent resource for an in depth study of the I AM statements of Christ. Either way this IS a resource you will want to add to your library!