Customer Reviews: The Red Letters: The Sayings and Teachings of Jesus
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on February 4, 2010
[NOTE: I edited my review and changed the rating after getting further into the book and realizing it wasn't organized the way I expected.]

As are many people, I am familiar with the stories in the four gospels. However, at times I want to focus on Jesus sayings and teachings -- just His words. The first part of the book arranges Jesus' sayings in chronological order while taking the quote from the gospel that provides the most complete version. Each quote is accompanied by a short phrase indicating the context. The chapter & verse are also shown and the translation used is easily readable.

This should be good for a complete review of Jesus' word from birth to resurrection. However, as I read through the book, I began noticing missing verses. John 5:19-47 was not where I expected to find it (immediately after John 5:17).

I wrote the editor. He replied that one of the verses I believed to be missing (Luke 4:24 - "Truly, I say to you, no prophet is acceptable in his hometown.") did appear to be an oversight. He said he would notify the publisher. (I also can't locate Matthew 12:13.) The editor also said that the verses from John I thought were missing are in the second part of the book -- "The Teachings".

I now realize that Christ's words are split between the two parts of the book. I thought that the first part would contain ALL the verses in chronological order and the second part would REPEAT the verses grouped by theme. This is not the case.

For example, there is no mention of the Sermon on the Mount in the first part of the book and no indication of where it would occur. It is found in the second part and is rearranged thematically. You must find each portion of the sermon and jump back and forth from page to page if you want to read it in the order it was given.

I'm confused by the way some verses are grouped in the "Teachings" part of the book. For example, the section titled "Kingdom and Creed: Essence" is where you find Matthew 6:25-33 which begins "Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life...". Matthew 6:34 -- which begins "Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow..." -- is found twelve pages later in a section titled "Instructions and Examples: Substance".

Also, Matthew 6:24 is located immediately BEFORE 6:19-21 in the section titled "Service and Stewardship: Call". I can understand grouping by theme, but I don't understand why connected verses would be rearranged. I couldn't find 6:22 or 6:23, but then realized that they were replaced by similar verses from Luke. It is difficult to tell that replacements like this were made.

I believe that most people who want to live a good life -- regardless of their faith -- would find it hard to disagree with what Jesus had to say. I hoped this book -- especially the second part -- would help me review and reinforce His teachings for myself and give me a concise & ready reference to quote His teaching on various topics to others. However, I am finding the splitting up and rearranging of passages a bit confusing.
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on July 29, 2010
I found this book fascinating because it presents the words Jesus spoke without interpretation or other distractions. It is a perfect addition to ones library because, in one convenient source, it allows the reader to gain access to what Jesus said while he lived on earth; from his birth to resurrection.

The first section is in chronological order while the second is by subject. For someone teaching a Bible study or wanting ready access to the words of Jesus, this is a wonderful resource. I found it especially helpful for times I wanted to locate something Jesus said without having to leaf through the Bible.

Many readers will also enjoy reading what Jesus actually said, unvarnished, without a particular theological spin. While certainly not intended to be a replacement for the Bible, "The Red Letters" compliments it well. Timothy Beals has done an excellent job of pulling the content together and arranging it by topic. It is also nicely and clearly designed, making the content extremely accessible.

I enthusiastically recommend "The Red Letters" for those who wish to both read and live by the words of Jesus.
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on February 17, 2009
The Red Letters, compiled by Tim Beals, for it is hard to say that he is the author as the author here is Christ as they are his words, is a book that, if used correctly, can be of great help. Tim Beals states at the end of his introduction that his "hope is that the red letters become the read letters."

What I really like about the book is that it sets up all the saying of Christ in chronological order in the first part and then by topic in the second part. He also makes sure that he only takes from one of the gospel accounts instead of all four when Christ's words are recorded by every author or multiple authors. Mr. Beals decided to do this to keep the book at a minimum and chose to take whichever account was most thorough in its recording of the words of Christ. I believe the book will be most helpful to take all four gospel accounts of Christ's words and put them in the order that Christ said them, as this can get quite confusing when trying to put them in order yourself. For this, it is quite helpful and will be used by myself when in need of this type of study.

The hard part of this study is that it is quite unreadable. The reason is that it is literally only the words of Christ. So, as one tries to read through it, they miss all the dialogue of the listeners or background information given by the gospel writer. So, while the book might be a great resource for a teacher or one studying the words of Christ, to simply read the book one will be quite frustrated.

The other part that sets this book up for question, but I don't believe is the author's intent is the movement of those who only rely on what Christ states, and dismiss the rest of the Bible as secondary because it isn't in "red letters." While I don't believe that Mr. Beals would accept this idea he does make the point to state that, "My (Mr. Beals) primary incentive is to provide a unique volume that will enable us to become better apprentices of the Master by allowing us to hear directly from him about what matters most." and "By looking at the 'red letters', Jesus' spoken words, we see what is important to him."

These two quotes seem to put forth that the rest of Bible isn't the spoken word of Christ. I have said before that just because it didn't come out of the mouth of Jesus while on earth doesn't mean Christ didn't say it or deem it as important. The danger with the thinking that the only importance that Christ deemed came from his mouth while on earth is that one will put these words above the rest of Scripture. This isn't okay. All Scripture is inspired by God, not just the red letters. While I do not know the convictions of Mr. Beals on this subject, I would suppose that he would not desire his book to be used by "red letter Christians" who put Paul's words, and the other writers of Scripture, as secondary to that of Christ's. This is my main concern with a book that simply puts forth Christ's words with absolutely no commentary on them.

So, the book will be very helpful for those who desire to get to the point of what Christ spoke while on this earth and in what order that happened and the topics he discussed. I just hope that this book isn't taken to mean that the rest of Scripture is secondary and used to show why certain topics or convictions are okay because they aren't "in red" in the Bible. So, I would recommend the book for study and useful help, but would not recommend the book to base one's sole theology on. Recommended.
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on May 30, 2015
Reading and pondering Jesus’ words by themselves helps the Holy Spirit “… teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.”

Read a page or two and then sit back and ponder what you just read. You'll be amazed at what happens to your heart, soul, and mind.
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on June 5, 2013
This book pretends to be the complete sayings of Jesus in the canonical
New Testament. My first look at it was in Matthew 5:38-48. Whoever put this
beek together chose to replace all 11 verses with one short, only remotely
related, verse from whence we know not. I read no further.
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on May 2, 2014
There have been many conflicts based on what the Apostles have written. Many forget that what they wrote are their personal accounts and interpretations based on their era. Some, like the book of Luke, was written way after Jesus was present on earth. What matters most is Jesus and what he said.
The Red Letters are Scriptures of what only Jesus said. It is written from the ESV version and split into two sections. The first is a complete account of Jesus' life, but only his words. The author states he followed J. Dwight's Pentecost's outline in, A Harmony of the Words and Works of Jesus Christ. The second section is full of Jesus' teachings.
The author also noted that he tried to reduce repetition, therefore he selected the fullest and most detailed words that Christ said about the same thing.
It is a great little book to have for reference and to read daily.
As the author wrote, the Word is what matters.
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on September 22, 2013
Excellent little book, all the red words grouped together by themes. Gives you an intimate observation of the voice of Jesus as you use the guidance of the Holy Spirit to hear how the Lord has spoken in context. Highly recommend as this is the swiftest way to learn the Words & write them in your heart :)
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on November 21, 2013
I've read this on and off now as a sort of side book, when I have a few moments. This use has proven great and is quite an encouraging way to get to know what Jesus said about certain topics. The chronological section shows us when he said what he said, which contains Jesus' life in a manner to more readily show us what it was like at the time, when he spoke. While the entire conversation between others around him is not included, the verses are there to do research if someone wants to explore more. I have found few other books so satisfying.

Jesus said when he left to go away for awhile, his people would fast. This book adds to the missing link of not having Jesus in person right there with us in the flesh. Highly recommended, when used with a crying out to God to be filled with God's Spirit.
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on September 6, 2012
Excellent book. Ivee always wanted a book with just the words of Our Lord in it and this is exactly what I wanted. Speedy shipping well packaged.
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on January 20, 2015
Love this book! It brings Jesus up and close. Anything you read are His words. Love to read His loving words to me. This book is a treasure.
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