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Encounters with Jesus: Unexpected Answers to Life's Biggest Questions Hardcover – November 19, 2013
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"Keller's work belongs on the bookshelf of every serious Bible student. It is not a quick read, but, instead should be savored like fine wine, one sip at a time to glean the full impact of his life-changing message." —Examiner
"Keller has mined the gold from these texts of Scripture, and any Christian is bound to have their minds expanded and hearts stirred, even if they have read these accounts countless times." —Grace for Sinners
"Tim Keller's ministry in New York City is leading a generation of seekers and skeptics toward belief in God. I thank God for him." —Billy Graham
"Unlike most suburban megachurches, much of Redeemer is remarkably traditional. What is not traditional is Dr. Keller's skill in speaking the language of his urbane audience. . . . It's easy to understand his appeal." —The New York Times
"Reverend Tim Keller [is] a Manhattan institution, one of those open urban secrets, like your favorite dim sum place, with a following so ardent and so fast-growing that he has never thought to advertise." —Newsweek
"The most successful Christian Evangelist in [New York City] . . . With intellectual, brimstone-free sermons that manage to city Woody Allen alongside Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, Keller draws some five thousand young followers every Sunday. Church leaders see him as a model of how to evangelize urban centers across the country, and Keller has helped 'plant' fifty gospel-based Christian churches around New York plus another fifty from San Francisco to London." —New York
"Using literature, philosophy, and pop culture, the author gives convincing reasons for a strong belief in God. It is refreshing to read a book that presents a religious view without being overly critical of the secular side presented in other books." —Library Journal
"It's a provocative premise, in pursuit of which Keller—known for drawing cosmopolitan urbanites to his Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Manhattan—takes on nonbelievers from evolutionary biologists to the recent rash of atheist authors." —The Boston Globe
About the Author
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Path: Keller has given us a unique book which is both apologetical and devotional.
Keller takes a chapter to explain the interactions of various individuals with Jesus and how they can challenge us. Those individuals are: Nathanael the skeptic, the Insider - Nicodemus and the Outcast - the Samaritan woman, Mary and Martha the Grieving Sisters, the disciples and town at the wedding party, Mary Magdalene, Satan and his temptations, Jesus at his Ascension, Jesus in the Garden, and Mary after the Angel’s revelation.
Keller explains the interactions in an interesting and enlightening way, and then applies them to skeptics, seekers, and mature believers.
Sources: These chapters come from various talks he gave in secular and Christian settings. He uses his normal broad scope of sources, although this book is not nearly as full of citations as others because of the original purpose of the talks.
Agreement: I found these chapters to be very encouraging. There is so much to consider as I read through them, both apologetically as I talk with skeptics, but also devotionally as I consider my relationship with Jesus.
Personal App: How am I responding to Jesus right now?
Favorite Quote: “Jesus not only died the death we should have died in order to take the law’s curse for us, he also lived the great life of love and fidelity we should have lived in order to earn God’s blessing for us.“
It would be worth another read and I would recommend it to someone who:
Is skeptical about Jesus
Is seeking to know more about Jesus
Is seeking to love Jesus more
Other books along this theme would be:
Keller, Timothy J. The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism. New York: Riverhead Books, 2009.
Lewis, C. S. Mere Christianity. New York: HarperCollins, 2001.
MacArthur, John. Twelve Unlikely Heroes How God Commissioned Unexpected People in the Bible and What He Wants to Do with You. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2012.
MacArthur, John F. Twelve Extraordinary Women: How God Shaped Women of the Bible and What He Wants to Do with You. Nashville: Nelson Books, 2005.
In this book of encounters with Jesus Tim Keller mines spiritual gold.The first five chapters are based on talks given by Keller to students – most of whom were spiritual skeptics – at the Town Hall in Oxford, England in 2012. These first five chapters reveal the foundational teachings of Christianity and the astonishing character of Jesus in particular as he encounters Nathanael, the Samaritan Woman and a Pharisee, Mary and Martha, Guests at a Wedding Party, and Mary Magdalene. In each of these encounters important questions are addressed to and by Jesus and one learns how to read the Scriptures copiously and glean the answers to life’s greatest questions. Questions such as: What is the world for? What’s wrong with the world? Can anything or person make the world right? How can we be part of the solution to making the world right?
Keller’s thesis is that “if you want to be sure that you are developing sound, thoughtful answers to the fundamental questions, you need at the very least to become acquainted with the teachings of Christianity. The best way to do that is to see how Jesus explained himself and his purposes to people he met–and how their lives were changed by his answers to their questions.” Therefore, the first half of this book is devoted to encounters “others” had with Jesus.
The second half of the book is devoted to how we can encounter Jesus today in the 21st century. How can we be changed by Jesus? How can we know Jesus intimately and personally? How can we discover what the people discovered in the biblical encounters with Jesus in my own life? The second half of the book is based on talks that Keller delivered at the Harvard Club of New York City over a period of several years. Keller was addressing business, cultural, and governmental leaders – highly educated individuals who shared their doubts and questions with Keller. Therefore, by highlighting pivotal events’ in Jesus’ life – his temptation with Satan, his sending of the Holy Spirit, his road to the cross, his ascension, and his incarnation – we learn of the significance of the Person and work of Jesus Christ in the Gospel.
I think this book is an especially good book to give to spiritual skeptics. With the holidays coming upon us it would make a great gift for friends, people you work with, and loved ones whom you desire to know Jesus personally and intimately. Keller writes cogently, concisely, and compellingly. He wisely interprets and applies each encounter with Jesus and highlights why we all need Jesus in our lives. For each human being there is no greater encounter that we can have than with the person and work of Jesus in and on our behalf. I highly recommend this book to quench your thirst for the only One who can satisfy our thirst – the Lord Jesus Christ.
Incredibly well written and you can easily read one chapter at a sitting. Depending upon your interest, you can leave it at that or re-read and study the text to discover how deep the material really is. We did one chapter each week and we found that each chapter generated plenty of discussion to fill our 1.5 hour get-togethers.
It is probably my favorite bible study book yet as Timothy Keller doesn't just tell the reader that "this is what you should believe", but backs it up with historical perspective and significance and clearly lays out the "why" he believes what he is sharing. There is no talking down to or shaming the reader for asking questions and challenging what he says. If you aren't a Christian, this is a good book to introduce yourself to the fundamentals of the religion and if you are a Christian, it can help deepen your faith based on facts rather than just accepting what you are told. I will definitely go back and re-read this at some point(s) and will also seek out other books by Tim Keller.
Top international reviews
There are chapters on Jesus being tempted and in Gethsemane. That does NOT mean it is a heavy read. A number of times it points out where translations have not conveyed the full force of the original language.That I have added indexes for subject and Scripture references shows it's continuing usefulness.
Really worth getting and digesting slowly.
A great present, easy to read, while academically competent and very worthwhile.