- Paperback: 240 pages
- Publisher: Thomas Nelson (October 13, 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1400205417
- ISBN-13: 978-1400205417
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 214 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #77,533 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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It's Not What You Think: Why Christianity Is About So Much More Than Going to Heaven When You Die Paperback – October 13, 2015
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About the Author
Jefferson Bethke is the New York Times bestselling author of Jesus > Religion and It’s Not What You Think. He and his wife Alyssa host the highly successful online challenge 31 Creative Ways to Love and Encourage Him & Her, make YouTube videos watched by hundreds of thousands of viewers each month, and host a podcast about relationships and faith available wherever podcasts are found. They live in Maui with their daughter, Kinsley, and son, Kannon. Visit: http://jeffandalyssa.com
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I read this book in 3 days. It's a quick read and easy to understand, which will be especially impactful for high school and college-aged readers, and those who are not as familiar with Christian beliefs or those who are on the fringe of the faith, so to speak. There could be fruitful book studies and small groups from this.
But I found "It's Not What You Think" to be a mixed bag. Allow me to elaborate...
- I don't think Bethke ever knew what he wanted this book to be. If you asked me what the book is about, I'm not sure if I could give you a concise thesis statement. It's very scattered in its content. It starts out about the narrative of Scripture, then moves to bringing heaven on earth, then moves to phone and screen addiction, and then the value of sharing a meal together. The content seemed a little all over the place, and there were lots of ideas and points flying around, which was hard to keep up with.
- Bethke doesn't really present much new content. Much of his writing comes from the likes of N.T. Wright and Dallas Willard (especially "The Divine Conspiracy"). Each chapter sometimes feels like summaries of books he's read.
- It felt a little too repetitive in light of his first book (i.e. attack on nominal western Christianity, etc.) I'm not so sure how needed this book is, given the content and his past book.
- He has some good things to say! It is very profound and impactful at times.
- While I do grow weary of the newlywed stories (the dude's a family man!), he does have great illustrations and life analogies to biblical themes.
- I didn't connect with his tone and writing style so much, but I know many millennials will. He knows his audience well, and relates to them effectively.
It's hard to write a book this expansive at Bethke's age. This book is very ambitious and comprehensive. But it seems that he's bitten off more than he can chew. My recommendation would be to pick one or two of the themes found in the book, and expand on them.
Bethke is a great blogger (and vlogger!). I think he's best suited for that, rather than writing books. Nevertheless, I hope that this book will reach a wide audience of old Christians, new Christians, unbelievers, seekers, and everyone in between!
Jefferson, through his words paints a picture that of being a man that is humble and also a man of confession. Not hiding behind a new nature but embracing it with a thorough memory of his past.
One last thing I’d like to mention. There has been times in my life that God seems to convey to me that the book I am reading is the book He had intended for me to read. Almost as if He went to His own book shelf and handed over to me my next read as to say: “You’ve gotta read this one!” Jefferson’s “It’s Not What You Think” was just such a book.
Thanks for writing it Jefferson. I’d recommend it to all but in particular those who know an apologetic book, a theology book and care to know a more tender look at God. Grab this book and sit at God’s table and read. He’s there waiting to discuss it with you.
YOU ARE LOVED.
I was tempted to say this book seemed scattered, and misguided, until I put it down. Jeff had a lot to say about *everything.* And that's good. This book presents itself as more of a conversation starter than a closing remark, and I think he intended it to be that way. If at all possible, read it with a friend or small group, because you'll all have plenty to talk about. Some of the other street team members and I hosted a small discussion group broadcast as we read through it, and I can't even tell you how amazing it was. Each page hit us in different ways, and we all had epiphanies and take-aways that differed from each other. No one was left thinking "I already knew that."
He leaves no rock unturned, unleashing paradigm after paradigm, blending rich modern scholarship with deep pastoral concern for the Church. That being said, this is a hard hitting title, and I wouldn't recommend trying to read it quickly. I'm a fairly quick reader, and I had to pace myself over two months so I could digest the content. But it's not a dense read. In fact, Jeff is a phenomenal wordsmith, and can make difficult theological concepts easy to digest. But this book is so loaded with so many discussions on different topics, you have to slowly move through each section, making sure you don't miss out on something rich. I'd definitely recommend having a highlighter present.