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Jesus Unbound: Liberating the Word of God from the Bible Paperback – July 4, 2018
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What if the Bible actually keeps us from hearing the Word of God?
For many Christians, the Bible is the only way to know anything about God. But according to that same Bible, everyone can know God directly through an actual relationship with Jesus. Jesus Unbound is an urgent call for the followers of Jesus to know Him intimately because the Gospel is not mere information about God, but a transformational experience with a Christ who is closer to us than our own heartbeat.
"If there is one book right now that every Christian should read to rediscover Jesus and rescue him from the Bible, it is Jesus Unbound by Keith Giles."- Brandon Andress, host of Outside the Walls podcast**"If you read Jesus Unbound with an open mind, and most importantly an open heart, I have no doubt you will be incredibly inspired and beautifully transformed!"- Mark Karris, author of Divine Echoes: Reconciling Prayer with the Uncontrolling Love of God**
"For those willing to step outside the theological box called "biblical inerrancy," this book is a goldmine. For those not willing, they're totally missing out. In Jesus Unbound, Keith Giles does the body of Christ a great service. Not only does he provide his readers with a lot of chew on, but he argues his points convincingly, yet gently and with pastoral care. An enjoyable read indeed!"
-Matthew J. Distefano, author of 4 books and cohost of the Heretic Happy Hour podcast
"In a world filled of divisiveness, this is the book you've been looking for as we focus on the all-consuming love of Christ."
- Seth Price, Host of the "Can I Say This At Church?" Podcast
About the Author
- Publisher : Quoir (July 4, 2018)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 224 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1938480325
- ISBN-13 : 978-1938480324
- Item Weight : 9.3 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.5 x 0.47 x 8.5 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #807,058 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
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In Jesus Unbound, Giles argues for reorienting Christianity from a Biblicist approach to a New Covenant Christ-centered one. In my view, he makes a stronger case for some of his contentions than for others.
Christians should not make an idol of the Bible, he says, since it's God we worship and follow. "Jesus is the Word of God, and the Word of God is a person," Giles asserts. We are saved by Jesus, not a book. We should read the book through the
lens of Christ.
In addition, we should place the greatest weight on the words of Jesus, as opposed to a flat reading of the Bible where every scripture is given equal weight, regardless of who said it. There are, after all, some verses that seem to conflict with what Jesus said. If all verses are equal, then Jesus is diminished. On the other hand, in the absence of a clearly defined rule, the Jesus-centric approach could be applied arbitrarily to demote verses we find inconvenient.
Some Christians insist the Bible is the only way we can learn about Jesus, though the Bible does not call itself that. While the Bible is an indispenable source, it is not the exclusive way to learn about Jesus, insists Giles. His source is Jesus.
“I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come." (John 16:12-13)
Jesus likely didn't mean his listeners would have to wait several hundred years until the New Testament was canonized.
The gospel of John tells us that Jesus is the Word of God who lives within every one of us who abides in Him. Paul says that we “have the mind of Christ” (1 Cor. 2:16) right now and that we can discern “the things that come from the Spirit of God…because they are discerned only through the Spirit” (2:15), and this Spirit is now alive within us. Other relevant verses in this regard are 1 John 2:27, 1Tim 2:5), and Matt. 23:10.
The Old Testament depiction of God contrasts sharply with Jesus in the New Testament. Since if we have seen Jesus we have seen the Father, Giles doubts the truth of Old Testament passages about God purportedly ordering genocide and violence, since it is so unlike Jesus. Giles does not convincingly explain how the warrior Jesus in Revelation who sends people into the lake of fire is consistent with the loving, forgiving Christ in the rest of the New Testament.
Giles also recognizes various contradictions in scripture. To take one of a dozen examples, the Old Testament explicitly states that God inspired David to take a census (2 Sam. 24:1), and that Satan inspired him to do so (1 Chronicles 21:1).
"Those who insist on an inerrant scripture ignore these discrepancies, or turn somersaults to make each contradictory statement true while ignoring the very obvious fact: The voices we hear in scripture are not infallible, nor inerrant."
Though Giles says some parts of scripture are false, he nonetheless assures us that we can rely upon what the gospels teach about Jesus. As to why the words attributed to Jesus must be reliable -- even though the gospels contain contradictions about his birth, ministry, crucifixion, and resurrection -- Giles says the Holy Spirit will guide us.
Giles relies for support mainly upon a handful of verses from the gospel of John, in particular, "Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father." (14:9) There are other Jesusian verses, however, where Jesus distances himself from being confused with God: “No one is good but God alone.” (Luke 18:19). Regarding the end of the world, Jesus said, “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels... nor the Son, but only the Father." (Matthew 24:36). Jesus told Mary Magdalene, “I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.” (John 20:17). Jesus prayed to God – not to himself, (Mark 14:35-36.)
Giles clearly places far more weight on John 14:9 than on all those other Jesusian statements.
In How Jesus Became God, Bart Ehrman points out that
if we only look at the gospel of John, it seems clear that Jesus claimed to be god in such verses as, "Before Abraham, I am." "And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began." (John 17:5)
"No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man." (John 3:13)
Ehrmann contends the passages in John where Jesus clearly claims divinity do not pass the historicity test. There is only a single source for those quotes, none of which is in the three earlier gospels. It's hard to imagine, Ehrman says, that Matthew, Mark and Luke would leave out the most significant thing about
Jesus -- divinity claims -- if Jesus had made them. What Jesus said about himself contrasts most sharply between the earliest and the latest gospels, i.e. between Mark and John.
Giles effectively deconstructs the Biblicism that reigns among evangelicals. He also
explains why notorious verses appearing to require women to be quiet in church and to be excluded from leadership don't mean it. He does the same with verses seeming to condemn homosexuality. He is less persuasive in explaining why the Biblical passages he relies upon are accurate, while he contends many other passages are not. ###
For many Christians, the Bible and God become one and the same.
And I suppose if the Scripture hadn't been penned by several flawed human hands it might make more sense to continue holding to that view.
In his eye-opening work, Keith takes us on an uncomfortable spiritual journey that pretty much dares us to put our love for Jesus (which translates into expressing that love towards everyone, enemies included) above all else, even the Bible that most evangelicals embrace as the literal Word of God.
The basic premise is that we ought not to let the Bible, which while inspired, yet not necessarily inerrant in every instance, become an idol over the truly legitimate object of our devotion as believers, Christ Himself. So, when we read in the Old Testament that God commanded His people to do things to other tribes that we would find personally repugnant and murderous today, Keith asks us to consider other possible explanations. Did God really command those acts? In the New Testament Jesus made proclamations such as “When you’ve seen Me, you’ve seen the Father”, and “Love your enemies..”
How is it loving our enemies when we support “...Happy is the one who seizes your infants and dashes them against the rocks.”? (Psalm 137:9) Jesus Unbound tackles this problematic verse and more.
The idea that not every word in the Bible is inspired by God is something that I would never have allowed myself to consider only a few short years ago.
The reason I’m more open to the idea now is that the messenger, so to speak (Keith being one of several I’ve come across in recent years) is coming from a place of love as opposed to one that completely rejects all of Scripture and Jesus as invalid. Contradictions (yes, the Bible has many, like the issue of women in church leadership) are not ignored, explained away, or downplayed, but faced head on which I really appreciate.
I highly recommend Jesus Unbound to all believers, but especially to those who may be just can’t make sense of the God of the Old Testament in light of Jesus and His teachings. And at the risk of sounding over the top or just plain corny, I have to say, that what Keith has written I believe will be life changing for many. It most definitely has been for me.
While I don’t know that I agree with his view of homosexuality, I do agree with his conclusion that we are to love one another.
Giles includes a chapter “But what about …” which addresses questions that conservative fundamentalists have voiced. One of the best ones in my opinion was “but what if you get it wrong?” He answered it along the lines that any of us can get it wrong and that is why we need to depend on the Holy Spirit and compare it to what we know of Jesus.
If you are already questioning the Bible, you should read this book. If you are a conservative fundamentalist you should read this book to be aware of the questions people have. This is a great, well-written, well-researched book.
I bought this book and this is my honest and unbiased review.
Top reviews from other countries
This book expresses and explains what I have long felt about making a choice between Jesus and the Bible. There are verses that go against what Jesus taught. Even in his own Sermon he challenged his followers to ignore parts of the law to follow his example instead. You need to grasp that, and stop listening to legalists who will incite you to value every part of scripture as co-equal with Christ. This is a vital step for a disciple of the Son of God.
Keith lays out, with a Christ-embraced heart, just how and why you should do this. Go deeper with Jesus before you go deeper with scripture.
It’s a passionate call to Christians to discover a real love relationship with Jesus and to give him supremacy as the living Word made flesh rather than exalting a book, or indeed a library of disparate books, called The Bible into that position. It teaches a more mature and honest way to read and understand ancient scriptures partly in the light of our modern culture but mainly in the light of Christ and who he is. It’s a thoroughly Christocentric theology presented in a very readable, engaging yet scholarly way.
If your default answer to any of modern life’s controversial questions is ‘..but The Bible says...’ and then spout something considered non-PC, discriminatory or downright bigoted then this book may make your brain hurt but hopefully it’ll give you a chance to discover another story and another way to understand scripture and how it was written, what was meant and how that relates to us now.
The things he has to say are worth thinking about, worth praying about and worth taking seriously. Recommended.