Faith & Self Defense

Building Confidence Through Evidence

Book Review: Rediscovering Jesus

Rediscovering Jesus“Rediscovering Jesus: An Introduction to Biblical, Religious and Cultural Perspectives on Christ” (IVP Academic, 2015) will get you thinking seriously about how both Christians and non-Christians view Jesus Christ.

The authors (David B. Capes, Rodney Reeves and E. Randolph Richards) present a variety of views about Jesus from both biblical and non-biblical perspectives. They include the views of several individuals and groups including each of the Gospel writers (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John), the Apostle Paul, the Gnostics, Muslims, Mormons, Liberals, Jesus Seminar, and Americans.  Which one is right? Which view answers this question best: “Who is your Jesus?”

“Rediscovering Jesus” is an IVP Academic textbook, which may seem a little intimidating to  non-academics, but I found the content and writing style to be at a level that most older Christian teens and adults would find comfortable and helpful. The authors are all Christian professors who have previous writing experience.

David B. Capes (PhD, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary) is professor of New Testament in the School of Christian Thought at Houston Baptist University, where he was founding dean of the Honors College. He has authored, coauthored or coedited books such as Rediscovering Paul, Old Testament Yahweh Texts in Paul’s Christology, The Footsteps of Jesus in the Holy Land, The Last Eyewitness, Rebecca’s Children, The Voice of Hebrews and The Voice of Romans.

Rodney Reeves (PhD, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary) is dean of The Courts Redford College of Theology and Ministry and professor of biblical studies at Southwest Baptist University, both in Bolivar, Missouri. Previously a pastor with churches in Arkansas and Texas, Reeves is author or coauthor of A Genuine Faith: How to Follow Jesus Today, Spirituality According to Paul: Imitating the Apostle of Christ and Rediscovering Paul: An Introduction to his World, Letters and Theology. His articles have appeared in journals such as Perspectives in Religious Studies, Biblical Illustrator, Southwestern Journal of Theology and Preaching.

E. Randolph Richards (PhD, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary) is dean and professor of biblical studies in the School of Ministry at Palm Beach Atlantic University. He is a popular speaker and has authored and coauthored dozens of books and articles including Rediscovering Jesus, Misreading Scripture with Western Eyes, Rediscovering Paul, The Story of Israel andPaul and First-Century Letter Writing.

They did a wonderful job presenting each perspective about Jesus into clear view and asked how each view is different than other views and what if each of the views were our only Jesus. That will get you thinking. Each chapter also includes more reading material and discussion questions, which are excellent for small groups as well as college classrooms.

I especially enjoyed the chapter about The American Jesus because that’s the Jesus I’ve seen taught and touted since I was a young child in the mid-20th century. We’ve seen the politically correct Jesus, the politicized Jesus, the Prince Charming Jesus, the pragmatic Jesus, the radical Jesus, and the Superman Jesus during the past 70 years. Then, on top of that, we have the ‘Cinematic Jesus.’ That’s the Jesus Hollywood has presented in dozens of movies and TV programs during the past 100+ years. I agree with the authors when they wrote, “It shouldn’t surprise anyone, but the American Jesus really isn’t about Jesus at all.”

Contents

Part I
Introduction: Jesus in the Bible
1. Mark’s Jesus
2. Matthew’s Jesus
3. Luke’s Jesus
4. John’s Jesus
5. Paul’s Jesus
6. The Priestly Jesus
7. The Jesus of Exiles
8. The Apocalyptic Jesus

Part II
Introduction: Jesus Outside the Bible
9. The Gnostic Jesus
10. The Muslim Jesus
11. The Historical Jesus
12. The Mormon Jesus
13. The American Jesus
14. The Cinematic Jesus
Conclusion: “Our Jesus”
Subject Index
Scripture Index

Reviews

“The more Jesus we present the more gospel we present. Rediscovering Jesus is on that list of what I can enthusiastically recommend that is pure gospel!”—Scot McKnight, Julius R. Mantey Professor of New Testament, Northern Seminary

Rediscovering Jesus is an accurate, readable and eye-opening account of the diverse perspectives on Jesus found in the New Testament and in other religious and cultural contexts … Capes, Reeves and Richards have produced a remarkably fresh, enlightening and convicting volume.”—Mark L. Strauss, Bethel Seminary, San Diego

Rediscovering Jesus is like an expert journalist or photographer examining the subject—in this case, Jesus—from all sides and angles … Few textbooks do as good of a job as this one in helping students engage with Jesus’ question ‘Who do you say that I am?'”—Nijay Gupta, assistant professor of New Testament, George Fox Evangelical Seminary

“Making Jesus in our own image—a dangerous temptation. Capes, Reeves and Richards provide the antidote in this well-written and witty book that tackles two key questions: Who is the Jesus of the Bible, and how does he differ from claims made about him in other religions?”—Lynn Cohick, professor of New Testament, Wheaton College

Rediscovering Jesus isn’t like other books on Jesus. As first-rate scholars and seasoned guides to interpreting the New Testament, Capes, Reeves and Richards provide wise and responsible answers. But perhaps more importantly, and what sets this book apart from others, they ask questions almost no one else is asking, questions that we all wonder about … I enthusiastically recommend it as an engaging resource for enriching our lives and leading us to follow the good but untamable Jesus of the Bible more faithfully.”—J. Scott Duvall, Fuller Professor of New Testament, Ouachita Baptist University

“Capes, Reeves and Richards have done it again! As with their former collaborative effort, Rediscovering Paul, Capes, Reeves and Richards have produced an excellent resource for an evangelical undergraduate course on Jesus of Nazareth. Rediscovering Jesus not only provides an overview of the Jesus of the four-fold Gospel, but also sketches the Jesus of the rest of the New Testament, providing a full-orbed biblical perspective on the meaning of Jesus.”—Joel Willitts, professor of biblical and theological studies, North Park University

“Professors Capes, Reeves and Richards are to be commended for their creative, interesting and intellectually honest look at the many faces of Jesus. Those interested in encountering Jesus in fresh and stimulating ways need to pay attention to this book!”—Christopher W. Skinner, associate professor of religion, University of Mount Olive

Rediscovering Jesus is an inviting, insightful and creative survey of various portraits of Jesus from both inside and outside the Bible. Readers will be provoked to think through the implications of the Jesus they may already believe in and follow (whether they know it or not!), and to listen to all the witnesses with a discerning ear.”—Michael J. Gorman, Raymond E. Brown Professor of Biblical Studies and Theology, St. Mary’s Seminary & University

Rediscovering Jesus: An Introduction to Biblical, Religious and Cultural Perspectives on Christ, IVP Academic, 2015, 272 pages

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