am 23. Januar 2000
For years, through my twenties and thirties, I struggled with doubt. I had nagging fears of "What if I'm devoting my life to something that's not real? What if Christianity is a hoax and Jesus is a myth?" As time went on, those doubts began to fade-partly, I think, because I was honest with them.
It was the title of this book that caught me. I remembered those doubts from many years before. The phrase "The Jesus I Never Knew" kindled a new doubt in me. What if Jesus is real, and yet I never really knew Him? What if-to paraphrase either Philip Yancey or Brennan Manning (forgive me for not remembering which), my belief was not in the real Jesus, but in the preachers, Sunday School teachers, and 'great cloud of witnesses' who explained Him to me?" It was, for me, a horrifying thought.
The Jesus I Never Knew rocked my world. As Yancey began to wipe away the ecclesiastical film from a Person that I find to be indeed my Savior, my faith changed, grew. I made sweeping changes in my life based on this Jesus I was meeting. I found myself challenged by this Man. I saw Jesus as I never saw Him before. What I saw necessitated a response; the One I encountered sparked faith in me like I had never known before.
One more thing about doubt. Herein lies Yancey's gift as a writer. He is honest about doubt, and he lets the reader be honest, too. Did this book change me? Did Jesus change me? Only read this book if you want your head, your world, and your faith as you know it messed up.
A final note: I am thankful to say that the Sunday School class I attend will begin a 14 week study next week on The Jesus I Never Knew. This will prove to be, I think, a very exciting time.
am 15. November 1998
For seven weeks, taking two chapters each week, nineteen women met for two hours once a week to discuss this book . We can highly recommend the group study concept. These comments were turned in during the last session to be sent to AMAZON.
1. The JESUS I NEVER KNEW by Philip Yancey presents to the reader an "uncomfortable" view of Jesus. Uncomfortable because, though am I called to emulate Jesus, I find that after reading this book, I more often reflect a counter portrait, a fake view of the Christ. This book, which involves technical reading, vast references, and extensive research presents an earthy view of Jesus not often considered. 2. WANTED - TRAVELERS: 5 stars The extraordinary expedition that Yancey takes anyone who wants to learn more about Jesus on is most rewarding adventure, drama, exploration, spiritual and historical enlightenment. Thought provoking, questionable,and informative are words that could be descriptive of this honest presentation. Yancey has done extensive research and allows, not sways, the reader to form concepts and opinions about Jesus as written in the gospels. The reader is enlightened as to His being a man of many moods, emotions, feelings and actions. As one reads about Jesus the man and Jesus the Christ he or she will be surprised, informed, saddened, awakened, happy and there will be a new and/or deeper relationship formed.
3. Philip Yancey has given me much food for thought and has encouraged me to examine "the way we've always done it." I have come to know a much more human Jesus who would probably feel very much out of place in my church. How sad!! 4. Of all the books that I have read in recent years THE JESUS I NEVER KNEW best describes the Jesus that I know and love. 5. 5 stars As a group, we really entered this study expecting to find many answers. We found answers to some of our questions, but others remain as distant as ever. We learned so many new things about Jesus. Jesus also became so human and His presence was so powerful in our group. Yancey brought out so many wonderful messages that really made the group stop to ponder, such as "Where is the church when it hurts." He also brought to the forefront quotations from other notable authors such as Flannery O'Conner's "Church is founded on Peter who denied Christ three times and who couldn't walk on the water by himself. You(we) are expecting his successors to walk on the water." I am sure that we all walk away better Christians because of this study.
6. Yancey does a good job helping us to understand the human side of Jesus. If this understanding is not balanced with knowledge of Jesus' deity, our perception of Jesus will be just as warped as Yancey's flannelgraphs. 7. 5 stars This book brings us face to face with Jesus. 8. 5 stars THE JESUS I NEVER KNEW has truly been an inspiration for me. It has been thought-provoking and caused me to think about what I believe. Yancey did an excellent job of recreating situations that happened almost 2,000 hears ago - making them seem real. I come away feeling as if I know Jesus in a much more personal way. 9. Philip Yancey's THE JESUS I NEVER KNEW is a fresh way of bringing the mystery of the human Jesus to the forefront. As I read his statement, "God gave himself to us in the form of a person", I now look at that person with a new concept-more human, more compassionate, merciful and gentle, yet holy and awesome as the divine King of Kings and Lord of Lords-and still my very personal Saviour-all mine and yet for everyone the same. My concept of Jesus has been forever changed, enlarged and enlightened by this study. It was a wonderful spiritual study and a Kingdom Experience. 10. This book has shed some light on who Jesus was, is. It opened my eyes to his Jewishness and helped me understand their customs , traditions, religions, and more. It has helped me to realize he was human, to see his human side but, also worship his as God-head. He was God and also man. I've grown to understand the beatitudes more and have seen how they are to be applied to my life now. The miracles were not just miracles then but are miracles that still happen today. I have taken on a whole new view of the crucifixion. death, and resurrection of Jesus and know it is a triumphant victory to be celebrated every day! As Yancey put it "He is who I want my God to be!" Jesus is everything I want my life to be. 11. In his book, The Jesus I Never Knew, Philip Yancey was scripturally accurate in describing Jesus as a man and also very much God. He reminds me that the ultimate necessity is to know Jesus in a personal way. The book was very thought stimulating and made me more aware of all that He did for me. 12. Philip Yancey exploded all my pre-conceived ideas about Jesus and made me actually take a hard look at my beliefs. I came to appreciate Jesus so much more as God-man who embodies total love and acceptance and a desire to save all mankind. I fell in love with Jesus all over again as I did when I was a child....total acceptance. Thank you, Philip Yancey, for your marvelous book!
am 10. Februar 2000
We used this study during an Outreach Bible Study, and I was dismayed to find some poorly chosen descriptions of God. While searching, doubts and misunderstandings are normal, but to state them as correct characteristics is troubling. For instance, on page 17&18 of The Jesus I Never Knew, Yancy writes...In the Old Testament I found myself identifying with those who boldly stood up to God: Moses, Job, Jeremiah, Habakkuk, the psalmists. As I read, I felt I was watching a play with human characters who acted out their lives of small triumph and large tragedy on stage, while periodically calling to an unseen Stage Manager, "You don't know what it's like out here!" Job was most brazen, flinging to God this accusation: "Do you have eyes of flesh? Do you see as a mortal sees?" Every so often I could hear the echo of a booming voice from far offstage, behind the curtain. "Yeah, and you don't know what it's like back here either!" it said, to Moses, to the prophets, most loudly to Job. When I got to the Gospels, however, the accusing voices stilled. God, if I may use such language, "found out" what life is like in the confines of planet earth.
A simple way to refute this is two things, one is that God is not a God of time. So, therefore, He has always known what it was like to be human. The the accusing voices, well, that's when judgement went from being hinged on the law to grace. God didn't learn something knew or wake up, so to speak. What a sad thing image to proclaim to people reading this book.
am 7. Juni 2000
But I still rate it at 5 stars.
I see a progression of thought in Yancey's works from "The Jesus I never Knew" to his later work "What's so amazing about Grace." If you only have time to read one Yancey book, I'd recommend "What's so amazing about Grace" high above this book.
"The Jeus I never knew" is full of anecdotes and great quotes and interesting stories. It's also filled with thoughtful insights that make you go "Wow, I never thought of that Bible verse in that light before."
For that reason, I give it five stars. Any book that gives you a deeper love of God (as this book does) is surely worth five stars.
But his more recent book "What's So Amazing About Grace" seems like it plumbs the depth of spirituality a bit more. Kind of like the comparison of Mark's Gospel and John's Gospel. Mark's writings are strong and clear, but John's message is so deeply metaphysical you fear you may never glean all the spiritual nuggets contained therein.
Not to irreverantly compare Yancey to John..., but Yancey's books are always a joy to read. I just preferred "What's so Amazing About Grace."
However, after borrowing and reading "The Jesus I Never Knew" I immediately bought my own copy. It is a good foundational item for every Christian's bookshelf.
am 14. Mai 1998
Familiarity breeds contempt, and the first sign of encroaching contempt is....indifference. After hearing about other people's interpretations of who Jesus was and their take on the meaning of what he did, we can forget that the Gospel accounts are blazingly alive and reveal their truths with great simplicity. To me, this is Yancey's greatest gift as an author; he takes stuff we've gone over a hundred times until it's old hat and pulls it out and holds it before our eyes as he dusts it off. And we go, "Whoa...by golly, it DOES say that, doesn't it?! Jesus doesn't fit into anyone's box. Just when you think you've got him safely dissected and broken down into nice safe categories he breaks out with his laughter ringing in your ears and you're left to get off your high horse and follow Him again and see what He has to teach you now. By the way, it seems a little obtuse to me to see reviews from form critics and other 'higher critics' who sniff that they're dissapointed by Yancey's literal treatment of Jesus. I don't go to Spong or Wellhausen's books hoping to find a literal treatment of Jesus any more than I'd buy Billy Graham's latest book hoping to find a brilliant argument in favor of the historical Jesus being a ordinary guy who had some incredible things made up about him. Y'all are just looking in the wrong place.
am 5. Februar 1999
Many people feel they have 'finally' come to know the 'real' Jesus of Nazareth and for most, this is a wonderful emotional high. This is a good thing, no doubt. However, I couldn't help feeling that all that Phillip had 'discovered' was nothing new. Most, if not all, of the things he discovered are right in the Holy Scriptures. It was like hearing another protestant preacher giving his own personal testimony. Furthermore, there are a great many other books that reveal a much more deeper meditation on the person of Christ. Frank Sheeds "To know Jesus Christ" and "Theology and Sanity", Romano Guardini's "The Lord", and one by Bishop Fulton J. Sheen. (the name eludes me now). Also, "Apologetics" by Paul J. Glenn and "College Apologetics" by Anthony F. Alexander. Finally, a work from the 1500's by St.Francis de Sales, "The Catholic Controversies" is another wonderful insight into Christ and His Church. The list could go on and on, but enough for now. The author was inspirational in ways but then again what person is not inspirational after finally finding Jesus. :)
am 18. April 2000
This is a very thought-provoking book by Mr. Yancey -- however, one would expect no less from the author of "What's So Amazing About Grace." I have read a few reviews that seem to denigrate the book as one that is "popularizing" its message. It seems to me that we must bear in mind that Christ popularized his message so that simple fisherman, farmers and the masses could get the point. We can't all be theologians! The simple reminders about Christ's Judaic heritage are well worth remembering and, yes, repeating. We must not only view Christ by his eternal nature, but also place him within the historical context of his time. As Yancey states, he chose the time, place and location for his birth -- there must have been a reason for it. I loved this book. Having read many books about Christianity and a devotee of the Bible, I still appreciate the way Yancey's books draw me in and remind me of the compassionate and loving nature of Christ, and moreso, the great love that God holds for each of us. I hope Mr. Yancey will continue to bless us with more of his thoughts on Christ.
am 29. November 1998
Jesus walked the earth nearly two thousand years ago, and we all see Him through different eyes. Phillip Yancey has allowed me to see Jesus as someone you could have walked up to and shook His hand and talked to Him as simply another human being. With humor, but more realistic views than usually offered through Sunday school ideals, Yancey somehow broke those childhood views and matured insight of a Jesus who might be considered a radical of today. The Romans wanted to rid Him and did, yet in doing so they helped His coming to be God, Christianity today as we know it. If you're looking for an answer that will seal all curiosities, good luck after reading millions of books. But if you are out to readjust your thinking, or better clear up a few misunderstandings as I am, this is a very highly recommened reading. After reading this book, I went to bed praying to a God whom I can talk to on a very human level. The title speaks very true to itself. Once you read it, you'll understand the "Saturday" portion between death and resurection and find it a nice day to be in, exciting.
am 15. November 1996
Yancey goes into the intimate details of who Jesus really was and was not and what he really was like as a human during his time on Earth. He goes to great lengths to dispell the myths about him so that we may be better in touch with Jesus. Of course Yancey, like everyone else has to take his best guess at what Jesus was really like, but I am finding that he is quite convincing. As I read the book, I feel Jesus' presence in my heart - I feel like I am getting to know him much better. There are also a lot of interesting things about Jesus that I never knew such as when he took up a whip to remove petty street sellers from a church or synagog (if this is in the Bible, I have not yet read that). In Yancey's book, we get to see all sides of Jesus - not just what Sunday School teaches. While some of it may break our bubble about Jesus in some ways, I think we come away knowing him in a way not before possible. Yancey clearly is not trying to discount or make Jesus to be anything less than he was/is - he's just trying to get closer to the truth..
am 17. Oktober 1997
Yah! What could possibly be added to the volumes that have already been written on this topic! Yancey wastes no time getting my attention by starting with secular films rather than with the Bible. His transparency and sometimes painful honesty helped me to see and, at least, temporarily put down, my own previously unquestioned assumptions and prejudices as I have thought of Christ. Two comments helped me to begin to get a fresh feel for this God-man who demonstrated once and for all what God is really like: "He never turned down a dinner invitation" and "He never turned down a direct request for healing." Opps! Better be careful what you said in His presence. Be careful whom you invited as dinner guests with Him: don't bring the judgemental or easily offended, because they will be confronted with a Person who explodes out of every box that is prepared for Him--including the toomb. Another observation brought fresh insight: "Because He ate with so many different types of people, Jesus had a