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Understanding Jesus: Cultural Insights into the Words and Deeds of Christ

4.18  ·  Rating Details ·  76 Ratings  ·  15 Reviews

Modern-day Christians often bring their own presuppositions and assumptions to the reading of the Bible, not realizing how deeply their understanding of Christ's life and teachings is affected by a 21st-century worldview. In UNDERSTANDING JESUS, author Joe Amaral delves deep into Jewish history, societal mores, and cultural traditions, closing the gap created by geographic

Paperback, 208 pages
Published April 7th 2011 by FaithWords
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Mar 28, 2011 Debbie rated it it was ok
"Understanding Jesus" gave some cultural background information to the gospels and Revelation. The author spent most of the book exploring the Feasts of the Lord to provide insight into some things Jesus did and said. He also briefly covered information on the four messianic miracles, clean and unclean foods, binding and loosing, tear jars, fence laws, prayer shawls, and more.

The author quoted large sections of Scripture before explaining the cultural insight he'd gained into those verses. This
Andrew Ketel
Nov 08, 2016 Andrew Ketel rated it it was amazing
A great basic overview of the Hebraic roots of the Christian faith.
Phil Aud
Jan 08, 2016 Phil Aud rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2016
First, I am grateful for Amaral’s heart for the Jewish roots of the Christian faith and his attempt to bring attention to much of the Jewish understanding that we have lost, or worse, have thrown away. The Church has unfortunate history of anti-semitism which has, of course, affected our interpretation. I thought much of Amaral’s work was good. His treatment of Luke 20 (“render to Caesar what is Caesar’s), and John 8 (Jesus writing in the sand), for example, were great. I was also thankful for ...more
Feb 14, 2012 Eva rated it it was amazing
This book is exactly what I was looking for – context that illuminates the familiar Bible stories and helps me understand what I could never understand just by re-reading and pondering. I get frustrated with the suggested Bible study method of just reading a passage of the Bible and “dwelling on it” and journaling about “what it means to you.” I want to understand it on a practical level – why did Jesus, and the people He encountered, say and do the things they did? Sometimes, it all seems very ...more
Apr 14, 2011 Tomi rated it liked it
Understanding Jesus is a historical read not meant to change your religious perception but present a historical account of Jesus' time. Amaral does a good job discussing the culture, social and political atmosphere of that time in a way that helps one get a deeper understanding. There were some things within the book that I didn't quite agree with but such is the case whenever you're discussing something that happened over 2,000 years ago. Amaral includes several scripture references as a basis ...more
Apr 05, 2011 Karenm rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book. I am thankful for the extensive bibliography in the back so I can continue my study. In many ways, I feel the book is an 'appetizer', kinda like the scallop risotto I recently had in Vegas...enough to make me want more.

I kept thinking it would be cool if this book, or even a more indepth future one had a study guide.

I found the explanation of the feasts to be fascinating and how Jesus and John the Baptist fulfilled the feasts. I'm not sure that the author made a case
Sep 06, 2016 Eirika rated it liked it
High marks for explaining the Jewish part of Jesus and what that meant as far as interpreting many of his teachings. Low marks for concluding that means Jesus followers should be adhering to the Leviticus food laws and Jewish festivals.
Kirsten Jany
Apr 21, 2014 Kirsten Jany rated it it was amazing
Shelves: spiritual
Saw Joe Amaral in church. When he stepped up and announced he'd be giving a presentation about Jewish feasts and their significance in end times, I prepared myself for a snooze. And when it was over, I was one of the first in line to buy the book! Thoroughly enjoyed it. I can't begin to figure how much research must have gone into writing this, and he just hands it all to you on a platter. The book is an enormous help when reading scripture, and things I never understood before suddenly became ...more
Aug 14, 2011 writer... rated it really liked it
how would we understand the words of Yeshua Jesus if we understood His culture? and the impact of that culture on the meaning of what He said?
as fascinating and insightful a read from Canadian Joe Amaral as he is to hear in person.
i gained much by reading of what would have been commonly known phrases and idioms of speech from the time of Christ's teachings. excellent information on distinct cultural traditions and how they play into the meaning of scripture's metaphors. easy to read and enjoyab
Cindy Macbeth
Apr 13, 2011 Cindy Macbeth rated it really liked it
This is the first book I ever won and what a treasure.
The book did give insight into the way things were in
Jesus's time. When reading the book it helped me to
understand the way life was in Jesus's time here on
earth. I passed the book to my girlfriend and she is
not a reader, but she couldn't put the book down. She passed
it to another friend and we have had numerous discussions.
We percieved things to mean one thing but in Jesus time it meant
something different.
The book gave us a spark for lea
May 13, 2011 Diane rated it liked it
When I won this book, I did not realize that it was geared toward young adult readers. Still by placing the parables and miracles in the context of first century Israel, some Biblical situations I have puzzled over were explained.
I could never understand the idea that faith the size of a mustard seed could move a mountain or why Christ would not allow a man to bury his father. Mr. Amaral's insights into the customs of the day explained the real meaning of what was happening.
Mar 08, 2015 Ranoordam rated it really liked it
I would have loved to read this book 15 years ago when I was beginning to understand the cultural background of the bible. I didn't learn anything new in this book but it was very nice to see it in an overview like this with the appropriate scriptures. For someone just starting to realize the importance of the cultural background I highly recommend this book
Apr 11, 2011 Timothy rated it really liked it
I've come across most of what's in this book eslewhere, but the insights are good, and it's never a bad idea to refresh your awareness of Jesus's Jewish cultural context. I suspect that for most Western Christians, this book will be an eye-opener. An excellent into the Hebrew roots of the New Testament, and of the story of the Messiah.
Jul 04, 2012 John rated it really liked it
Shelves: theology
Great insights into the depths of connection between Christianity's Jewish roots, Jewish custom, the Old Testament Festivals and the coming of Jesus as the Messiah.
Nov 26, 2012 Heather rated it really liked it
A very interesting book on the actual facts of Jewish life and how we have misinterpreted so much of what is in the bible. This was an eye opener for me.
Jerome rated it liked it
Sep 23, 2014
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Aug 28, 2013
Milwaukee Baker
Milwaukee Baker rated it it was amazing
Apr 19, 2016
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DEBRA LYON rated it it was amazing
Nov 25, 2016
Joyce K. Horn
Joyce K. Horn rated it it was amazing
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May 10, 2011
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May 09, 2016
Raynon Rozniak
Raynon Rozniak rated it it was amazing
Apr 07, 2014
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Oct 04, 2015
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Joe Amaral was born in Portugal on the island of St. Miguel, and emigrated with his family to Toronto, Ontario, when he was two years old. A rebel against Christianity, he credits a youth pastor who "loved me unconditionally" with being a major factor in his conversion and subsequent decision to enter the ministry. He attended Eastern Pentecostal Bible College (now a Master's College and ...more
More about Joe Amaral...

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