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The Jesus I Never Knew

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4.18  ·  Rating Details  ·  15,047 Ratings  ·  455 Reviews
An old adage says, "God created man in His own image and man has been returning the favor ever since." Philip Yancey realized that despite a lifetime attending Sunday school topped off by a Bible college education, he really had no idea who Jesus was. In fact, he found himself further and further removed from the person of Jesus, distracted instead by flannel-graph figures ...more
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published September 9th 1995 by Zondervan Publishing Company (first published January 1st 1995)
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David Genskay Chapter 7 tells us about the absolute perfection we would have to achieve to fulfill the requirements of the Law -- an impossibility. We cannot help…moreChapter 7 tells us about the absolute perfection we would have to achieve to fulfill the requirements of the Law -- an impossibility. We cannot help but offend, hence the chapter title.

The ONLY solution is God's absolute Grace.

Now that you ask the question the opening quote from Tolstoy makes sense to me:

"The test of observance of Christ's teachings is our consciousness of our failure to attain an ideal perfection. The degree to which we draw near this perfection cannot be seen; all we can see is the extent of our deviation."(less)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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RE de Leon
Jan 02, 2011 RE de Leon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone.
Recommended to RE by: Danny and Angie Narciso
Every now and then, a book comes along that rightfully lays claim to the feat of changing your life. And this one most certainly did. More specifically, it changed my devotional life, such that my bible reading experience has been richer ever since.

You see, I've been reading the Bible since before I even learned to read properly. So while I was very familiar with the facts of the gospel story by the time I'd read this book in 1997, I'd also grown into some very hardened preconceptions.

An example
...more
Randall Hartman
Jan 03, 2015 Randall Hartman rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
It has taken me a long time to review this book because I had a hard time stomaching it - I could only read so much before I had to put it down so I could calm down - and because I wanted to let my thoughts and feelings settle a while, reconsider them, and be careful that what I am saying is truthful and not just an emotional reaction.

This review is rather long, but since it's serious and pointed, I thought it appropriate to give facts and not simply level accusations. First I'll give some bull
...more
Bill
Jul 25, 2011 Bill rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: christian-life
A very fresh look at Jesus - that is, no sign of all the preconceptions we usually have. Informative historical context, insightful commentary on our culture's interaction with the Jesus of the gospels and quite a humble writing style - Yancey seems willing to let Jesus speak to himself, and thus to his readers. So many efforts are made to reinvent Jesus, but Jesus cannot & need not be reinvented - we just need to make the effort to come to grips with him.
Nermine Hosni
Apr 16, 2015 Nermine Hosni rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
ليتني استطيع سماع صوته من العاصفة كأيوب واجري حديثاً مع الله نفسه

كان يرغب في تمتع الانسان بحرية الحب حتي يتبعه بكامل حريته لكي يأسره يسوع بحبه

ان الصلاح لا يمكن ان يُفرض من الخارج بل ينبع من الداخل وليس من اعلي الي اسفل بل العكس ان تجربة البرية تكشف الفرق العميق بين قوة الله وقوة الشيطان

وأريد ايضاً ان الله يأخذ دوراً اكثر فاعليه في تاريخي الشخصي اريد استجابة سريعة لصلواتي وشقاء لأمراضي وحماية وامناً لمن احبهم اريد الهاً غير غامض يمكنني ان اشير اليه امام اصدقائي المتشككين

كان يسوع يحب ان يم
...more
Marie
Mar 10, 2008 Marie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone interested in Jesus
Once again I enjoyed Yancey's thorough journalistic style combined with his ability to clearly communicate his opinion. However, I felt Yancey was talking above my knowledge on this one. My understanding and awareness of Jesus-including familiarity with Biblical history-remains at an elementary level, so many of the events and passages Yancey refers to are not crystal clear to me. In response to this I know that I need to read and study the Gospels soon. Even though I found myself tripping over ...more
Brenda
Aug 03, 2016 Brenda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoy Philip Yancey's writing. There was nothing here that was particularly revealing or new information about Jesus, but the author seems to have a way of writing that gets your mind engaged and thinking about the topic in different ways. I'd definitely recommend this one.
Kim
Jul 17, 2010 Kim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Book that seeks to discover Jesus in time and history--to observe him as he traveled and taught and ask: who Jesus was, why he came, and what he left behind complete with dusty details and descriptions that bite into what it was like to experience pursuit of God and pain, friendship and a fan-following in Galilee.

Following are my lessons learned
Why God does not force belief or display His power--
Goodness cannot be imposed externally, but most grow internally, bottom up. God’s power is internal,
...more
Dave Johnson
Sep 22, 2011 Dave Johnson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
a few weeks ago, i had a dream that profoundly impacted my book reading. without going into details, i was left with a desire to read about Jesus, a desire to know Jesus better. i had this book on my bookshelf already; i picked it up at a thrift store for a dollar, since i'll buy pretty much any book that looks half decent at a thrift store. i hadnt read anything about Phillip Yancey. i knew very little about him, other than his name is huge in the Christian book market. so i picked up the book. ...more
hany adeeb
Jul 15, 2016 hany adeeb rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition



الكتاب هو الثاني لي مع فيليب يانسي ، و اسئلته و افكاره التي هي جميلة حقا ، و سر جمالها انها تقود القارىء للتفكير و للتامل .. و لفهم موضوعات مرت من امامنا دون ان نفهمها بوضوح .. ان ما يعجبني ايضا .. درجة نضج و ثقافة الكاتب و امانته في طرح الاسئلة و الافكار ..

اننا نحتاج لمثل هذه الكتب التي تقودنا لتفكير بشكل مختلف ، كما اننا نحتاج .. لهذا الفهم الرائع عن شخصية المسيح الذي كثيرا ما صورته الكنيسة بصورة مناقضة لجماله و صفاته الرائعة ..

في عالم انتشرت فيه آفة التعصب و التمييز العنصري و المذهبي ، ما
...more
Summer
Oct 30, 2009 Summer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was phenomenal. Here's what my brother had to say when he recommended it.

"The author is a quote-unquote believer but refreshingly candid about his own fears, doubts about, and frustrations with God. It is a guileless book, without pretense, and I believe most anyone--"believer", "non-believer," Christian, Jew, Buddhist, or Muslim--(though they might not agree with everything said) would be pleasantly surprised by what they find in it. As it turns out, many of us raised-Christians have
...more
Summer
Aug 11, 2014 Summer rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really did like this book, so why only three stars? It was good, but I didn't really walk away with anything new or profound, which I suppose is a good and comforting thing. I enjoyed studying who Christ was on Earth, getting to know how he acted and talked with other people. I loved his references to other authors like Tolstoy, CS Lewis, Flannery O'Connor, Dostoevsky, Kierkegaard, and others.

Perhaps the thing I enjoyed the most, which is odd, is how honest Yancey is about his thoughts and wha
...more
Sheila Myers
Jul 18, 2016 Sheila Myers rated it it was amazing
Shelves: christian
A good read for all Christians. Although I know a lot about Jesus, some of the information taught me even more. I loved the way Yancey wrote much of the book by looking at the events as if he were living during that time instead of from a current viewpoint and looking back on the events and already knowing the outcome.
Amy
Oct 24, 2009 Amy rated it it was amazing
Favorite quotes from the book:

"Although power can force obedience, only love can summon a response of love,..."

"Dependence, humility, simplicity, cooperation, and a sense of abandon are qualities greatly prized in the spiritual life, but exremely elusive for people who live in comfort. In the Great Reversal of God's kingdom, prosperous saints are very rare."

"The real goal, King (Martin Luther King Jr.) used to say, was not to defeat the white man, but "to awaken a sense of shame within the oppre
...more
Liam Johnson
Feb 27, 2016 Liam Johnson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book changed how I viewed my Christian faith on a personal level and on a historial level. As a Christian, naturally I knew "about" Christ, however, like Yancey I eventually sought an angle of the Lord that wasn't distorted by the culturally-biased image of a blue-eyed creamy-skinned Anglo-Saxon male with good teeth that brandishes itself so frequently on the "Children's Illustrated Bible" and the like. In this book, I believe Yancey has created a snapshot of Jesus Christ that is not only m ...more
Larry
This book was Book of the Year when it was released 20 years ago, and I can see why. It promises a fresh look at the life of Jesus without pretense, and it delivers. Certain chapters, such as chapter 13 on the Kingdom of God, are just as relevant today as in 1995. I don't agree with Yancey on everything, but I do like the honest, human way in which he approaches the Bible and the Lord. I highly recommend this book.
Ben Byler
Throughout my time reading this book, I was overjoyed to finally see a Christian author talk about Christ. For too often I found Christian authors talk about "God," but make him whatever they want him to be. The Jesus of the Gospels, however, proves very hard to limit or fit into our agendas. And he's very different from the Jesus people see from hypocritical Christians.

Jesus is amazing.

However, as much as I enjoyed this book and was about to give it 5 stars, one chapter startled me and left me
...more
Kurt
Jul 23, 2011 Kurt rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think it may be a testimony to the power of this book that, about fifteen years after its publication, it's hard to see what's controversial about it. In this book, Yancey carefully examines the Gospels to try to explore who Jesus is with minimal influence from cultural lenses. He definitely focuses more on the humanity of Jesus than his divinity, but part of that comes from his decision not to get into commentaries on Jesus, including the rest of the New Testament (I think it's fair to questi ...more
Susan Schlesman
Jul 19, 2016 Susan Schlesman rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was one of the few pivotal books in my spiritual journey. At the risk of overstating, this book changed my life and my perception of Jesus. In a intelligent, logical, and theologically-accurate approach, Yancey portrays Jesus as his world would have viewed him: a regular guy with extraordinary love and intuition. Yancey examines his humanness, as well as his deity. This took the religion blinders off my eyes.
Maren
Aug 15, 2016 Maren rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, 2016
My co-teacher gave this to me when we were teaching the New Testament in Sunday School. It was a very insightful book. The author had many unique observations on the Savior's life, and he really took his observations from the scriptures instead of other scholars, which I liked. I will read this again and refer to it often.

I did not like the translation of the scriptures Yancey used, however. KJV for me any day.
Ragy Nekhela
Apr 01, 2013 Ragy Nekhela rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Philip Yancey as usual astonishes me a lot with his writings. I wouldn't be able to think of all this about Jesus' life on earth. New perspectives , new ideas, so deep and true. his birth, miracles, temptation, sermon on the mount, trial, death, resurrection, and ascension. You cannot take any small part of his story for granted anymore.

My best part is the Chapter of the Temptation, Jesus refused to take the easy shortcut that Satan offered. but he chose the weak road wich lead to the cross, an
...more
Johanna Lim
Jun 03, 2016 Johanna Lim rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Philip Yancey brings a refreshing perspective to seeing Jesus. Reading this book has helped me peel back ingrained portrayals and helped me see the man Jesus as I had never seen hi before. I have been challenged and encouraged in my own relationship with Jesus. I would especially recommend this book to those who grew up in Christian homes or in a Christian culture, so that they too can cut through the layers and begin seeing Christ die who he really is.
Raj
Aug 13, 2013 Raj rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Philip Yancey is very good at addressing the hard questions, he seems to be very honest about his own struggles, and he makes Jesus come alive on the page. He concentrates mainly on the message of the Sermon on the Mount, hoping to dispel some confusion found in Jesus' teachings. Yancey also studies Jesus' lessons on love as well as His demonstrations of grace.

He concentrates mainly on the message of the Sermon on the Mount, hoping to dispel some confusion found in Jesus' teachings. Yancey also
...more
Shelli
Mar 26, 2012 Shelli rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-of-2012
This is an outstanding book. Philip Yancey reflects on our preconceived inklings of Jesus and how his own perception of jesus changed through his life. It made me reflect on my own understanding. One of my top favorite christian books. My favorite quote (well, one of them) :
"Why am I a Christian? I sometimes ask myself, and to be perfectly honest the reasons reduce to two: (1) the lack of good alternatives, (2) Jesus. Brilliant, untamed, tender, creative, slippery, irreducible, paradoxically hum
...more
Kim
Feb 13, 2016 Kim rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
EXCELLENT READ! Opened my eyes to a new love for Christ.....God's heart is amazingly in love with me and I can never repay Him for the love he showed me through his son on the cross......
Ramona
Jan 04, 2016 Ramona rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was an amazing read. Recommended in a lecture I was sitting in at B.Y.U. so I made a note of it- and started it anxiously when it came. It did not disappoint. It started a little heavy and I was worried I was in over my head, but very quickly Yancey begins discussing things that hit the heart and push the mind. I have feared for some time we are doing ourselves no favors by dumbing down Jesus as a society. he has almost become a sort of all-loving hippie waiting to take anyone into his fath ...more
Greg Dill
Sep 19, 2015 Greg Dill rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book has helped me gain a better understanding of who Jesus really is void of any preconceived notions. I too have struggled with who exactly Jesus is. Yes, I know He is the Son of God and yes, I know He died on the cross for my sins. But, in His humanity how does He relate to me? Through this book, I have learned that Jesus in many ways is like me in that He was human. He endured much of the pains, the struggles, and the intricacies of being human. Because of this revelation there is no ex ...more
Anthony
August 10, 2014

A review by Anthony T. Riggio of Philip Yancey’s “The Jesus I Never Knew”

To embark on the writing of the life of Jesus is a most daunting task and I feel that Philip Yancey did a very credible job. As a Catholic, my knowledge of the New Testament is not as vast as that of many of my Protestant brother’s and sister’s. Their entire religious educational system is predicated on the bible. This is the concept highlighted by Martin Luther in his “Solo Scriptura”; Scripture Alone is suf
...more
Amy
Dec 09, 2010 Amy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was great! The historical context provided went beyond most other books and I learned even more about the life and times of Christ. I'm not one who is prone to weeping over a book, so the fact that this book accomplished that for me is pretty incredible. I needed the reminder of who Christ really is and this book was just what the doctor ordered. A definite must read, especially for those of you who admit to owning the book but never reading it (Lisa). Enjoy!
Christina
Mar 03, 2015 Christina rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I would recommend this book to anyone who wants an in depth conversation about Jesus. It's just not enough to read the New Testament in the Bible. This author is a journalist and he has a way with words and presenting ideas that will draw you in and help you see different perspectives. The nice part is he does this in an unbiased way. It's almost like he was trying to interview Jesus by gathering information from as many perspectives as possible. Loved it.
Daniel Duane
Apr 22, 2014 Daniel Duane rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: christian-living
Yancey writes in a very casual but clear down-to-earth human way, going through Jesus' Jewish origins, his birth, life, challenges, sufferings, death, resurrection, ascension etc...he referred intensely to the four Gospels, only occasionally taking from Paul's writings and quotes from other great Christian men and women of God to further illustrate his point. Which I think was good, because it really captured the life that Jesus lived on Earth. I also loved the way he describes the society durin ...more
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Good book 2 39 Aug 19, 2013 11:49PM  
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A native of Atlanta, Georgia, Philip Yancey earned graduate degrees in Communications and English from Wheaton College Graduate School and the University of Chicago. He joined the staff of Campus Life Magazine in 1971, and worked there as Editor and then Publisher. He looks on those years with gratitude, because teenagers are demanding readers, and writing for them taught him a lasting principle: ...more
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“Power, no matter how well-intentioned, tends to cause suffering. Love, being vulnerable, absorbs it. In a point of convergence on a hill called Calvary, God renounced the one for the sake of the other.” 98 likes
“Thunderously, inarguably, the Sermon on the Mount proves that before God we all stand on level ground: murderers and temper-throwers, adulterers and lusters, thieves and coveters. We are all desperate, and that is in fact the only state appropriate to a human being who wants to know God. Having fallen from the absolute Ideal, we have nowhere to land but in the safety net of absolute grace.” 35 likes
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