The Jesus I Never Knew
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The Jesus I Never Knew

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4.17 of 5 stars 4.17  ·  rating details  ·  10,145 ratings  ·  330 reviews
Philip Yancey reveals the real Jesus beyond the stereotypes, revolutionizing the reader's passion for Christ.
ebook, 288 pages
Published September 9th 2008 by Zondervan (first published January 1st 1995)
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RE de Leon
Jan 02, 2011 RE de Leon rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  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
Nermine Hosni
ليتني استطيع سماع صوته من العاصفة كأيوب واجري حديثاً مع الله نفسه ٢١

كان يرغب في تمتع الانسان بحرية الحب حتي يتبعه بكامل حريته لكي يأسره يسوع بحبه ٧٩

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 ٨٠

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 ٨١

كان يسوع ي...more
Bill
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.
Marie
Mar 10, 2008 Marie rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  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
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
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
Kurt
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
Dave Johnson
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
Summer
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
Ragy Nekhela
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
Amy
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
Raj
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
Liam Johnson
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 r...more
Shelli
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
Daniel Duane
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
Victoria
This book had many great things to back up Jesus and who he was while on earth. It shined of God. I enjoyed it. Mr. Yancey begins how he originally depicted Christ, how society depicts Him, Who He really is according to the Bible, and what we do in knowing Him as Savior!
Angelmae
There are not many books that can so truly change your thinking about one of history's most thoroughly studied individuals - Jesus Christ. This is one. It will, I guarantee, change more than a few athiest lives and will reinvigerate the Christian ones. Recommended read.
Heather
Oct 08, 2008 Heather rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: anyone wanting to examine the life of Jesus more closely

This book took me a while to get through - I kept putting it down and then picking it back up.

Overall, I enjoyed the book - it allowed me to examine the religion I grew up with and view the life of Jesus from another (more in-depth) perspective.
Sienna
Yancey is a good author, don't get me wrong. But the nature of the book means you basically have to take the New Testament literally. I have a really hard time with that. So this book (which I never actually finished) didn't renew my faith in Christ, if anything, it made me realize how I've been misnaming myself as "Christian."

I gave the book two stars because that's exactly how I felt about it. Not because it's bad or wrong. People are free to believe whatever they want. But if you aren't look...more
Ron
Okay, okay, I get it. Yancy writes columns, then gathers them into books, slaps on a likely title, and peddles them to us as original thinking.

It works, but sometimes only barely.
Erin Clark
Holy. Cow.

This book shifted my perspective on the man Jesus was and helped me understand the gospels in a way that I couldn't before.

Primarily, there was a new light shed on just how radical some of his statements were. It wasn't until Philip Yancey compared Jesus' claim that he would tear down the temple and raise it in three days to a terrorist running through the streets of New York claiming that he would tear down the world trade center and rebuild it in three days...it really started sinkin...more
T Taylor
Insights you've thought about but never read. Yancy is transparent and stimulating!
India
We read this book as a family every morning before starting our day. Yancey begins the novel by describing his early, false perceptions of Jesus. Viewing Christ as the face of perfection, Yancey envisioned Him having "long, flowing hair and milky white skin." Jesus was "a Mr. Rogers before the age of children's television". Throughout the novel, he examines the character and emotions of the man that changed the course of history. The final chapter contains one of my favorite quotes:
"If God can...more
Nathan
Here's a look at "Jesus' life 'from below,' as a spectator, one of the many who followed him around," says Yancey.

It's a journey well taken.

I notice all the preconceived notions and unwarranted assumptions we have about Jesus--especially now, this Christmas morning. Sitting in front of me is a manager, a "little Lord Jesus, no crying he makes." (Yet surely he had his share of swaddling cloth rash!)

What if we didn't have the benefit of knowing Jesus through history's lens? How would we see him th...more
Kelly
I read this book for a second time with new eyes, because before I read it casually and quickly. This time I was vitally concerned to see Yancey's portrayal of Jesus. 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 succeeds at removing some of the historical distance between us and Jesus, making him seem graspable, like someone who actually lived, without violating the mystery that is a...more
Dave Jones

As is often the case, I picked this book up (along with his signature What's So Amazing about Grace?) when Amazon offered me a deal I couldn’t refuse. I was so impressed with Yancey’s Disappointment with God: Three Questions No One Asks Aloud, that this was an easy sell.



Mr. Yancey uses his journalistic mindset to examine the life and influence of Jesus. This is no softball treatment. In addition to the Gospels, he draws from the historical and popular culture depictions (films, novels, et al.) o

...more
Serena
Wow. I thought this book would be a glorified retelling of the Gospels, and that I would have a hard time working through it. After all, it isn't fiction--it's not even a devotional--so I expected it to be a bit dry. I didn't once get bored. Not once. Every idea was new, or at least from a new angle, and I drank in every word.

Philip Yancey begins with "The Jesus I Thought I Knew"--the Jesus we all think we know--and spends the next 250 pages explaining what we don't fully understand about the So...more
Esther
"Jesus was indicating that the kingdom of God comes with a resistible power. It is humble and unobtrusive and coexistent with evil."

Jesus can become over-familiar in so many ways. We associate him with the stories told to us as children. We become fixated on the Christmas story - often not the Gospel version. He becomes an over-cuddly friend.

Philip Yancey wrote his book some time ago, but its edge to cut through our existing view of Jesus is still keen. Some of the themes are not as fresh as whe...more
John Defrog
Okay, this is not the kind of book most people would expect me to read, but I have my reasons – one of them being that I’d come across excerpts from it, and they whetted my curiosity. The book is basically an in-depth look at the four Gospels in order to get a handle of just who Jesus really was and the message he was trying to get across. And the object of the book was for Yancey, a Christian journalist, to reconcile the “real” Jesus with the various versions that churches and religious leaders...more
Dave
Philip Yancey might be my new favorite author. We'll see after I read a few more of his books, but between reading this book and some of his articles online, I like his approach. What I really liked about this book was how he strips away any pre-existing impressions we have about Christ based on things we learned in Sunday school, movies, etc. He takes the approach of looking at scripture pretending you don't know what's going to happen in the next chapter. Pretend you don't know Christ is going...more
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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
More about Philip Yancey...
What's So Amazing about Grace? Where Is God When It Hurts? Prayer: Does It Make Any Difference? Disappointment with God: Three Questions No One Asks Aloud Soul Survivor: How Thirteen Unlikely Mentors Helped My Faith Survive the Church

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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.” 69 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.” 28 likes
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