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In His Steps

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  23,583 ratings  ·  623 reviews
This is the inspirational novel that popularized the expression, What Would Jesus Do? Written by a Congregational minister, it tells of four prominent members of a small town who resolve to undertake no action without first considering Christ's example. Originally published in 1897, it continues to speak to modern readers.
Mass Market Paperback, 96 pages
Published September 1st 2002 by Barbour Publishing (first published 1896)
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Bee H23 In His Steps is a reality fiction book centered around the popular phrase of of "What Would Jesus Do?" and the effects/consequences it has on people. …moreIn His Steps is a reality fiction book centered around the popular phrase of of "What Would Jesus Do?" and the effects/consequences it has on people. This book has timeless lessons for those interested in Christianity and those who have been Christians for a long time. Definitely give it a read! (less)

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Average rating 4.18  · 
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Stephen Escalera
Dec 21, 2010 rated it liked it
Rarely have I come across a book that I am so torn over as to how to rate it. Usually a book will be obviously good or bad, making the ultimate conclusion in rating it a fairly easy process. While a good book may have some detractors, overall the good outweighs the bad, with the reverse also being true of bad books. However, I'm having a hard time making such a distinction in reviewing Charles Sheldon's classic, In His Steps. There are many good things about the book, but there are also many not ...more
Jun 10, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: christianity, fiction
This book was given to me by a friend, and I think I told her I would read it. Otherwise, it probably would not have taken long for me to put it down. I found it badly written, and I disagree with its central message, namely that the Christian church would be revolutionized if it's members each made an honest pledge to do as Jesus would do. (I may be way off here, but I bet the WWJD movement started with this book.) The problem with this idea is that there is a real danger of subjectivism in doi ...more
Aug 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
"What Would Jesus Do?"

Yes, this book is where that phrase comes from. This book is a classic, and the Kindle version is available for free.

4.5 stars

8/10/19: I read In His Steps as a teen. My father was an investor in a bargain bookstore, and I enjoyed purchasing books there. I delighted in the section of Christian fiction, which jived really well with my Grace Livingston Hill fixation. I found several pretty glossy hardcover GLH books. With that same glossy appearance was the book In His Step
Feb 13, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Christian fiction readers
Shelves: books-i-own, classics
If you've ever seen anyone wearing a WWJD? (standing for "What would Jesus do?") bracelet, this is the novella that first popularized that question in some Christian circles. First published in 1896, it still challenges readers to a more serious application of Jesus' principles in their daily lives. The idea of asking ourselves that question, when we make decisions about behavior, continues to strike even professed Christian readers as novel and revolutionary. (That this should be the case, of c ...more
Dec 28, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My favorite verse for several months now has been 1 John 2:6: "Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did." Charles Sheldon shows in In His Steps what serious attempts to constantly "walk as Jesus did" might look like in real life. It was inspiring to read about what happened in the lives of the characters who agreed to do nothing for a whole year without first asking what Jesus would do in their situation, or how he would do it. I think it would be neat to write a book modeled after I ...more
Feb 20, 2012 rated it liked it
Recommended to Princesskelly by: Julie
I must confess that all of my life I have heard the phrase “What Would Jesus Do,” but was rather clueless about where it came from or what it meant. I’ve seen those words while stuck in traffic on quite possibly thousands of bumper stickers over my lifetime, but honestly never understood what the heck “WWJD?” actually meant. It never occurred to me that it stemmed from an amazingly popular book written in the 1800’s, or that it ignited a revolution in the way that people viewed Christianity and ...more
Angela Watts
3.5 stars for how much I enjoyed it as a novel, 4 stars for the great lessons.

Overall, it was thought-provoking, moving (not in the ways it *should have been* moving, always? I probably should have *felt* more often than I did... but I didn't really connect with anyone, ever), and a great read for any Christian. Christians in America could really use the lessons and themes in this novel.

Jan 21, 2008 rated it liked it
An interesting and thought provoking read, though I'm not sure I agree with its definition of Christian discipleship.

As a Latter-day Saint, I believe the family is central to the plan God has for us on earth. I believe we are expected to follow Christ, while raising our families as best we can. This means our day-to-day lives are filled with nurturing our children and providing for their physical and spiritual needs, rather than devoted to humanitarian aid. (Though, I'd argue that caring for ch
Joshua M
Feb 01, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Any serious christian
I just reread this classic for the third time, and just as always it shook up my view of christianity. It is a novel about a pastor that challenges his church not to do anything without first asking "What would Jesus do?" As each of the doctors, buisnessman, authors, newspapaer editors, etc... do this very thing, it begins to shake up not only their lives but the enviroment of the town in which they live. Ultimately, the movement begins to spread to other cities and states. I wonder what would ...more
Dec 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: devotions
Wonderfully well written book. It changed my walk with the Lord, it made me question if I was doing enough, if I was actually walking in His steps like He would want me to. I also love the fact that it is partially a true story. The characters are also very well developed. Overall, it was an excellent book.
Apr 19, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
it's about a pastor who challenges his congregation to take a pledge to ask "what would Jesus do?" before every decision they make, then follow through regardless of the consequences.

to me, the book was a little too preachy and unrealistic. i felt the choices the characters were making, for the most part, were extreme. there was also a lot of talk amongst the characters about suffering, and bearing the burden of the cross. almost like the author was telling us that unless we are suffering we are
Dan Glover
Apr 14, 2012 rated it did not like it
This is a "classic" of Christian social gospel, Finneyesque, religion. From the pretty young woman in the dimly lit tent meetings whose beautiful haunting singing makes hardened alcoholics break down weeping and come forward for an altar call to the crusading church folk whose efforts get local saloons shut down, this is the original WWJD - What Would Jesus Do? But that is the wrong question to ask. The questions disciples of Christ ought to ask are What Did Jesus Do? (in his life, death, resurr ...more
May 09, 2013 rated it did not like it
This book's message is far more important than the work itself. It is the latter then that I am critiquing, not the former. As a piece of fiction, it is disillusioning to read. 'What Would Jesus do?" is the central question that all the characters have tasked themselves to asking and to make a comparison to their own actions-inspired by their pastor's words, and the words of a wandering tramp. Why this is disillusioning is that none of the characters really ever act as Jesus would act. Obviously ...more
Jesseca Wheaton
Oct 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
I had read the younger version of "In His Steps" when I was younger, but I had never read the adult version. Well, this year it was required for my English literature course, so of course I read it.
I was not expecting to enjoy it half as much as I did. The story really brought the question "what would Jesus do" to life. It made me stop and think. What would I do differently, if, before I did anything, I asked "What would Jesus do?".
It was kinda hard to connect with the characters, primari
Mike (the Paladin)
Oct 30, 2009 rated it liked it
Again a famous read that many love. This is a pretty good book, I found it a little heavy on the legalism. I read many Christian books where in discussing Grace the writer seems to be afraid that the reader might take the proclaimation of complete grace (That we find in the Bible) for license so the "moderate" it. That happens a little here. Still, read, enjoy...understand the works we do don't earn us a place with Christ. They flow from that relationship.
I stumbled across this title while looking through my library's audiobook collection. Immediately it brought to mind the 1970s book cover my mom had on her shelf which, naturally, made me nostalgic. I decided to give it a listen and within moments it felt like a comfort read as you know I am fond of pointed tales of extreme 19th century morality and doctrine. I felt like Anne of Green Gables reading the stories from my Sunday school serial.
May 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
Finished listening to this as a book on tape. Excellent story, curious narrative style, sometimes a bit formulaic and meandering in its thought threads, but the message is a good one intended to challenge readers to take up the mantle of responsibility for interacting with others in godly compassion. Worth reading.
If I didn't have to read this for school, I wouldn't have finished. It was hard for me to even skim.
My main issue with this book is that as Christians, we pledge to follow Jesus's steps from the day we get saved. It's not just a year-long challenge. It's something we should be (and should have been doing) every day. I won't even touch on the writing issues.
Classic tale of Christians actually trying to follow Christ. What a concept.
Matt Morgan
Jan 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A very thought provoking book. Based in the early 1900's, a church congregation is challenged to ask 'What would Jesus Do?' before each decision they make for an entire year. You get to know specific members who give up large amounts of money, comforts, and temporal luxuries in order to walk in His steps.

Reading this book, you can't help but analyze your own life. You start to understand that you cannot judge others (as much as you want to). Because, 'what would Jesus do?' is a very personal qu
Joy Gerbode
Feb 12, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Oldie but goodie

Although this book is quite dated in terms of society it does touch a spark of conscience as the reader considers the question “what would Jesus do”. It has challenged me to make a comittment to better know and understand what Jesus would do by studying Gods word and getting to know Him better
Charlie Beals
Mar 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
Take caution not to let this lead you into legalism, but for the most part this is a convicting perspective on Christian living, sacrifice, and evangelism. It really shows how little we NEED, and how much we are able to GIVE if we allow ourselves not to be swallowed up in pride, greed, and selfishness.
AlegnaB †
Warning: This review contains information that some people may consider to be spoilers.

I listened to an eaudio of this. There are some good things about it. As the book says, Christians should be doing more to lessen suffering in this world. However, it’s not so that we can usher in heaven on earth, which is what the author seems to have believed. The most important role of the church is to share the gospel with others. Ministering to others in Christ’s name can give us the opportunity to share
D.M. Dutcher
Jul 07, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: classic, christian
This is a badly written book that manages to become a classic through a powerful idea: that if people took a pledge to live like Jesus would if He lived their lives, everything would change.

Henry Maxwell is a well-to-do preacher who is accosted by a tramp looking for work as he composes his sermon. Soon it's Sunday, and he is preaching that sermon in front of his rich and successful congregation. But he is interrupted by that same tramp, who is determined to have his say before he dies.

That tr
Mar 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2012
Charles Sheldon wrote In His Steps in 1897 during the Social Gospel movement. He began writing stories as sermons for his church, which led to a published book and widespread success. His book begins in an upscale church when a homeless man walks in during a service and confronts the church’s hypocrisy. He dies later that week in the pastor’s house, and the pastor vows for change. The pastor then asks any members of his church who would be willing to pledge to change their life and live as Jesu ...more
Ayden Osman
Apr 29, 2018 rated it liked it
This book had a very great message, and one that should always be on our mind, but I disliked reading it.
I’m not into the style, or the genre, and sometimes found the story hard to follow.
It is also written a while ago, so it’s written in older language, and there were a lot of conversation, which made it hard to focus at times, but it was a great book and well written.
I did like how he wrapped up the story at the end.
All in all, I would probably recommend this book, because it has a very up
Alex Stroshine
Dec 08, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
"In His Steps" is an immensely important book in terms of Christian literature in North America. The novel, published in 1896, has sold 30 million copies and its repetitive exhortation, "What would Jesus do?" continues to be a popular phrase today.

The novel concerns Henry Maxwell, a small town pastor who, affected by a vagabond's death, challenges his church to commit before every action to think "What would Jesus do?" as a way to further their own discipleship. Charles Sheldon spends the first
May 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: christian
This book is written in the late 19th century and is set in the US probably a town close to Chicago and involves a church community. A beggar comes into their midst and the pastor comes under conviction as to his conduct towards this beggar. He asks himself, “What would Jesus do? and he asks his congregation to take a year long pledge to live their lives by this question.

The story was entertaining, well read by the narrator but a better word would be inspirational. I was really shocked to reali
Oct 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
In His Steps is a book about Christians who were at church one day and heard a message about a man who died. Henry Maxwell who was the sermon teller had a plan and an idea saying that the people should think about what Jesus would do for a year. He also meant to do anything that Jesus would have done. He said to not do what Jesus wouldn't do.

While Rachel Winslow one day hated a man and then another day loved the same man who smoked cigars. In the book you'll find out about someone who lost a jo
Adam Nelson
I hated giving this one a low review, but I had to. First of all, my copy appears to be a first edition. I could be wrong, but I can't imagine an older edition of it still in existence. It's a little pocket-sized thing with a cameo on the cover (which has nothing to do with the contents of the book--I think it was purely an aesthetic nuance). I was surprised by how easily it read. The book was old enough to be late-Victorian era, when prose was especially flowery and would no longer pass muster ...more
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Charles Monroe Sheldon was an American minister in the Congregational churches and leader of the Social Gospel movement.

His novel, In His Steps, introduced the principle of "What Would Jesus Do?" which articulated an approach to Christian theology that became popular at the turn of the 20th Century and had a revival almost one hundred years later.

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“We must know Jesus before we can imitate Him.” 9 likes
“The greatest question in all of human life is summed up when we ask, 'What would Jesus do?' if, as we ask it, we also try to answer it from a growth in knowledge of Jesus himself. We must know Jesus before we can imitate Him.” 3 likes
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