Reading about Jesus

By Fergus O’Ferrall

When did you last read a book about Jesus? In a recent sermon I encouraged people to read at least one of the following – perhaps set a goal to read and reflect on just one each calendar year- so that our discipleship may be more fruitful and faithful.

Paul Johnson, Jesus A Biography from a Believer, (Viking Penguin, London, 2010) is a traditional overview by the best-selling author yet it will challenge any searching disciple.

Marcus J. Borg, Jesus Uncovering The Life, Teachings, and Relevance of A Religious Revolutionary, (SPCK, 2011,) is by a New Testament scholar but is very accessible and probably engages us in harder thinking about our encounter with Jesus than does Johnson: highly recommended for that reason.

Peter McVerry SJ, Jesus Social Revolutionary? (Veritas, Dublin, 2008) brings the challenge of Jesus and his radical message very much to the fore and it is grounded in McVerry’s following the way of Jesus amongst those outcasts in Dublin that Jesus would have us serve as He does in the Gospels.

N .T. (Tom) Wright, The Challenge of Jesus, (SPCK, 2000) is one of Wright’s key works on Jesus. Wright, like Borg, is among the best known Jesus scholars in the world but he is a great teacher and preacher as well as theologian. He always relates to the issues that concern us as disciples today. He has also written Following Jesus Biblical Reflections on Discipleship (SPCK, 1994) which is under a 100 pages but is a brilliant distillation and will transform how we approach the New Testament and the issues it raises. Borg and Wright debate helpfully in their joint book: The Meaning of Jesus: Two Visions (London, 1999).

Older books have their place also: a favourite of my own is James S. Stewart, The Life and Teaching of Jesus Christ (The Saint Andrew Press, Edinburgh, first published in 1933 but frequently reprinted)

If you can find this or any book by this wonderful author and former Moderator of The Church of Scotland read it and you will be led by him to the Master – no mistake!

(PS Books currently on the shelves at Footprints Dun Laoghaire are:
The case for Jesus: Lee Strobel
Jesus – Social Revolutionary? : Peter McVerry SJ ( as recommended above )
Jesus the Model: Joy Dawson
Footprints (ph. 6638773) can also order any of the recommended books. Editor)