Jesus was a rebel, radical, and son of God who sparked Christianity. He was a thorn in the side of many while he was alive and an inspiration to billions after his crucifixion. He remains one of the most talked about, studied, controversial and inspirational figures in history. Here are 50 books that look at the many aspects of Jesus Christ.
#1 – Jesus of Nazareth: What He Wanted, Who He Was
In his latest book, renowned Scripture scholar Gerhard Lohfink asks: what is unique about Jesus of Nazareth, and what did he really want? Lohfink studies the perceptions of the first witnesses of Jesus’ life and ministry and those who gave testimony. His approach is historical and critical. Lohfink takes seriously the fact that Jesus was a Jew and lived entirely in and out of Israel’s faith experiences but at the same time brought those experiences to their goal and fulfillment. The result is a convincing and profound picture of Jesus.
#2 – The Emmaus Code: Finding Jesus in the Old Testament
In the 2014 New York Times bestseller Jesus on Trial, Limbaugh made a case for the Gospels as hard evidence of the existence of God, drawing on his own spiritual journey from skeptic to believer. In The Emmaus Code, Limbaugh scours the Old Testament to find hints of Jesus Christ’s arrival through all 39 Old Testament books.
The key to the secrets of the Old Testament, Limbaugh argues, is the crucial New Testament encounter between the risen Jesus and two travelers on the road to Emmaus. With that key, and with Limbaugh as a guide, readers should come to a startling new understanding of the Old Testament as a clear and powerful heralding of Jesus Christ’s arrival. Limbaugh takes readers on a revealing journey from Genesis through Malachi, demonstrating that a consistent message courses through every one of the Old Testament’s books: the power, wonder, and everlasting love of Jesus Christ.
#3 – Jesus: Uncovering the Life, Teachings, and Relevance of a Religious Revolutionary
Marcus J. Borg
This is an updated and revised version of the author’s vision of Jesus as charismatic healer, sage, and prophet. He was a man who lived in the power of the spirit and was dedicated to social change. Borg shows how the Gospel portraits of Jesus, historically seen, make sense. He takes into account all the recent developments in historical Jesus scholarship, as well as new theories on who Jesus was and how the Gospels reflect that. This new version takes advantage of all the research that been done since the 1980s.
#4 – Jesus Before the Gospels: How the Earliest Christians Remembered, Changed, and Invented Their Stories of the Savior
Bart D. Ehrman
Before print, stories were preserved orally. This includes the stories about Jesus before they were written down in the Gospels. Ehrman, a leading Bible expert, investigates the role oral history has played in the New Testament—how the telling of these stories not only spread Jesus’ message but also helped shape it.
Ehrman draws on a range of disciplines, including psychology and anthropology, to examine the role of memory in the creation of the Gospels. Using the latest scientific research, he demonstrates how the act of telling and retelling impacts the story, the storyteller, and the listener—crucial insights that challenge our typical historical understanding of that silent period between the time Jesus lived and when his stories began to be written down. Ehrman’s vast knowledge and scholarship create a compelling narrative that may change the way we read and think about these sacred texts.
#5 – Jesus Unmasked: The Truth Will Shock You
Jesus Christ is the most famous man in human history, but exactly who was he? Some say he was a fable, while others think he was just one among many good teachers, or even a nice guy who taught morals. Probably none of these descriptions capture the totality of who he was. Jesus Unmasked goes directly to the world’s greatest expert on Jesus Christ — Jesus Himself:
– Who Jesus said he was and why he said it the way he did
– What historical accounts and biblical details reveal versus what we assume
– Why 4000 years of history, prophecy and chronology force every human being to render their verdict about this one man. When you encounter Jesus Unmasked, the author says, you will not be ambivalent. Jesus offers clarity and insight into the nature of God.
#6 – American Jesus: How the Son of God Became a National Icon
Prothero argues that many of the most interesting appraisals of Jesus have emerged outside churches: in music, film, and popular culture; and among Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, and people of no religion at all.
Prothero shows that the emergence of a cult of Jesus as folk hero and commercial icon is America’s most distinctive contribution to Western religion. Prothero describes how Jesus has been enlisted by abolitionists and Klansmen, by Teddy Roosevelt and Marcus Garvey. He explains how the proliferation of Jesus’ image on Broadway stages and bumper stickers, on magazine covers and the Internet, expresses the strange mix of the secular and the sacred in contemporary America.
American Jesus is an account of the ways Americans have cast Jesus in their own image, giving us another way of examining the American character.
#7 – Jesus: A Historical Portrait
Who really killed Jesus? Did Jesus really perform all those miracles? Was he a feminist? How are we supposed to know what Jesus really said? How does Jesus’ Judaism fit in with our salvation as Christians?
Questions about the life and times of Jesus Christ continue to intrigue us two millennia after his death. Between the vagueness of the canonical Gospels and the sensational claims made in modern films and books, exactly what to believe becomes complex.
Using a popular take on current New Testament scholarship, Father Daniel Harrington explores difficult as well as less complicated issues surrounding the life of Christ. By helping us place Jesus in a historically accurate context, Father Harrington helps the reader better understand the real Jesus, and ultimately, the path to salvation.
#8 – The Passion of Jesus Christ: Fifty Reasons Why He Came to Die
Why was Jesus Christ crucified? Why did he suffer so much? Who sent him to his death? The answer to the last question, the author says, is that God did. Jesus was God’s Son. The suffering was unsurpassed, but the whole message of the Bible leads to this answer. The central issue of Jesus’ death is not the cause, but the meaning. That is what this book is about. Piper has gathered from the New Testament 50 reasons in answer to the most important question that Christians face: What did God achieve for sinners in sending his Son to die?
#9 – The Jesus I Never Knew
The author, a respected Christian journalist, put his preconceptions aside to take a long look at the Jesus described in the Gospels. How does the Jesus of the New Testament compare to the new, rediscovered Jesus or even the Jesus we think we know so well?
Yancey offers a new and different perspective on the life of Christ and his work, his teachings, his miracles, his death and resurrection and ultimately, who he was and why he lived. Yancey presents a complex character who generates questions as well as answers; a disturbing and exhilarating Jesus who wants to radically transform your life and stretch your faith.
Yancey shows a Jesus who is creative, challenging, fearless, compassionate, unpredictable, and brilliant. “No one who meets Jesus ever stays the same,” says the author. “Jesus has rocked my own preconceptions and has made me ask hard questions about why those of us who bear his name don’t do a better job of following him.”
#10 – The Challenge of Jesus: Rediscovering Who Jesus Was and Is
N. T. Wright’s lectures and writings have been widely recognized for providing a fresh, provocative and historically credible portrait of Jesus. Out of his own commitment to both historical scholarship and Christian ministry, Wright challenges readers to take seriously the study of the historical Jesus. He writes, “Many Christians have been, frankly, sloppy in their thinking and talking about Jesus, and hence, sadly, in their praying and in their practice of discipleship. We cannot assume that by saying the word Jesus, still less the word Christ, we are automatically in touch with the real Jesus who walked and talked in first-century Palestine. . . . Only by hard, historical work can we move toward a fuller comprehension of what the Gospels themselves were trying to say.”
This book poses two challenges: to increase in our understanding of the historical Jesus in the Palestinian world of the first century; and to follow Jesus more faithfully into the postmodern world of the 21st century.
#11 – What Have They Done with Jesus?: Beyond Strange Theories and Bad History–Why We Can Trust the Bible
Ben Witherington III
Ben Witherington, one of the top Jesus scholars, wants to put to rest some of the strange theories about Jesus. Targeting leading scholars and popular purveyors of bad history, Witherington reveals what we can—and cannot—claim to know about the real Jesus. The Bible, not outside sources, is still the most trustworthy historical record we have today, he argues.
Using a “personality profile” approach, Witherington highlights core Christian claims by investigating the major figures in Jesus’ inner circle: Mary, his mother, James, his brother, Mary Magdalene, Thomas, Peter, Paul, and the mysterious “beloved disciple.” In each chapter Witherington answers the full range of questions about these key figures and what each of them can teach us about the historical Jesus. What Have They Done with Jesus? is a vigorous defense of traditional Christianity that offers a compelling portrait of Jesus’s core message according to those who knew him best.
#12 – Why Jesus?: Rediscovering His Truth in an Age of Mass Marketed Spirituality
Christian apologist Zacharias says that we are facing one of the greatest crises in the history of religion. Truth is being cast aside in the name of tolerance and cultural relativism, all under the guise of a New Spirituality. We have become accustomed to multiple choices, he says. We now have a spiritual supermarket before us from which we may select whatever form of spirituality we desire. But tragically we often choose without knowing how to make a distinction between truth and falsehood.
In this compelling critique of the dangers of the New Spirituality, Zacharias shows why the uniqueness of Jesus matters.
#13 – Jesus + Nothing = Everything
Sometimes, the author says, it’s easy to forget what the Christian faith is all about. We struggle, work, and fail so often that we frequently sense something in the equation of life must be missing. Tchividjian argues that what we are missing is the gospel–a fuller, more powerful understanding of Jesus and what his finished work means for everyday life.
During a year of personal turmoil, Pastor Tchividjian discovered the power of the gospel in his own life. Sharing his story of how Jesus became more real to him, Tchividjian delves deeply into the fundamentals of the faith, explaining the implications of Christ’s sufficiency–a revelation that sets us free and keeps us anchored through life’s storms.
Ultimately, Tchividjian contends, Jesus is the whole of the equation, proclaiming that Jesus plus nothing really is everything.
#14 – How Jesus Became God: The Exaltation of a Jewish Preacher from Galilee
Bart D. Ehrman
The claim at the heart of the Christian faith is that Jesus was, and is, God. But this is not what the original disciples believed during Jesus’s lifetime—and it is not what Jesus claimed about himself, Ehrman says. How Jesus Became God tells the story of an idea that shaped Christianity, and of the evolution of a belief that looked very different in the fourth century than it did in the first.
Ehrman shows how an apocalyptic prophet from rural Galilee crucified for crimes against the state came to be thought of as equal with God Almighty. But how did he move from being a Jewish prophet to being God? Ehrman follows Jesus’ transformation from a human prophet to the Son of God exalted to divine status at his resurrection. Only when some of Jesus’s followers had visions of him, alive again after his death, did anyone come to think that he, the prophet from Galilee, had become God. And what they meant by that was not at all what people mean today.
#15 – How God Became Jesus: The Real Origins of Belief in Jesus’ Divine Nature—A Response to Bart Ehrman
Bird, Evans, Gathercole, Hill, Tilling
In his book How Jesus Became God: The Exaltation of a Jewish Preacher From Galilee, historian Bart Ehrman explores a claim that Jesus of Nazareth was, and is, God. According to Ehrman, though, this is not what the earliest disciples believed, nor what Jesus claimed about himself.
How God Became Jesus is the response to this challenge to Christianity. It features the work of five internationally recognized biblical scholars. While subjecting his claims to critical scrutiny, they offer what they say is a better, historically informed account of why the Galilean preacher came to be hailed as “the Lord Jesus Christ.” They contend that the exalted place of Jesus in belief and worship is clearly evident in the earliest Christian sources, shortly following his death, and was not simply the invention of the church centuries later.
#16 – Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth
Anyone with a TV or Internet connection became familiar with Reza Aslan when his book was published in 2013. Aslan looks at the human side of Jesus and the historical actuality in a reader-friendly way. The book created a major controversy. That Aslan is a Muslim made the controversy, of course, even bigger.
“He would have us admire Jesus as one of the many would-be messiahs who sprang up during Rome’s occupation of Palestine, animated by zeal for ‘strict adherence to the Torah and the Law,’ refusal to serve a human master, and devotion to God, and therefore dedicated to throwing off Rome and repudiating Roman religion. . . .” says the Booklist.
#17 – The Rise of Christianity: How the Obscure, Marginal Jesus Movement Became the Dominant Religious Force in the Western World in a Few Centuries
Stark’s provocative book challenges conventional wisdom and finds that Christianity’s huge dominance of the Western world arose from its offer of a better, more secure way of life.
This account of Christianity’s remarkable growth within the Roman Empire is the subject of much fanfare. Combining his expertise in social science with historical evidence, and his insight into contemporary religion’s appeal, Stark contends that early Christianity attracted the privileged rather than the poor, that most early converts were women or marginalized Jews, and ultimately “that Christianity was a success because it provided those who joined it with a more appealing, more assuring, happier, and perhaps longer life” (Andrew M. Greeley, University of Chicago).
#18 – Investigating Jesus: An Historian’s Quest
In this book, the author addresses the question of how much anyone can really know about Jesus of Nazareth. Dickson pulls from the Gospels and historical records, as well as the work of modern-day theologians in his quest to uncover the truth about Jesus. He includes early records and interviews leading experts to compare how Jesus was seen during his time and how he is so often portrayed today.
#19 – Jesus and His Friends: An Exposition of John 14-17
D. A. Carson
This is a look at Jesus’ teaching ministry, touching on many of the great themes of the Christian faith and held together, according to the author, by the experience of the cross that loomed over Christ and his disciples at Gethsemane. Carson gives an account of some of the last things Jesus said to his disciples before he was crucified as well as valuable insights into John’s view of Jesus, and Jesus’ exclusive claims of being mankind’s only hope, and the focal point of all history.
#20 – Who Moved the Stone?
First published in 1930, this work analyzes texts about the events related to the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. Morison was skeptical about the resurrection of Jesus, and set out to analyze the sources and write a short paper entitled Jesus–the Last Phase to demonstrate the apparent myth. In compiling his notes, he became convinced of the truth of the resurrection, and set out his reasoning in Who Moved the Stone?
#21 – Simply Jesus: A New Vision of Who He Was, What He Did, and Why He Matters
N. T. Wright
Bestselling author and leading Bible scholar N.T. Wright summarizes 200 years of modern Biblical scholarship and models how Christians can best retell the story of Jesus today. In a style similar to C.S. Lewis’s popular works, Wright breaks down the barriers that prevent Christians from fully engaging with the story of Jesus. For believers confronting the challenge of connecting with their faith today, and for readers of Timothy Keller’s The Reason for God, Wright’s Simply Jesus offers a provocative new look at how to understand who Jesus was and how Christians should relate to him today.
#22 – Jesus: A Revolutionary Biography
John Dominic Crossan
Crossan is one of the leading authorities on the words and life of Jesus Christ. His bestseller, Jesus, is a powerful and controversial portrait of a courageous revolutionary, philosopher, and political agitator who challenged the rules of the social order of his time. This provocative book presents a very different view of a savior and king of peace who proclaimed—in thought and action—that all may participate in the rule of God.
#23 – The Last Week: What the Gospels Really Teach About Jesus’s Final Days in Jerusalem
Marcus J. Borg, John Dominic Crossan
Jesus scholars Borg and Crossan join to reveal a radical and little-known Jesus. As both authors reacted to and responded to questions about Mel Gibson’s film The Passion of the Christ, they discovered that many people are unclear on the details of events during the week leading up to Jesus’s crucifixion.
Using the gospel of Mark as their guide, the authors present a day-by-day account of Jesus’ final week of life. The story begins on Palm Sunday with two triumphal entries into Jerusalem. The first entry, that of Roman governor Pontius Pilate leading Roman soldiers into the city, symbolized military strength. The second heralded a radical who was praised by the people as he rode in on a humble donkey. The Jesus the authors show is a new moral hero, a more dangerous Jesus than the one enshrined in the church’s traditional teachings.
The Last Week depicts Jesus giving up his life to protest power without justice and to condemn the rich who lack concern for the poor. In this vein, at the end of the week Jesus marches up Calvary, offering himself as a model for others to do the same when they are confronted by similar issues.
#24 – The Case for the Real Jesus: A Journalist Investigates Current Attacks on the Identity of Christ
What if the real Jesus is far different from the atoning Savior worshipped through the centuries? In The Case for the Real Jesus, award-winning legal editor Lee Strobel explores such questions as: Did the church suppress ancient non-biblical documents that paint a more accurate picture of Jesus than the four Gospels? Did the church distort the truth about Jesus by tampering with early New Testament texts? Do new insights and explanations finally disprove the resurrection? Have fresh arguments disqualified Jesus from being the Messiah? Did Christianity steal its core ideas from earlier mythology?
The author invites the reader to evaluate the arguments and evidence advanced by prominent atheists, liberal theologians, Muslim scholars, and others. Read through expert testimony and reach your own verdict.
#25 – Hard to Believe: The High Cost and Infinite Value of Following Jesus
John F. MacArthur
This book is an unflinching, unapologetic treatise on the modern tendency to alter the true message of Christianity to meet the whims and desires of a culture that wants non-confrontational messages, easy answers, and superficial commitments.
MacArthur contends that many people just want a Madison Avenue Jesus to make them well, make them happy, and make them prosperous. But Jesus Christ isn’t a personal genie, MacArthur says. He is the Savior. He died in agony to satisfy the wrath of a holy God and to forgive the sins of humankind. Faith in Him demands a willingness to make any sacrifice He asks. The hard truth about Christianity is that the cost is high, but the rewards are priceless: abundant and eternal life that comes only from faithfully following Christ.
#26 – The Jesus You Can’t Ignore: What You Must Learn from the Bold Confrontations of Christ
Meek and mild. Politically correct. A great teacher. These are the popular depictions of Jesus. But they aren’t the complete picture. Maybe because it’s uncomfortable, or maybe because it’s inconvenient, Christians and non-Christians alike overlook Christ’s fierceness. His mission was to make the Gospel clear and bring people into the Kingdom of God. It was a mission that required that he sometimes raise his voice and sometimes raise a whip.
MacArthur examines the compelling and often unsettling passion of Jesus’ ministry. He re-introduces the Jesus the world seems to gloss over. He calls on readers to emulate Jesus’ commitment to further the kingdom by confronting lies and protecting the truth of God.
#27 – Jesus and the Eyewitnesses: The Gospels as Eyewitness Testimony
This book argues that the four Gospels are closely based on eyewitness testimony of those who knew Jesus. New Testament scholar Bauckham challenges the prevailing assumption that the accounts of Jesus circulated as “anonymous community traditions,” asserting instead that they were transmitted in the name of the original eyewitnesses. To drive home this controversial point, Bauckham draws on internal literary evidence, study of personal names in the first century, and recent developments in the understanding of oral traditions. He also taps into the resources of modern study of memory and cognitive psychology. Bauckham challenges readers to end the classic division between the “historical Jesus” and the “Christ of faith,” proposing instead the “Jesus of testimony.”
#28 – The Historical Reliability of the Gospels
Craig L. Blomberg
The Historical Reliability of the Gospels is an antidote to much of the skeptical criticism of the Gospels. Blomberg offers a balanced overview of the history of Gospel criticism, especially that of the late 20th century. He introduces readers to the methods employed by New Testament scholars and shows both the values and limits of those methods. He then delves into the question of miracles, Synoptic discrepancies and the differences between the Synoptics and John. After an assessment of noncanonical Jesus tradition, he addresses issues of historical method directly.
#29 – The Historical Figure of Jesus
As a biography of the historical figure of Jesus, the book studies the relationship between Judaism and Christianity. It also distinguishes the certain from the improbable, and assesses the historical and religious context of Christ’s time. The spread of Christianity is also discussed.
#30 – Jesus: Apocalyptic Prophet of the New Millennium
Bart D. Ehrman
The author examines the most recent textual and archaeological sources for the life of Jesus, along with the history of first-century Palestine, drawing a fascinating portrait of the man and his teachings.
Ehrman shows us what historians have long known about the Gospels. Through a careful evaluation of the New Testament (and other surviving sources, including the more recently discovered Gospels of Thomas and Peter), Ehrman proposes that Jesus can be best understood as an apocalyptic prophet–a man convinced that the world would end dramatically within the lifetime of his apostles and that a new kingdom would be created on earth. According to Ehrman, Jesus’ belief in a coming apocalypse and his expectation of an utter reversal in the world’s social organization underscores the radicalism of his teachings and sheds light on both the appeal of his message to society’s outcasts and the threat he posed to Jerusalem’s established leadership.
#31 – The Politics of Jesus
John Howard Yoder
Tradition has painted a portrait of a Savior aloof from governmental concerns and whose teachings point to an apolitical life for his disciples. This picture of Jesus is far from accurate, Yoder argues.
Using the texts of the New Testament, Yoder critically examines the traditional portrait of Jesus as an apolitical figure and attempts to clarify the true impact of Jesus’ life, work, and teachings on his disciples’ social behavior.
The book surveys the many ways the image of an apolitical Jesus has been propagated, then uses the Gospel narrative to show how Jesus is rightly portrayed as a thinker and leader concerned with the agenda of politics and the related issues of power, status, and right relations. Selected passages from the epistles corroborate Jesus’ concern with social, political, and moral issues.
#32 – The Wonder-Working God: Seeing the Glory of Jesus in His Miracles
Jared C. Wilson
Walking on water. Multiplying the fish and the loaves. Raising Lazarus from the dead. The miracles of Jesus may be well known, but they’re often misunderstood. In The Wonder-Working God, pastor Jared Wilson wants to help us see that there’s more than meets the eye when it comes to the miraculous events recorded in the Gospels.
From the humble wonder of the incarnation to the blinding glory of the transfiguration, this book shows how Jesus’s miracles reveal his divinity, authority, and ultimate mission: restoring us and this world to a right relationship with God.
#33 – The Words and Works of Jesus Christ: A Study of the Life of Christ
J. Dwight Pentecost
The life of Jesus Christ takes on fresh clarity and meaning in this masterful work by Dwight Pentecost. The words, miracles, and overarching message of the Messiah come alive in flowing and detailed chronology, set against the cultural, political, and religious setting of his day. You’ll gain new understanding of why Jesus came, how he operated, and what he accomplished. Above all, you’ll acquire a deeper appreciation for the love that guided his path, beginning in a manger in Bethlehem, leading through three and a half years of ministry that ended abruptly at the cross on Golgotha, and blazing forth in eternal triumph at the resurrection. Drawing on the works of others who have written about Christ, such as Alfred Edersheim, J. W. Shepherd, W. Graham Scroggie, and Frederick Faraar, Dr. Pentecost reveals in his own writing a familiarity with the subject that comes from years of teaching.
#34 – The Lost Years of Jesus: Documentary Evidence of Jesus’ 17-Year Journey to the East
Elizabeth Clare Prophet
The Gospels record Jesus at age 12 in the temple, then at age 30 at the river Jordan. Where was he in the interim? Ancient Buddhist manuscripts say Jesus left Palestine and traveled to India, Nepal, Ladakh and Tibet. For the first time, Prophet brings together the testimony of four eyewitnesses of these remarkable manuscripts plus three different translations of the texts. Illustrated with maps, drawings and 79 photos.
#35 – Saving the Savior : Did Christ Survive the Crucifixion?
Abubakr Ben Ishmael Salahuddin
This book presents the explosive theory that Jesus Christ survived the crucifixion, travelled across what was then known as Asia, took up residence in Kashmir, India, married, had children and lived to the ripe old age of 120 years. Thirty illustrations include original-language documents (Sanskrit, Tibetan, Persian) — with accompanying English translations — that clearly record the sojourn of Jesus Christ all throughout Asia/India. The book studies five branches of humanity that are involved in an intense struggle over the identity of Jesus Christ, and compares their perspectives. Those branches are: revisionist Christian scholars, traditional Christianity, Eastern religions and philosophies, the world of Islam, and atheists, agnostics and secular humanists. Also examined are the philosophical issues surrounding the subject of a post-crucifixion life of Jesus. It offers an intense and fascinating comparison between Eastern religion and philosophy on the one hand, and Western Christianity on the other. This thorough examination is perhaps as engaging, if not more, as the actual documents that detail the travels of Jesus to Kashmir after the crucifixion.
#36 – The Fifth Gospel: New Evidence from the Tibetan, Sanskrit, Arabic, Persian and Urdu Sources About the Historical Life of Jesus Christ After the Crucifixion
Fida Hassnain, Dahan Levi (Contributor)
The Fifth Gospel presents some compelling new evidence about the life of Jesus which has been derived from a variety of sources in the East which are unknown to most Western scholars. By chance, one of the authors found, in 1965, a reference in Ladakh to the discovery of Buddhist scrolls about Jesus. Since then, the authors have been examining evidence about the survival of Jesus Christ at the time of the crucifixion, and his subsequent travels to the East. The authors’ main purpose in writing this book is to inform the West that “we in the East have some source material about the historical Jesus who lived on after the crucifixion…. This book was not written in one day, but is a result of many years’ continued search for evidence,” and provides research on some very compelling questions.
#37 – Searching for Jesus: New Discoveries in the Quest for Jesus of Nazareth—and How They Confirm the Gospel Accounts
Robert J. Hutchinson
For more than a century, Bible scholars and university researchers have been systematically debunking what ordinary Christians believed about Jesus of Nazareth. But what if the most recent Biblical scholarship actually affirmed the New Testament? What if Jesus was not a Zealot revolutionary, or a Greek Cynic philosopher, or a proto-feminist Gnostic, but precisely what he claimed to be: the divine Son of Man prophesied in the Book of Daniel who gave his life as a ransom for many? What if everything the Gospels say about Jesus of Nazareth—his words, his deeds, his plans—turned out to be true?
Searching for Jesus changes “what if?” to “what is,” debunking the debunkers and showing how the latest scholarship supports orthodox Christian belief.
#38 Jesus on Trial: A Lawyer Affirms the Truth of the Gospel
Limbaugh applies his lifetime of legal experience to making a case for the gospels as hard evidence of the life and work of Jesus Christ. Limbaugh, a practicing attorney and former professor of law, approaches the canonical gospels with the same level of scrutiny he would apply to any legal document and asks all the necessary questions about the story of Jesus told through Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. His analysis of the texts becomes personal as he reflects on his own spiritual and intellectual odyssey from determined skeptic to devout Christian. Ultimately, Limbaugh concludes that the words Christians have treasured for centuries stand up to his exhaustive inquiry and affirm Christian faith, spirituality, and tradition.
#39 – The Essential Jesus: Original Sayings and Earliest Images
John Dominic Crossan
In this volume of freshly translated original sayings and beautifully reproduced illustrations, eminent biblical scholar John Dominic Crossan presents a stunning portrait of the Jesus readers might have encountered in early first-century Galilee.
#40 – The Final Days of Jesus: The Most Important Week of the Most Important Person Who Ever Lived
Andreas J. Kostenberger, Justin Taylor, Alexander Stewart (Contributor)
On March 29, AD 33, Jesus entered the city of Jerusalem and boldly predicted that he would soon be put to death–executed on a cross, like a common criminal. So began the most important week of the most important person who ever lived.
Nearly 2,000 years later, the events that took place during Jesus’s last days still reverberate through the ages. Designed as a day-by-day guide to Passion Week, The Final Days of Jesus leads us to re-examine and meditate on the history-making, earth-shaking significance of Jesus’ arrest, trial, crucifixion, and empty tomb.
Combining a chronological arrangement of the Gospel accounts with insightful commentary, charts, and maps, this book will help you better understand what actually happened all those years ago . . . and why it matters today.
#41 – Cold-Case Christianity: A Homicide Detective Investigates the Claims of the Gospels
J. Warner Wallace
Wallace uses his nationally recognized skills as a homicide detective to look at the evidence and eyewitnesses behind Christian beliefs. Including gripping stories from his career and the visual techniques he developed in the courtroom, Wallace uses illustration to examine the powerful evidence that validates the claims of Christianity. A unique apologetic that speaks to readers’ intense interest in detective stories, Cold-Case Christianity inspires readers to have confidence in Christ as it prepares them to articulate the case for Christianity.
Wallace is a Los Angeles County homicide detective and former atheist. He examines the claims of the New Testament using the skills and strategies of a hard-to-convince criminal investigator.
#42 – Jesus and the Lost Goddess: The Secret Teachings of the Original Christians
Timothy Freke, Peter Gandy
The teachings of the early Christians were suppressed by the Roman Church for several reasons. Some of these reasons, the authors contend, is that the early teachings portray Jesus and Mary Magdalene as mythic figures based on the Pagan Godman and Goddess. They show that the gospel story is a spiritual allegory encapsulating a profound philosophy that leads to mythical enlightenment. And they have the power to turn the world inside out and transform life into an exploration of consciousness.
Drawing on modern scholarship, Freke and Gandy decode the secret teachings of the original Christians and theorize about who the original Christians really were and what they actually taught. The book also explores the myths of Jesus and the Goddess and unlocks the lost secret teachings of Christian mysticism, which promise happiness and immortality to those who attain the state of Gnosis, or enlightenment.
#43 – Jesus the Man: Decoding the Real Story of Jesus and Mary Magdalene
Jesus was the leader of a radical faction of Essene priests. He was not of virgin birth. He did not die on the Cross. He married Mary Magdalene, fathered a family, and later divorced. He died sometime after AD 64.
In this controversial version of Christ’s life, theological scholar Barbara Thiering presents, after more than 20 years studying the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Gospels, a revolutionary theory. While upholding the fundamental faith of Christianity, she challenges many of its most ingrained supernaturalist beliefs.
#44 – The Jesus Dynasty: The Hidden History of Jesus, His Royal Family and the Birth of Christianity
James D. Tabor
Based on a careful analysis of the earliest Christian documents and recent archaeological discoveries, Tabor examines the historical Jesus who joined a messianic movement begun by his relative John the Baptizer, whom Jesus regarded as his teacher and a great prophet. Together they preached the coming of the Kingdom of God and adherence to the Torah, but the mission changed dramatically when John was killed. Jesus began preaching again in Galilee and challenged the Roman authorities and their Jewish collaborators. After Jesus was crucified by the Romans, his brother James took over leadership of the Jesus dynasty.
Breaking with James and the followers of Jesus, Paul preached a message based on his own revelations, which would become Christianity. Jesus became a figure whose humanity was obscured.
Tabor has studied the earliest surviving documents of Christianity for more than thirty years and has participated in important archaeological excavations in Israel.
#45 – Bloodline of the Holy Grail: The Hidden Lineage of Jesus Revealed
From royal and suppressed archives comes documented proof of the heritage of Jesus in the West and the long awaited discovery of the Holy Grail. In fulfilling this time-honored quest, new light is cast upon the Grail Code of Service and the venerated feminine element, upheld in chivalry but forsaken by the Church to forge a male-dominated society. Gardner offers insight concerning the descendant heirs of Jesus and his brother James while, in documenting a hidden legacy of the Messiah, he unveils hitherto guarded facts about people such as Mary Magdalene and Joseph of Arimathea. Tracing the sacred lineage through centuries of persecution and Inquisition, Bloodline of the Holy Grail reveals a systematic suppression of authentic records and a strategic manipulation of the New Testament Gospels. It was, the author argues, one of the greatest conspiracies in history. It is also a very controversial book.
#46 – Tempted and Tried: Temptation and the Triumph of Christ
Russell D. Moore
Although temptation is a common and well-acknowledged part of the human experience, few realize the truth behind temptation and fewer still know how to defeat it. Tempted and Tried will not reassure Christians by claiming that temptation is less powerful or less prevalent than it is; instead, it will prepare believers for battle by telling the truth about the cosmic war that is raging. Moore shows that the temptation of every Christian is part of a broader conspiracy against God, a conspiracy that confronts everyone who shares the flesh of Jesus through human birth and especially confronts those who share the Spirit of Christ through the new birth of redemption.
Moore walks readers through the Devil’s ancient strategies for temptation revealed in Jesus’ wilderness testing. Moore considers how those strategies might appear in a contemporary context and points readers to a way of escape.
Tempted and Tried will remind Christians that temptation must be understood in terms of warfare, encouraging them with the truth that victory has already been secured through the triumph of Christ.
#47 – Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why
Bart D. Ehrman
For almost 1,500 years, the New Testament manuscripts were copied by hand. Mistakes and intentional changes were made in the competing manuscript versions. Religious and biblical scholar Bart Ehrman makes the case that many of our widely held beliefs concerning the divinity of Jesus, the Trinity, and the divine origins of the Bible itself are the results of both intentional and accidental alterations by scribes.
Ehrman shows where and why changes were made in the earliest surviving manuscripts, explaining for the first time how the many variations of biblical stories came to be, and why only certain versions of the stories qualify for publication in the Bibles we read today. Ehrman frames his account with personal reflections on how his study of the Greek manuscripts made him abandon his once ultra–conservative views of the Bible.
#48 – The Case for Jesus: The Biblical and Historical Evidence for Christ
Brant Pitre, Robert Barron (Afterword)
For a century, many scholars have questioned the historical truth of the Gospels, claiming that they were originally anonymous. Others have argued that Jesus did not think he was God and never claimed to be divine. Pitre studies the questions of whether the four Gospels were really anonymous and whether they are folklore or biographies. He looks at other questions such as whether the Gospels were written too late to be reliable and the existence of the “Lost Gospels.” He answers why Jesus was crucified and looks at the evidence for the Resurrection.
#49 – Jesus the King: Understanding the Life and Death of the Son of God
Keller, New York Times bestselling author of The Reason for God and the man Newsweek called a “C. S. Lewis for the twenty-first century,” offers new insights into the life of Jesus Christ as he explores how Jesus came as a king, but a king who had to bear a great burden. Keller looks at the life of Christ as told in the Gospel of Mark. The author shows how the story of Jesus is at once cosmic, historical, and personal, calling readers to look with new eyes at their relationship with God.
#50 -Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus: A Devout Muslim Encounters Christianity
Nabeel Qureshi, Lee Strobel (Foreword)
Nabeel Qureshi describes his dramatic journey from Islam to Christianity, complete with friendships, investigations, and supernatural dreams along the way.
Qureshi shares how he developed a passion for Islam before discovering, almost against his will, evidence that Jesus rose from the dead and claimed to be God. Unable to deny the arguments but not wanting to deny his family, Qureshi struggled with his inner turmoil. Engaging and thought-provoking, Qureshi tells a powerful story of the clash between Islam and Christianity in one man’s heart—and of the peace he eventually found in Jesus.
Other Titles of Interest:
Jesus the Christ A Study of the Messiah and His Mission According to Holy Scriptures Both Ancient and Modern – James Edward Talmage
The Jesus Legend: A Case for the Historical Reliability of the Synoptic Jesus Tradition – Paul Rhodes Eddy, Gregory A. Boyd
Jesus Mythicism: An Introduction – Minas Papageorgiou, Rania Ioannou
Hidden Stories of the Childhood of Jesus – Glenn Kimball
The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ – Philip Pullman
The Gospel According to Jesus Christ – José Saramago
He Walks with Me: True Encounters with Jesus – Brad Steiger, Sherry Hansen Steiger
The Historical Christ and the Theological Jesus – Dale C. Allison Jr.
Hidden Politics of the Crucifixion – Glenn Kimball
The Unknown Life of Jesus Christ: The Original Text of Nicolas Notovitch’s 1887 Discovery – Nicolas Notovitch