A lot of people have misconceptions of who Jesus is. I'll help you understand Him.
If I never heard of Jesus before, what would you tell me about Him? Where would you start? I took that challenge on with this book, and I am giving it to you freely as a gift, to reintroduce the world to Jesus.
Why? Because after doing a test of American Christians' biblical literacy, I found that many people know very little about the one whom they call Lord. We have a lot of false notions about Him, but it's not hard to clear them up. This ebook will help you connect the dots.
A few years ago, I conducted a survey of people on Facebook. I didn't ask questions about the entire Bible, only the life of Jesus. I wanted to see how much people really knew about Jesus and his background.
I asked them 10 questions, such as "How many siblings did Jesus have?" "Why did Jesus call himself the 'Son of Man'?" "Which town did Jesus live in?", etc. The average score for the people was 37%. This test was evenly distributed between male and female, and the age and racial mix was proportional to the population.
America has been flooded with Christianity since the first European settlers arrived. Today we have churches on every corner. I can find a dozen churches within a half-mile radius of my house. Everyone has a Bible somewhere in the house. We have federal holidays commemorating the birth and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We can turn on the TV and have multiple options for Christian programming. We can turn on the radio and instantly find Christian music.
37%. On a multiple-choice test. (By the way, most of the participants were Christians.)
And that's not a Bible test; the Bible is a big book. No, it's a Jesus test. The same Jesus many of us pray to. That means that 63% of what we think we know about Jesus is wrong. We are more likely to be wrong about Jesus than right.
This tells me that people are only answering according to what they heard, not what they know. If I had a close friend who gave me information about him (his life, his family, his motives, etc,) and I couldn't answer 60 or 70% of his questions correctly, wouldn't he be right to question if I was really his friend at all? It would reveal a shallowness in our friendship.
So when Jesus talks about the judgment, is it any surprise when he says, "Many will say to me, 'Lord, we ate and drank with you and you taught in our streets.' And I will answer, 'I don't know you... Depart from me!'"
What we are dealing with in America today is called Biblical Illiteracy. If you've ever heard of Computer Illiteracy, you would think of someone fumbling around on the computer, clicking all the wrong things, messing up the computer's files, constantly asking what this thing does, and becoming frustrated when websites are slow to load... only to find out that they didn't press Enter.
Biblical Illiteracy is also a problem, but it doesn't get a lot of attention because there are no visible consequences for not knowing the Bible. Not knowing computers might cost you a job. Not knowing the Bible, though, does have real-world consequences, on top of eternal ones:
1) Misinformed Christians may advocate for or against policies that cause harm to people, while thinking they did the right thing.
2) Non-religious people may lash out at the Christians for doing harm to them, and be less receptive to the Gospel, unaware that the Christians misunderstood the Bible.
3) Non-Christians may themselves misinterpret the Bible in their attempt to repudiate Christians.
4) New Christians may misinterpret the Bible and misapply it, causing avoidable problems in their lives.
5) Misinformed Christians may overlook counterbalancing scriptures and may miss a nuanced understanding of God's message.
6) Worst of all, the mass-majority of people will be hopelessly unprepared to stand in front of Jesus to be judged. "I don't know you, depart from me" is a phrase he will frequently say, and a lot of Christians will hear it, too.
We must understand that knowing Jesus is critically important. But how can we know Jesus better and understand God better when we're busy with our day to day lives? How can someone understand God and not have to give up their whole life and become a theologian or a monk?
Because God wants to have a close relationship with us, He wants to be accessible to all people. I wrote The Novel Gospel as a way of making the message of Jesus accessible to all who read it. In this ebook I will give you the relevant background details of Jesus' life and the world He lived in. For those who are starting fresh, it's a one-stop shop for building an understanding of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. For seasoned believers, it's a refresher course that condenses what you've already learned and even adds a few more details you may never have considered. For skeptics, it's an honest appraisal of the life of Jesus, along with the reasons why I and others believe in Him.
For your convenience, I did two things in this book:
1) I structured the book in a chronological manner, so that as a reader, you'll get to see Jesus gradually peel back the curtain of His identity to His followers. You'll get to experience Him the same way they did, with the questions and doubts they had.
2) I included personal commentary of my experience trying to live out the teachings and principles of the Bible. You'll hear my successes and failures, as well as questions that still bounce around in my mind. This will help you come to your own conclusions and enable you to contribute your thoughts to the conversation. God speaks to everyone, not just monks in monasteries.
Also for your convenience, the book will be available in audible form as a free podcast, coming soon.
© Jamaal W.M. Fridge