Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Book Review: Loving The Way Jesus Loves

You've heard 1 Corinthians 13 read lots of times - at weddings, in church services, private devotions, Bible study groups, and a variety of other situations. You think you know what it's all about. Think again. In Loving The Way Jesus Loves, Phil Ryken explores the Bible's famous love chapter in a new way, relating each clause and phrase explicitly to the person, life, ministry, death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus. The result is a great book that will both challenge and warm your heart as you see the love of Jesus, and seek to share that love with others around you.

Early on, Ryken makes the point that 'As familiar as it is, this chapter is not understood nearly as well as it ought to be. For one thing, people usually read it out of context.' Indeed, 'when Paul wrote about love in chapter 13, he was not trying to give people something nice to read at weddings.' The context is the letter to the Corinthians, and their loveless pride of specific spiritual gifts. As he goes on to say, 'The only way for us to become more loving is to have more of the love of Jesus.'

Ryken then works through the chapter - not in a continuous basis, but rather chopping and changing it up to follow the chronology of Jesus' life, as he links it to the key events. Each phrase, each element of love, is illustrated by an incident from the gospels, which mostly succeeds to demonstrate the way in which Jesus loves and our deficiency of love. There were one or two that I wouldn't have chosen as the example, but he makes a strong case for each one.

The author has written many books, and has a good turn of phrase in communicating the truth. Here's just one sample: 'We are nothing without love, but Jesus does nothing without love.' Or again, 'First the apostle tells us what he cannot do without love; then he tells us what only love can do.'

My advice would be to get the book and take a chapter per week, to think through the implications of our lovelessness, Jesus' love for us, and how we can then follow and share his love. Loving the Way Jesus Loves is available from Amazon, IVP (ebook) and for the Kindle.

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