Friday, February 17, 2012

Book Review: Loving the Way Jesus Loves

Loving the Way Jesus Loves. Phil Ryken. 2012. Crossway. 224 pages.

There is nothing I need more in my life than more of the love of Jesus. I need more of his love for my wife--the woman God has called me to serve until death. I need more of his love for my children and the rest of my extended family. I need more of his love for the church, including the spiritual brothers and sisters it is sometimes hard for me to love. I need more of his love for my neighbors who still need to hear the gospel, and for all the lost and the lonely people who are close to the heart of God even when they are far from my thoughts. Everywhere I go, and in every relationship I have in life, I need more of the love of Jesus. The place where I need it the most is in my relationship with God himself, the Lover of my soul. What about you? Are you loving the way Jesus loves? Or do you need more of his love in your life--more love for God and for other people? (17)

I have read some great nonfiction this year, and Loving the Way Jesus Love ranks among the best of the best. It is a whole book dedicated to studying 1 Corinthians 13, the "love" chapter. It is the way this study is done--is presented--that makes all the difference. While the whole chapter is discussed--and discussed in context, in relationship to the book of 1 Corinthians as a whole, the focus of this one in particular is 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. Each phrase is paired or linked with Christ, with a specific event in the gospel. (Love is patient; love is kind; love does not envy; love does not boast; love is not arrogant; love is not rude; etc.) If ever a book celebrates Jesus Christ, it is Phil Ryken's Loving The Way Jesus Loves. Instead of looking at just the passage in 1 Corinthians 13, instead of just looking at it word by word or phrase by phrase, he arranges things chronologically making Loving the Way Jesus Loves an absolutely PERFECT book to read during Lent, to read during these weeks as we prepare to celebrate the RESURRECTION of our Lord!!!

For example, 1 Corinthians 13:4 (Love is patient) is linked with John 11:5-6, the story where Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead--after taking his time to get there. And 1 Corinthians 13:7 (Love hopes all things) is linked with John 17:24! (Though most of the 17th chapter of John is discussed!) And 1 Corinthians 13:5 (Love does not insist on its own way) is linked with Matthew 26:39--the Garden of Gethsemane. Some of these connections are powerful, wow-worthy, and life-changing.

I just LOVED Loving the Way Jesus Loves. It is fascinating, informative, engaging, compelling--a true must read. I would definitely recommend this one to anyone and everyone who wants to feel more. The focus on Christ, the focus on the gospel, on grace, makes this one a perfect, perfect read. It is rich in truth. And it's written in such a way that you can relate to it.

One of the best ways to learn more of the love of Jesus is to study 1 Corinthians 13 in conjunction with the Gospels. In Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John we discover that everything the apostle Paul told the Corinthians about love is perfectly illustrated in the perfect life, atoning death, and glorious resurrection of Jesus Christ. Jesus never does anything without love. Indeed, his love is everything the Love Chapter says that love should be. It is patient with sinners and kind to strangers. It does not envy or boast but offers itself in humble service. It does not insist on its own way but submits to the Father. It is able to forgive, trust, hope, and persevere. In other words, the love of Jesus is everything that we are not. (178)

If 1 Corinthians 13 is a portrait of love, then it must be a portrait of Jesus Christ, who is love incarnate. (181)

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

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