The Jesus-Centered Bible (Book Review)

Jesus-Centered Bible

My wife and I were recently given the opportunity to review the Jesus-Centered Bible. Be sure to check out her review as well. We’d like to thank Group Publishing for sending us our review copies.

Initial thoughts

Physically, this Bible is beautiful. It feels great in my hands. It lays open pretty well. And it comes with that amazing new-Bible smell. The layout and typesetting are classy. I like the blue-themed Old Testament and red-themed New Testament.

That brings me to the big feature that is unique to this Bible. We’re accustomed to seeing Jesus’ words in red letters. But Rick Lawrence and Ken Castor have taken this concept a step further, applying blue letters to various Old Testament references to Jesus. Cool idea. However, they admit from the outset that the blue-letter references are not intended to be exhaustive. They chose about 700 prominent texts to highlight. Each blue-letter selection comes with a sidebar explaining how the text points to Jesus. I’ll come back to these.

The Image of God and a New Proposal for Resolving Old Testament Violence


The violence problem

I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about the problem of violence in the Old Testament. If you’re unfamiliar with this topic, here’s a basic summary of the problem:

  1. Jesus reveals God as completely nonviolent.
  2. The Old Testament frequently shows God engaging in and commanding violence.

If you disagree with the first point, the second won’t pose as much of a problem for you. But for the sake of this post, I’m taking the first point as granted, and I have no intention of debating it here.

My Biggest Problem with Homosexuality

Sermon on the Mount

My friend Keith Giles recently posted an article discussing homosexuality in the Bible. And I’ve previously shared a few thoughts on the subject myself.

But there’s one major issue that just keeps nagging at me—one problem I can’t seem to get around.

My biggest problem with homosexuality is love.

Let me explain. Jesus and the Apostles emphasized over and over again that love is the basis for everything, including every command God has given.

We sometimes get the impression that God arbitrarily prohibits things that offend him. But this could not be further than the truth! God always acts out of love, and his prohibitions always stem from love.

My Top 10 Scriptural Selections


Brad Jersak recently wrote about the biblical passages that are most prominent to him, and he challenged readers to make their own lists. His assignment was to pick just ten verses, but he found that he simply couldn’t do that, so he expanded on the original request.

I’m going to take up his challenge, but like Brad, I’m going to have to expand even further on the original request. Kind of. Actually, I’m going to end up with a mixed bag. Some of my prominent biblical selections will be verses that stand well on their own, others will be narratives that cannot be reduced to a verse, and others yet will be broader themes spanning multiple passages so that I cannot pick only one.

“Stop Focusing on Love, You Hippie!”


I’ve been accused a lot lately of focusing too much on love, supposedly to the exclusion of other biblical themes like holiness, justice, wrath, etc. Well, I do focus a lot on love. In fact, I base everything on it. And I won’t apologize for that.

Love is the central message of the entire New Testament. Love is the very core of the gospel message itself. Jesus and the Apostles focused on love above all else, and so I will do the same. Those other biblical themes that I supposedly exclude are, in fact, subsets of love. We can’t understand those parts until we get first get love right.

Faith and love are ultimately the only things that matter. Don’t believe me? Well, let’s see what the New Testament has to say.