Jesus, In His Own Words (Book Review)

Jesus, In His Own Words

A number of books have been produced recently which seek to harmonize the four Gospels. These efforts have gone beyond sequencing the accounts in parallel columns. They have instead combined the accounts into a single flowing narrative. John MacArthur’s One Perfect Life and Johnston Cheney’s The Greatest Life are two excellent examples. Such books do not replace the four Gospels, but they serve as a great tool to complement and shed greater light on the originals.

B&H Publishing Group sent me a copy of a new similar effort, but this one has a twist. Like the others, the four Gospels have been combined into a single narrative, but unlike the others, this one has been adapted so that everything is spoken from Jesus’ perspective. Thus the book starts out with the following adaptation from John 1:1–5:

Before anything else existed, the Word already was—I am that Word. I was in fellowship with God; in fact, I was God. I was there from the very beginning. Through me God brought everything into existence. Not a single thing was created except that which was created through me. I am the source of all life, and that life has provided light for the human race. The light keeps on shining in the darkness, and the darkness has never been able to put it out.

Jesus, In His Own Words was compiled by Robert H. Mounce. Rather than basing it on an existing translation, he chose to do it as a fresh translation. He seems well qualified for the task, having been involved in the translation of the NIV, the NLT, and the ESV. For this particular effort, he went with a largely paraphrased style of translation, similar to the NLT. While I am not generally a big fan of paraphrases, I think it works well in this personal, story-based context. And while I would take exception to his translational choices in a few areas, I am happy with the majority of it.

Overall, this book is an absolute pleasure to read. The way it all flows together allows the reader to get into the story more than one normally would when reading a single gospel. As with most of these efforts, there are a few areas where I would disagree with the proposed chronology (most notably the combination of the two separate temple cleansings), but all-in-all, I was able to truly enjoy it.

I would definitely recommend Jesus, In His Own Words by Robert H. Mounce. It is available in paperback and Kindle formats.