‘It’s Not What You Think’ - Book Review
Jefferson Bethke, well known YouTuber, spoken word poet, and all-round creative, has written many books that revolve around the Christian faith (including New York Times bestseller Jesus > Religion). He is an incredibly talented author with an easy-to-read style that breaks down barriers between race, intellectual ability, and culture to bring together all people, whether followers of Jesus or not, to discuss somewhat controversial (and definitely counter-cultural) topics within the Christian faith. But what makes him unique is his ability to bring a fresh, life-giving approach on how we perceive faith and how this should impact our everyday life.
I’ve recently finished reading It’s Not What You Think, a challenging yet incredibly encouraging and motivating book with the tagline ‘why Christianity is about so much more than going to heaven when you die.’ This book has provides a rich insight into scripture – Bethke tells of how the Bible is one huge narrative between God and people, rather than two main sections (Old and New Testament) that can sometimes seem pretty distant and separate from each other. He looks into the original language of scripture, the culture at the time, and the structure of passages and books, leading the reader into an understanding of the incredible impact that the authors had on their audiences, and can therefore have on us in the twenty first century.
There were many times where my jaw literally dropped as I read; I soon realized that there is so much richness woven into scripture that I have quite simply missed. Yet Bethke presents these beautiful insights in such a way that I felt as if I were sitting down, having a chat over coffee with him, and just spending time with Jesus together. He refuses to use theological jargon (which I am forever grateful for), and I read chapter after chapter without even realizing how much of the book I had already worked through. His easy-to-read style means that you can read at ease, whilst still absorbing a multitude of life-giving insights into scripture.
It is evident that Bethke has done his research, whilst never taking the stance of someone who has it all together and is better than his readers. With frequent anecdotes into his personal life, a rapport between reader and writer is quickly established, and it wasn’t long before I felt as though I had known Jeff for years. The stories from his life not only had me saying ‘thank goodness I’m not the only one,’ but also offered a ray of hope as I saw how his life has been dramatically changed by an ever deepening relationship with Jesus Christ.
Bethke helped me to look at my relationship with Jesus and ask, ‘Can Christianity really be about so much more than going to heaven when I die?,’ quickly followed by an excited ‘YES!’ He showed me that Jesus’ mission was not only to guarantee us an eternity with our Father, but to also bring heaven down to earth right here, right now.
He delves into 9 main topics, split into the following chapters :
•Your Story’s Not What You Think: Love Defined You Before Anything Else Did
•The Temple’s Not What You Think: It’s God Pitching His Tent in Your Backyard
•People Are Not Who You Think: They’re Neighbors to Love, Not Commodities to Use
•You Aren’t Who You Think: You’re a Person from the Future
•The Sabbath’s Not What You Think: You Rest As You Play
•Worship’s Not What You Think: You Become What You Behold
•The Kingdom’s Not Where You Think: It’s Not in the Sky; It’s Here Now
•Brokenness Is Not What You Think: You Must Embrace Your Scars
•The Table’s Not What You Think: It’s Not Just a Meal; It’s a Sacred Space
In each chapter, Bethke mixes anecdotes, scripture, metaphors, and teaching to guide us into a deeper relationship with our Saviour; which, if we’re honest, is the best thing a book could ever do.
It’s Not What You Think left me wanting to pursue Jesus more than ever, all the while knowing that Jesus pursues me more than I could ever comprehend. This book has the perfect blend of humor, teaching, and love that leaves you feeling like Jeff could easily be one of your mentors; he is a wonderful man of God yet he always makes sure that Jesus gets all of the credit. Ultimately, we should all aim to be like Jesus, but I reckon Jeff is a pretty good example of how to do just that.
Alice is 18 and from England. She gave her life to Jesus about 5 years ago, and was baptized in July 2015. She feels that she is called to creative evangelism after receiving many prophecies from various people. She's a keen musician, photographer, writer, and speaker, and she hopes to involve all of these passions when sharing the love of Jesus to the world. She looks forward to moving to a city to attend university, engrossing herself in youth culture and wider communities.