.::”The gospels are a poor representation of Jesus.”

Tonight in my life group a good friend of mine said something really interesting and true, “The gospels are a poor representation of who Jesus was.”

Hear me out before you call me a heretic.

I think and believe the gospels are the best thing we have to understand who Jesus is and was. They are amazing, unequivocal works with nothing as their equal.


They still fall short of who Jesus really was. Because they are limited by word, diction, interpretation, culture, history, and understanding.  I get that the word, “poor” is probably not an adequate representation of what I am trying to say.

Yes we see more about God through the story, teaching, insight and character of Christ in the gospels than perhaps anywhere else.

Don’t hear me saying that they are inadequate source for those wanting to know the risen Christ.  I believe quite the opposite.  The gospels are out BEST source to understand who Jesus is.  What I am trying to say is the even though there is a limitation of language, interpretation, culture, etc.  IMAGINE just how much of Jesus the gospels can’t show us?

Imagine how much greater Jesus is than what we can read from the gospels? 

How much more of the persona, character and nature of Jesus was not able to be reflected in the gospels?

Again, don’t hear me saying that the gospels are in any way flawed or weak, I am trying to point to how much more Jesus is than what we can read of him in the gospels.  I imagine a much bigger view of Jesus and his divinity.  I come away from this exerise with a BIGGER view of Jesus.

Let’s look at this from another angle…Every technology has its limitations.  For example, when I am traveling and I have to be away from my family, I have several different technologies I can use to keep in touch with them.  I can use letters, text messages, phone conversations or Facetime.  Now I prefer texts over letters because of their speed.  I prefer calls over texts because I can hear inflection and context better.  I far prefer Facetime over phone calls because I get the added dimension of the visual to our conversations.  BUT I can’t hug my screen when using Facetime.  It is a limited technology.

Each of these technologies can and have helped me maintain my relationship with my family.  I get to know more about my wife and daughters through these technologies as different parts of their personalities come out through each of the different mediums.  They all teach me something about my family memebers in their own way.

BUT none of them come close to being face to face with them, hugging them, smelling them, feeling their presence.  This is what I prefer.  This is what I look forward to when I am away from them.  This is what I long for when I am separated from them.

This is what I can’t wait to experience in the Kingdom that is yet to come. When I can be face to face with Jesus.

I do thank the gospel writers and the Holy Spirit and the early church Fathers who show me more about Jesus than I could ever have of imagined.


2 Responses to “.::”The gospels are a poor representation of Jesus.””

  1. It is an interesting observation. One of our younger teens confessed that she really has a hard time connecting the stories from the Bible with everyday life. While this is probably more common even among adults than ministers like to think, it still confronts us with a true challenge: how to engage the Bible as living and breathing when it appears totally detached from everyday experiences. I think the first way to approach this as a minister is to not worship the Bible. I found it telling how many times you had to disclaim that you were NOT diminishing the power, wonder, and authority of Scripture; and you will still have people claiming you are doing just that. The limitations that a written contextually-interpreted work mean that it is not the exclusive focus of our lives as faithful Christians. The role of the Holy Spirit working in our lives compels us to apply Jesus’ teaching to our own circumstances without necessarily wearing the clothes he did, speaking exactly the same way he did, and literally serving one another by demanding we wash people’s feet. I don’t think I would classify it as a “poor” representation; but I would classify it as a contextual representation and not the end-all account of Christ’s story on earth. Even the gospel of John recognized this: “Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name” (John 20:30-31.)

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