I am excited to announce the release of my fifth Christian-themed book, "The Resurrected Jesus: The Church in the New Testament," though this one is different from the previous books in the series in several important respects. The main one is that I co-wrote this one with my daughter, Christen Limbaugh Bloom. Another is that we added a new feature that we believe significantly enhances the book: interactive prayers throughout the text.
In my previous Christian books I chronicled my spiritual journey from skeptic to believer and mounted a defense of the faith: "Jesus on Trial," detailed the overarching presence of Jesus Christ throughout the Old Testament: "The Emmaus Code," presented a walk through each of the four Gospels: "The True Jesus," and explored the Book of Acts and six of the Apostle Paul’s thirteen epistles: "Jesus Is Risen."
In "The Resurrected Jesus," Christen and I examine Paul’s final seven epistles, known as the prison epistles, which he wrote during his imprisonments in Rome, and the pastoral epistles, which he wrote to his understudy evangelists, Timothy and Titus.
"The Resurrected Jesus" follows the same pattern I employed in "Jesus is Risen." We follow these New Testament books, chapter by chapter and verse by verse, paraphrasing and summarizing their meaning and import. We also include insights from a wide variety of scholars along with our own and, as mentioned, offer accompanying prayers to help the scriptures come alive through personal application.
Admittedly, I am not a trained theologian, but after becoming a believer, I immersed myself in Bible study and theology. Perhaps because I had starved myself so long of the Word of God, I was immensely enthusiastic to make up for lost time and rapidly soak up everything I could.
After years of study and sharing what I’d learned by teaching Sunday school and conversing with others, I considered the possibility of writing a book to reach lay people, especially those who might be as starved to learn as I was and didn’t quite know where to begin.
It seemed to me that although I was no expert, lay readers might be more receptive to a lay Bible student’s writings. I also believed that I could introduce to readers the thoughts of scholars, teachers, and writers whose teachings greatly benefited me.
So I wrote my first Christian book, "Jesus On Trial," and it was received well enough that I was encouraged to write more. I long to reach non-believers with the Gospel, and to share my passion for Scripture, hoping it might ignite a similar fire in readers. I also want to help people become more conversant with the Bible and to develop the lifelong practice of Bible study.
Christen is also passionate about helping people along their faith journey. She started an online community called Haplous four years ago to reach people searching for faith-based fellowship through Bible study and prayer. It was a true joy to join forces on this book with her. God used this experience to teach each of us new things through the others’ insights, and we hope we’ve faithfully communicated those ideas in this book.
Contrary to the beliefs of too many, the Bible is not inaccessible to lay readers. It is not a book of abstract theological and moral principles. It is the living Word of God written over a period of 1500 years by some 40 authors from all backgrounds and different locations who were every bit as real (and flawed) as you and I. Despite the diversity of contributors, the Bible is an amazingly unified and integrated collection of 66 books that tell the story of man’s creation, fall, and redemption through God’s irrepressible love.
You’ve surely heard plenty from the cynics and critics who dismissively contend the Bible is an antiquated book full of myths, superstitions, violence, and bad ideas. Well, if you believe that, I’m asking you to keep an open mind to the possibility that you are wrong. Give it a chance. Begin to read it for yourself, and if you are so inclined, let us help you get started doing so in the pages of this book.
This book, "The Resurrected Jesus," takes you through Paul’s final seven letters to churches and his trusted colleagues. As we take you through these books, you will see that they tell of the real struggles of Paul, this special apostle of Jesus Christ, as he traveled throughout the Holy Land and beyond to plant churches and share the good news of Jesus Christ. It tells of the adversities and hardships he endured from Roman authorities and other opponents of the Gospel who were hell bent on preventing him from succeeding in his mission.
You will see that threats to the early church were not just from external forces, but also from false teachers inside the church – a phenomenon that persists today. These letters bring Paul and other early church leaders to life and show how Paul countered the early heresies and articulated sound Christian doctrine. While Paul may not have realized it at the time, his instruction to the churches through these letters would become part of New Testament scripture and would clarify the Gospel of Jesus Christ and its implications and provide guidance for Christian pastors, teachers, churches and congregants throughout human history.
As I mentioned, I believe this book, because of Christen’s contributions to the text and prayers, is notably better than my previous books. We have placed the prayers throughout the text to help ourselves and readers have an ongoing conversation with the God of the universe as they seek to better understand His Word. We humbly acknowledge that any benefit readers may receive from these writings are wholly due to the work of the Holy Spirt. We couldn’t be more excited about this book and would be honored for you to read it.