I’ve been reading Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus: How the Jewishness of Jesus Can Transform Your Faith, by Ann Spangler and Lois Tverberg, in bits and pieces over the last several days. And I believe it’s become one of my all time favorite books. I mean, I just love this book!
I’ve got a stack of books I’ve been meaning to comment on, including several others on the Jewish roots of the New Testament, and this is the best I’ve come across so far. I think the reason I like this one so much is because it seems to be written by teachers rather than preachers or scholars.
You see, preachers like to take one really good point and write a chapter on it. It doesn’t take long to read their books, because I can skip the illustrations, you know.
Scholars sometimes get infatuated with very minute issues. I skip over the oh-so-fascinating supralapsarian vs. infralapsarian debates. Their books don’t take long to read either, unless they happen to deal with an issue of particular interest (and many do).
But this is a book by teachers. They are also scholars, but they are teachers first, and that makes all the difference. I know people gifted to teach when I run across them, and these women can flat out teach. And so this book is taking me forever to read. It’s chock full of paragraphs that condense entire books into four sentences. If I just scan a page, as I tend to do, I can miss a whole bookshelf’s worth of learning. This is a book to be savored and read over and over. You see, I’m learning new things from every page — things that matter.
If you are familiar with the Ray Vander Laan lessons I’ve covered here earlier, then you have a good sense of how this book reads. Or if you remember the communion meditation I posted on Easter. I took the idea from this book.
The authors have a rich knowledge of First Century Judaism and use their knowledge to deepen their readers’ understanding of the New Testament, focusing especially on Jesus and his ministry. The result is a book perfect for a small group study, a Sunday school class, or personal study. It’s written with a simplicity and accessibility that would make for great airplane or beach reading, but the book also provides a depth of knowledge that would appeal to the scholarly reader. It’s just a delightful book written for a wide range of readers. And it deserves to be widely read.
You’ll love this book. I’ll post some excerpts over the next few days, to give you a better sense of what I’m saying.
[Full disclosure: I got this book for free (how cool is that?) One of the authors ran across this site due to my Ray Vander Laan series and invited me to review the book, and I'm thankful that she did so.]