Review: The Jesus I Never Knew by Philip Yancey

Posted February 25, 2016 by Hillary in Book Reviews / 3 Comments

Review: The Jesus I Never Knew by Philip YanceyTHE JESUS I NEVER KNEW(내가알지못했던예수) by Philip Yancey
Published by Zondervan on January 23rd 2002
Genres: Religion, Christian Life, General, Christian Theology, Christology
Pages: 288
Format: hardcover
Source: library
Buy on Amazon

"There is no writer in the evangelical world that I admire and appreciate more." Billy Graham Philip Yancey helps reveal what two thousand years of history covered up What happens when a respected Christian journalist decides to put his preconceptions aside and take a long look at the Jesus described in the Gospels? How does the Jesus of the New Testament compare to the "new, rediscovered" Jesus--or even the Jesus we think we know so well? Philip Yancey offers a new and different perspective on the life of Christ and his work--his teachings, his miracles, his death and resurrection--and ultimately, who he was and why he came. From the manger in Bethlehem to the cross in Jerusalem, Yancey presents a complex character who generates questions as well as answers; a disturbing and exhilarating Jesus who wants to radically transform your life and stretch your faith. The Jesus I Never Knew uncovers a Jesus who is brilliant, creative, challenging, fearless, compassionate, unpredictable, and ultimately satisfying. "No one who meets Jesus ever stays the same," says Yancey. "Jesus has rocked my own preconceptions and has made me ask hard questions about why those of us who bear his name don't do a better job of following him."

my review

One of the things that I wanted to work on this year was my faith. I have to admit that I haven’t been the best at doing this. I think I have been to church one time so far this year.  However, I have been trying to read more regarding the Christian faith. I can’t remember how I heard about Yancey, but I know I must have heard about him from somewhere. I ordered ‘The Jesus That I Never Knew” from the library. I wasn’t sure what to expect with Yancey. Some Christian authors make me feel like assholes cough Billy Gram cough I mean there is nothing wrong with them just that instead of being inspired I am left feeling like there is no hope for sinners such as I and I am filled with despair.  So anyway I got the book and settled down to read it and read it all the way through in one sitting. It was THAT good.


We often have misconceptions about what Jesus was like. We have this sanitized view of what our Savior would have been like. Yancey takes off the rose colored glasses and takes a hard look at the gospels to determine what Jesus was REALLY like. For example, in today’s world, you would never hear someone berating Jesus for being a glutton. In his day, many people did just that. Dude liked to have fun.  We like to think of Jesus as a somber savior who never laughed or anything human like that but as Yancey shows you in “The Jesus I never Knew” this view of Jesus does not line you to how the gospels portray him. The Gospels are all we have to go on. Those are the people that knew Jesus. They were his inner circle so to speak. I think that it is sad how the church and humans have twisted Jesus to fit their idea of a savior. It almost as if the Jesus that was portrayed n the gospels was not good enough for the later church, so they had to make him into a version that fits their way of a savior.


I thought this book was fascinating and illuminating. I too had this idea of what Jesus would have been like and I found out that I was way off the mark. I  learned that the jesus that I had in my head was the sanitized version that was passed down to me in a church. This Jesus never lost his temper, was always performing miracles and never once doubted going to the cross. In reading this book, I saw that this was simply not true. After reading this book, I feel that I have a better understanding of who Jesus was when he was here on earth.


I am glad that I read this book. I feel that it gave me a better, deeper understanding of who Jesus is and I can see just how big a sacrifice he made coming down to earth in human form. Modern people try to play down his humans but as we know from the gospels Jesus was very much human.



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  • Good luck reconnecting with your faith this year!

    • Hillary

      thank you!!

  • I definitely have to read this one. I love books that explore the real historical Jesus. A few years ago I read Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus and Walking in the Dust of Rabbi Jesus by Louis Tverberg–both of which I highly recommend. It sounds like this is in the same vein as those books.