Bestselling author David Limbaugh is on a quest to help readers better understand the Old and New Testaments alike, shining insightful and thought-provoking light on the overarching biblical narrative in his new book, “The True Jesus.”
It’s a project Limbaugh decided to embark on in an effort to specifically shed more light on the gospels — a quest that offered him a transformational experience.
“They hit me in a way they hadn’t before,” Limbaugh said of the gospels. “Because I was forced to study them in a way that I hadn’t before. I think projects like this focus the mind.”
In light of Limbaugh’s deep dive into the Bible, Faithwire asked him to explain what he believes modern culture gets wrong about Jesus, and he obliged, saying “popular culture has distorted the picture of the true Jesus.”
“They want him to conform to the culture, rather than the culture conforming to him,” he said. “Jesus was not this guy that was milk toast or tip-toeing through the tulips, skipping around with sandals on and not judging anybody and promising health and prosperity to everyone who had faith in him.”
Limbaugh continued, “He did come to judge. He tells us he came to judge and he also tells us, ‘If you follow me, you will experience difficulty and likely persecution and you will have to bear your own cross and follow me.'”
In the end, the author said it’s essential for people to be “Christ-focused,” considering the many idols that exist in modern-day culture. Relying on Jesus, he argued, is the only path to salvation, though he knows that message isn’t always well-received.
“The culture doesn’t like to hear that, because the culture is proud and thinks it has a better moral system than that of Jesus Christ or they have some illusion (that he’s) something that he wasn’t,” Limbaugh said. “He laid down the most exacting moral standard that is possible to lay down in the Sermon on the Mount and elsewhere. … No human being has ever been sin free, except for him. Fully human, fully God.”
It is with these lessons in mind that Limbaugh discussed the impetus behind “The True Jesus.” He admitted that he’s been more attracted in the past to the epistles rather than the gospels, though he said that writing the book gave him an entirely new appreciation for Matthew, Mark Luke and John.
“I like theology, the study of theology. Paul is so brilliant and logical. He’s confusing sometimes, but he explains what the gospel is all about. He explains it in a theological way,” Limbaugh said. “He’s describing some events, but mainly he’s giving a theological treatise, in his letters, correcting errors and all that. So that’s what I’ve always loved.”
As for the gospels, the author said that, though he has always loved them, it wasn’t until he studied them more deeply that he had an entirely new appreciation, especially considering the depths of what they reveal about Jesus.
“No place in any literature in the history of the world will you encounter the living son of God, not in the apistles, not in the Old Testament,” Limbaugh explained. “You’re encountering the living son of God, his words and his deeds in the New Testament. He comes to life in a way that is undeniable and in a way that is mesmerizing.”
Jesus, he said, is unlike any other individual mentioned in the history of literature, adding that “no fiction writer could have concocted a character that is so sublime, that jumps off the pages, that leaps off the pages, if you have an open mind and open heart, as the son of God, fully divine.” In the end, Limbaugh said it blew him away to study Jesus in a deeper way.
“The True Jesus” opens with a focus on intertestamental history — that is, the timeframe between the end of the Old Testament and when the New Testament picks back up. Then, the book covers the gospels, combining all four into a “unified account” that Limbaugh said brings them into harmony.
But he isn’t ignoring the reason why there are four separate gospel accounts, as he said they each offer different eyewitness examinations of the events that unfolded. Rather than aimlessly combining them and corrupting their individual meaning, Limbaugh said his overarching purpose is to “stimulate people to actually read the Bible.”
“People are so intimidated by the Bible (saying), ‘Where do I start? What do I do?’ So books about the Bible are no substitute. No way they can be, but they can help,” he said. “We, as Christians, can teach each other. We continue to. What do pastors do? They teach. They preach. I want to use whatever gifts I have to help share my enthusiasm and what I’ve learned with people.”
Limbaugh looks at the events that unfold in the gospels in nearly chronological order, offering readers what he hopes will be a “launching point into the Bible.” And he also includes ongoing commentary throughout, offering perspective on the events unfolding in the gospel narrative.
“I hope people will look at this and learn so much about what happened in the gospels — what Jesus did, what he said, the significance of it, and they’ll be so inspired,” he said. “I’m not trying to overstate this, but this is my goal, not my expectation, that they are able to see some of my enthusiasm, that some of the will be contagious.”
Limbaugh argued that “Christ transforms lives” and that he reveals himself through the scriptures.
“Ask and you shall receive. Knock and the door will be opened,” he said. “I just think people don’t knock and don’t knock enough.”
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