Review: Hard Sayings of Jesus

Hard Sayings of Jesus
by Joel C. Seifert

Some things Jesus said are fairly easy: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life.” Sometimes, though, he said some things that are… difficult. “Buy a sword!” “Hate your mom!” “Unless your righteousness surpasses the Pharisees…” What do we do with those hard sayings of Jesus? If we value all of the Bible as God’s Word, we need to wrestle with these difficult passages. In this book. Joel Seifert walks through many of the most difficult things Jesus ever said and explains them, using context, culture, and appropriate translations to connect Law and Gospel to modern readers.

After my last… disastrous… book, I thought I’d read something fast, easy, and from a source I knew I could trust to not lead me astray. I have to say, I greatly appreciated this little volume. And make no mistake, it is little – a paltry eighty pages! Yet there’s a lot of good in it.

First, I greatly appreciated that Seifert doesn’t produce difficult sayings as merely an academic exercise; he goes to real life, showing why each statement matters. And then he goes to context.

I loved his Gospel-based response to every hard saying, too. You can’t walk away from any of the short chapters without knowing that Jesus said what he said out of love, reaching out to save souls.

The length also isn’t a problem. While Seifert certainly doesn’t go to great lengths to explore every possibility, he spends enough time with every problem passage to give you a good background and then explain why Jesus said what he said.

Seifert never talks down to the reader. He explains each passage with care. He also encourages struggle! He welcomes and appreciates that not everything Jesus said is easy.

In all… this is a great book, Gospel-based, and it grows the reader’s understanding of what Jesus said, even the hard parts.

Basically, this book was a breath of fresh air for me, and I welcomed it.

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