People often ask me for book recommendations suitable for personal devotion or group study—you know, something challenging but not too controversial, something that stretches the heart and mind but isn't too scholarly. I usually scratch my head and mumble for a while, before recommending a few old standbys (which I would name here if I weren't afraid of forgetting one).
Well now I can say with full confidence that I’ve got a fantastic new recommendation for your personal devotions or group study: Walking in the Dust of Rabbi Jesus by Lois Tverberg.
Tverberg is the co-author of the bestselling Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus: How The Jewishness of Jesus Can Transform Your Faith, which many of you may have read and which I will be ordering from Amazon asap. She holds a PhD in physiology and is a respected scholar who has been writing and teaching about the Jewish background of Christianity for the past fifteen years. Her knowledge of Jewish customs, scholarship, language, and culture is astounding, and her writing style is lively and accessible. She is definitely a woman of valor. Eshet Chayil!
In Walking in the Dust of Rabbi Jesus, Tverberg explores the cultural context of Jesus’ teachings, particularly the Jewish idioms, sayings, debates, and rabbinic literature that help make sense of some of his most perplexing words. (What did he mean when he said “the eye is the lamp of the body?” What does it mean to “hallow” a name? How did first-century Jews understand the concept of “judging not”?) But what makes this book different than others on the same topic is Tverberg’s gift of guiding the reader through practical application.
Reading this book has changed the way I pray (particularly The Lord’s Prayer and the Shema).
It has changed the way I speak about others.
It has changed the way I judge.
It has changed the way I think about my giving.
Simply put, this book has helped make me a better follower of Jesus because I better understand his teachings.
I cannot recommend it enough.
(Next step: Track Lois Tverberg down and get her on the blog!)
The great news is: I’ve got an extra copy from Zondervan to give away! Just leave a comment with your first name and your hometown at the end of the post, (ex: “Carrie from Minneapolis!”), and you will automatically be entered to win a free copy of Walking in the Dust of Rabbi Jesus.(Be sure to log into DISQUS in such a way that I can find your email address if you’ve won.) I’ve got one copy to give away so there will be just one winner. The contest will run for 24-hours. I’ll close the comment thread at 10 a.m.. EST on Thursday, May 3.