Mar 8, 2011

Understanding Jesus by Joe Amaral

Modern-day Christians often bring their own presuppositions and assumptions to the reading of the Bible, not realizing how deeply their understanding of Christ's life and teachings is affected by a 21st-century worldview. In UNDERSTANDING JESUS, author Joe Amaral delves deep into Jewish history, societal mores, and cultural traditions, closing the gap created by geographical distance and over two thousand years of history. Using a chronological approach to the life of Christ, he guides the reader through significant events such as Jesus' birth, baptism, and crucifixion, pointing out illuminating details that that the Western mind would normally miss.

Amaral's premise is that to understand Jesus, we must understand the time and place in which he was born, the background from which he drew his illustrations, and the audience he spoke to. Throughout the book he explores specific terms, places, and events for their significance and shows how they add richness and meaning to the text. Topics include the connection between Jesus and John the Baptist, the annual Feasts and why they are important to modern Christianity, Jewish customs such as foot-washing, clean and unclean foods, paying tribute to political governments, and the significance of various miracles.

In UNDERSTANDING JESUS, Amaral draws back the curtain on a way of life that existed during the reign of the Caesars, and in doing so, reveals truths about the way we live more than two thousand years later, half a world away.


Joe Amaral was born in Portugal on the island of St. Miguel, and emigrated with his family to Toronto, Ontario, when he was two years old. A rebel against Christianity, he credits a youth pastor who "loved me unconditionally" with being a major factor in his conversion and subsequent decision to enter the ministry. He attended Eastern Pentecostal Bible College (now a Master's College and Seminary). In November 2002, he first visited Israel, and learned about the culture from his tour guide, a Messianic Jew. 

Category: RELIGION
Publish Date: 4/7/2011
Price: $13.99/$15.50
ISBN: 9780446584760
Pages: 208
Size: 5-1/4" x 8"


Sometimes when we read the Bible we might come upon stories that really don't connect with us. The problem is that we are trying to understand through our own worldview rather through the worldview of the people of the times and places where Jesus visited.

The author Joe Amaral is right in saying that we have to read the Bible in context of the times when these events happened. In addition, we often forget that Jesus was a human being with all the limitations of being human. In His actions and His teachings He was showing His Jewish audience that He was God and that He was sent by His Father. All of His miracles were performed because He was in constant communion and connection with His Father in Heaven.

This little book gives some clarity to the sayings and deeds of our Lord Jesus Christ when He walked throughout the Jewish land that was subdued by the occupation of the Roman Empire.

Thank you Joe Amaral, for clearing up some misconceptions we might have had and helping us to interpret God’s word with a much clearer understanding.

This small book is a great resource that will help in personal devotions and group Bible studies.

This review was completed by my husband, Dick.

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of Understanding Jesus through Hachette Books, in exchange for an honest review.

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