I love historical biographies. My family knows that these will always be on my Christmas list. It was no different this past year, and I’m now reading my way through a nice gift I received: a biography of Samuel Adams, the Boston revolutionary. Before that, I read a fascinating biography of King James I, the ruler famous for his role in commissioning the King James Bible, which was first published in 1611.
Because of my love for books like these, I’m naturally drawn to what is certainly the most important biography in history: the biography of Jesus. That’s why I’m excited about God with Us: The Four Gospels Woven Together in One Telling. It’s a captivating new book that looks and feels like a paperback novel. But it’s not a story based on Jesus’ life, with fictionalized embellishment. It is the story of Jesus’ life, teachings, and deeds, told entirely in the words of the four Gospels in the New Living Translation.
God with Us brings the accounts of the four Gospels together into one chronological narrative—from “In the beginning the Word already existed” (John 1:1) to “While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up to heaven” (Luke 24:51). And everything in between.
By arranging Scripture chronologically, God with Us helps us experience Jesus’ story the way we’re used to reading biographies—from beginning to end. I just read it, and I found that it opened up new perspectives and confronted me with fresh truths, even though I’ve read Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John countless times.
God with Us makes the Gospels highly readable as a single, streamlined story, and it does so without cutting out parts of the biblical text. The books are skillfully interwoven, and only duplicated stories or teachings are taken out.
This is the perfect Bible for use in a variety of settings. It is a powerful tool for evangelism, since it invites seekers—and believers who have trouble finding time to read—to discover Jesus’ story all in one place. Because of this, it’s likely that God with Us will become a valuable tool for outreach (there’s a “Knowing God Personally” section in the back of the book) as well as for devotional use and personal Bible study.
God with Us divides Jesus’ biography into eight chronologically ordered sections:
1. The origin, birth, and childhood of Jesus
2. The preparation for Jesus’ ministry
3. The initial Galilean ministry
4. The Sermon on the Mount
5. Continuation of the Galilean ministry
6. Jesus’ final journey to Jerusalem
7. Jesus’ final visit to Jerusalem
8. The post-resurrection
James Barlow, the editor of this fascinating compilation, writes in the introduction:
Why in the world would four simple fishermen suddenly leave their families and their work without hesitation to blindly follow a man walking along the shore whom they didn’t know? . . . In his account, Matthew depicts these four men willing to leave everything behind after hearing Jesus’ simple request: “Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!”
The answer to this question suddenly came to me as I read the Gospel of John, specifically John 1:29-51. John provides the added insights that John the Baptist had first introduced Andrew and one other disciple to Jesus, and that Andrew had in turn introduced Simon Peter to Jesus. These disciples had spent time with Jesus, thus they knew him when he ultimately called them by the seashore. My entire perspective changed on why they left and followed Jesus. I discovered background and context to the story that was not included in Matthew’s account but could be learned by reading the Gospels collectively. That raised my curiosity level significantly as to whether there were other aspects of the individual Gospel accounts that might be confusing if not read within the perspective of the four Gospels as a whole.
That curiosity led to the painstaking work that produced God with Us, which now serves to bring insights and clarity to the reading of the Gospel accounts like never before.
While it’s wonderful that God with Us enhances believers’ enjoyment and understanding of the Gospels, we’re even more excited about how clearly the Good News is being presented to those who are just meeting Jesus and learning about the gift of salvation for the first time.
This book is a clear and effective evangelism tool for churches and outreach ministries. Reading God with Us: The Four Gospels Woven Together in One Telling will introduce people not just to a fascinating historical figure, but to the God of the universe, the great I AM.
Pick up your copy of God with Us—and a handful more to use as you encounter others who need to meet Jesus.
It’s like nothing you’ve ever read, even if you know the Bible well!
Posted on April 13, 2023
Jim Jewell is Senior Director of Marketing & Communication for Tyndale Bibles. Prior to joining Tyndale, his career included agency work in brand marketing and public relations, serving dozens of prominent ministries and businesses, and he was chief of staff for Chuck Colson for more than a decade.
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