Don't keep asking God for forgiveness. Do judge one another. And you're not going to heaven for all eternity!
How have we misunderstood the teachings of Jesus? Often His message to the leaders and disciples was: You're getting this wrong! Somewhere along the way you got confused, lost, way off track. Would He have the same assessment of us today?
In Reading the Bible, Missing the Gospel, pastor and author Ben Connelly shows us how to recover God's original intentions in light of the story of redemption. Connelly helps us celebrate and understand how Jesus' life, death, and resurrection are truly good news for the tangible situations in our everyday lives. Biblical misunderstandings can lead to a small view of God—but truth overturns that. It expands our hearts for God and enables us to truly love others!
Using theology, humor, and practical examples the author reveals shockingly common ways we get the Bible wrong. Connelly invites Christians to see themes and teachings with new eyes—or, rather, with old eyes—on topics like confession and forgiveness . . . what it means to be blessed or happy . . . whether we're commanded to or prohibited from passing judgement. How does the gospel inform our understanding and answer these questions? Connelly gives readers a new gospel-focused lens that addresses common frustrations and helps them see with renewed hope, clarity, and courage.
BEN CONNELLY is a pastor, author, equipper, and occasional professor. He is honored to serve everyday disciples, ministry leaders, and church planters across the world through The Equipping Group, and to help lead Salt+Light Community and Plant Fort Worth, TX. Ben has written or contributed to several books, workbooks, articles, and publications, has overseen church planting efforts for multiple organizations, and has also taught university and seminary classes. He and Jess have three children and at times host short-term foster kids too. Learn more at www.benconnelly.com, or @connellyben on various social media platforms.
Praise for Reading the Bible, Missing the Gospel
"Hebrews 3:3 says, 'Jesus has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses—as much more glory as the builder of a house has more honor than the house itself.' Jesus' story is on every page of the Bible. His love, His power, and His victory show up everywhere. People miss this if we think the star of the Bible's story is ourselves. When we do this, we look for self-glory or self-affirmation, or complain about our role in God's story. Both thoughts miss Jesus and the greatness He alone deserves. And both thoughts lead us to misapply the Bible in our lives. Ben, thank you for writing a book that reminds us not to be amazed by the house itself but to be amazed by the builder of the house. That's Jesus."
—SHAUN ALEXANDER, 2005 NFL MVP; author; entrepreneur; disciple of Jesus
"I'm sorry to tell you this, but the book you're holding in your hands right now is going to challenge some of your longest-held beliefs. In the best possible way. Calling readers back to Scripture, Reading the Bible, Missing the Gospel invites us to discover the 'good news' afresh and to learn how God's vision will always be bigger and better than what we settle for.
—HANNAH ANDERSON, author of All That's Good: Recovering the Lost Art of Discernment
"Deconstruction can be a fruitful endeavor. Ben Connelly not only helps us to deconstruct how we read the Bible, but more importantly, he helps us to reconstruct the way that we read the Bible, in and through the living Word. The good news is that Scripture reads us more accurately than we read it and reveals to us our need of the Father who loves us, the Son who gives us grace, and the Spirit who empowers us to follow Christ."
—JR WOODWARD, National Director, The V3 Movement; author, Creating a Missional Culture; coauthor, The Church as Movement
"Ben Connelly brings years of experience as an equipper of church planters alongside his own work as a planter to the crucial question, 'What is the gospel?' He writes with biblical depth, the wisdom of experience and the heart of a disciple-maker. I highly recommend careful study for the sake of the kingdom of Jesus."
—GERRY BRESHEARS, Professor of Theology, Western Seminary, Portland
"Please read this book about THE BOOK! For a follower of Jesus, reading and knowing the Bible is everything since it is the objective source of our faith. Sadly, few read it and fewer study it, and yet when many do, they do so often studying some book or subject in the Bible disconnected from the greater whole of God's story and the gospel. Recently, I've read a couple of books on reading books—which has tremendously helped me. This book will have a profound impact on how you read the Bible and the lens you see it through."
—BOB ROBERTS JR., founder, Glocal.net and Multi-Faith Neighbors Network; Senior Global Pastor, Northwood Church
"Far too many people have been reading the Bible visually impaired, missing the beauty of the expansive landscape of the good news of Jesus Christ. Sadly, they either burden themselves with a crushing load of guilt, shame, or performance-driven expectations, or they walk away never having taken in the life-giving beauty of Jesus when they consider key themes of Scripture. Ben's work reveals the reason so many remain blind to the beauty, while providing a means to begin seeing clearly the treasures of Jesus Christ found in every page of the Bible."
—JEFF VANDERSTELT, Executive Director of Saturate and author of Saturate, Gospel Fluency, and Making Space
"Among the morass of books written to help us read the Bible, this one stands out. Its prose is clear, and illustrations are compelling. It helpfully exposes common errors in Bible reading and guides readers into more faithful interpretation. It also avoids complicated hermeneutical discussions while handing the reader the ultimate interpretive lens—the gospel of Jesus Christ. Here is a theologically rich yet eminently practical way to read the Bible with Jesus!"
—JONATHAN DODSON, Lead Pastor, City Life Church; author, Gospel-Centered Discipleship and The Unwavering Pastor
"Reading the Bible, Missing the Gospel is a wonderful resource to help believers see the Scriptures as they are meant to be seen—as one unified story that points to Jesus, our source of life. Ben Connelly helps us see that this vision correction of a "gospel lens" of reading the Bible brings the pages of Scriptures to life! No longer is the Bible simply a book of rules, or quick bits of encouragement, or random "truths" about God, but it is the story of God in which Jesus is the Hero and we are joy-filled participants. If you're looking to better understand the relevance of the Bible and the person of Jesus for everyday life, get this book. It is challenging yet winsome, theological yet accessible—a great addition to the bookshelves of clergy and laity alike."
—DOUG LOGAN JR., President of Grimké Seminary; Vice President for Advancement of the Acts 29 Network; author of On the Block: Developing a Biblical Picture for Missional Engagement
"Practical, theologically deep, and clarifying, this book will challenge your entire approach to the Bible if you—like so many (including me)—just find yourself reading it all wrong sometimes. Ben is a gift to the church in today's climate, where we have more Bibles than ever but not always a clear understanding of what it is actually all about. Get this book, and give it to a friend or three!"
—MARK CLARK, Teaching Pastor, Bayside Church (CA); Founding Pastor, Village Church (BC)
"It is not enough to read the Bible. One must know how to read the Bible rightly. With pastoral care and a humorous heart, Ben speaks to each of us, gently showing us where we have misstepped in our reading, both culturally and religiously. He does not, however, abandon us. Instead, he points us hopefully toward a brighter and more holistic path. He leads us further up and further into the great Story, making us better readers and, in the end, better participants in remaking the world. Highly recommended."
—STEVE BEZNER, Senior Pastor, Houston Northwest Church; adjunct instructor, Truett Theological Seminary, Baylor University