Knowable God, The
The message of the fourth gospel is distinctive, often controversial and yet deeply satisfying.
The Knowable God comprises twenty-three self-contained chapters on the key issues raised and the emphases made in John's Gospel. It is not a critical commentary nor a set of devotional meditations; it is rather an exposition of key episodes, characters and themes, always trying to interpret the text for our own time. It centres on the fact that John's controversial distinctiveness is usually missed in Christian worship, teaching and belief. Within the New Testament there are several understandings of Christian faith, of salvation, of the significance of the cross. John gives us his views on all these, plus the headline message that it is the incarnation itself which is our salvation. To understand Christianity we need more than this Gospel - but cannot do without it.
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A very enjoyable and cultured read...This is neither a commentary or a devotional work but is a serious and informative mediation...a gracious introduction to a distinctive Gospel. ~ Revd Dr John Sutcliffe, formerly General Secretary of the Christian Education Movement
John’s Gospel is both accessible and deep. So a reading of the gospel that deals directly with the text can take readers to a good depth, without a fog of scholarly cross-reference. Peter Brain has done some weighty academic reading, and has learned much from doing so, but he does not flaunt this constantly. Instead he lets us encounter St John’s gospel story, with its layers of meaning, its light and shadow, and its use of language, place and character to highlight the significance of Jesus. Occasionally Peter reflects on ways in which Christians might respond to the gospel and take its claims into their framework of faith; yet he does so in ways that allow us to make that response for ourselves. His writing style is articulate, logical and clear; he is a good explainer. This book arises from long and serious engagement with John’s Gospel. It would work well for thinking church members, people who are educated, but not especially educated in theology, who want to use their minds to deepen their faith. It could be read for personal growth and interest, or to inform the discussions of a house-group, or in preparation for preaching from the gospel. ~ John Proctor, General Secretary of the United Reformed Church, formerly Director of New Testament studies at Westminster College Cambridge
A lively, even entertaining, read. Thought-provoking and, without losing its serious purpose, it has sufficient contemporary images and verbal squibs to make the reader smile; sly comments bring the text alive...The repeated emphasis on most Christians shuffling the pack of four Gospels so that the different emphases of each are lost is a valuable reminder to preachers. ~ Tony Burnham, former General Secretary of the United Reformed Church and Radio 4 broadcaster
Reading John’s gospel can be hard work. Up close, it is repetitious and full of strange turns of phrase and detours that elude 21st century understanding. Peter Brain enables us to take a step back and see the overall sweep of the gospel, driven by the passion of its author that we should believe in the Jesus who dwelt among us, one with the Father, so that his joy might be in us and ours might be complete. In this light, even the most troubling passages, such as the exclusivity of “No one comes to the Father except by me” or the harsh sayings about “the Jews”, fall into place as part of a greater whole. Peter Brain’s love for his subject is contagious. Having often steered clear of John to rely upon the more straightforward voices of the other gospels, I feel that part of the Bible has been restored to me, overflowing with energy and love. Roberta Rominger, Pastor of Mercer Island Congregational Church (UCC) Washington state, previously General Secretary of the United Reformed Church. ~ Revd Roberta Rominger