When O.S. Hawkins, retired pastor, now president of Guidestone Financial Resources, noticed Jesus used a question and answer format in the Gospels in the same way He used parables to teach biblical concepts. That’s when the idea for The Jesus Code, similar to his popular The Joshua Code was born.
He considered the technique a “distinctive code” and identified 52 of the “150 questions Jesus asked” as questions believers “need to know the answers to.” Knowing the answers not only would “show God’s will for your life,” he writes, they would equip believers to share their faith with confidence.
Hawkins uses a devotional style format designed for a year-long personal, family or small group study where he considers one chapter-length question per week. This arrangement permits time to study, read and meditate on the Scripture references, yet allows time to pray and prepare for discussion if used in a group study.
Chapters build on a foundational Scripture verse that includes the cultural context for the question with a simple biblical overview. Then the question is considered in a modern context with examples of why it matters to believers today.
In chapter one for example, Satan, disguised as a serpent, asks Eve, “Has God indeed said?”about the tree of knowledge of good and evil. The setting is Eden before the fall and the clever question by the “cunning creature” plants a seed of doubt that Eve acts on. This chapter shows how Satan uses doubt to “bring to the surface sinful, selfish desires” that reveal how “Satan’s battle is half won” when doubt is allowed to settle in.
Other thought-provoking topics include self-image, (“Who Am I” Exodus 3:11) trust, (“Why Have You Brought Us Out of Egypt to Die?” Numbers 21:5) and Jesus’ return, (What Will be the Sign of Your coming and of the End of the Age?” Matthew 24:3).
Hawkins wrote “The Jesus Code” to encourage spiritual discipline because he thinks believers reach a “dangerous point in their spiritual journeys when they feel they have all the answers and stop asking questions” The devotional concludes with a salvation prayer in the Epilogue.
Outside of Scripture quotations, “The Jesus Code” is written in personal opinion format from the perspective of a twenty-five year Baptist preacher with multiple advanced degrees. Which gives Hawkins an extraordinary ability to write with clarity about complex subjects and make them interesting and relevant to readers.
Small in size and bound with imitation leather over a hard cover the book is comfortable to hold and fits easily into purse, bag or on the night stand or coffee table. It would make an excellent gift choice for those who want to deepen their relationship with the Lord, use as a Bible study or devotional or for anyone who questions their faith. On a scale of 1-5, this is a 5 plus!
As with The Joshua Code, all royalties will go to Mission: Dignity, whose mission supports retired pastors and their wives (or widows) living near poverty level.
‘The Jesus Code,’ by O.S. Hawkins, Thomas Nelson, 2014, 288 Pages, 978-0529100825, $14.99
Midwest Book Reviews—”Gail’s Bookshelf:” September 2014
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