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Jesus > Religion

Why He Is So Much Better Than Trying Harder, Doing More, and Being Good Enough
Format: Paperback

Availability: In stock

Quick Overview:

Abandon dead, dry, rule-keeping and
embrace the promise of being truly known and deeply loved.


Abandon dead, dry, rule-keeping and embrace the promise of being truly known and deeply loved. 

Jefferson Bethke burst into the cultural conversation in 2012 with a passionate, provocative poem titled “Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus.” The 4-minute video literally became an overnight sensation, with 7 million YouTube views in its first 48 hours (and 23+ million in a year). The message blew up on social-media, triggering an avalanche of responses running the gamut from encouraged to enraged.

In Jesus > Religion, Bethke unpacks similar contrasts that he drew in the poem—highlighting the difference between teeth gritting and grace, law and love, performance and peace, despair and hope. With refreshing candor he delves into the motivation behind his message, beginning with the unvarnished tale of his own plunge from the pinnacle of a works-based, fake-smile existence that sapped his strength and led him down a path of destructive behavior.

Bethke is quick to acknowledge that he’s not a pastor or theologian, but simply a regular, twenty-something who cried out for a life greater than the one for which he had settled. Along his journey, Bethke discovered the real Jesus, who beckoned him beyond the props of false religion.

Praise for Jesus > Religion

"This is a book that will make you think. Jefferson Bethke asks questions that your life really has to answer. Thinkers and seekers and questioners - start here. Wrestle it out. You can't walk away from these provocative pages unmoved. - Ann Vosskamp, author of New York Times Bestseller One Thousand Gifts

"Jesus is the focal point of the gospel. He is the center and the essence of Christianity. That's why I love Jefferson's wholehearted determination to make Jesus the main thing. As you read his book, you will find yourself challenged to look past prejudice, habits, and traditions and rediscover the person you fell in love with in the first place: Jesus." - Judah Smith, lead pastor of The City Church and author of New York Times best-selling book, Jesus is _____.

Jeff's book will make you stop and listen to a voice in your heart that may have been drowned out by the noise of religion. Listen to that voice, then follow it - right to the feet of Jesus." - Bob Gofff, author of New York Times best-selling Love Does.

Contributor(s) Jefferson Bethke
About the Contributor(s) Jefferson Bethke

Jefferson Bethke is the New York Times bestselling author of Jesus > Religion and It’s Not What You Think. He and his wife Alyssa host the highly successful online challenge 31 Creative Ways to Love and Encourage Him & Her, make YouTube videos watched by hundreds of thousands of viewers each month, and host a podcast about relationships and faith available wherever podcasts are found. They live in Maui with their daughter, Kinsley, and son, Kannon. Visit:


ISBN-10 1400205395
ISBN-13 9781400205394
Release Date Oct 7, 2013
Weight (lbs) 0.5000
Height 8.38
Width 5.50
Length 240
Length Unit Pages
Publisher Thomas Nelson
Price $16.99
Format Paperback
Language English

Customer Reviews

Review by Trina
Overall Rating
Jesus > Religion is a game changer; this book has the potential to shift how an entire generation knows Jesus and to clearly see when He’s being falsified and used, especially in the name of religion.

When Jefferson Bethke’s video went viral in early 2012, what impressed me even more than his spoken word poetry was how he responded to his critics. My expectations therefore were high for Jesus > Religion and Bethke exceeded them all.

Thoughtfully unpacking the message from his video and going much deeper, Bethke is open about his own struggles and shares his faith journey.

Bethke’s strength is in his gift for juxtaposition. He has the humility of someone twice his age, while speaking truth in today’s vernacular. Between intersections of words, Bethke calls us all out on our hypocrisy with directness and grace.

I would highly recommend first reading this book yourself before gifting it to someone who isn’t familiarity with the Bible. While Bethke does a great job of giving context to the stories he uses from the New Testament, especially in the later half of the book, not as much context is given for the Old Testament references. With discussion questions written provided at the end of each chapter, this is a great book to read and discuss with a friend. (Posted on 10/16/2013)
Review by Jackson
Overall Rating
This book is a must have for every living person on this planet.

I don't say that just because I received a pre-release copy of the book, or because I became part of a Street Team to help promote the book. Both of which are true. However; this book both transformed, and reaffirmed what Grace truly means in my personal life.

What first made me fall in love with this book was they style it was written. It was open, candid, and personal. I almost felt as if I was in a coffee shop in the great Pacific Northwest (cause that's all the exists there, amen?), having a conversation with Jefferson as he poured his heart out about Jesus.

"The Jesus of the Bible is a radical man with a radical message, changing people's lives in a radical way."

Jesus. The focal point of this book; Jefferson has a convicting, and convincing way of painting who the real Jesus is. The passionate, hungry, fiery, dangerous all loving man who we can have a real and personal relationship with. As Bethke writes, we understand that Jesus isn't a cookie-cutter cute baby that we sing about during Christmas, but a an all-powerful God who has set us free from bondage.

"And when He said `It is finished,' I believe that He meant it."

Grace isn't something that we earn, achieve, or work for. We see that common thread throughout the book, and Bethke doesn't shy away from the tough topics that have many Christians, and non-faith based leaders in controversy.

Alcoholism, homosexuality, pornography, tattoos, sex, and similar topics are on the forefront of debate in this book. This is what hit hard with me, and what Jefferson so simply articulates: it doesn't matter what we deal with. Grace isn't extended to those who struggle with some sin and not others. Through Christ, we are made righteous. Period. Regardless of your situations or circumstances.

If my college student budget (essentially $0.00) would allow, I would purchase this book for everyone that I love and care about. Everyone needs to hear the message of God's grace, and his unmerited favour. Without understanding this concept, we are just God's employees; putting in our good work to receive our good pay.

We're God's sons and daughters, not someone under contract. The Bible says "God so love the world," not "God will love the world if." He already loves us. And the battle has already been won. We are His, and He is ours. We just need to accept the grace he gives us, and live in it.

Jesus redeems us. Jesus makes us righteous. Jesus makes us blameless. Jesus makes us holy. Jesus makes us perfect.

Religion does not.

Jesus > Religion? Not just a book, a life changing experience. And the most quotable book of 2013. And years to come. (Posted on 10/7/2013)
Review by Amber
Overall Rating
Have you ever met a new friend, with whom you were like "YES! Someone who understands!"
It's like hearing your heart and thoughts echoed back to you...

That's what Jefferson Bethke's book, Jesus > Religion (Being released Oct 7) was like for me.

Jeff shares pure grace. How we don't have to do (nor CAN'T) do anything to earn or lose the Father's love for us.

"God broke me to fix me because He loved me." -pg 6
"Religion says do,Jesus says done." - pg 28
"When Jesus told the first disciples to love their enemies,he didn't add " as long as they look like you,talk like you,and act like you". Loving your enemies means loving THEM ." -pg 63
"We don't want to take advantage of it{grace} because because there is nothing better out there to take advantage of it for." -pg 152

This is an encouraging,challenging book that will provide fresh revelations of the Fathers love toward you! It will change how you view yourself,your relationship with the Father,and how you view others around you! WELL worth the time and investment!
(Posted on 10/7/2013)
Review by Jan Baez (@accordingtojan)
Overall Rating
First-things-first, grace overload! This book is saturated with grace.

Jefferson Bethke didn’t go to seminary school nor is he a pastor, which gives him the inclination to say “I’m not really qualified to write this book.” However, he realizes that God is not looking for qualified people, but for people who are broken and willing to admit that they need His grace. Jefferson puts it this way, “It’s like God is saying the only way to qualify is to admit you don’t qualify.” You will learn from reading his book that grace is a scandalous love story, “God’s grace isn’t nice and cute. It’s scandalous.” Grace is for everyone, the broken, the dirty, and the lowest of the lowest. We all need grace, and Jefferson understood that:

“Grace isn’t there for some future me but for the real me. The me who was messy. The one who was addicted to porn. The me who didn’t have all the answers. The me who was insecure. He loved me in my mess; he was not waiting until I cleaned myself up. That truth changed my life, and I’m convinced it can change yours.”

Jefferson is sharing the invitation that was made by Jesus Christ at the cross to abandon dead, dry, rule-keeping and embrace that fact that you are unconditionally loved, and so much more. Jesus>Religion is story of a radical man with a radical message, changing people’s lives in a radical way.

Read full review at accordingtojan (.com) (Posted on 10/6/2013)
Review by Joshua Bane
Overall Rating
In all reality this is a book I believe everyone needs to read. Whether you’re a Christian or not, it is a challenging book. Jefferson walks the reader through his history with religion and Jesus. He communicates a strong message of how Jesus is greater than religion. The resounding theme of the book is everything is about Jesus, it’s a message of the love of God through his Son.

The book doesn’t beat around the bush, Jefferson doesn’t hold back. It is message this generation needs and actually deep down wants to hear. This is your chance to take your faith to a whole new level! I encourage everyone to pick up a copy and when you are done reading, pass it along to someone else. But this is your warning…you will be challenged, you will have to make a choice to face fears and your perspective of people and sin may need altered.

While the book does discuss some heavy topics it is a VERY encouraging book. Many times are I was reading I was laughing, smiling and literally having a good time with the book. I felt as if my life was interacting with the words written. The message is a message of life! You won’t regret reading this book. It is worth the time, the money and investment. It is a message you will want to share with your loved ones.
Happy reading! (Posted on 10/6/2013)

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