Scot McKnight has published commentaries, dictionaries, a survey of scholarship, and technical theological works. But it is rare to find a scholar of his caliber willing to write for the practical needs of the church.

The Story of the Christ is a simplified explanation of the gospel story broken into two main parts. In the first 60 pages, McKnight provides basic background for the gospels, their historical character, and the cultural context of Jesus' life. He then summarizes the chief themes of Jesus' teaching.

The second part (120 pages) retells the story of Jesus' life, but in an unexpected way. Philip Law, a colleague, has abridged the gospels and compiled the stories that can be organized chronologically. Chapter and verse references are absent, and the reader can see the story unfold in one narrative.

Of course, a problem is that one does not "hear," say, the Gospel of Mark as Mark intended it. This is the story of Jesus as a modern editor has built it. But for the beginner, the effort works with great success.

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