The Essential Jesus: Read the Gospel of Jesus for Yourself (Booklet)

Payne, Tony

Product Description

Two very popular and effective evangelistic tools:

  1. Two Ways to Live: The choice we all face
  2. The Gospel of Luke.

What, we thought, if we combined the two?

That's what The Essential Jesus does. Most of its 80 pages are made up of a fresh and accurate translation of Luke's Gospel. But the text of Luke is preceded by some important background information ('Previously in the Bible') that explains the biblical context and Jewish expectations as Jesus walks on center stage. (This explanation is based on boxes 1 to 3 of Two Ways to Live.) The text of Luke also includes numerous footnotes, helpfully explaining to the modern reader some of the unfamiliar terms and names that appear from time to time.

After Luke's account of Jesus, a summary of the message is presented using the Two Ways to Live framework, concepts and illustrations, but linking back to the content of Luke.


  • Highly attractive bound book.
  • Inexpensive, yet a quality gift to give away.
  • Helpful background provided at the beginning.
  • Meet the real Jesus through a fresh and accurate translation of Luke.
  • A challenging summary at the end using the Two Ways to Live structure and pictures, but referencing Luke.

Translator's Note from Tony Payne

“We wanted to produce a give-away Gospel of Luke back in the late 90s for evangelistic use. Although there were plenty of Gospels available for this purpose, all the ones we had access to had low production values, fairly poor design, and were printed on the cheapest possible paper. We wanted to publish a give-away Gospel that was really nicely designed, attractively produced, printed on quality paper — so that Christians could give it to their non-Christian friends like any other book, without it looking like a cheap pamphlet. ... However, we found it difficult at the time to gain access to commonly-used Bible translations without facing licence fees that would have made the project non-viable. And so we decided to produce a translation ourselves, given that we had people on our team who were skilled both in NT Greek and in writing and editing English. The result was a little book we called 'According to Luke'.

“Fast forward about 8 years, and an opportunity arose for us to produce what became The Essential Jesus for a large evangelistic campaign here in Sydney. Given that we already had a solid rights-free translation of Luke, we decided to use it for this project. To make sure it was up to scratch, we not only went back over the text carefully ourselves but engaged three NT scholars — Peter Bolt (Head of NT at Moore Theological College), Darrell Bock (NT scholar and Luke expert from Dallas Theological Seminary) and Evonne Paddison (Dept of NT at Ridley College in Melbourne) to review the translation in detail.

“The result was the text of Luke that is in The Essential Jesus. In translation philosophy, it sits somewhere between the ESV and NIV, in terms of the trade-offs between formal and functional equivalence. We obviously wanted the text to be fresh and readable for a non-Christian person coming to it cold, without necessarily any church background. And yet we were determined to be faithful to what was actually there in the Greek text, and not to smooth out all the ambiguities, or to insert additional ideas/interpretations. We took a conservative line on gender inclusive language.

“We have distributed more than a million copies of The Essential Jesus here in Australia since 2009, and the translation has been extremely well received as a fresh, readable and yet very faithful rendition of what Luke originally wrote.”

Free Downloadable Resources

PDF eBook (For review purposes only, please do not print)

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