In Books Jesus Read, Robert "Dr. Bob" Lay takes his readers on a guided tour of the Apocrypha—Jewish history, stories, and wisdom written in the four hundred years between the Old and New Testaments. These are some of the writings Jesus and other first century Jews would have known. For anyone wanting to better understand Jesus and the New Testament, look no further than the books Jesus himself may have read.
Dr. Bob Lay has done us a wonderful service in making the OT Apocrypha accessible to non-specialists. These ancient Jewish texts are rich devotionally, and they provide essential background for the proper interpretation of the New Testament. I have little doubt that Jesus and his earliest Jewish followers were well acquainted with these works. We should be, as well!
Joe Hellerman, PhD
Professor of New Testament Language and Literature
Talbot School of Theology
I can’t think of a more winsome invitation to encounter the ancient Jewish works now known as “the Apocrypha” than Bob Lay’s Books Jesus Read: Learning from the Apocrypha. His reader-friendly introductions helpfully set the context for reviving the understanding of these old classics in a new day. Treat yourself here to some of the “other” literature that Jesus knew, books that have been read and appreciated by Jews and Christians for over two millennia.
Charles E. Hill, PhD
Professor Emeritus of New Testament and Early Christianity
Reformed Theological Seminary
Imagine discovering a hidden treasure. That is what you have in your hands at this moment. This is especially the case if you are someone divinely called into the spiritual trenches of ministry today. Robert F. Lay gifts us here with something wonderfully simple but not simplistic, thorough but not overwhelming, as he blows the dust from a forgotten spiritual classic (the Apocrypha). The balance of profound and practical here is something every minister and the people for whom they care for, would benefit tremendously.