In The Jesus Experiment, Bill Perkins puts to the test Jesus’ promise to provide his followers with “a rich and satisfying life” (John 10:10, NLT). Many Christians would admit that despite their devotion to God, their lives remain unsatisfying. Perkins suggests this is because we continually seek fulfillment in the wrong places. He believes the abundant life can only be found when we model our lives after the example of Jesus. The purpose of The Jesus Experiment is to teach Christians how to abide continually in Christ as John 15:4 instructs: “Abide in me, and I in you” (ESV). Once that relationship is established, we can examine what Jesus felt, thought, said, and did in various situations, and then compare our own responses in similar circumstances.
One chapter at a time, Perkins walks us through how Jesus approached and responded to the issues of prayer, fear, temptation, Christian purpose, time management, service, children, and difficult people. The chapters resemble in-depth weekly devotions that are meant to be completed throughout a 12-week period. At the end of each topic, there is an interactive Q&A section to work through based on the readers’ experiences during the past week. Perkins first tested the Jesus Experiment on himself and found that it changed not only him but also the people he was closest to.
What impressed me most about this book was that it had very practical applications for daily life. The writing style is not lofty or overly intellectual, and Perkins speaks to his readers as peers. He is genuine in his acknowledgement of his own human weakness and consistently uses fitting anecdotes from his personal life to illustrate his points. In fact, throughout the book he uses poignant and visual metaphors that, when combined with his sense of humor, bring the writing to life.
It is important to know, however, that this book is based on the assumption that Jesus chose to model the perfect Christian life for us by relying on his Father for guidance and empowerment, rather than his own divinity, while he was here on Earth. This would mean that Christians, too, can live a Jesus-like life if they follow his example and rely on the Father in all circumstances. This is not to say that they will no longer struggle with sin, but rather that their thoughts and actions will increasingly resemble those of Christ. Personally, this concept helped me to recognize more fully the humanity of Jesus, as well as his divinity.
The Jesus Experiment is meant to be not only read but also lived. Whereas its insights can be appreciated even after a quick reading, it will have very little permanent impact unless the truths being taught are also internalized. This journey requires time, effort, self-reflection, and commitment, and readers should be prepared for that contribution before they pick up the book. However, as it says in John 15:11, “These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full” (ESV). Perkins’ teaching is applicable for readers of all ages and I enthusiastically recommend this book for anyone interested in developing a life of faith. – Andrea Sanders, www.ChristianBookPreviews.com
If you loved The Purpose-Driven Life and One Month to Live, then you’ll love The Jesus Experiment. Popular author and speaker Bill Perkins challenges you to spend twelve weeks discovering what it really means to live like Jesus. More than a book, it’s an invitation for you to try becoming like him in your feelings, thoughts, words, and deeds. Each week, you’ll focus on a different aspect of Jesus’ life, including how he faced his fears, how he talked with God, and how he helped others. As you examine your own life in light of the Lord’s, you’ll be amazed at how your mind and heart will change to more closely reflect his.