Jesus the Great Philosopher

Rediscovering the Wisdom Needed for the Good Life

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Many of us tend to live as though Jesus represents the "spiritual part" of our lives. We don't clearly see how he relates to the rest of our experiences, desires, and habits. How can Jesus, the Bible, and Christianity become more than a compartmentalized part of our lives?

Highly regarded New Testament scholar and popular teacher Jonathan Pennington argues that we need to recover the lost biblical image of Jesus as the one true philosopher who teaches us how to experience the fullness of our humanity in the kingdom of God. Jesus teaches us what is good, right, and beautiful and offers answers to life's big questions: what it means to be human, how to be happy, how to order our emotions, and how we should conduct our relationships.

This book brings Jesus and Christianity into dialogue with the ancient philosophers who asked the same big questions about finding meaningful happiness. It helps us rediscover biblical Christianity as a whole-life philosophy, one that addresses our greatest human questions and helps us live meaningful and flourishing lives.


Your Personal Lord and Philosopher
Philosophers, Martyrs, and Canoes 
The Genius of Ancient Philosophy
The Bible as Philosophy?
The Philosophical "Big Ideas" in the Old Testament
The Philosophical "Big Ideas" in the New Testament
Educating Emotions
A Big Emotional Debate
Christianity's Sophisticated Solution
Restoring Relationships
The Necessity of Relationships
Christianity's Renewed Relationships
Being Human and Happy
Humans, We Have a Problem
Christianity's Whole, Meaningful, and Flourishing Life


"Dr. Pennington is a true academic. But don't hold that against him. Frankly, you'd have a hard time doing so, as he is exactly the kind of pastor-theologian we need more of. Just the mention of 'philosophy' conjures images of classrooms I lack the will to inhabit, but in his engaging and accessible style Pennington invites ordinary learners to sit at the feet of the most extraordinary philosopher. Jesus the Philosopher is concerned not merely with our dying and eternal state but with our living--and with our abundant living, at that. You hold a book that will expand your vision for human flourishing, as you gaze through ancient lenses on the face of the Savior."

Jen Wilkin, author and Bible teacher

"I wish I had been introduced Jesus the Great Philosopher much earlier in life. It would have saved me from much struggle and error. I wish I had had a book like this one to teach how we can see and understand the way in which the truths taught by the world's greatest thinkers are reflected in many ways in the everyday world around us--yet find their ultimate source and end only in Jesus. Deep and wide, informative and accessible, challenging and humane--this is a book that will help you not only to think better but to live better too."

Karen Swallow Prior, author of On Reading Well: Finding the Good Life through Great Books and Fierce Convictions: The Extraordinary Life of Hannah More--Poet, Reformer, Abolitionist

"When many people think of philosophy, they think of arid and abstract syllogisms. That's not this book. This book, written by one of the most brilliant biblical scholars of this generation, makes a compelling case for Jesus as Lord, as Savior, and as Philosopher. This philosophy of Jesus is incarnational rather than abstract, holistic rather than syllogistic, and revelatory rather than just argumentative. This book addresses the mind, the heart, the soul, and the life. That's why it's the book we need right now. Read and find wisdom. Read and find Christ."

Russell Moore, president, The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention

"Our world continues to struggle with who we are, what we are about, and where to find happiness. Jesus the Great Philosopher addresses these issues and answers these problems by presenting Jesus as our all in all. Jonathan Pennington's research and writing are a true gift to the church. Throughout this book, you will find his curiosity infectious and his excitement contagious. With the uncovering of ancient truths and the discovery of ageless practices, you will be motivated to love Jesus for all he is--the beginning and the end, the philosopher for all of life. Enjoy this book and learn to live with Jesus as your great philosopher."

Kyle Idleman, bestselling author of Not a Fan, Grace Is Greater, and Don't Give Up

"In Jesus the Great Philosopher, Jonathan Pennington lifts up an often-neglected aspect of Jesus's identity in order to showcase the beauty of Christianity as a way of life--an answer to the meaninglessness and confusion felt by many today who look for solutions in philosophies that bring no lasting satisfaction. Pennington gives us a Jesus-directed introduction to many of life's most profound questions."

Trevin Wax, senior vice president of theology and communications, LifeWay Christian Resources; author of Rethink Your Self: The Power of Looking Up before Looking In and This Is Our Time: Everyday Myths in Light of the Gospel

The Author

  1. Jonathan T. Pennington
    Freddy Sinarahua

    Jonathan T. Pennington

    Jonathan T. Pennington (PhD, University of St. Andrews), a popular speaker, teacher, and preacher, is associate professor of New Testament interpretation at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is also on staff as a preaching pastor at Sojourn...

    Continue reading about Jonathan T. Pennington


"In every generation, certain books profoundly influence individuals or entire cultures, serving as catalysts for new ideas, enlarged possibilities, and fresh perspectives on ancient truths. . . . I hope that Jonathan T. Pennington's Jesus the Great Philosopher plays a similar role in the contemporary church, reminding us to value the brilliance of Jesus the Philosopher King. . . . Pennington links some of the problems endemic to modern Christianity--fragmentation, biblical illiteracy, anti-intellectualism, a limited witness, and more--to the church's failure to appreciate the philosophical nature of Christianity and of Christ himself. His book sets forth a challenge for modern Christians: to return to a more ancient--and biblical--conception of Jesus as the true Philosopher King."

Paul M. Gould,

Christianity Today (5-star review)

"Jesus the Great Philosopher provides a rich and relevant guide into how the Christian gospel gives a whole-life philosophy that makes possible a flourishing existence in the here-and-now. . . . While the breadth of topics Pennington addresses is wide, the reader never gets the sense that he has overstepped his bounds. His insights are broad yet concise, informative yet nourishing. . . . Jesus the Great Philosopher is a clear and enjoyable text that presents an important rediscovery of the broad and robust message of the Holy Scriptures. Pennington effectively addresses a wide range of issues with a skillful yet conversational tone, providing the reader with an active and engaging text. Timely and relevant, this book gives Christians the important reminder that our Lord and Savior is also our Philosopher who gives us not only redemption and salvation, but also the tools necessary for the Good Life."

Isaac Whitney,

Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission

"Erudite, informative, thoughtful and thought-provoking, Jesus the Great Philosopher: Rediscovering the Wisdom Needed for the Good Life is an extraordinary and ultimately inspiring study that will be a welcome addition to Contemporary Christian Theology collections in general, and Christian Bible Studies/Christian Living Studies supplemental reading lists in particular."

Wisconsin Bookwatch