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Words of Life

Jesus and the Promise of the Ten Commandments Today

Adam Hamilton


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Other Editions of This Title:
Digital Audiobook (12/28/2020)


What if the Ten Commandments were not just a set of ancient rules, but a guide to experiencing the good life today?

“Adam Hamilton is a teacher of the highest order, able to bridge the gap between very old divine teaching and very current human reality.”—Barbara Brown Taylor, author of Always a Guest: Speaking of Faith Far from Home

Nearly everyone has heard of the Ten Commandments, the list of “thou-shalt-nots” found in the Bible. Jesus saw these commandments not as onerous burdens, but as guideposts to help us experience a good and beautiful life. These ten ancient “words” were given to us by a loving God who longed to set safe boundaries, create order out of chaos, help communities live peacefully, and protect us—often from ourselves.

In this book of Scripture and inspiration, bestselling author Adam Hamilton brings modern eyes to the most important set of ethics in history. He considers the commandments in their historical context, considering the meaning of each commandment in Hebrew, unpacking how Jesus reinterpreted them, and showing how every thou-shalt-not was intended to point to a life-giving “thou shalt.” He also explores how the latest research in science and psychology illuminates these commandments, rightly understood, as a way of ordering one's life beautifully in the present day. In a culture marked by workaholism, materialism, and social media-driven envy, God has given us a time-tested path that leads to gratitude, confidence, and peace.

A landmark work from one of our most trusted biblical thinkers, Words of Life is an inspiring, thought-provoking read for anyone seeking to live a meaningful and joyful life.

Praise For Words of Life: Jesus and the Promise of the Ten Commandments Today

“Adam Hamilton is a teacher of the highest order, able to bridge the gap between very old divine teaching and very current human reality with fidelity, intelligence, and a heart so attuned to his readers that even the most damaged truster can relax. Whether you ever plan to step inside a church or not, be sure to step inside this book. I have no doubt that your life and the life of the world will be richer if you do.”—Barbara Brown Taylor, author of Always a Guest: Speaking of Faith Far from Home

“Right after Sinai, Moses declared, ‘Not with our ancestors did the Lord make this covenant, but with us, who are all of us here alive today.’ In our generation of moral relativism and ethical confusion, Hamilton has a powerful voice for ethical clarity and moral imagination. Here he takes up ‘the big ten’ and in a winsome study shows how the commandments both mandate us and yield new life for us. Hamilton is a master teacher and offers his work in a way that is accessible and persuasive.”—Walter Brueggemann, professor emeritus, Columbia Theological Seminary, author of The Prophetic Imagination

“What a thoughtful, timely exploration of the Ten Commandments! Many of us slip into believing that there’s no more for us to learn from these familiar passages, but Hamilton’s smart, clear writing brings new understanding and new inspiration to this lifelong Christian. . . . A grounding and challenging book that I’ll be recommending over and over—to both younger and more mature Christians alike.”—Shauna Niequist, New York Times bestselling author of Present Over Perfect

“Biblically faithful, personally courageous, and pastorally sensitive, Hamilton shows how the Ten Commandments provide necessary guidance for today’s troubled times.”—Amy-Jill Levine, University Professor of New Testament and Jewish Studies, Vanderbilt Divinity School

“We have learned that whenever we are in the hands of Hamilton, we are in for a biblical, vibrantly Christian presentation of the gospel. But the Ten Commandments? Yes, even these ancient, imposing ‘thou shalt nots,’ under Hamilton’s guidance, can be seen as divine gifts pointing us the way toward more joyful, abundant living. His reflections will enable you to rejoice again at the wonder of a God who loves us enough not to leave us to wander alone but to show us, in the Decalogue, the way to become who we were created to be.”—Will Willimon, professor of the practice of Christian ministry, United Methodist bishop, retired, and author of Accidental Preacher: A Memoir

Convergent Books, 9781524760540, 240pp.

Publication Date: December 29, 2020

About the Author

Adam Hamilton is senior pastor of the 20,000-member Church of the Resurrection, Kansas City, which NPR described as "one of the most influential churches in America." Reverend Hamilton is a leading voice for reconciliation and renewal in the Church, and the bestselling author of more than thirty books, including Unafraid and Making Sense of the Bible. He and his wife, LaVon, have two grown daughters.