Book Spotlight: J.D. Greear's '12 Truths and a Lie: Answers to Life's Biggest Questions'

Posted on Monday, January 8, 2024 by Lindsay Williams

Book Spotlight: "12 Truths and a Lie" J.D. Greear

If God is really in control, why is there so much evil and suffering?

Why isn’t God answering my prayers?

How can I know for sure I’ll go to heaven?

If we’re honest, these are questions every believer has asked at one time or another, and in his new book, “12 Truths and a Lie: Answers to Life’s Biggest Questions,” Pastor J.D. Greear asserts that asking questions is an act of faith. In fact, he encourages his readers to keep asking questions, even going so far as to propose that God actually delights in our questions; for it’s in our questioning that we discover more of His character. 

“In my two decades of being a pastor, I’ve learned that many people never voice their questions for fear that the question, or doubt, reveals some deeply problematic element of their faith,” observes Greear, who pastors the 12,000-member The Summit Church in Raleigh, North Carolina “Real Christians, they assume, never have these questions.”

That’s why Greear begins his book with a lie: If you have doubts and difficult questions, you’re a bad Christian, or maybe not a Christian at all.

After promptly debunking that myth, the father of four — well-known as the host of the “Ask Me Anything” podcast — goes on to unpack a dozen of the most common questions he’s repeatedly asked. Questions about salvation, the value of work, purpose, the will of God and everything in between.

Each chapter attempts to answer said question from a biblical standpoint. And each time, Greear approaches it with a great deal of candor, wit and sensitivity. He throws in quite a few movie references alongside real life anecdotes to infuse some lighthearted moments into some otherwise serious topics. Yet, his resolve is sure as he answers these universal questions in a straightforward manner, always pointing readers back to the truth of God’s Word.

Some questions are more polarizing than others (see: How can a loving God send people to hell?), but readers will respect Greear’s boldness to utter them aloud. Whether they agree or disagree with his answers isn’t the point. Greear’s goal is not to win followers but to point Christ followers to the truth of Jesus. And by providing answers from Scripture about life’s biggest questions, he, in turn, does just that.

If anything, “12 Truths and a Lie” is a practical manual for every believer — regardless of where they might find themselves on the winding journey of faith. One chapter at a time, Greear goes to work, providing well-balanced, well-researched food for thought, often coming to the conclusion that God’s ways are higher than our ways, His thoughts loftier than our own. He’s clear on one thing, though: God isn’t afraid of our questions.

The book can easily be digested from cover to cover in one sitting, or it can be picked up and put down as easily as inquiries arise. Additionally, Greear has developed an accompanying podcast on AccessMore that dives even deeper into each question explored in the book. Regardless of the format, “12 Truths and a Lie” addresses relevant questions from the point of view of an educated theologian, pastor, husband and father who is — at best — simply trying to navigate his way through life and faith just like the rest of us.

“It’s ok to have questions. It’s actually good and healthy,” Greear writes. “My prayer for you is that you will enter this book with a desire to be drawn closer to God in the process… I hope this book finds its way to people checking out this faith-in-Jesus thing, to those who are new to the Christian life, and also to experienced Christians who are looking for ways to better answer similar questions when they’re asked at school, church, or work.”

More than the clarity it provides, “12 Truths and a Lie” offers a certain amount of comfort when we recognize this truth: We might doubt, and we may never have the answers, but we aren’t alone in our questions.

FaithPrayerBook Spotlight

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