Love Matters More: How Fighting to Be Right Keeps Us from Loving Like Jesus

Reviewed by:

G. Connor Salter, Professional Writing alumnus from Taylor University, Upland, IN.


Love Matters More: How Fighting to Be Right Keeps Us from Loving Like Jesus


Jared Byas


Zondervan Books

Publication Date:

September 8, 2020




224 pages


We know that the Bible talks about speaking the truth in love, and most Christians would say that’s what they try to do. However, experience shows that many Christians do not do that, and their attempts to be loving often just seem judgmental. Jared Byas has some experience with this problem, particularly as a Presbyterian pastor who specialized in Biblical scholarship and giving the most academically accurate answer to people’s questions. He looks back at the problems that model created for him, arguing for a new view of truth that focuses more on relationship and following Jesus than on getting all the facts of the Bible right. In short, he argues for a view of Christianity that puts love at the center.

Byas makes some excellent points about the problem of people thinking they’re speaking the truth in love when they’re really just being harsh. He also give some good guidelines about how to tell when love is present are often helpful, and helps people consider how their Enlightenment-based views of truth may be skewed. Specifically, he points out that when the Bible talks about truth as a subject, it almost always talks about it in the context of people living it out. Therefore, it follows that while seeking good teaching and differentiating good teaching from bad teaching is important, knowing the basics of faith and living them out well is more important than finding out all the nuances or arguing over proper interpretations. In making this point, Byas helps readers to understand Paul’s point in 1 Corinthians 13 about being nothing without love.

However, sometimes Byas seems so interested in getting away from the impersonal, “knowledge is everything” kind of Christianity that he learns too far in the other direction. In one chapter, he argues that since the Gospel writers apparently re-interpreted some Old Testament passages as Messianic prophecies and Jesus reinterprets (or “fulfills”) Old Testament law in his Sermon on the Mount, Christians may need to “make new meanings for the Bible based on how we are discerning and experiencing God in our lives and in our culture.” The problem is that even granting Jesus and the Gospel writers did “update” Bible passages with their teachings, it does not necessarily follow that any Christian can do that. Jesus was God in human form and the Gospel writers were guided by the Holy Spirit (via the process we call divine inspiration) when they wrote. Granted, Christians are guided by the Holy Spirit and Protestant theology affirms that every Christian can interpret Scripture for themselves; but neither of those ideas allow Christians to create new Scriptures or rewrite or reinterpret the existing Scriptures to create “new meanings.” Doing so would prioritize personal experience over Scripture in an unhealthy way. Byas seems to be aware of the issues and makes a point to qualify this idea by talking about the need for love and wisdom as a kind of filter for finding new meanings in the Bible. However, that doesn’t change the basic problem. Find meanings that were already in Scripture that no one noticed before is one thing. Finding personal takeaways in the Scripture is one thing. Coming up with new meanings for the Bible is something else altogether. This flaw is a shame really, because elsewhere in the book Byas has some great ideas that certainly need to be discussed more.

Overall, the book is a mix of some great and some problematic ideas. Readers discerning enough to focus on the few good ideas will find it helpful, others will find it confusing.


Rating (1 to 5 stars)

2.5 stars

Suggested Audience


Christian Impact

The author delves into Scripture various times, showing how the Bible talks about truth in a way that post-Enlightenment Western Christians are unfamiliar with. As noted above, his other applications are not always helpful, but he has some good insights.

Love Matters More: How Fighting to Be Right Keeps Us from Loving Like Jesus

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