Gentle and Lowly Book Summary - Gentle and Lowly Book explained in key points
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Gentle and Lowly summary

Dane Ortlund

The Heart of Christ for Sinners and Sufferers

4 (237 ratings)
14 mins

Brief summary

Gentle and Lowly by Dane Ortlund is a book that uncovers the heart of Jesus and His love for sinners. It provides a refreshing view of Christ's compassion, tenderness, and mercy toward all who come to Him.

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    Gentle and Lowly
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    What’s in his heart?

    Over the course of the eighty-nine chapters that comprise Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, the Bible recounts in detail the elements of Jesus’s birth, his teaching and ministry, his travels and habits, his followers, his arrest, his death, and his resurrection. Yet astonishingly, we’re given only one scripture that describes his heart. 

    Think about it like this: you’re describing the wonderful woman or man you’ve married to a friend. You tell them about their eating habits, their day-to-day routine, what they do for work, and his birthplace and family. But would you really be describing your partner’s soul by doing so?  

    Let’s take a look at what we’re given, then, to describe the heart of Jesus. Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:28–30) 

    What this says is that Jesus’s heart is not reactive, finger-pointing, or harsh, but rather, humble, understanding, and tender. Let’s look at the three other instances in the New Testament in which the word “gentle” appears for more context: first, in Matthew 5:5, which declares that “the meek” will inherit the earth; second, in Matthew 21:5 (quoting Zechariah 9:9), which foresees that Jesus “is coming to you, humble, and mounted on a donkey”; and finally, in Peter’s emphasis that it is above all essential to nourish “the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit” (1 Peter 3:4). 

    What about “lowly”? Though most often translated into “humble” in the New Testament (as in James 4:6, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble”), we ought to consider humility not in the sense of a virtue, but rather as the humility that comes from suffering adverse circumstances. The Old Testament also uses the original Greek word for “lowly” in this application, as in Luke 1:52, in which Mary, while pregnant with Jesus, sings to God: “He hath put down the mighty from their seat, and exalted them of low degree.” In Romans 12:16, Paul advises us to “not be haughty, but associate with the lowly.”  

    In other words, his gentle and lowly heart reserves his loyalty, devotion, and love not for those who are impressive, well appointed, or powerful, but for those who have sinned, failed, disappointed, and suffered—those with wounds and those who feel broken. He does not wish to punish or discipline, but rather to radiate love, patience, and healing to those who feel they have no more strength or resources to carry on or forge a new path.  

    Our lives will not be free from challenges and loss, but when such hardships do arise, and with them our insecurities, doubts, and anxieties, his gentle heart will welcome you all the more.

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    What is Gentle and Lowly about?

    Gentle and Lowly: The Heart of Christ for Sinners and Sufferers (2020) takes us into the core of Christ’s teachings to reveal the boundless mercy and grace of God’s heart. By diving into scripture and the teachings of the Puritans, this title reassures those who have strayed from Christ of the miracle of his radical love. 

    Gentle and Lowly Review

    Gentle and Lowly (2020) by Dane Ortlund is a profound exploration of the heart of Christ and why we should turn to him. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • With deep theological insights, it reveals the compassionate and forgiving nature of Jesus, inviting readers to experience his love and grace.
    • Through rich biblical references and compelling illustrations, it paints a vivid picture of Christ's character, giving readers a fresh perspective on his relentless pursuit of sinners.
    • By emphasizing comfort and rest in Christ, the book challenges our preconceived notions and reassures us of his unfailing love, providing solace in our darkest hours.

    Who should read Gentle and Lowly?

    • Believers of all stripes
    • Agnostics
    • Atheists interested in scripture

    About the Author

    Dane C. Ortlund received his PhD from Wheaton College and is Naperville Presbyterian Church’s senior pastor in Illinois. He has served as the editor for the Knowing the Bible series, edited by theologian J. I. Packer and featuring contributions from renowned pastors and religious leaders, and the Short Studies in Biblical Theology series. He is also the author of Deeper: Real Change for Real Sinners (2021). 

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    Gentle and Lowly FAQs 

    What is the main message of Gentle and Lowly?

    The main message of Gentle and Lowly is that Jesus is infinitely loving and compassionate towards sinners.

    How long does it take to read Gentle and Lowly?

    The reading time for Gentle and Lowly varies depending on the reader, but it typically takes several hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Gentle and Lowly a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Gentle and Lowly is worth reading because it reveals the heart of Jesus and offers comfort and hope for all.

    Who is the author of Gentle and Lowly?

    Dane Ortlund is the author of Gentle and Lowly.

    What to read after Gentle and Lowly?

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