I am. . .Not: a book review


I am Not But I Know I AM by Louie Giglio

Before Giglio was in the public eye for his views of public morality he was the driving force behind the Passion movement which has created some the most popular worship music in the last two decades. He is also the pastor of Passion City Church in ATL. He wrote I Am Not But I Know I AM: Welcome to the Story of God  in 2005, and Waterbrook Multnomah has just re-released it for another run.

The title describes the books central theme. I Am that I Am is the name that Moses heard when he asked on the mountain, “Whom shall I say sent me?” The answer was: Yahweh–I Am that I Am; I Will BE What I Will Be. This God is like no other and while we human creatures sometimes usurp his position, we don’t even come close. Giglio tells the story of  the God of the Bible, seen in the Old Testament and revealed in Christ. We learn two important truths in this book:

  1. There is a God
  2. You and I are not God.

At times Giglio emphasizes God’s transcendence and how utterly mysterious his ways are to us. But this isn’t just a tale of the ‘Wholly Other.” This God has extended to us his love and drawn near to us in Jesus Christ. When Giglio says I am Not but I Know “I Am” he proclaims his trust in the God of creation that he knows through his relationship with Jesus Christ.  Because we are not I Am, are job is not to strive, to make a name, to make something happen. Our job is to know and to trust in our God.

I liked this book and think that Giglio makes some great points. However there are some  exegetical leaps. Giglio describes the ‘One-Word Bible Study Method’ which involves going slowly, meditatively through a passage one word at a time  (he does in the book with John 1:14).  I like this method because a slow attentive reading of scripture avails you to the voice of God. Yet in Giglio’s demonstration, he ends up giving a fanciful etymology to the word “Became” (the verb ‘to be’ = I AM, therefore we are to read it “I AM came”).  I don’t disagree with Giglio’s points but using English etymology (even made up etymology) to understand biblical words and concepts, puts you in danger of reading into the text.  What Giglio  does more or less responsibly here, could just as easily be misused.

So with some reservations, I recommend this book. I think Giglio’s message is on target.  This is a quick read but is the sort of message we all need to hear.

Thank you to Waterbrook Multnomah for providing me a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review


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I am a pastor, husband, father, instigator, pray-er, hoper, writer, trouble-maker, peacemaker, and friend. Who are you?

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