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Not by Sight: A Fresh Look at Old Stories of Walking by Faith (Bloom)

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Trusting Jesus is hard. It requires following the unseen into an unknown, and believing Jesus’s words over and against the threats we see or the fears we feel. Through the imaginative retelling of 35 Bible stories, Not by Sight gives us glimpses of what it means to walk by faith, counsel for how to trust God’s promises more than our perceptions, and the way to find rest in the faithfulness of God. 

Table of Contents: 

  1. ‘Where Is Your Faith?’ – James Zebedee and Fear
  2. ‘Neither Do I Condemn You’ – The Adulteress and Guilt
  3. She Still had to Go Home – The Adulteress and Sin’s Consequences
  4. Doubt in the Darkness – John the Baptist and Doubt
  5. Dismembering an Idol – Zacchaeus and Idolatry
  6. Why Are You Disappointed? – Joseph Barsabbas and Disappointment
  7. Can You bear Uncertainty? – Would-Be-Disciple and Provision
  8. ‘I Will Never Believe’ – Thomas and Skepticism
  9. The Night the Angel Didn’t Come – James Zebedee and Death
  10. Facing a Painful Decision – Joseph the Carpenter and Guidance
  11. Stables of Desperation Are the Birthplaces of God’s Grace – Joseph the Carpenter and Trust
  12. (Un)Planned Detours – Joseph the Carpenter and Guidance
  13. ‘Do Not Be Afraid’ – Jehoshaphat and Fear
  14. What Love for God Looks Like – Simon the Pharisee and Worship
  15. When a Rock Sunk Slowly – Peter and Faith
  16. Faith That Makes Jesus Marvel – The Centurion and Faith
  17. Are You Content with Weaknesses? – Paul and Humility
  18. Ask! – The Leper and Provision
  19. ‘Do You Believe This?’ – Martha and Death
  20. When You Aren’t Sure What to Do Next – Peter and Waiting
  21. Jesus Chooses and Uses Failures – Peter and Restoration
  22. When a Rebuke Became a Reward – Zechariah and Unbelief
  23. Hope for Our Beloved Unbelievers – Jesus’s Siblings and Evangelism
  24. Success Can Be Perilous – King David and Selfishness
  25. More Than Enough – Philip and Provision
  26. God’s Purposes Can Be Opposite of Our Perceptions – The Man Born Blind and Suffering
  27. The Eyes Jesus Opened First – Cleopas and Disillusionment
  28. ‘What I Am Doing You Do Not Understand Now’ – Peter and Sanctification
  29. Staying Faithful When Things Get Worse – Joseph and Perseverance
  30. Serve in the Shadow God Places You – Andrew and Humility
  31. The Day of Your Deliverance Is Decreed – Disabled Woman and Suffering
  32. Has Jesus Been Worth It? – Paul and Christian Hedonism
  33. Powerful, Pragmatic Pawn of Providence – Pontius Pilate and Governing Authorities
  34. ‘Follow Me’ – Levi and Grace
  35. When Following Jesus Means Going Home – The Gadarene and Appointment 



Jon Bloom is a co-founder and the president of Desiring God, and finds great joy in helping others believe and delight in Jesus Christ. Bloom and his wife, Pam, live in Minneapolis with their five children.



“Vivid, nourishing sketches of Bible characters learning to live with their sometimes startling Lord.” — J. I. Packer, Board of Governors' Professor of Theology, Regent College

“To live by faith is no small thing. Jon Bloom’s Not By Sight provides brief readings—one per day would be ideal—to help us rethink our lives in the light of Christ’s faithfulness. The audacity of this book is that it simply but thoughtfully takes Christ at his word. How rare, how powerful.” — Raymond C. Ortlund Jr., Lead Pastor, Immanuel Church, Nashville, Tennessee

“Spurgeon said, ‘My books are my tools.’ And the book you hold in your hands is one wise match for the journey. Bloom’s stories and insights ignite—ignite fire in bones, and ignite the old and best paths, and ignite glimpses of His glory that make us want to run this walk of faith!” — Ann Voskamp, author, New York Times bestseller, One Thousand Gifts

“Jon Bloom is a Christ-centered, God-worshipping, kingdom-oriented guy. And since not all writers are, those are good reasons to read this book! But it’s more than that. Jon is a gifted writer of something we need more of—truth-telling nonfiction that’s full of imagination. For years I have read Jon’s Desiring God blogs and pondered them, saving some of them to quote from in future books. I love how Jon repeatedly takes me back to Scripture. God says his words won’t return to him empty without accomplishing his purpose. He never says that about our words. That’s why Not By Sight will endure beyond this world—it is infused with the life-giving Word of God that will never die.” — Randy Alcorn, Founder and Director, Eternal Perspective Ministries; author, If God Is Good andHeaven

Not By Sight creatively and winsomely invites readers into the realities of the gospel accounts, enabling us to hear the rocks of the adulterous woman’s accusers fall to the ground, feel the tingle of health rushing through the leper’s body, see the panic in Peter’s eyes as he begins to sink, smell the fragrance that has been poured on Jesus’s feet, and taste the fish Jesus serves to the disciples for breakfast.” — Nancy Guthrie, Bible Teacher; author, Seeing Jesus in the Old Testament Bible study series

“Forgetfulness and familiarity. Faith is often plagued by these twin faults. We easily forget what we know about who God is and what he’s done for us in Jesus Christ. When we turn to Scripture for help, our familiarity dulls the wonder in the splendid story of God’s mercy to mere men. We need to be reminded of the old stories of Scripture, that they might irrigate our parched souls and ignite our faith. In Not By Sight, my friend Jon Bloom shatters our familiarity with the Bible by helping us see afresh how the drama of Scripture unfolds in the gritty reality of human experience and how those stores are infused with grace as they fit into the greatest story: God’s plan to save sinners by his Son. Do you need to be reminded of what you already know? Do you need to be shaken from your familiarity? Jon’s fresh tellings of the old tales will help you recover surprise and delight in the stories of Scripture.” — C. J. Mahaney, Senior Pastor, Sovereign Grace Church of Louisville, Louisville, Kentucky

“There is nothing quite like the gritty, grace-filled stories of Scripture to awaken our hearts to the all-sufficiency of Jesus Christ. And there is hardly anyone I know more gifted or capable of bringing them to life and making poignant, and often painful, application of them than my good friend, Jon Bloom. This is a wonderfully insightful, powerfully edifying, and above all Christ-exalting book that I cannot recommend too highly.” — Sam Storms, Lead Pastor for Preaching and Vision, Bridgeway Church, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

“Do you, like me, feel the futility of straining to get hope from the things you can see? Using the voices of those who have gone before us, Jon Bloom describes the better way—walking by faith with Jesus, our Blessed Hope. Not By Sight takes you on a walk through the cloud of witnesses whose testimony of God’s always sufficient grace, echoes through the ages. I’m grateful for this meditation on the precious promise of God’s provision to enable us to put one foot in front of the other by faith.” — Gloria Furman, Pastor’s wife, Redeemer Church of Dubai; mother of four; author, Glimpses of Grace and Treasuring Christ When Your Hands Are Full  

“What happens when we humbly and expectantly meditate on the stories of the Scriptures while wearing the lens of the gospel? Ask Jon Bloom, or better still, buy his new book, Not by Sight, and discover for yourself. This treasury of short devotionals is the nourishing fruit of a man smitten with Jesus and hungry for grace—a brother whose words make the gospel beautiful and believable, to believers and non-believers alike. This is a book you’re going to want to give to a whole lot of friends, no matter where they are in their faith story.” — Scotty Smith, Teacher in Residence, West End Community Church, Nashville, Tennessee

“There are probably only two books I’ve read with a depth of discipleship untouched by the Church at large in America. Not By Sight by Jon Bloom is one of those. More than once, I found myself unable to continue reading as tears filled my eyes, my heart being so deeply moved and encouraged by Jon’s soothing words about the surprising, but always trustworthy ways of God. More Christians need to understand these truths if they are to walk firmly into every good work God has prepared for them. If you only read one book this year, I strongly recommend it be this one.” — Matt Brown, Evangelist; author; Founder, Think Eternity