Many wonder why Jesus did not write any books or why anything He may have written was not preserved. Conspiracy theorists suggest His texts were hidden for nefarious reasons. Given the importance of the written Word (2 Timothy 3:16), it’s natural to ask why Christ didn’t record anything in writing. Scripture doesn’t give us an exact answer. Still, we can make educated guesses. The most likely reason relates to humanity’s habit of over-emphasizing certain things and ideas, while losing sight of the larger picture.
Speaking to the disciples at the Last Supper, Jesus said that He was going to leave the physical world (John 16:5). Then, shockingly, He said that His leaving was to their advantage (John 16:7). That would have been hard to understand at the time. However, it does make sense in hindsight.
So long as Jesus was physically present, the disciples would always rely on His presence to control their faith. Only when Jesus left, and the Holy Spirit came, would the disciples rely on a personal, internal connection to God’s will. If Jesus had stayed physically present in this world, their every decision would have been delayed until they could ask Him His advice in person. The reach of the gospel would be limited by where He was, physically, at any given time. Obedience to God and the outworking of faith would have been focused on seeing or hearing a physical Christ—to the exclusion of interacting with other Christians or heeding the voice of the Holy Spirit.
As we consider why Jesus didn’t write any books of the Bible, similar principles may apply. Even having the Bible, some ignore or downplay everything in Scripture other than the words of Jesus: the “Red Letter” groups. Beyond the fact that “red letters” are not designated in the original texts, that approach to the Bible can lead to setting aside important teachings from God. It’s a misplaced effort to emphasize some of God’s Word over other parts. In truth, everything in Scripture is from Jesus, because it’s all from God.
If we had texts personally written by Jesus, many would go beyond honoring them to setting aside all other words of Scripture. Having a “book of Jesus” would invite people to ignore inspired statements outside that text.
If the physical scrolls of any book of the Bible survived, people would treat those objects as idols—just as they do with supposed “relics” associated with Christ. Jesus’ only earthly possessions when He died were His clothes; these were immediately taken by indifferent Romans (John 19:23–24). Had He left anything else, including writings, the relics would quickly have inspired idolatrous impulses. Something similar happened in the Old Testament, when people obsessed over an item associated with Moses (Numbers 21:49; 2 Kings 18:1–4).
Knowing human nature, God may have purposefully avoided giving us things to worship. This may explain why we know so little about Jesus’ childhood or His appearance. Such details would likely provide temptation and distraction far more than they’d tell us anything we need to know about God.
We don’t have an explicit answer about why Jesus never left writings of His own. Still, human weakness seems the best explanation. Discipleship relies on individual understanding and an appreciation for all of God’s Word. If we had a book of the Bible written by Jesus, we would be tempted to obsess over and even idolize it. As much as the disciples would have loved Jesus to stay with them, and as much as we’d love to have His handwritten words, our sin nature determines that not having those things is, ironically, better for us and our relationship to God.