Miles treats his biblical subjects neither as transcendent deities or historical figures, but as literary protagonists. His first book, God: A Biography, won the Pulitzer Prize for Biography in 1996 and has been translated into sixteen languages. His second book, Christ: A Crisis in the Life of God, was named a New York Times Notable Book of 2002. Miles was named a MacArthur Fellow for the period 2003–07.
Over a period of nearly twenty years (1975–95), Jack Miles was an editor at Doubleday, the executive editor at the University of California Press, the literary editor at The Los Angeles Times, and a member of the Times editorial board, writing on politics and culture.