SPIRITUAL CONNECTIONS
 

This page was created on September 3, 2003
This page was last updated on October 28, 2004


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A SPIRITUAL WORD from david bruce

STORIES ARE ABOUT RELATIONSHIP
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SPIRITUAL THEMES

ABOUT JESUS

A man who can read the New Testament and not see that Christ claims to be more than a man can look all over the sky at high noon on a cloudless day and not see the sun.
--WILLIAM EDWARD BIEDERWOLF (1867–1939)

A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said wouldn’t be a great moral teacher. He’d be either a lunatic—on a level with a man who says he’s a poached egg—or else he’d be the devil of hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse.
--C. S. LEWIS (1898–1963)

All we want in Christ, we shall find in Christ. If we want little, we shall find little. If we want much, we shall find much; but if, in utter helplessness, we cast our all on Christ, he will be to us the whole treasury of God.
--HENRY BENJAMIN WHIPPLE (1822–1901)

Caesar was more talked about in his time than Jesus, and Plato taught more science than Christ. People still discuss the Roman ruler and the Greek philosopher, but who nowadays is hotly for Caesar or against him; and who now are the Platonists and the anti-Platonists? There are still people who love him and who hate him. . . . The fury of so many against him is a proof that he is not dead.
--GIOVANNI PAPINI (1923– )

He tore through the temple courts like a mad man.
--FLAVIUS JOSEPHUS (C. 37–100)

He wrote no book, and yet his words and prayer
Are intimate on many myriad tongues,
Are counsel everywhere.
--THERESE LINDSEY

Jesus Christ is the Completer
of unfinished people
with unfinished work
in unfinished times.
--LONA M. FOWLER

THE FOUR GOSPELS
The Four Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) present various accounts of the life and teachings of Jesus Christ.

The word "Gospel" comes from an Old English word that means "good news." The Greek word that is translated as "gospel" or "good news" is euangelion. The English words "evangelist" and "evangelism" also come from this word. An evangelist is one who tells good news.

The Gospels were probably written down in the present form between thirty and sixty years after Jesus' crucifixion. Since Jesus himself left no writings, the Gospels record stories and eyewitness descriptions that had been passed on by word of mouth for a number of years. At first, Jesus' followers were so eager to tell the message about him that they didn't think it was necessary to write down what he had said and done. But as Jesus' first followers and eyewitnesses grew older and died, it became more important to have a written record of what Jesus did and taught, and to describe His death and how God brought him back to life.

Although other "gospels" about Jesus were written and circulated, the only ones accepted as reliable by the whole church were Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. It is not certain who actually wrote these Gospels, since the names of the authors are never given in the books themselves. They were most likely written by early followers of Christ who heard about Jesus from one or more of Jesus' first disciples. Many sources were used to write the Gospels. The sources probably included various collections of Jesus' sayings and stories that were available to the Gospel writers. For example, a number of Jesus' sayings are similar in Matthew and Luke, so they may have been working with the same source. Both of them also appear to have used Mark for their basic outlines. But Matthew and Luke also used different sources to describe the events surrounding Jesus' birth, since Mark has nothing to say about Jesus' childhood. Matthew, Mark and Luke have so much material in common and follow the same basic outline that they are sometimes referred to as the "Synoptic" Gospels (from the Greek word synopsis, which means "seeing together").

The three Synoptic Gospels are more like each other than any of them is like John. While Matthew, Mark and Luke focus on Jesus' public teaching and miracle working in Galilee, John contains information about Jesus' early work in Judea. John also contains some of Jesus' sayings that are not found in the other Gospels. These include the so-called "I am" sayings, such as "I am the bread that gives life!" (John 6.35) and "I am the light for the world!" (John 8.12). The order of events in John does not follow the order shared by the Synoptic Gospels. And John does not include any of Jesus' parables that are found in the other three Gospels¹.

¹The Learning Bible, Contemporary English Version

THE BIBLE TRANSLATION
The Good News Bible™ constituted a new and extraordinarily successful method of communicating the scriptures to a wide audience. Rather than following the traditional vocabulary and style found in the historic English Bible versions, the translators used a "standard, everyday form of English," aimed at a broad audience. Section headings, references to parallel passages in the Bible, notes which explained alternative exegetical interpretations, information concerning the historical background, customs and cultural objects of biblical times, a word list, a chronological table and historical maps, accompanied the text.

Its production reflected the emergence of new theories in modern translations work, the perception of new needs by the nation's religious community, and a series of positive and carefully considered commitments by the American Bible Society (ABS).

The Good News version was immediately accepted by a diverse range of readers, who found the volume both fresh and inspiring. The goal of Dr. Eugene Nida, who assumed principal responsibility for the ABS translations department in 1946, was to create a translation in "the language common to the professor and the janitor, the business executive and the gardener, the socialite and the waiter." His vision was fulfilled in 1966, with the publication of an initial press run of 150,000 copies. Men and women of all socioeconomic classes embraced the new version, and within one year, 5 million copies were in print.

The Good News BibleT has exerted a strong influence on the ways in which people read and think about the scriptures. It has also profoundly affected the international translations community, as witnessed by the United Bible Societies' continued commitment to prepare common language translations in every major language.


 
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