Saturday 28 November 2015

"Christmas" ?

CHRISTMAS


The Bible does not contain the
word "Christmas". (That is also true for some of the traditional "seasonal" representations, including dating.) So, why this post? I examine New Testament (NT) statements that actually do relate to Jesus coming into our world the first time.

Monday 2 November 2015

"Save"

Paul knows the meaning of Jesus’ saving crucifixion. He is very clear about him, the one who saves all who will.

Monday 28 September 2015

Tuesday 25 August 2015

Saints (edited)

Saints or "Saints"?
Some old Bibles have numerous mention of "saints"; that word has its special significance.
Image courtesy Pixabay.com

Saturday 25 July 2015

"Stickies" (R)


Parts of the Bible are sticking points for some (many?) folks. Consider a small extract from Paul containing descriptions of Christ's work (alternative translations below).

Tuesday 23 June 2015

Be Alert!

Some parts of the NT message are awkward, or difficult, or really challenging, or all three!

Saturday 23 May 2015

Foreword

Jesus from the oldest sources: What resources are there to support today's uncommited investigator? What kind of book is the Bible? Where to start? How does it fit? What questions deserve a nod? What ideas could usefully be addressed? What hazards lie in the path? So I set out to produce this blog.

Literalist and/or fundamentalist? Liberal? Evangelical? Post- modernist? Presuppositions and predilections? Prejudice or spiritual blindness? I suppose these and other swear words might seem handy? (Do any of them apply in a truly literal sense?) It is one thing if a person applies one or more of these words to themselves. It is another thing if others use them to label. I think that broad generalisations are not helpful and I should avoid them.

I doubt anyone actually just takes all Bible expressions on apparent or simply literal face value. I do not see how that can be done. Maybe some folk have space for talking snake(s)? What about plucking out an offending eye? Both of those examples are found in 'our' Bible.

Not all the literature between the covers of the Bible is of the same type. Some is prose; some poetic; some is metaphorical. "Love your enemies" (Matthew 5:44) is one kind of text. Surely it is obviously different from "proclaim from the housetops" (Matthew 10.27). (Note also, both those quotes are ripped from their contexts, with signficant error if taken literally in the case of one.) In 26 of the 27 NT books the nature of the text seems clear, perhaps with the exception of the 3 'last things' chapters (Matthew 24, Mark 13, Luke 21; the final NT book presents a different challenge!).

I found that academic theological studies can be interesting and productive. However, technical questions aside, some experts I read wanted to remake the NT (or Bible) to say what appealed to them; to reconstruct it to fit with their own notions and purposes. (Speculations can be engaging, but that is beside the point.)
 

Information and reasons are one thing; opinion another. (Which, of course, is my opinion!) True - many scholars devote themselves to minute and detailed examination of the Bible text. They can provide a lot of information about, and insight into, the ancient writings, especially in the original settings. Unfortunately, intelligent, perceptive and diligent people may become (even overt) Bible 'remakers'. (Later I intend to detail an example.)

My own approach in this blog is to treat all of the Bible as it is and reject none (though I do have sympathy for Luther's view of James!). There is a need for interpretation? The Bible is its own best interpreter (someone said). The significant 'catch', then, is to know the whole well enough to understand the part. It may take time.


Admittedly, here and there, there are 'variants', 'puzzles' and odd points of translation uncertainty. Resolution may not be available. Nothing fatal there to the task - and, since God is - not likely to be. From time to time I look at selected books or articles. However, in this blog I am not setting out to combat particular critical views, nor to present academic arguments. (Help can be found elsewhere if needed; for example, W:publicchristianity.org  may be useful to you.)


I shall aim to avoid suppositions, prejudices and unlabelled guesses. It is my position that God is true and God can be truly known. In fact God wants to be known and welcomes all-comers.

This blog is intended to help an enquirer engage with the NT. The main point is access to the records. So I will fill in some background and give some kind of 'glossary'. You can sample various translations. I suggest an optional order of engaging the documents (reading plan) in lieu of the assumed conventional (start at page one and read to the end)...

In my posts I give priority to the four Gospels, treating them as primary sources.  It is possible or probable that the first written text to come into the hands of early learners was something from Paul, eg, Galatians or Romans. However, the message the potential earliest disciple heard was from the (oral) account of Jesus, probably accompanied by selections from the Old Testament (OT).  

Overall, I am saying Jesus of Nazareth, Risen Christ (Messiah), Lord and Saviour, can, by God's help, be encountered and best truly understood through the pages of the NT, enriched by the OT. I hope you can meet him, whom to know is life eternal.  God bless you.

Scripture is taken from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Wednesday 22 April 2015

Persecutions

In the expensive documentary, Jesus: Rise to Power, (National Geographic Channel)

Friday 17 April 2015

on Variants

These days probably all publications of the Bible (in this case the NT) include variants in the margin, as alternative to the text printed in the body of the page.

Sunday 12 April 2015

Trustworthy Documents v0.3

What evidence is there for the reliability of the NT documents I am discussing (and encouraging you to read)?

Thursday 9 April 2015

Executed under Pontius Pilate v0.3

The accounts are unambiguous: Jesus of Nazareth was executed by crucifixion under the authority of Pontius Pilate.

Wednesday 8 April 2015

eBook Bible Availability

Another factor for my project (specifically the 'Compilation' covering the 'Jesus Event') was the widespread use of ebooks.

Saturday 4 April 2015

Friday 3 April 2015

A Saviour who Saves Others

Sadly, today, and so tragically frequently, the pages of human history are indelibly stained by brutal and aggressive behaviour,

Wednesday 1 April 2015

The Jesus Event - a Presentation


The Jesus Event
a compiled presentation

Following is a presentation of Jesus derived from Mark, with additions from John, and substitutions (shorter) from Matthew and Luke. (I ended up with about 15,500 words; 25 pages.) You can instead simply read Mark in whatever version you wish, e.g. via Bible Gateway.com.

This is the good news about Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

Tuesday 31 March 2015

How to Get - Print New Testament or Bible

Printed Bibles in various forms are available from many reliable on-line sellers. Some offer free postage. (Some also sell the New Testament separately.) From an Australian perspective:
  • www.bookdepository.com
  • www.koorong.com 
  • https://www.word.com.au/
(I think you do need to know just what you want.) 

Koorong also sells smaller volumes - individual documents (or, books) such as 'Gospels'. Others may do as well.

Orders are placed simply without opening an account and all costs are shown.

(It is possible the order process will provide an option to make a donation. This is not required.)

Unfortunately, packages when received may contain other items from them, some of a fund-raising nature. (They can be recycled.)

Bible in other Languages

A great many languages other than English are available from the Koorong on-line 'shop'. Others may also support.

OTHER COUNTRIES

If you are needing assistance to find a Bible source for your country, please send me a message. I will do what I can.

On-screen OK?

I find the WWW on-line text resources of Bible Gateway and Blue Letter Bible good. (There are others.)

  • biblegateway.com
  • blueletterbible.org

Post revised, updated 23/01/2022

Monday 23 March 2015

Bible on smartphone or tablet

Seem to be a lot of apps to give access to the Bible.
  • Bible Gateway
  • Bible! by Logos
  • Blue Letter Bible
 The above I have looked at. (They offer more than one version.)

Some apps give access to a single Bible version.

Some apps belong to a particular group with their own unique slant.

Some apps offer in-app purchase to download.

Wednesday 18 March 2015

The purpose and procedure

The Gospel writer in John chapter 1 [see Introduction] is clear that Jesus came and was unacceptable to his own [ie First Century Israel]. Some did nevertheless welcome him and believed and were made children of God.  Further below you see the (Matthew) quote that he would save his people. 

Nonetheless, as you read on it becomes clear that his coming is actually for all who will receive him.

The procedure.

I set out an orderly series of readings and provide links refer to online sources. You can use the links online sites to read the texts if that suits. The important thing is to read the record and think for yourself.

[I prepared a lengthy compilation for on-screen reading.]

Readers

My work here is not intended for younger readers but nor do I intend to exclude anyone. [Younger readers however might find the visual material on Max7 app. more useful.]

The purpose

The Fourth Gospel has this:
30 Therefore Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written, that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in his name. [John chapter 20, verse 30-31, WEB]

The statement is applied to John's Gospel but I think it applies to all four. Furthermore, I intend this blog to bring you, the reader, into touch with that purpose. I believe help for you is directly available from the ultimate author of the sacred Scriptures. Just ask God.

I am not writing an academic argument or dissertation. I claim only to be a person who is a conscious follower of the Way, a member of ‘the household of faith'. I want you to know Jesus well, or better, and to be equipped to discover more. I do not want to present the views of anything other than the texts as we have them.

All about Jesus
“….And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” Matthew 1:21 NLT

“And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God’s condemnation.” Romans 5:9 NLT 

These statements relate to Jesus the Carpenter from Galilee [Roman region]. He is the one given the title ‘Saviour’.
In one place he is called ‘Jesus son of Joseph from Nazareth’. This fuller description distinguishes one man from others, both contemporary and predecessors. By the way, ‘Jesus’ was not an uncommon name in the Greek documents. See further in the 'Page' of this blog.

The setting of the accounts may be helpful:
You can see photos and map: [Very useful website with excellent images]
http://www.holylandphotos.org/browse.asp?s=1,2,5,36,555

"It" or "I"

“It” or “I"? The convention I know dictates the use of third person, or of plurals, or other oblique ways of writing. So, which says it best: “My guide is to Jesus..”. or “The guide is to Jesus..” or “Our guide is to Jesus..”, or “Christians say..” or “The Court finds..”? I think it better for me to own what I say. I hope you agree.
 
EDITS
As this is a live blog, I have the opportunity to make edits in posts, here and there, from time to time. Mostly the edits are additions. I hope this is not annoying. If I make a "major" edit, I change the name of the post to show it is a revised and updated edition!
17/06/24  This post has been here for 9 years. According to the Google stats, it has lots of "hits". I read it again. Is there is a need to add or revise? Maybe a new post could help?  

Saturday 14 March 2015

An introduction from much earlier

Introduction to an account of Jesus 

In the beginning the Word already existed.
  The Word was with God,
  and the Word was God.
 He existed in the beginning with God.
 
God created everything through him,
  and nothing was created except through him.
 
The Word gave life to everything that was created,[a]
 and his life brought light to everyone.
 The light shines in the darkness,
  and the darkness can never extinguish it.[b]

God sent a man, John the Baptist,[c] to tell about the light so that everyone might believe because of his testimony. John himself was not the light; he was simply a witness to tell about the light. The one who is the true light, who gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.

He came into the very world he created, but the world didn’t recognize him. He came to his own people, and even they rejected him. But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. They are reborn—not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God.

So the Word became human[d] and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness.[e] And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son.

John testified about him when he shouted to the crowds, “This is the one I was talking about when I said, ‘Someone is coming after me who is far greater than I am, for he existed long before me.’”

From his abundance we have all received one gracious blessing after another.[f] For the law was given through Moses, but God’s unfailing love and faithfulness came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God. But the unique One, who is himself God,[g] is near to the Father’s heart. He has revealed God to us.

Gospel of John, Chapter 1, verses 1-18. [New Living Translation – NLT]
Notice the 7 footnotes given in NLT re specifics:
a. Or and nothing that was created was created except through him. The Word gave life to everything.
b. Or and the darkness has not understood it.
c. Greek a man named John.
d. Greek became flesh.
e. Or grace and truth; also in 1:17.
f. Or received the grace of Christ rather than the grace of the law; Greek reads received grace upon grace.
g. Some manuscripts read But the one and only Son.

New Living Translation (NLT)
Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007, 2013 by Tyndale House Foundation. Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Note re footnotes
By their footnotes the publishers of the NLT version above honour the other possible translations and the literal meanings, as well as a textual variant. (For myself, regarding note [f], I prefer the Greek. That choice leads inevitably to interpretation – a topic for another day maybe.)

This is a brief post to set the scene and indicate something of the approach I will take.

HOWEVER, although I will post many pages of Bible translations, despite their value and importance I will not include footnotes. The inclusion of them would be very difficult and disruptive.

Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

In the beginnings of this

This is a work under construction. The central purpose is to assist you to explore about Jesus for yourself, with 'no strings attached'.
All being well it will progressively contain content under various 'pages'. (The 'pages' open through the Google Blogger internal links.)

I (Allen Hampton) may be contacted by emailing through Gmail with similar to my Blogger user name jesus.saviour4unme
that is, include my blog username with added dot, before @gmail.com (although the blog username is all one word). Sorry - the "dot" is necessary only for the email address.

Inquiries: I will respond from my own account, in person. (However, the Gmail spam filter is activated. I think messages would need to come from a personal account.) All comments are welcome and some may generate a reply from me. Please state if you are happy to have your message or comment posted in this blog, or not. Thank you.

Note that, as opportunity permits, I am operating simply as an individual from within my own resources (and the internet!). No organisation or institution is involved in my blogs. So then, it is clear to whom the errors belong! (I acknowledge I have the personal advantage of a background of academic studies and "mainstream" church involvement. However, I am not representing nor serving any human entity.) Like you, I am a Bible student and, as long as capacities last, I hope to continue to gain insights and understanding from reading and reflecting on the Bible, with prayer.
  
May 9, 2018: My purpose and procedure followed remains almost entirely as it has since March, 2015. There are two (or three) posts where I departed from the pattern.

My personal geographic profile: Allen Hampton, now of Melbourne, formerly of Sydney, Narrabri, Tamworth, Delungra, Nundle, Albury, Kiewa, Thurgoona. 
 
Revised 4/11/2021