Christianity According to Christ

A Harmony and Consolidation of the Gospel of Jesus from Old and New Testaments - WordsInRed.com

Notes Explained

Note from Tom: We've finally added what Wayne completed of his notes (including "The Church" section almost completed!)... hope you enjoy!

Evolution

I began this project in 1992, planning to spend a few hours one weekend extracting Christ’s own words from the Bible and arranging them in some sort of sequence that gave me a ready reference to what he had to say on any given subject. The extracting part was easy, since Jesus’ words were printed in red in the Giant-Print NIV Bible my dear wife had recently purchased for my Dad. But it quickly became apparent to me that, deprived of their context, Jesus's words were fragmented and confusing at best. And so I set out to establish some sort of continuity in them by re-entering the context and arranging the results in some sort of logical sequence.

This, too, created problems, because the Gospels are not arranged that way. All of the Gospel recorders, especially John, jump from place to place and time to time in bewildering fashion. Looking at the whole, however, I discerned that there was a topical breakout of the events in Jesus’ life that made sense. At least to me. That breakout is the basis for the New Testament organization of this edition: Advent, Ministry, Message, Conflict, Fulfillment, and The Church.

My work progressed nicely, and I soon had that segment of the Bible organized. Again, in my view. But surveying it, I saw that it was a story that suddenly started and stopped, and that many of the events and words opened unanswered questions. That concern led me to the Old Testament. And, once opened, it presented new problems. Where did the angels - who attended Jesus and of whom he spoke, and who played a frequent role in the OT - make their appearance? And why? When, where and why did the Jews, God’s chosen people, go wrong? Or did they? And so on.

As you can see, one thing led to another, and it's taken me these 10 years, so far, to produce the present form of this edition. Arranged below are my considerations in this project.

Purpose

"To write an orderly account for you, so that you may thereby know the certainty of the things you have been taught."

Scope

"From the Alpha to the Omega, from the First to the Last, from the Beginning to the End."

Source

The Bible. I've stuck with Dad's Giant-Print NIV as the framework for this volume because it makes an attempt to standardize the vocabulary between the Old and New Testaments and between the individual books of the Bible. This has made the business of harmonizing and consolidating much easier for me. I've also thrown in a few KJV and other translation words because they are the ones I was nurtured on, and they have that certain ring to them that the clinical NIV sometimes overlooks ("Lazarus, come forth!" for example, rather than "come out!" in Jn 11:43). Also, I've added some words of my own to make the text flow more easily. Thus, the result is that hated word among many: a "paraphrase." As, I believe, are all "translations" based on the oldest existing biblical texts, unless faithfully copied in their original languages. Translations take different forms in differerent hands (Just compare the KJV, NASB and NIV to verify this at a glance. And, in an even larger sense, most of our oldest existing Bible texts are themselves translations from the original languages.

For me, it's enough to know that most transcriptions, translations and "paraphrases" are faithful in spirit to God's message to mankind. What must be paramount in our hearts and minds is that we gain, from whatever source, the peace that God offers to those who believe. In my view.

Methodology

I've adapted the homiletic techniques I learned in Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) classes. This is a process in which one takes several verses of Scripture and:

a. Lists topics and/or events.

b. Brackets key phrases.

c. Arranges like bracketed items into a coherent sentence.

d. Reviews sentence(s) to ensure that they convey the meaning of the text(s).

BSF would probably not approve of the extent to which I've taken this technique. But I discovered early on that any given biblical topic may be referenced in several widely divergent sources. The opening two paragraphs of "Genesis" in this work, for example, make use of ten separate verses from four different books and both Testaments of the Bible, as follows (selected words underlined and italicized):

Ge 1:1a In the beginning
Ge 1:2c was
Ge 1:2j the Spirit of God
Ge 1:2l hovering
Ge 1:2f/m (Ed: in) over
Ge 1:2d formless and empty, darkness
Ge 1:2i and
Ge 1:1b (He) (Ed: the Wisdom of) God (chose to give us birth) created
(Ja 1:18a)
Ge 1:3a And (through the word of) God (truth) said (Ed: resounded in the void)
(Ja 1:18b)
Ge 1:3b "Let there be light," and there was light.

Ge 1:16a (Ed: And, with the light,) (He) God made (makes the)
(Ps 104:4a)
(Heb 1:7d)
Heb 1:14b (Ed: lesser) ministering spirits (winds) (flames of fire)
(Ps 104:4b/d)
(Heb 1:7f/h)
Heb 1:7a/c (Ed: that) In speaking of (he) (says) (Ed: called)
Heb 1:7b/e Are not (all) (his) the angels
(Heb 1:14a)
Heb 1:14c sent to serve those who will inherit salvation
Ps 104:4/e his (servants) (Ed: as witnesses and) messengers (Ed: to his creation.)
(Heb 1:7g)
Job 38:7b And all the angels shouted for joy (Ed: as)
Ge 1:1b God created the (Ed: universe) heavens (were completed)
(Ge 2:1d)
Ge 2:1e in all their (Ed: its) vast array
Ge 1:16d He also made
Ge 1:16e the stars
Ge 1:1c and the earth
(Ge 2:1c)
Ge 1:16b (Ed: and) two great lights
Ge 1:17c to give light on (Ed: illuminate) the earth
Ge 1:16c the greater light (Ed: of the two) to govern (Ed: rule) the day and the lesser light to govern the night.
Ge 1:17a (Ed: and He) God set them in the
Ge 2:1b heavens

Assembled, this reads:

In the beginning was the Spirit of God, hovering in formless and empty darkness. And the Wisdom of God chose to create, and the Word of God resounded in the void: "Let there be light!" And there was light.

And, with the light, God made lesser spirits that he called angels to serve as witnesses and messengers to his creation. And the angels shouted for joy as God created the universe in all its vast array. He made the stars and the earth, and two great lights to illuminate the earth - the greater of the two to rule the day, and the lesser to govern the night - and he set them in the heavens.

You'll notice that I've chosen to render the words of God the Spirit. and God the Father (Wisdom), as well as those of the Son (The Word), in red. I concede that this can get a little confusing as in Mt 3:16-17, Mk 1:10-11, Lk 3:21-22 and Jn 1:32 when God the Spirit descends in the form of a dove on God the Son's shoulder and God the Father voices his approval. Be that as it may, when God speaks - in any of His manifestations - it's printed in red.

Conclusion

You may well take issue with the way this effort has turned out so far, and I welcome your textual comments and corrections. But not your doctrinal views. I know full well that the way Christ's message has come to me differs from yours in at least some, probably many, and perhaps all respects. I refer you back to my Preface: "This volume is the result, to date, of the learning process. It's my personal understanding - gained through study and contemplation and validated, I believe, by the Spirit of God in answer to earnest prayer - of the message conveyed to mankind by God's words and deeds over the aeons." I offer it to you in that spirit.

 

All original text © 2003 by The Wayne Chaffer Estate
The Holy Bible, New International Version © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society

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