Showing posts with label Jesus. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Jesus. Show all posts

January 15, 2018

Christ Chronological – a book review

God does provide! Right when the research for my newest writing project required a chronological account of Christ, B&H Lifeway Bloggers kindly sent me a review copy of Christ Chronological, which I highly recommend for Bible students, teachers, pastors, writers, and all who want to follow the sequential movements of Jesus as shown in the Christian Standard Bible (CSB) translation of the Gospels.

Beginning with “The Prehistory and Birth of Christ” and ending with “The Resurrected Jesus Completes His Ministry,” this hardbound book presents each color-coded Gospel account of Jesus with headnotes or footnotes in black ink to illuminate each passage. Regarding “The Birth of Jesus,” for example:

“Matthew seeks to show the cohesion between Jesus’s birth and OT prophecy through his many ‘fulfillment’ quotations (1:22-23). Luke, however, gives an account of the events that triggered the pilgrimage of Joseph and Mary from Nazareth to Bethlehem as a means of placing Jesus’s birth in the context of Greco-Roman history. Chronologically, Luke’s account could fit seamlessly between Matthew 1:25 and 2:1.”

In “The Anointing of Jesus at Bethany,” we learn:

“There is little variation between Matthew and Mark on the account of Jesus’s anointing. John, however, fills in a number of details that are left unstated in the Synoptics. John, for example, highlights the role of Lazarus, Mary, and Martha, three key characters in his Gospel. A harmony of the three accounts would seem to indicate that Jesus, his disciples, Lazarus, Mary, and Martha were all present at the home of Simon, a man presumably healed of leprosy by Jesus. John singles out Judas Iscariot’s indignation, whereas Matthew and Mark refer more generally to all the disciples. This shows the underlying contrast John is seeking to make between Mary’s devotion and Judas’s impending betrayal.”

In discussing “The Passion of Jesus,” footnotes tell us:

“All four Gospel writers record the arrest of Jesus at the hands of his betrayer, Judas. Each author, nevertheless, has his own emphases. Matthew is characteristically concerned with showing how the unfolding of the events fulfills Scripture. Mark has a similar interest in fulfillment but adds an interesting detail about a naked bystander – an insertion that many believe to be a cryptic reference to the author himself. Luke adds more vivid detail to the event, including Jesus’s healing of a servant whose ear was severed. Not surprisingly, John offers the most detail about the characters. In addition, Judas’s role is overshadowed by Jesus’s surrender. Through this, John demonstrates how Jesus remains in complete control of the unfolding events. Collectively, the four accounts give a full-orbed picture,” which could well be said of this entire book.

Mary Harwell Sayler, ©2018, poet-writer, reviewer

CSB Christ Chronological, hardback

October 7, 2015

Just Like Jesus Bible Storybook

When Tyndale House Publishers kindly sent me a review copy of Just Like Jesus, my first impression was, “Nice!” With its lightly padded cover and thick, slick pages, this book should stand up to long use and sticky fingerprints that can probably be wiped off with a barely dampened sponge. That sturdy construction is impressive as is the beautifully done artwork, which will undoubtedly appeal to young children and also adults of all ages!

Unfortunately, beginning readers will most likely deem those same illustrations as “babyish,” which matters only because elementary school children will identify with the vocabulary and content far more than will children 4 to 7, who are seldom mature enough to understand abstract, character-building concepts.

Exemplary character, as perfectly shown by Jesus, is the overall purpose of this sturdy little storybook. If, therefore, a child received it at an early age and grew up reading it, concerns about age and abstracts would no longer be a factor.

In the book's clear aim to build character, each section begins with a theme and relevant Bible verse before guiding children and their parents, grandparents, or other caretakers to discussion various aspects of Jesus’ character, which we’re all to emulate.

If we want to be just like Jesus, that means we’re to be thankful, responsible, kind, caring, and spirit-filled.

In focusing on the latter, for example, the title “Jesus Was Spirit-Filled” precedes scripture from Matthew 3:16, which says, “After his baptism… [Jesus] saw the Spirt of God descending like a dove and settling on him.”

The adjacent page, “Jesus in The Bible,” goes on to develop that verse more fully by saying:

“Jesus was perfect. So why did He come to be baptized? He had no sin to wash away! When Jesus came up out of the water, God’s Holy Spirit filled His heart.

“It was time to start His mission! Jesus came to teach us about God and to forgive our sins. The Holy Spirit gave Jesus the power to do it!”

Although the question posed was not answered in the text, parents might discuss it with their children, depending on their ages or ability to understand.

Then, the next page “Jesus In Me,” explains:

“When we ask Jesus to forgive our sins, we give God control of our lives. Then He fills us with His Holy Spirit. When we are full of God’s Holy Sirit, His love controls our actions.

“Now we can be just like Jesus!”

The last page on each theme and section ends with a prayer such as:

“Lord, I want to be Spirit-Filled! I pray for more and more of Your Holy Spirit each day.”

And finally,under the ribboned healing “To be just like Jesus….” we read, “I will be Spirit-Filled.”

The consistent format covers each theme in four-page sections, which young readers can be encouraged to read by themselves with a little help from adult caretakers, who take time and care to help children develop character with the sterling examples only Jesus can provide.

© 2015, Mary Harwell Sayler, reviewer and lifelong student of the Bible, is also a Christian poet and writer who writes on biblical themes.

Just Like Jesus Bible Storybook (Wonder Kids), padded hardback

March 5, 2012

Which Bible would Jesus choose?

Since Jesus spoke Aramaic and Hebrew, He probably read scrolls written in those languages. Most likely He and the apostles were also familiar with the Septuagint or Greek Bible since, during their lifetimes, the extra books contained in that version were generally read, accepted, and quoted by the peoples of God.

After the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem in 70 A.D., scholarly leaders among both Jews and Christians wanted to canonize Holy Scripture, so everyone could, figuratively speaking, be on the same page. But, Jewish scholars decided to stick with Hebrew Scriptures exclusively, which meant excluding books written in Greek, whereas Christians initially kept all of the books in the Septuagint. In fact, not too long after Latin and other European languages morphed into English, the King James Version of the Bible came into being (1611) with all of the books still intact.

After the Reformation, however, Protestants took out the books now referred to as the Apocrypha. The word is a bit of a misnomer, though, since it means hidden, and, well, the apocryphal books have always been highly visible in Catholic and Orthodox editions of the Bible. So, when Catholic and Orthodox Christians refer to apocryphal books, they mean those such as the Gospel of Thomas that were never, ever part of canonized scripture. Nevertheless, the extra books in the Septuagint remain outside the Jewish canon, so Catholic and Orthodox Christians sometimes refer to them as deuterocanonical books.

Yeah, it’s confusing at first! But the important thing is whether you want a Bible with all of the books.

To find out, read Sirach (aka Ecclesiasticus) on the Internet, especially my favorite verse Sirach 2:18: “Let us fall into the hands of the LORD and not into human hands, for equal to God’s majesty is the mercy that He shows.”

To most readers, I and II Maccabees just won’t seem as inspired as wisdom books because they’re not always inspiring! However, they do provide us with an interesting record of historical events that occurred in the few hundred year’s gap between the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament.

Deciding whether to get a Bible with the Apocrypha will not be your only choice though! You have other choices to consider too:

Word for Word Translation
This option gives you the closest possible meaning of the original texts when Bible scholars translated the Hebrew, Aramaic, and/or Greek manuscripts into English. If you want biblical accuracy, these choices give you that, literally, but you may need footnotes to explain what now-archaic phrases initially meant.

In alphabetical order, the more literal translations of the Bible into English include: Amplified, Douay-Rheims, English Standard Version (ESV), King James Version (KJV), New American Standard Bible (NASB), and New King James Version (NKJV.)

Of these, the Douay-Rheims and KJV with the Apocrypha will give you all of the books.

Thought for Thought Translation
This option gives you the most readable text with each thought kept as close as possible to the original intent as shown by overall context.

Again alphabetically, these translations include: the Common English Bible (CEB), Contemporary English Version (CEV), Good News Bible (GNB) also known as Today’s English Bible (TEB), New American Bible (NAB), New Century Version (NCV), New International Version (NIV), New Jerusalem Bible (NJB), New Living Translation (NLT), New Revised Standard Version (NRSV), Revised English Bible (REB), and Revised Standard Version (RSV.)

Reportedly, the CEB, CEV, ESV, GNB, NAB, NJB, NLT, NRSV, REB, and RSV can now be found with all of the books that were originally included in the Septuagint and early Christian Bibles.

This choice provides an easy-reader especially helpful to children and readers of English as a second language. Although most Bible students want more accuracy and fewer words than paraphrases have, both the Living Bible (LB) and The Message continue to be very popular.

But, to get back to our first question:

Which Bible would Jesus choose?

I cannot prove this, of course, but His tender regard for peoples of all ages, backgrounds, cultures, and levels of faith show me that He has most probably chosen them all!


© 2012, Mary Harwell Sayler. If you want your church, Bible study, or other group to have this information, just promise me you will tell people where you found it. Also, I hope you remember to name drop my blogs and websites to your friends. Thanks. For more Bible topics, poetry help, and writing tips, see Blogs by Mary.