Bringing Two Streams of Thought Together

Matthew, Mark, Luke, John. Four separate accounts of the life of Jesus.

They are distinct in their approaches. They all agree on the person–Jesus.

I love the directness of Mark and the straightforward history of Luke. If you know someone who is new to faith and asks, “What is it about this Jesus dude?”, then suggest they read one or both of these. [By the way, I’d follow them up with Romans. Jesus introduces us to the Spirit. Paul in his letter to the followers in Roman lays out the path of our spiritual formation.]

DO NOT send a new person to John.

I love John. It is the most deeply spiritual and theological of the four. He sucks you into a deep dive into the meaning of many words–light, the world, “I Am”, true light, eternal life (the only definition in the New Testament), love, the Father.

John also deals frankly with the opposition–the world, Jews, Pharisees.

I mentioned yesterday that I am reading Walter Issacson’s biography of Einstein.

Einstein was born in Germany and lived in Berlin for something like 20 years. He was also born a Jew. He was not religious. He was, however, a member of the tribe (as he once put it).

As Issacson describes the cultural climate in the late 1910s and the 1920s, we begin to understand the German dislike (hatred?) of Jews. This, by the way was not new. When I was studying Marx’s thought prior to Das Kapital, I ran across an essay Die Judenfrage (the Jewish Question) written in 1848.

This helps to understand the thinking of the very influential German New Testament scholars of that period who tried to remove the Jewishness of the writings. With John, it seemed easy because the writing seemed Greek with the use of Logos, the Word. But that is actually a mistake. John was quite Jewish. In fact, looking at his apocalyptic work, The Revelation, with understanding of Jewish Temple worship and Jewish thinking will lead you away from the errors of so many interpretations.

Sometimes reading just relaxes the brain. Sometimes it expands our understanding.

Write someplace you’ll see daily, This year I will be a reader.

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