Jesus Christ in His Own Words: Taking The Teachings of Jesus Seriously
The Genesis of this Book
This in my third book about God, and Jesus as The God. The first attempts to establish the rational case for the belief in a deity, the second seeks to establish the case for Jesus as the deity. What actually spurred me on to pen this current work was encountering the work of Michael Satlow who is Professor of Religious Studies and Judaic Studies at the prestigious Brown University, USA. Shockingly, in his book “How the Bible Became Holy” he makes the following statements:
“ … and I must confess that to this day I have not read the Bible , or even a single testament , cover to cover.” (Satlow, 2014)
“Jesus himself, growing up in Galilee, had very limited knowledge of scripture.” (Satlow, 2014)
Concerning the first, it is hard to take such a person seriously as a scholar of Judaism, especially from such a leading university, though fair play to his honesty in the matter. The second statement is equally as extraordinary as Jesus regularly quotes scripture, and makes reference to much in the Old Testament. I take a dim view of the ‘quality’ of his scholarship and naturally want to address some of its shortcomings. Initially I sought to just look at the Gospels and pull out each scriptural reference to satisfy myself that this particular professor was profoundly wrong, and that I was not imagining that I thought I saw in the Bible.
When reading the Bible, I have always understood Jesus as a man, fully aware of, and readily using, scriptural references to demonstrate His fulfilment of a lot of the prophetic material in the Old Testament – indeed, Jesus’ very own coming, to be the Messiah no less springs vividly to mind. It became clear to me that in doing this I was actually enjoying a richer learning experience by looking at each and every scriptural reference and focusing on what Jesus himself was teaching. Addressing the shortcomings of this professor paled into insignificance as I then took time to look at everything Jesus had said and taught and investigating where, if at all, in prior scripture, these ideas came from. At this juncture, I should add, although Jesus is an expert Bible scholar, what he was quoting from in the Old Testament was of course always inspired by God. So when I say Jesus is teaching, being inspired from this or that part of scripture, this should come as no surprise as it is the other Fatherly part of the Godhead, that is doing the inspiring with the prophets in the first place. It soon became apparent that so much of what Jesus was teaching was tied up inextricably with prior scripture that I might as well begin by systematically studying and noting down all His teachings independently of their prior scriptural antecedents. Jesus said He came to fulfil the Law, so we should expect to find all His teachings in prior scripture. That we do. However, we also can see that He clarifies, refines, fine tunes and gives us some more extensions of the Law with His teachings in the New Testament. My project was becoming more ambitious, but certainly more fulfilling.
So many people over the centuries have said Jesus has said X,Y or Z or meant A,B or C, or did not say M,N or O. Without a line by line study of the complete recorded words of Jesus, it is hard to make any factual comment on the matter. Often, what one great scholar asserts with confidence will be flatly contradicted by another. So what did Jesus actually say? What were His inspirations? What were His teachings? The purpose of this book is to be able to provide the reader with only the recorded words of Jesus Christ in one clear text with a supportive narrative just exploring what these words or teaching actually mean to us today.