Sunday, January 24, 2010

Eyewitnesses From the Beginning

"Since many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the events that have been fulfilled among us, just as those who were eyewitnesses from the beginning and ministers of the word have handed them down to us, I too have decided, after investigating everything accurately anew, to write it down in an orderly sequence for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may realize the certainty of the teachings you have received." Luke 1:1-5
We know form Acts that Luke was a Gentile and a physician, one used to recording things accurately, but let's dissect what he has written in the beginning of his Gospel. Many have tried to put together the accounts of Jesus, prior to he writing things down. Christianity in its infancy did not possess a collection of books known as the "bible." There was no "sola scriptura" but Luke tells us there were eyewitnesses from the beginning - from the beginning can only mean disciples of Jesus, and ministers of the word can only mean those "authorized" (by Jesus' disciples) to hand down what had happened ( Apostolic Tradition), therefore our Christian faith was determined not solely by what was written down ( by a Gentile like Luke), but also by the apostolic teachings of those who were eyewitnesses from the beginning. If our faith were to depend solely on the Bible, one of two things in my opinion would have occurred. First: Jesus would have written it down so there would be no misinterpretations of exactly what he meant, and he would have carefully guarded his words so that there would not be(like we see today) myriads of interpretations over the same scripture passage. Or Jesus would have dictated it to his disciples at the time He was with them and would have "authorized" their version to be followed. Matthew & John did live with Jesus but wrote sometime after his death 60-90A.D. They wrote to different audiences and in different styles and for different reasons. Mark, sometimes known as John Mark (Acts), of whom tradition says received his information from Peter, was not a disciple of Jesus and Luke was a Gentile. God in his unquestionable wisdom inspired these men to write about the incarnation of Jesus with similar narratives yet each expressing a different aspect of whom Christ was and what it meant to Jews and Gentiles. Yet there is more to Jesus than the accounts of these four men and a lot of it was handed down, as was the case in the Jewish culture, practices and beliefs that were taught and accepted by many without any discussion or written discourse about. This is not only quite logical but it is silly to think that this did not happen. Finally I will leave with John 20:30 Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of (his) disciples that are not written in this book, and John 21:25 There are also many other things that Jesus did, but if these were to be described individually, I do not think the whole world would contain the books that would be written. I guess none of the things Jesus did, or taught, or explained, or instructed that would have filled many, many books, I guess they weren't very important because they aren't contained in the Bible, the collection of books that the Church of whom Jesus founded, authorized and complied.

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