15And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. 16He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. (Mark 16:).
It seems that each person is born with a hollow spot, God shaped, and incapable of being filled with anything other than He who created us. We search in vain in effort to find that One, as well as a reason for our existence.
Over the airwaves, in books, and even at our door, we are confronted with the News that Jesus is that One of whom we seek. We hear that all the answers are in a single book: the Bible.
So we read the Book, only to be confronted with an array of words that make no sense to us, or reads like a children's fantasy, or a mixture of confusion and frustration.
In effort to understand the Book, we read pamphlets by the experts, listen to others -- and if we are truly determined, we pray. In our efforts to find the Way, we have discovered that no two people read the Book in the same way, nor do they seem to agree on a single subject; and we hear that the Book is filled with contradictions and half-truths, if not flat-out lies.
Feeling alone, frustrated -- and now stupid and guilt-ridden, we set aside the Book, and fill our lives with things and people. But the void we sought to fill still remains.
I am describing myself.
Fortunate for me, however, there is one thing that seems to stand out from all the gobbledygook.
That is Jesus.
It seems to me that the first part of the Bible, called the Old Testament, is mostly the history of mankind, primarily the Hebrews. It appears that this history is a search for, and a prophesy of, a Redeemer called the Messiah who was to come. And "Messiah" in Greek is . . . "Christ."
Those books following the Gospels seems to be a history of people telling the world about a Christ that had come - pointing back to the gospels, and Who would come again, which was the purpose of the final book, Revelations. A book, I might add, which is beyond my comprehension, and no place to begin a study.
Again picking up the Bible, and blowing off the dust, I see that the story of Jesus is relatively short, and is really four stories saying almost the same thing.
No longer looking at a book of over a thousand pages that I am supposed to understand and memorize, I begin to read.
I find the stories much easier to comprehend, and quite enjoyable reading as well, though a bit far-fetched. But there is something in me that says these stories are true. So I read on.
Now I am confronted with a new puzzle. And a puzzle is just what it is. Though I know the stories are about the same person, they seem fragmented and unorganized. As if the story is being told from four different viewpoints, and from different purposes and personal interests.
And, I discovered, that is exactly what they are.
As I try to unscramble the puzzle, my mind becomes fuzzy and confused. So I set the Gospels aside for many years, only reading them superficially, with hope that some day I might once again tackle them, but never truly expecting to find the time.
Then I found the time, only to discover that I didn't have the confidence.
With volumes of books at my disposal, I studied what others had done to solve the problem of integrating and clarifying the Books. I found those who had nice layouts, but were difficult to follow. And I found those who produced interesting information, but I had to jump all over the book to find it.
And, I am sorry to say, I found none with whom I totally agreed.
Had I found such a book, there would have been no purpose in my duplicating the effort.
So in view of the above, I submit to you the result of my endeavor - not as a final word, but as a tool that I hope will assist you in your own efforts to understand and appreciate God's Word.
With prayer I embarked this endeavor.
And with prayer I submit it to those who love the Lord.
which I feel is appropriate for this website as well.)
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