Read Letters

This is the latest in my series of blog entries taking a fresh look at a variety of topics over the next year. I’ve set up a page on the blog explaining the project and linking to my entries. This week’s topic is “The Sayings of King Jesus.”

Wow, what is there to say about this topic.

I mean, really, it all comes down to, that Jesus, He was a smart guy, you know? Said some really good stuff. What else can you say about the recorded spoken words of God incarnate on Earth? How do you rethink that? Uh, yeah, I still they’re pretty good.

Actually, I think there’s something to be said about how we read those red letters, but I’ve talked about some of that before. It’s easy to be oblivious to how much we assign a tone to the things Jesus said, and how much of a difference that tone can make.

We also tend to forget that Jesus talked in stories and sermons, not in chapters and verses. The man, being God and the word, was a consummate storyteller. That was how the first-person audience received a lot of His words. Along the course of the last couple thousand years, to make it easy to refer back to the stories He told, we’ve assigned them addresses. And we tend to forget that He didn’t. Each sentence that Jesus spoke wasn’t meant to be a stand-alone soundbite that could be taken as complete in itself. Don’t let the meaning of His words be changed by letting someone else take a verse and put it in a new context. Read His words the way He spoke them, in the context He gave them. Knowing the address is good, sure, but knowing what He was talking about is far more vital.

I’ll throw this out because it’s something I’ve been curious about lately, but haven’t had the opportunity yet to really study — do we have any more of His words? We generally limit our study of Christ’s words to the canonical gospels and Revelation, but there are other documents dating back to that time period that are considered, while not canon, reliable? Are there any other reliable words of Christ outside the canon? Does anyone have any knowledge about this?

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