Spoken Languages in the Time of Jesus

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Professor Safrai presents an overview of the three languages used in the land of Israel during the days of Jesus, and concludes that Hebrew was the primary language spoken by the Jewish residents at that time.

Parables and Foundations

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One of the many interesting results of synoptic research is the discovery of parallels between rabbinic literature and the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke. Rabbinic parallels enhance our understanding of the sayings of Jesus, and vice versa. Jesus’ parable below is more understandable when compared with its rabbinic parallels, and the rabbinic sayings are illuminated by Jesus’ parable.

Understanding Parables

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The rabbis taught, “Do not underestimate the value of parables, because by means of parables a person can master the words of Torah” (Song of Songs Rabbah 1:8).

An Introduction to Synoptic Studies

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The late Dr. Robert Lindsey, pioneer translator of the Gospels into modern Hebrew, synoptic researcher and pastor of Jerusalem’s Narkis Street Congregation, resided in Israel for over forty years. His discoveries challenge many conclusions of New Testament scholarship from the past two hundred years. Lindsey created a new approach to the study of the Synoptic Gospels. Here, Lindsey provides an introduction to the field of synoptic studies and the “Synoptic Problem.”

The Lord’s Prayer 9: “Lead Us Not Into Temptation”

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It is difficult to grasp the full impact of the Lord’s Prayer without an appreciation of its Jewish background. Today’s Christians have quite a different understanding of prayer, Scripture and faith than a Jewish teacher like Jesus. One easily can miss the great depth of Jesus’ message.

The Lord’s Prayer 7: “Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread”

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The deceptively simple petition from Matthew 6:11, “Give us this day our daily bread,” has been a matter of controversy for centuries. The unusual Greek word epiousion, which is translated “daily,” is the root of the controversy. Some scholars have suggested that the original phrase contained the similar-sounding Greek word epeimi, (the next), and so meant “bread for the next day.” Nevertheless, the Latin translation of the New Testament understood the word as meaning bread needed for sustenance.

The Lord’s Prayer 6: “Thy Will Be Done”

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We noted in a previous article that “Thy will be done” parallels “Thy Kingdom come.” Both phrases mean, “May you continue establishing your Kingship.” Jesus does not instruct his disciples to pray “if it is your will.” It is within God’s purpose that all men should repent and become a part of God’s reign. “May your will be accomplished” is a strong affirmative appeal.

Mary and Martha: The Rest of the Story

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In Robert L. Lindsey’s theory of gospel transmission, the Hebrew version of Jesus’ biography and its Greek translation have both been lost. Although none of the synoptic Gospels preserves the original text in its entirety, together they do preserve all, or nearly all, of the stories in the original work.

The Lord’s Prayer 2: “Our Father Who Art in Heaven”

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Luke’s version of the Lord’s Prayer does not contain the expression she·ba·sha·MA·yim (who is in heaven), but simply records “father.” Luke’s gospel never refers to God as the “father who is in heaven.” Matthew, in contrast, preserved twelve sayings of Jesus in which he used the Jewish expressions “our father who is in heaven,” “your father who is in heaven,” and “my father who is in heaven.” Mark also used the idiom “your father who is in heaven” (Mk. 11:25).