The Power of Parables

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Jesus was a master teacher. Therefore, it is significant that he relied heavily on parables. What is it about parables that makes them so moving and memorable?

Lilies of the Field

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In his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus mentioned “lilies of the field.” Tulips, poppies, daisies and other wildflowers have been suggested as candidates for “lilies of the field.” In this photo essay we discover the subtleties of his message about these beautiful, short lifespan flowers.

Remember Shiloh!

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Without paying attention to ancient Jewish exegesis one can easily miss the full impact of Jesus’ statement, “den of thieves.” Was Jesus solely addressing the vendors, or was he aiming at bigger game?

King Parables

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The “king parable” is a special form of parable often used by Jesus. Here is the opening of a “king parable” from rabbinic literature: “The matter may be compared to a king who arranged a banquet and invited guests to it. The king issued a decree that stated, ‘Each guest must bring something on which to recline.’ Some brought carpets, others brought mattresses or pads or cushions or stools, while still others brought logs or stones. The king observed what they had done, and said, ‘Let each man sit on what he brought.'”

Literary Languages in the Time of Jesus

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Not only was Hebrew the most prevalent spoken language in the land of Israel during the first century, it was also the language in which most literary works were written.

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.

Jesus and the Essenes

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There is a vast difference between the approach of the Essenes toward unbelievers, and that of Jesus and his disciples. The Essenes practiced extreme separatism, particularly forbidding economic relations with outsiders. Whoever wanted to follow Jesus, however, had to live in brotherly love with the outside world and not withdraw from society. This emphasis on relations with others not only guaranteed Jesus’ followers friendship with outsiders, but helped open non-believers’ hearts to Jesus’ message of love.

The Kingdom of Heaven Is Like a Seine

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The dragnet or seine is the oldest type of fishing net, and its use was once the most important fishing method on the Sea of Galilee. In the Hebrew Scriptures and the Talmud it is called HE·rem, and in Greek sagene, from which the word “seine” is derived. Sources such as Egyptian tomb paintings dating from the third millennium B.C.E. suggest that this fishing method was widely used in ancient times throughout the countries of the East.

Book Review: Brad Young’s Jesus and His Jewish Parables

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From the outset Young argues that the best way to understand what Jesus was teaching in his parables is to try to hear him as he spoke to his people. The author argues that this can best be done by analyzing the parables of Jesus together with those told by other rabbis of his day.

Book Review: David Flusser’s Personal Perspective on Brad Young’s Jesus and His Jewish Parables

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I am pleased to recommend Brad Young’s research into the parables of Jesus, and I am sure that his new book, “Jesus and His Jewish Parables,” will help its readers gain a clearer understanding of Jesus’ words and teaching.

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.”

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.

Discovering Longer Gospel Stories

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Research by Robert L. Lindsey has helped clarify the process by which gospel texts were preserved and transmitted. Luke desired, he said in his prologue, to present to Theophilus an “orderly” account. Such ordering is to be noted in Matthew and Mark, as well. These attempts at ordering help us understand why so many of the synoptic gospel stories appear in a different chronological order from gospel to gospel.