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Frank L. Hoffman Interviewed: Understanding the Bible and the Teachings of Jesus
Answer by Frank L. Hoffman - 9 Apr 2003
Dear Colin and Others:
The Bible is a collection of books and letters that were written over a period of approximately 2,000 years. They were written by many people and copied and recopied by scribes, which sometimes led to footnotes being incorporated into the text. One of the most obvious is the comment "as it is to this day", which is obvious a contribution of a later writer; however, these insertions do not change the meaning or intent.
We suggest that when people are studying the Bible that they read an entire book before going on to another book, because the reader will have a better chance of coming to understand the author as well as the message(s) contained.
Additionally the New Testament is an extension of the Hebrew Bible, which must remain in context. We need to remember that the two-edged Sword of the Spirit is sharpened between Malachi and Matthew.
The Bible does not really have contradictions in it. When writings are put back into proper context, the harmony begins to unfold.
It also helps to let love be the guide when trying to understand the intent of God. This is also an easy way to discern the will of God from the concessions He allows because of human hardness of heart.
There are many other sources of truth, but unconditional love is the key to their acceptability, providing they don't contradict the Biblical teachings.
Also don't try to make the Bible into a scientific book.
People, in general, see "Christian" and "Followers of the teachings of Jesus Christ" as the same thing, and they should be, but unfortunately they're not if we look at the fruit of the Spirit as opposed to the words people express. People who are "born again" should have a softened heart that is overflowing with unconditional love and compassion. The easy way to tell the difference is "you will know them by their fruit."
I really don't believe we need a new book of Jesus' teachings to bring these truths to light. They're already in the one we have. The problem is that until the hearts of the people become soft, they will always try to justify sin, and living in the concessions of God rather than in His will.
The most dynamic and powerful approach to non-violence was presented to us some 2,000 years ago. It was to be the central focus of Judaism, and became the central focus of Christianity, but unfortunately for the most part it has been brushed aside. We don't need to reinvent the "wheel", we simply must remember to lubricate it to silence the loud squeals from hardened hearts that so often drown out the quiet messages of love, compassion and peace.
I also believe we need to remember this when writing messages to this List.
In the Love of the Lord,
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