The Bible Project itself

Although the original Greek texts had no chapters or verses, I will use the common chapter and verse format found in the Jerusalem Bible, along with the various titles and subtitles of the chapters of this edition.  By reading in a language that is not my mother tongue, I hope to gain a greater comprehension of the texts beyond the common understanding.  I will then write a short summary and commentary about each verse, paragraph, or section that I am reading, using the Greek, the French, and the English versions, along with the various footnotes that these editions of the Bible have provided.  I have subdivided these passages into smaller verses.  For the New Testament, I will also insert the Greek text between the translation and the commentary.  I am going to go through the New Testament Bible, book by book, chapter by chapter, paragraph by paragraph, verse by verse, paraphrasing and commenting on each book of the New Testament.  This is not a task that will be accomplished in a year or two, or maybe ever at all.  However, I set out on this adventure with a basic understanding of the New Testament, as an old man who has spent a lifetime reading and thinking about these writings.  Now, I want to do it in a more comprehensive but sharing way.  I will post 5 blogs a day that will include the translated verse or verses that I am commenting on.  Let the adventure begin!

The tools for my New Testament project

After spending a little over 4 years on the Old Testament, it will be fun to study the New Testament.  I learned a lot about the Hebrew Scriptures.  I am now able to better understand the Jewish background of Jesus.  All my life I have tried to understand the Christian message of Jesus.  As an emeritus professor of religious studies, I began my retirement Bible project at the age of 74 in 2013.  Now in 2018, at age 78, I going to dive into the Greek New Testament aided by reading the Bible in French, La Sainte Bible: traduite en francais sous la direction du L’Ecole Biblique de Jerusalem, the 1961 edition of the Jerusalem Bible that I first studied in 1962.  As a guide to help me with this translation, I will use the New Revised Standard Version of the New Oxford Annotated Bible with the Apocrypha: An Ecumenical Study Bible Completely Revised and Enlarged, the 1994 edition.  I will also use Novum Testamentum Graece et Latine by Eberhard and Erwin Nestle and Kurt Aland, the 1960 edition, that I used over fifty years ago.  To be more precise, the 1904 Nestle Greek edition is now on line as found at Bible Hub.  To help understand the Greek New Testament text, I will use The Jewish Annotated New Testament of the New Revised Standard Version, edited by Amy-Jill Levine and Marc Zvi Brettler, 2011.  As a further aid, I will use the Bible Concordance, Synopsis Quattuor Evavgeliorum, Locis parallelis evangeliorum apocyrphorum et pratrum adhibitis edidit Kurt Aland, the 1964 edition.  Finally, I will use that invaluable online web site of the Bible Hub. http://biblehub.com/.

Renewed Catholic Church

The Roman Catholic Church was the slowest to change.  Change was considered Protestant, a threat to the institution.  For many the implementation of Vatican II was overwhelming, with a lot of misunderstanding.  A change in form does not mean a change in substance.  The unchanging deposit of faith is one thing, but how to present it is another.  The problem is that today the medium is the message.  The Mystery of the Christian message surpasses the possibilities of formulation.  Real development of understanding is natural.  Guided by the Holy Spirit, the People of God, the Church, has retrieved some of the biblical and ancient traditions of the early Church.  This is not a corruption of faith, but a revival of a rich past engaging the world critically.  The Church is always changing using eternal truths in new expressions.

Catholic Fundamentalism

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Until 1966, Catholics had been anti-modernism and had been skeptical of modern rationality.  The Catholic Church had a rigorous clear-cut world view.  With the changes of Vatican II (1962-1966) some feel that the Church has abandoned unchanging truths.  There was a reaction to the English liturgy, the changes in the church, and the attacks on the absolute authority of the Pope.  The sinfulness of man needed the episcopal authority to direct them.  God is a God of judgment, not a God of mercy.  Catholic fundamentalists are selective, with not much about the Trinity, but lots about the Latin Mass, female and married priests, and artificial birth control.

American Fundamentalists

From 1930 to 1970, American Fundamentalists worked within their churches.  President Nixon’s silent majority became the Moral Majority in 1979 and a more active political movement.  The Christian Coalition with Pat Robertson (1930 -) and Ralph E. Reed (1961-) stressed family values.  Although most Protestant Churches are declining about 1% a year, Fundamentalist Protestant Churches grow by 1% a year.  Television has spanned a whole set of TV fundamental evangelists such as Jerry Falwell (1933-2007), Jimmy Swaggart (1935 -) among many others.

Development of Protestant Fundamentalism

A particular form of American Evangelicalism developed in the 1920s to combat the secular culture after World War I, during the Roaring Twenties with its jazz age Gatsby morality.  From 1890-1920 over 20,000,000 people, mostly Roman Catholic Europeans, immigrated into the major American cities.  These new immigrants brought an end to the Victorian morals with their gambling and their bootlegging alcohol drinking during the Prohibition era.  The League of Nations and the growth of international communism were other factors.  Most fundamentalists were against the scriptural criticism of Protestant liberalism and the various other modernism trends.  They feared losing their world, because others were aggressively posing a threat to their traditions.  This was an apocalyptic view of history, where the past was great, the present cloudy and the future assured.