Are the gospels biographies?

The gospels belong to the ancient genre of biography.  These ancient biographies were concerned with providing examples for readers to emulate, while preserving and promoting the subject’s reputation and memory.  Thus, they were about kerygma or preaching.  They were not biographies in the modern sense.  The biographies of Jesus are more like apocalyptic history, depicting Jesus as caught up in events near the end of time.  Despite this, scholars are confident that the gospels do provide a good idea of the public career of Jesus.  There is no guarantee that the gospels are precisely historical in our modern sense of history.  These are faith documents, not eyewitness accounts.  Modern scholars are cautious of relying on the gospels uncritically, but nevertheless they do provide a good idea of the public life of Jesus.

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Fear of the Lord (Sir 40:26-40:27)

“Riches build up confidence.

Strength builds up confidence.

But the fear of the Lord is

Better than either.

There is no want

In the fear of the Lord.

With it,

There is no need

To seek for help.

The fear of the Lord is

Like a garden of blessings.

It covers a person

Better than any glory.”

Once again, Sirach continues with his comparisons. However, this time, the best is the fear of the Lord. Riches and strength might make you feel confident. Yet the fear of the Lord is better than money and power in developing your self-confidence. When you fear the Lord, you will not have any need to seek help from anyone or anything. The fear of the Lord is like a garden of blessings that covers you better than any glory can.

Yahweh blesses Israel (Ps 115:12-115:13)

“Yahweh has been mindful of us.

He will bless us.

He will bless the house of Israel.

He will bless the house of Aaron.

He will bless those who fear Yahweh,

Both small and great.”

Although there is no mention of Judah, there does seem to be a difference between “us” and the house of Israel as well as the house of Aaron, the priests. Just as in the preceding verse there is the all inclusive concept of those who fear Yahweh, whether they are small or great. Yahweh was mindful of all of them. He was going to grant his blessings to all included in these categories. This was the confident hope of the congregation that Yahweh would do this.

Call upon God (Ps 55:16-55:19)

However I call upon God.

Yahweh will save me.

Evening and morning,

And at noon,

I utter my complaint.

I moan.

He will hear my voice.

He will redeem me unharmed,

From the battle that I wage.

Many are arrayed against me.

God will hear.

God will humble them.

God is enthroned from of old.

Because they do not change.

They do not fear God.”

Selah

David’s response to this problem was to call on God.  Yahweh would  save him.  He uttered his complaint, morning, noon, and evening.  He was confident that he would be saved and remain unharmed in the battle.  Even though a lot of people were against him, God would hear and humble them.  God sat on his old throne.  They would lose because they would not change.  They did not fear God.  Once again there is a musical interlude meditative pause, Selah.

Job is not happy with his companions (Job 6:14-6:20)

“Those who withhold kindness from a friend

Reject the fear of the Almighty Shaddai.

My companions are as treacherous as a flood.

My companions are like streams of water that pass away.

They are like dark spots on ice.

They are like murky spots on melting snow.

In time of heat they disappear.

When it is hot,

They vanish from their place.

The caravans turn aside from their course.

They go up into the waste.

They perish.

The caravans of Tema look.

The travelers of Sheba hope.

They are disappointed

Because they were confident.

They come there

But they are confused.”

Job then turned on his 3 companions. He said that they were not so friendly. However, they did come to spend some time with him. He, however, called them treacherous. He compared them to a flood of water, an uncontrolled stream of water. He also compared them to a flash flood. In other words, they were like quick and destructive flows of water. He also compared them to dark ice and murky snow in that when it got hot, they would disappear. Then he compared them to caravans from Tema, an Arab tribe descendent from Ishmael, and Sheba that got lost in the desert. Both these caravans in ancient times were very confident but in the end they were confused. Job was comparing his 3 friends to these lost confusing caravans. They were not helping him with their torrent of confusing words.