Opening THE Book 16 with Rev John K-S
1st September 2019
Rev John Kinchin-Smith
Assistant Minister, St Andrew’s Church
Last month we recapped where we had got to, opening this amazing book we call the Bible. Yes, it’s a difficult and complicated book for anyone coming to it for the first time. And yet it still remains the most published book in the whole world, translated into almost every language in the world. Something like 50 million copies are printed every year in Chinese alone!
There are some countries where even to possess a copy can result in prison or death. Why is the Bible such a treasured and loved book? One of the simplest answers is found in John’s Gospel chapter 6. Simon Peter (one of Jesus’ twelve closest friends) said to Jesus, “You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God”
Jesus’ teaching is found in the four Gospels at the beginning of the New Testament (the second half of the Bible). I don’t think that anyone who has read the teaching of Jesus has failed to be profoundly moved by their beauty and wisdom, even an atheist like Karl Marx. However, it is possible to read something, even to study something, without it having any effect upon one’s life. Certainly Karl Marx never became a follower of Jesus!
Those who follow Jesus however, known as “Christians”, believe that Jesus truly has the words of eternal life – a quality of life that has a wholeness which will last for ever. They believe that, in Jesus, God himself– the creator of the universe – has somehow made eternal life possible through the death and resurrection of Jesus. Even more – that in Jesus “all the fullness of God dwells”
These last words were written by St Paul in his letter to the Colossians. St Paul initially hated Christians and everything they stood for. He persecuted Christians and consented to their murder. But St Paul’s life was completely turned upside down by an encounter with Jesus some years after Jesus’ death. Yes, truly! You can read about this in the book in the Bible called The Acts of the Apostles chapter 9. St Paul went on to write most of the Letters found in the New Testament, letters to Christian churches across the ancient world. We will think about these letters next month
as published by St Andrew's Church in the Gorleston Community Magazine
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