Abide in Love
"those who abide in love abide in God" (1 John 4:16)
The Bible is not the
literal, infallible or inerrant word of God, but the faithful witness of ancient Jews and first
and second century Christians.
It is a human story that may also be a divine story, for those with
"ears to ear and eyes to see."
In the New Testament Jesus of Nazareth challenges
temple leaders and is crucified for treason by Pontius Pilate, the Roman
governor of Palestine. The first church in Jerusalem is founded by Peter
and the disciples, but led by James, the brother of Jesus. Paul
preaches the gospel to Greek-speaking Jews and Gentiles in cities
throughout the Roman Empire.
In the first century the Roman emperor Augustus demanded
worship as the Savior of the world, and after his death he was
worshipped as the divine son of a god. Faith in the life, death and
resurrection of Jesus was an act of resistance to Roman idolatry and
the 60s Paul and Peter were executed in Rome for treason, and James
(the brother of Jesus and leader of the Jerusalem church) was killed for denouncing the temple authorities
who supported Roman rule.
Jews in Palestine revolted in 66, but four years later Roman armies
captured Jerusalem, destroyed its temple, and crucified thousands of
rebels outside the city walls.
These apocalyptic events led Greek-speaking
followers of the Way to proclaim among Jews that Jesus is the promised Messiah
to tell Gentiles that Jesus is the reigning Son of God.
The church began without the Christian Bible. The
first Christians, like Jesus and his disciples, read as their scripture the Torah, the
Prophets and the Writings of their Jewish ancestors. Paul's letters
were written in the 40s and 50s, and the gospels were composed and
edited the late in the first century and early in the second century. Controversy in the early church about what writings
should be read as scripture was resolved only in the fourth century
after the emperor Constantine was converted and demanded that church leaders preach a unifying message throughout the Roman Empire.
In the midst of this tumultuous history, men and women found ways to
abide in love, and so came to know through faith in Jesus the just God who is forgiving.
to what some of the visitors have said about this challenging web site.
"Without reading this site's
answers to my questions, I would have been lost forever. Thank
"I must say that while I do not
agree with everything you have written, I have read more of my Bible in
the last two weeks than ever before."
"I am so glad I started reading your
website. I have had to struggle with some of the doctrine when it
just does not make sense."
"Thanks so much for your
summaries. They have been a great help and a useful resource in my
study of God's word."
I am guided in my interpretation of the
Bible by the Creeds and the Reformed Confessions of the church.
Moreover, I understand a scripture text in the context of the whole
Bible as part of the church's witness. I believe all historical materials
should be read critically and creatively.
to our faith we must not to confuse our words about God with God.
Updated 18 March
What is the
Bible? Jesus and his disciples heard the scrolls of Jewish
faith read in Hebrew and Aramaic, as did the Jewish Christians of the
first church in Jerusalem. This was their Bible. Paul and
other Greek-speaking Christians read the Septuagint, the Greek
translation of the Hebrew scriptures, as their Bible.
After the Council of Nicea in 325, which
produced the Nicene Creed, church leaders argued for the rest of the fourth
century about the writings that should be included in scripture. At the
end of the century the Roman Empire authorized a Greek Bible with the
New Testament, as we know it, and a reordered Septuagint, as the Old
In the sixteenth century Protestant
reformers translated the Old Testament from Hebrew scriptures authorized
by rabbis around 100 CE, which omits part of the Septuagint. Because
Catholic Bibles continue to have all the books of the Septuagint in the
Old Testament, Protestant Bibles have a slightly shorter Old Testament.
The materials on this web
site are either written by or selected by Robert Traer. A brief biographical sketch and statement of faith are available on the
For other web sites and books published by Robert Traer