|Dr. of Christian Studies - (The Four Gospels)|
By Reverend Jim DeManche
I would first like to express my thanks to (ULC) and Reverend Amy for this wonderful opportunity to expand my education, and ministry. The time, energy, and spiritual investment in our (ULC Seminary) is priceless, and deeply appreciated.
As a Christian minister, I often begin my studies or witnessing with (The Four Gospels). My personal preference is to begin with the Gospel of John. 'The Unvarnished Gospels' which is the text for this course was to me "different". Initially it did take some adjusting to this translation, from what I am used to. My personal favorites are the (NKJV), (NLT), and (NASB). Mr. Andy Gaus the author, has provided an interesting if not "contemporary" translation from the original Greek. This collection of the four gospels is valuable, especially for it's simple format and ease of reading.
There is a "spirit" of God's Word that needs to remain consistent with any translation or interpretation of scripture. Some ministers are (KJV)-King James Version only, and believe any other translation is flawed or detours away from the "original meaning". If we are to do what is right, we need to be flexible and understand that not every language has a translation, for every word in English, Hebrew, or Greek! This is why in my opinion, 'The Unvarnished Gospels' is such a good tool. Not only does Andy Gaus do excellent work in translation, but recognizes the reality of dialect in our modern world.
The glossary is very useful in clarifying potentially unfamiliar statements. A fine example of this is the use of the word "Behold". The author translates this commonly recognized word to mean "all of a sudden", or "next thing you know", or "just then", etc. Such wording was helpful in relating the original Greek meanings into our modern English usages.
During my studies in (The Four Gospels), I appreciated the regular e-mails and thought provoking study suggestions in them. The process of reading the e-mail message, meditating on it, and applying it to the course material was very valuable to me. Often I would refer back to the e-mails when reading both the course text, and my personal Bible. All these aids have helped to expand my spiritual awareness, and academic knowledge of the four gospels.
If there is one criticism of this book, it would be the lack of biographical information on Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. My belief is that it's important to know who wrote something, as is the accuracy of its translation. The 'flavor' of each gospel defines it's individual authors, and better clarifies the spiritual environment for today's reader and biblical student. Having some background information on all four authors, would help the context of the individual gospel and when it was written.
Have I enjoyed and benefited from this course? Absolutely I have. (The Four Gospels) are not only some of my favorite scriptures, but give us an eye witness account of Jesus Christ's ministry on earth. I highly recommend this course to all interested ministers, students of the Bible, or simply the curious lay person.
Rev. Jim DeManche
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