Just as many have taken in hand to write down and declare those things which are most surely believed about the scriptures, it seemed good to me also to write about the scriptures to you, dear reader.
Perhaps this introduction sounds familiar. And well it should, for this is a blatant restatement of Luke 1:1-4 in my own words! I do this to warn you that some of what you will read may sound familiar.
The Source Materials . . .
I have read, heard, and/or watched multiple sources for the material in this book. Just as Luke and Matthew copied Mark, who may have copied an unknown source, “Q”, I firmly assert that all who write about the scriptures should be saying the same things, albeit perhaps using just a few different words here and there. I mirror Matthew, Mark, and Luke in this regard and this book may inadvertently contain material that may sound like another author’s copyrighted material, but I, too, am simply being synoptic.
The Scripture Quotations . . .
Like many commentators, I read and analyze a minimum of six translations, one or more paraphrases, and then look up the Hebrew or Greek words. Once I have a clear image of the sense of the verse, or paragraph, I put my analysis into modern American-English sixth grade level wording, but retain the Hebrew words for names and often places as well. As needed, I will also include the Hebrew or Greek words and definitions for the English words that are used. Friends and foes affectionately call this the PJT (Professor Jeff Translation)!
I know that this method may be upsetting to some, but every single English, Spanish, Latin, or other language translation from the original Hebrew or Greek is the translator’s (or multiple translators’s) understanding of the original languages. I simply do the same as they have done before putting it to the page, in accordance with 1 Peter 3:15. I contend that one only becomes able to fully explain the hope one has within once the scriptures have been internalized, and that just quoting isn’t a sign of internalization! Even the kings of old were required to write the Torah in their own handwriting (Deuteronomy 17:18).
Peter uses this same method in Acts 2:16-21 when he “quotes” Joel 2:28-30. On those rare occasions when a direct quote is used I have made every attempt to provide a link or footnote to my source, but when the material has been compiled from numerous sources, I do this in the same manner as the writer of Hebrews 4:4, who says: “For he has said somewhere concerning the seventh day” with no attempt to quote the source. Likewise, there is no reference to a particular version of the Bible; just the book, chapter, and verse.
The Style of Writing . . .
My teaching and writing style began forming as I became involved in twenty (plus) years of youth work, primarily with Middle-School (Junior High) youth. Youth talks and lessons quickly progressed to teaching confirmation, and a few years ago I “graduated” to teaching adults and found that it wasn’t much different! Both groups have short attention spans. Both groups tend to be Biblically illiterate. Both groups listen and learn at about a sixth grade level of understanding. Both groups show as much comprehension of the material being taught as did the apostles to Yeshua’s teaching. Both groups need lots of preparation, buckets of explaining, and as many visual and auditory aids as humanly possible (slides, photos, movies, charts, hand-outs, music, songs, speeches, taped recordings, news clips, etc). Just as Glenn Holland used any and all material that helped get the point across, so do I (Mr. Holland’s Opus, 1995).
The Structure and Goals . . .
Think of the blog posts as a study guide, and then do your homework. My job as a teacher is to point you in the right direction to find the answers you seek,
I believe that Biblical and historical parallels, patterns, pictures, and types have much to teach us about the world as we experience it today. My primary goal in writing this book is to encourage you to read scripture and notice the many parallels, patterns, pictures, and types that inundate the Biblical narrative.
My secondary goal is to encourage you to discuss your findings with others, to encourage you to read other views, to listen to audio studies about the scriptures and to heartily study and become knowledgeable about the subjects being discussed in the blogs.
My ultimate goal is to bring you to a closer relationship with the one that Hebrew names Yeshua Ha’Mashiach, and to make your understanding of the scriptures a blessed, joyous, heartwarming, looked for, and expected daily, hourly, and constant occurrence.