In this book I have tried to categorize and present the major themes that Jesus emphasized over and over to His disciples and to others who listened to His teachings. Nearly all this material is derived from the four Gospels - Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. An earlier edition of this material was published on the internet in 2000.
The Bible was written a long time ago in a different language and in a culture very different from the modern Western world. Jesus probably spoke in the Aramaic language, but the New Testament was originally written entirely in Greek. The styles of writing, nuances of the language and figures of speech are unfamiliar to modern readers. No translation into English can fully capture the richness and detail of the original writings. To truly understand Jesus’ teachings, we need to understand the background of life and literature in the first century A.D. as the Gospels were being written.
Therefore, to accurately present Jesus’ teachings, I have relied heavily on reference materials and commentaries written by experts in the languages, culture and history of the time and place Jesus lived and taught. The goal of Bible interpretation is to understand the author's originally intended meaning and how it was understood by the original audience. Then we can better understand and apply the principles Jesus taught to life in the modern world. There is a list of the main reference works I used at the end of the book.
It is my hope that this work will be useful as an aid to understanding the ministry of Jesus, what He taught about our relationship with God and each other, and how He is guiding us toward eternal life in God's kingdom. Throughout this work, I have highlighted Jesus' words in red, in the tradition of many Bible editions. I gratefully acknowledge the assistance of my wife, Helen, who proofread and edited this work and made many needed corrections and improvements in clarity.