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Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Jesus' Sound Bites

Do you spread the Gospel through sound bites?

Or do you tell the stories of Jesus' life, and the life of the Apostles?

With the increasing popularity of line-by-line Bible study, many people are able to come up with a passage for any occasion - in fact, a whole string of them.

It's not a new concept. Educated men would compete in stringing together Shakespearean tags to carry on a conversation, without resorting to 'plain English' - Winston Churchill was particularly adept at this.

However, it rather misses the point of the whole thing. The whole thing being, well, the Bible.

The Old and New Testaments were produced at a time when oral history and storytelling was the only way to disseminate information. Yes, there were printed copies, but they were few and far between, and most people had a finely-honed memory that would allow them to carry the message, and deliver it accurately.

The whole reason for the documents was the stories, in their entirety. Jesus' sayings, lifted from context and sprinkled here and there in conversation, is a common thing among Christians today but it would have been virtually unknown in the First Century.

Instead, the tales would have been recounted...the woman at the well, the crippled man lowered through the roof. The audience would have sat patiently, and learned the meaning behind the words, the shrewd sense and sly humor that Jesus had, that only comes out when you listen to him for awhile.

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