BALDWIN COUNTY, Ala. (WKRG) — Faith time is our weekly conversation on Matters of Faith. The Bible can be a lengthy and sometimes confusing book. There are efforts to make the Word of God more accessible. Robert W. Gardner focuses on the story of Jesus in his Book God with us
Guest: GOD WITH US quite simply, tells the entire Gospel story of Jesus Christ. Telling this story to all the world is the great mission of the Church that Jesus left for us to finish. This book puts all the facets of the greatest story ever told into chronological order, includes every detail, but eliminates the repetition and the difficulty of looking back and forth between the different accounts. It is also formatted into short little vignettes, super-short stories, for easier reading and understanding.
Anchor: Why put Jesus’ story together in this way?
I love to read aloud to people, and like everyone, I sometimes find it challenging to sight-read long passages from congested blocks of margin-to-margin text. From the days of the first Gutenberg Bible, printers have tried to pack as much text on a page as practical, which is great for printing, but not so helpful for reading. If you look at the ancient manuscripts, which were read aloud, you would see each phrase, each thought, has its own line of text. One thought is not crowded into the next, which makes it easier to read aloud, and helps the understanding of the reader, and therefore the listener.
First of all, it’s helpful not to have to skip back and forth to get all the details of any aspect of the story. Next, by arranging the vignettes, the little stories, in the best order we can manage, the epic story of Jesus is retold in the context of unfolding events. Currency and measurements have been given modern approximations, explained in the end notes, and that helps us understand things like the kingly funeral expenses of Jesus, distances the disciples traveled on foot, the incredible volume of fine wine that was the miraculous wedding gift of Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and so much more.
Anchor: What did you learn in writing this?
I learned that there is a lot of scholarship that is based on the agendas of skeptics rather than upon the faith of saints. I am not a Bible translator, so, this is a paraphrase of the story of Jesus. Even so, I went to great pains to present it as closely as I could to the inspired Gospels. This required, on and off, twenty years of research into the interpretations of others, and their guesswork, through the centuries about this story. There have been scholarly disputes about many matters, from the lineage of Jesus back to Adam,
Anchor: What is the most important story in Jesus ministry in your opinion?
That would be the 27th vignette, the little story of Jesus telling the great Rabbi Nicodemus that to be saved from death and damnation, one must be born again of the Spirit of God. This contains the well-known saying of the Son of God found in the Gospel of John, “…that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but will have Eternal Life.”