Different Messages in the Bible

From Bart Ehrman’s Jesus Interrupted, Chapter 3

I’ve tried to cover some of the interesting “large” discrepancies [from a historical-critical approach] in this chapter: Bart

  • Who was Jesus?
    • How did he come into the world?
      • Matthew and Luke say from a virgin
      • John says in the prologue 1:1-18 he was with God and was God. An incarnated preexistent divine being.
    • What did he teach?
      • In Mark:
        • what he taught is summarized in the first words he speaks; ” The time has been fulfilled; the kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news.”
        • Note the apocalyptic nature of that message. He also taught that the kingdom was soon to come. 13:30
        • The kingdom will arrive in power and then this world will be remade. Mark 13.
      • In John:
        • He does not preach about the future kingdom but rather who he is.
        • “I and the Father are one”
        • People who have faith can have eternal life in heaven above. We get there by believing in the one who came to show us the way.
      • Bart’s analogy is that Mark saw things as a horizontal timeline (current existence up to the coming of the kingdom on Earth) then that Kingdom forever. John’s message is a vertical path that one ascends when one dies with the Kingdom in Heaven.
    • Why did he perform miracles?
      • In Matthew 12:38 he refused to perform miracles to prove who he is. They were “demonstrations of power meant to help those in need”.
      • In John, the deeds are called signs and performed to prove who he is.
    • What was his attitude toward his own death?
    • Why did he have to die?
      • Mark – Atonement. i.e. Jesus pays our debt.
      • Luke – His death is the reason people realize they are sinful and need to turn to God for forgiveness.
  • How are people made right with God?
    • Paul says in Galatians 2:15; We have come to believe in Christ Jesus so that we might be justified in Christ, not by doing the works of the law…
    • In Matthew, the Sheep & Goats parable is told concluding that those who do not take care of the Son of Man will go away into eternal punishment but the righteous into eternal life. If you do it unto the least of these you have (or have not) done it for me.
  • What is God’s attitude toward “false” religions?
    • Paul had two opposing views:
      • The Paul of Acts says pagans worship idols out of ignorance. Paul in his letters says that it is not out of ignorance.
      • Does God inflict his wrathful judgment on them in the present as a result? Acts says no, Paul says yes.
  • How should Christians relate to the ruling authorities?
    • Paul says there is no authority but from God and those rulers that exist have been instituted by God. To not obey them is to not obey God. Romans 13:1-2, 4
    • In Revelations 17 Rome is not the kindly institution working to bring about good as in Paul.

From Bart’s post Making the Gospels Say What You WANT Them To Say – March 30, 2024

Mark has an adoption/exaltation Christology.  John has an incarnation Christology.  It’s not the same thing.  Pretending it is requires a special semiotic system, to be sure, but it’s not a convincing one because it requires one to impose the meaning of one text onto the words of another.   The reason Jesus has the power to forgive sins in Mark is because God has granted him that power.  It is not because he existed as God with God in the beginning before the world was made.