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Yeshua in Context » Beginners, Return of Yeshua, Study Tips » The Importance of Reading the Gospels

The Importance of Reading the Gospels

For some who have been Yeshua-followers for a long time, the gospels are a neglected segment of the Bible. They are sort of the “Old Testament of the New Testament.” There is a suspicion, unspoken, that they represent a pre-Christian view of God, faith, and life. They talk about Passover, almsgiving (tzedaka in Jewish terminology), Temple, and deeds of righteousness. A certain segment of Christianity is ambivalent about these things.

We need to read the gospels for information, clarity, even for survival.

If you are in inquirer into the possibility of Yeshua’s story being relevant, don’t simply rely on books about Yeshua or the gospels. Read the gospels themselves. Their stories speak. You may not find in them what a book says you will find.

If you are a well-read Christian, read them. You may be surprised, once you accept that the gospels are not obsolete, how they change your view of life, God, faith, and deeds.

If you are Jewish, read them. You will likely be surprised how easy it is to read the gospels as Jewish literature. The little-emphasized secret, of course, is that they are Jewish literature. They fit perfectly into the world of Second Temple Jewish writings, though with their own distinctive ideas and flavor.

If you are a beginner, read them. Experience is the best teacher. You have to first experience them to understand them. Wine tastes bitter at first, but you acquire the taste. Patience is rewarded and many before you have found in these four books a wine of unending complexity and a bouquet of constant renewal.

Read them for survival. In this world of trouble, the life and words of the redeemer from our troubles is our sign of hope for a way out. In a Jewish midrash on Lamentations, a woman weds a king who then goes away to fight wars and strengthen his kingdom. During his many years of absence, the neighbors take to taunting her. He will never come back. She should marry someone else, move on. She has been abandoned. But the woman daily reads her ketubah (wedding contract with the promises of the groom to provide for her and bless her).

Eventually the king comes back. He finds that she has waited the long years for him. “Why didn’t you marry someone else?” he wonders.

“I read your ketubah,” she says, “and every day I reminded myself you would return.”

So, we read the Torah (the five books of Moses) continually and, for Christians and Messianic Jews, I would add that we should similarly read the gospels continually, for survival.

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