The Words of Jesus

Reading Acts

redletterIn the first century most information was not recorded, it was reported orally. Jesus taught orally, the disciples listened, remembered, and eventually wrote down what he said. The problem is obvious, how do we know if the disciples accurately recorded the words of Jesus many years after they were spoken? In Luke 6:20, Jesus says “blessed are the poor,” but in Matthew 5:3, he says “blessed are the poor in spirit.”

Two issues are involved. First, should we argue for the “exact words” of Jesus in the first place? Jesus spoke Aramaic, we are reading a translation of a Greek text. For this reason alone we ought to dispense with the pious assumption the “red letters” are exactly what Jesus spoke, but are the accurate recollections of what he spoke. Second, if we think we can we determine whether the words of Jesus are in fact accurate reflections of what he taught…

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