Whether you are a believer or not, these carefully selected Readings have something to say to you. Topic by topic they cover what Jesus taught, from what he meant by the Kingdom of God to his challenging teaching on money and adultery; his condemnation of the religious establishment to his overriding stress on forgiveness and reconciliation combined with a genuine openness towards the excluded and powerless.
These mostly short key texts demonstrate why Jesus Christ is considered to be a unique moral teacher with a distinctive voice and style. However, that is not the whole story. The early followers who recorded that teaching also had very definite views on Jesus' identity. To leave those views out of any account of what he taught fails to do justice to what they believed. Because of disagreements and splits, the church's doctrine on who Jesus Christ was did not assume its final form until two Councils of the Church in the fourth and fifth centuries.
However, those doctrinal statements essentially refine, define and reconcile the views of the New Testament authors in the first century. As with the Readings on his teaching, those on his identity let the authors speak for themselves, whether on the Incarnation, Jesus as Healer or the Messiah, or as Risen Lord. The Bible is a library rather than a single book and a reader who is unfamiliar with it can easily get lost and discouraged. This book is a reliable guide, providing Readings on topics listed under the two headings of Identity and Teaching with detailed Introductions to both parts, and notes on each topic and Reading to help you with background. There is a guide to focused, reflective reading.
The book is not principally about Christian doctrine and does not set out to convert you to any sort of Christianity. Its main aim is to encourage and enable you to engage with the scriptures, bringing to them your own life and experience. What matters is your personal response. Whatever you finally decide about Jesus Christ, you will find considering his identity and teaching at source brings spiritual enrichment.
Tom Carty was born in Liverpool. He is married with four children. After studying Modern Languages and obtaining a doctorate in German History, he taught in both Britain and Germany, going on to manage large university language programmes. He now works as an author and editor of learning materials. He describes his main interests as German Theology, Liverpool FC and his six grandchildren. Tom has practised Lectio Divina reading-based meditation for many years.