World  Religious  Heritage


Christianity 360
360 selected exerpts   | Page 1 / 15
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The world's rapidly growing population has many languages and cultures. These have evolved through long and complex histories in which human societies have developed. In this development the different religions of the world have sought to answer three important questions: 'Where do we come from?' 'Why are we here?' and, 'What happens after we die?'

However, any student of history can recognize that differences in religious belief have been used to justify terrible violence, and this continues to be true in our time. This diversity of understanding between faiths, and within faiths, is used to deny the value - and sometimes the humanity - of those perceived to be 'different', or 'wrong'. It seems inconceivable when core teaching in each faith promotes peace and mutual respect, however it is a reality that must be addressed.

For people to be better educated about the core beliefs of each religion offers hope and a way forward. When we know the stories and core beliefs of our neighbor's religion, and they know ours, there is a much greater likelihood we will respect one another and ?ourish.

'360 Excerpts' is an exciting project intended to help people gain insight into the core beliefs of major religions, and religious denominations. I am very grateful for the invitation from the Pure Land Learning College Association to choose 360 excerpts from the Bible. It has been a blessing to systematically read through the Bible gleaning those portions which best represent the faith which sustains me. Then to discuss these choices with others, review, and edit.

In the Bible there are significant values expressed and Laws stipulated which have helped to govern and shape community life through many centuries. The suggestion that we treat others the way that we would want to be treated (Excerpts 122 & 187), and we not murder (Excerpt 13), are clearly found in other faiths. But each religion has a unique story, and a unique contribution to be make. So, together with values, laws, and proverbs I have selected excerpts which express a Christian understanding of the ongoing relationship between God, creation, and humanity.

These give answer to the questions of origin, purpose, and ultimate destination articulated previously. We have an understanding of God as Creator: a loving Father, who leads us from captivity to freedom. A God of justice who cares for all and who has a particular heart for those on the margins of society. We have an understanding that around two thousand years ago God became human in a Palestinian man called Jesus, and that through him all of humanity has opportunity for relationship and new life with God. We have an understanding that we are called to follow this same Jesus as disciples, to love and forgive as he did, and to be empowered by God's Spirit each day to live lives that make a difference for good.

The Bible is a library of wisdom containing different genres of writing that have been selected and gathered together to give hope and purpose. As Christians we believe that the documents were each inspired by God, but inevitably some parts are given greater emphasis than others. The thirty nine documents of the Old Testament were originally written in Hebrew for the Jewish faith, and were written between two thousand eight hundred and two thousand years ago. In contrast the twenty seven documents of the New Testament were written in koine Greek two thousand years ago, over a period of about eighty years.

There have been many translations of these texts into English and there is great value in looking at different translations to appreciate where the translators have made choices about words and structure resulting in differing emphasis and interpretation. However, for this '360 Excerpt' project all quotes have been taken from the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV).

Usually such projects are done in commit- tee with Biblical scholars and theologians from around the world. Because of the time frame this has not been possible, and consequently there will be some bias because I am an English speaking, middle-class, white, male, Australian, Anglican Bishop! To bring some balance I asked UK based Biblical scholar, Dr Paula Gooder, to choose the excerpts from Paul's letters (Excerpts 253 - 324). I am very grateful for Paula's wisdom and encouragement.

My prayer is that God will use these excerpts to bless people in their journeys of life and faith, and draw them more deeply into an understanding and experience of God's infinite love.

The Rt Reverend Cameron Venables
Toowoomba - 2016

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I n the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters. Then God said, Let there be light; and there was light. And God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.




  1 | 
Source : Genesis 1:1-5  








T hen God said, Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth. So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. God blessed them, and God said to them, Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves
upon the earth.





  2 | 
Source : Genesis 1:26-28  








T hen the man said, This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; this one shall be called Woman, for out of Man this one was taken. Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and clings to his wife, and they become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked, and were not ashamed.




  3 | 
Source : Genesis 2:23-25  








S o when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate; and she also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made loincloths for themselves.




  4 | 
Source : Genesis 3:6-7  








T o the woman he said, I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children, yet your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you. And to the man he said, Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten of the tree about which I commanded you, You shall not eat of it, cursed is the ground because of you; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread until you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; you are dust, and to dust you shall return.




  5 | 
Source : Genesis 3:16-19  








G od said, This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: I have set my bow in the clouds, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, I will remember my covenant that is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. When the bow is in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.




  6 | 
Source : Genesis 9:12-16  








N ow the LORD said to Abram, Go from your country and your kindred and your fathers house to the land that I will show you. I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.




  7 | 
Source : Genesis 12:1-13  








T he angel of the LORD found her by a spring of water in the wilderness, the spring on the way to Shur. And he said, Hagar, slave-girl of Sarai, where have you come from and where are you going? She said, I am running away from my mistress Sarai. The angel of the LORD said to her, Return to your mistress, and submit to her. The angel of the LORD also said to her, I will so greatly multiply your offspring that they cannot be counted for multitude. And the angel of the LORD said to her, Now you have conceived and shall bear a son; you shall call him Ishmael, for the LORD has given heed to your affliction. He shall be a wild ass of a man, with his hand against everyone, and everyones hand against him; and he shall live at odds with all his kin.




  8 | 
Source : Genesis 16:7-12  








J acob was left alone; and a man wrestled with him until daybreak. When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he struck him on the hip socket; and Jacobs hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with him. Then he said, Let me go, for the day is breaking. But Jacob said, I will not let you go, unless you bless me. So he said to him, What is your name? And he said, Jacob.




  9 | 
Source : Genesis 32:24-27  








G od said to him, Your name is Jacob; no longer shall you be called Jacob, but Israel shall be your name. So he was called Israel. God said to him, I am God Almighty: be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall come from you, and kings shall spring from you.




  10 | 
Source : Genesis 35:10-11  








M oses was keeping the flock of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian; he led his flock beyond the wilderness, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. There the angel of the LORD appeared to him in a flame of fire out of a bush; he looked, and the bush was blazing, yet it was not consumed. Then Moses said, I must turn aside and look at this great sight, and see why the bush is not burned up. When the LORD saw that he had turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, Moses, Moses! And he said, Here I am. Then he said, Come no closer! Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground. He said further, I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God.




  11 | 
Source : Exodus 3:1-6  








T hen God spoke all these words: I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery; you shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself an idol, whether in the form of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, punishing children for the iniquity of parents, to the third and the fourth generation of those who reject me, but showing steadfast love to the thousandth generation of those who love me and keep my commandments. You shall not make wrongful use of the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not acquit anyone who misuses his name. Remember the sabbath day, and keep it holy. For six days you shall labour and do all your work. But the seventh day is a sabbath to the LORD your God; you shall not do any workyou, your son or your daughter, your male or female slave, your livestock, or the alien resident in your towns. For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but rested the seventh day; therefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day and consecrated it.




  12 | 
Source : Exodus 20:1-11  








H onour your father and your mother, so that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you. You shall not murder. You shall not commit adultery. You shall not steal. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour. You shall not covet your neighbours house; you shall not covet your neighbours wife, or male or female slave, or ox, or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbour.




  13 | 
Source : Exodus 20:12-17  








Y ou shall not wrong or oppress a resident alien, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt. You shall not abuse any widow or orphan. If you do abuse them, when they cry out to me, I will surely heed their cry;




  14 | 
Source : Exodus 22:21-23  








Y ou shall make for yourselves no idols and erect no carved images or pillars, and you shall not place figured stones in your land, to worship at them; for I am the LORD your God. You shall keep my sabbaths and reverence my sanctuary: I am the LORD.




  15 | 
Source : Leviticus 26:1-2  








O bserve the sabbath day and keep it holy, as the LORD your God commanded you. For six days you shall labour and do all your work. But the seventh day is a sabbath to the LORD your God; you shall not do any workyou, or your son or your daughter, or your male or female slave, or your ox or your donkey, or any of your livestock, or the resident alien in your towns, so that your male and female slave may rest as well as you. Remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the LORD your God brought you out from there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm; therefore the LORD your God commanded you to keep the sabbath day.




  16 | 
Source : Deuteronomy 5:12-15  








H onour your father and your mother, as the LORD your God commanded you, so that your days may be long and that it may go well with you in the land that the LORD your God is giving you. You shall not murder. Neither shall you commit adultery. Neither shall you steal. Neither shall you bear false witness against your neighbour. Neither shall you covet your neighbours wife. Neither shall you desire your neighbours house, or field, or male or female slave, or ox, or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbour.




  17 | 
Source : Deuteronomy 5:16-21  








H ear, O Israel: The LORD is our God, the LORD alone. You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might. Keep these words that I am commanding you today in your heart. Recite them to your children and talk about them when you are at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you rise.




  18 | 
Source : Deuteronomy 6:4-7  








S o now, O Israel, what does the LORD your God require of you? Only to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the commandments of the LORD your God and his decrees that I am commanding you today, for your own well-being.




  19 | 
Source : Deuteronomy 10:12-13  








F or the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who is not partial and takes no bribe, who executes justice for the orphan and the widow, and who loves the strangers, providing them with food and clothing. You shall also love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt. You shall fear the LORD your God; him alone you shall worship; to him you shall hold fast, and by his name you shall swear.




  20 | 
Source : Deuteronomy 10:17-20  








T he LORD your God you shall follow, him alone you shall fear, his commandments you shall keep, his voice you shall obey, him you shall serve, and to him you shall hold fast.




  21 | 
Source : Deuteronomy 13:4  








I f there is among you anyone in need, a member of your community in any of your towns within the land that the LORD your God is giving you, do not be hard-hearted or tight-fisted towards your needy neighbour. You should rather open your hand, willingly lending enough to meet the need, whatever it may be.




  22 | 
Source : Deuteronomy 15:7-8  








Y ou must not distort justice; you must not show partiality; and you must not accept bribes, for a bribe blinds the eyes of the wise and subverts the cause of those who are in the right. Justice, and only justice, you shall pursue, so that you may live and occupy the land that the LORD your God is giving you.




  23 | 
Source : Deuteronomy 16:19-20  








B lessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the field. Blessed shall be the fruit of your womb, the fruit of your ground, and the fruit of your livestock, both the increase of your cattle and the issue of your flock. Blessed shall be your basket and your kneading-bowl. Blessed shall you be when you come in, and blessed shall you be when you go out.




  24 | 
Source : Deuteronomy 28:3-6  








N ow therefore revere the LORD, and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness; put away the gods that your ancestors served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD. Now if you are unwilling to serve the LORD, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served in the region beyond the River or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.




  25 | 
Source : Joshua 24:14-15  






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