blessed are the peacemakers

Christian Basics

When asked, 'What is the greatest commandment?'
Jesus replied, 'To love the Lord God with you whole heart, mind and soul and to love your neighbour as yourself'.

During his ministry, Jesus gave us an insight into the basic requirements of a person who would become a Christian and be pleasing to God. Mathew, in his gospel, records the words of Jesus as he addressed the people who had followed him to a sermon on the Mount of Olives. At this stage Jesus was beginning to bring people around to a different way of living and a different way of reacting to the world in times of trouble and war.

Mathew chapter 5

  • Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
  • Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
  • Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
  • Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
  • Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
  • Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
  • Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
  • Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
  • Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

Please read all of Mathew Chapter 5

During this sermon he taught people how to pray, as recorded by Mathew Chapter 6, saying:

But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.

Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.

After this manner therefore pray ye:

  • Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
  • Thy kingdom come.
  • Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven
  • Give us this day our daily bread.
  • And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
  • And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you

But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal. But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

Please read all of Mathew Chapter 6

To be a Christian

  • To love God first and foremost
  • To acknowledge Jesus as the Christ (The Messiah)
  • To try to live by the model of the Sermon on The Mount.
  • Attain some knowledge by reading the bible.

Do these things with conviction and The Holy Spirit will take things from there.

You don't have to study day after day, unless you feel you should. Remember the wrongdoer crucified at the side of our Lord wasn't a member of any religion, Christianity had not even begun and yet our Lord assured him that 'he would be with him in paradise' simply because he had faith in our Lord.

It's as simple as that. Do these simple basic things and live your life by them. If you really want to expand your knowledge further then take up bible study but never loose sight of these basic requirements.

Bible versions

Which bible version should you use? It doesn't make much difference, providing the bible translation you choose is as accurate as possible. I say 'accurate as possible' because it is impossible to translate something as complicated as the Bible and still retain absolute accuracy.

The problem with translating is that it is often very difficult to convey the proper shade of meanings from one language to another. This is because the nuances (shades of meanings) of ancient words and the sentence structures are often quite different from modern English. As a result, what was originally said or written might come out quite differently in another language due to the translator's misunderstanding of the meanings and especially due to translators' preconceived religious ideas and beliefs.

The Old Testament was originally written in Hebrew and the New Testament in Greek. However, the Old Testament was translated into Greek in the 3rd century BC. During the time of Jesus, in the 1st century AD, this Greek translation was used in place of the old Hebrew scriptures and Jesus and the Apostles would have read and quoted from the scriptures in this Greek translation as Hebrew had gone out of popular usage. By the 4th Century AD this Greek translation came to be known as The Septuagint from the Latin, 'Versio Septuaginta Interpretum' and is sometimes represented as LXX. It was so named because there were 70 (actually 72) Jewish interpreters who undertook the translation for Ptolemy II Philadelphos, Pharaoh of Egypt 288-246BC so it could be included in the great library of Alexandria.

Today, if you can read Greek you should use the Septuagint for the Old Testament but if you can't read Greek start with The 'King James Version' as it is the most accurate translation into English, although the language is now rather old fashioned.

Be careful of translations that have been produced by religious groups. They often contain deliberate modifications to the original texts to support the particular belief structure of the group concerned. The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society (Jehovah's Witnesses) for example do not believe that Jesus Christ is God but that he is only the Son of God. As a result their translation called 'The New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures' deliberately modifies certain verses to support that belief. See John Chapter 1 Verse 1 for instance. The original Greek clearly states, 'The Word was God' but their translation reads 'The Word was a god'.

This is the original opening verse of John's Gospel in biblical Greek

When this original Greek text is translated directly into English it reads: 'In Beginning was the Logos and the Logos was with the God and God was the Logos'. This is more properly written in English as 'In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God'.

Now compare that with the following examples. Click on the thumbnail image on the left to see an enlarged high resolution image of 'Papyrus 66', which is the oldest known example of the opening page of John's Gospel, dating back to the 2nd Century AD. You will note how it closely matches the Greek verse shown above.
Then click on the thumbnail on the right, which is taken from Jehovah's Witnesses latest bible in Greek. You will see that they have not only modified the English text but even the Greek text has been deliberately modified to help support their belief that 'The Word was a God'.

Papyrus 66 Thumbnail image

I believe this deliberate modification of God's word is unacceptable but Jehovah's Witnesses are not the only Christian religion to have modified the text to lend support to their beliefs. It is essential therefore to choose your Bible with care.

Also, when choosing a Bible be aware that the writers of some modern translations have modified certain passages of the text in order to be more 'politically correct'. Political Correctness is a good thing and is valuable in our daily lives to help us get along better with each other. However, I believe that deliberately changing the word of God in order to be politically correct is wrong.