Friday, October 05, 2007



….and far reaching mission trips enabling them to bring the gospel to Cyprus, Minor Asia, Macedonia and Greece. The epistles can also be regarded as early letter from and to the mission fields. God chose to be His own missionary ambassador. He went to man but man hid himself! For the Son of Man is come to seek and to save that which is lost.

1. Jesus: the Example of a Missionary
1. He went out from heaven, separated from his Father, John 1:1-5,14.
2. He was a stranger: John 1:10
3. He faced struggles: John 1:11
4. He brought the hope of salvation, John 1:12

Map 1: Areas of the LORD's Ministries:[1]

· Christ was a home missionary in His ministry in Bethany.
· Christ was a foreign missionary when the Greeks came to Him.
· Christ was an urban missionary when he taught in Jerusalem.
· Christ was a missionary to the poor when He opened the eyes of the blind beggar.
· Christ was a missionary to the rich when he opened the spritual eyes of Zachaeus.
· Christ was a Sunday School Missionary when He blessed the little children in His arms.
· He was a theologian missionary when he taught the religious leadership.
· Christ was a missionary to teach leadership when he talked to his disciples
· Christ is the commanding missionary as he gave his disciples the Great Commission of Mission

2. Cross-Cultural Ministries

2.1 Phoenicians.[2] Jesus Christ started his ministry among Jews and they were the first to accept his message. However, the Phoenicians where among the first gentiles to accept the Christian faith. Among the earliest record of this conversion appears in Matthew 15:21-29.
Map 2: Special Places at Jesus' Time:

2.2 Samaritans. Joh 4; Luc 10:25-37.

2.3 The Aramaeans. (Luc 10:1-24. The Church of the East, holds its origin to have been in Edessa, modern Urfa of Turkey, the capital city of the little Kingdom of Osrohene in northern Mesopotamia (between the rivers). Their tradition claims that King Abgar, son of Na'na, on hearing of Christ and His remarkable miracles, wrote to Him inviting Him to come to minister to his people. Our Lord received the message, so the story goes, shortly before His crucifixion, so Thomas undertook to send Addai (Thaddeus) one of the seventy who had been sent out to evangelize. From this disciple's ministry the gospel was planted in Edessa, considered the first Church of the East, its eastward expansion beginning from that city. [3]

3. The Great Commission (Mk 16:15; Mt 28:18-20)
This commission does not have any personal limitation in terms of people. It goes to the end of the earth: This commission of our LORD does not know any geographically limitation. Preach the gospel to all creation: This commission does not have any ethnic borders. “Behold, I am with you”, There is enough strength of the LORD to really do the job. Again here too we can not see any limits. Always: The Great Commission does not have any limits in terms of time.

4. The Bible and its Early Translations

4.1 The Hebrew Bible (TaNakH
The Hebrew Bible is called the TaNaKh. The letters TNK are an acronym for the three parts of the Bible of Judaism: Torah (tor-AH) – The Law, also called the Pentateuch (Greek for "five books") Nebiim ( neh-veh-EEM) -- The Prophets Ketubim (keh-tu-VEEM) -- The Writings.

4.2 The Septuagint (LXX)
The Septuagint (from the Latin word septuaginta meaning seventy) was a Greek version of the Bible created during the reign of Ptolemy II Philadelphus (ca. 285-246 BCE) in Alexandria, Egypt for Diaspora Jews. Most of Jews living outside of Palestine were Greek-speaking as a result of Alexander the Great's (357-323 BCE) campaign to Hellenize his empire. At first, the Septuagint (LXX) consisted only of the Pentateuch (Torah, first five books of the Bible). Different books were translated from the Hebrew over a span of two centuries, including the books of the Apocrypha, and were added to the LXX. Since the Greek used in the LXX reflects an Alexandrian origin, the scholars who created it were most likely Alexandrian rather than Palestinian, as was suggested by a legend circulated by a writer who called himself Aristeas.

From Alexandria, use of the LXX spread to other Jews of the dispersion. Not surprisingly, early Christians, most of whom spoke Greek, also used the LXX, even in Palestine where they also knew Hebrew. The Septuagint became a very popular translation and a useful tool for evangelization. Many Christians during the time of Origen of Alexandria (185-254), for example, valued the LXX as strongly as many 20th-century Christians value the King James Version of the Bible. Origin studied Hebrew texts and revised the LXX. He then published the Hexapla, which featured six translations of the entire Old Testament divided in columns, including his version of the LXX. Among Hellenistic Jews, two views of the Septuagint developed. One group thought the translation was too loose and revised the books in order to make them a more literal translation. Aquila, a Jewish proselyte produced such a translation ca. 128.

Today members of the Eastern Church who speak Greek still hold the Septuagint in high regard. It remains the official translation of the Old Testament for them. The first translations of the Bible were of the Hebrew Bible. The Septuagint (SEP-too-a-jint) was a Greek translation written about three centuries before the birth of Christ. Two other early translations, composed after the birth of Christ, were the Peshitta in Syriac and the Vulgate in Latin. These three translations, the Septuagint, Peshitta, and Vulgate became the official translations of the Old Testament for the Greek-, Syriac-, and Latin-speaking churches respectively. Each also became the basis for other translations of the Bible.

4.3 The „Peshitta“ (Syriac Bible)[4]

Its Content. The Peshitta is the authoritative biblical text for today's Syrian Orthodox, Church of the East, and Maronite churches. The official New Testament canon includes 22 of the books in the Roman Catholic and Protestant canons but does not have 2 Peter, 2 and 3 John, Jude, and the Book of Revelation. In addition, this Syriac New Testament does not include Luke 22:17-18 and John 7:53-8:11.

Origin and Purpose. The Peshitta is a Syriac Bible representing the attempt to create a "standard version" of the Bible amidst a variety of other Syriac texts. The name Peshitta (which means "simple" or "clear") was first used by Moses bar Kepha (d. 903), many believe it was first translated in 616 AD from Origen's revised Septuagint. Tatian, born in Edessa, in 150, composed a gospel harmony in continuous narrative form, called the Diatesseron, which for well over a century was the only gospel known by Persian Christians. About 350 a Syriac New Testament, the Peshitta (simple) appeared. Burkett however brings proofs for the possibility of a much earlier version.[3] –He also claims that it was not a new translation, only a revision of an Old Syriac ones.[5]

The Syriac Old Testament, Burkitt holds, is even older than the name Peshitta. It is quoted both by Aphraates (337 A.D.) and in the Acts of Thomas (first century), he contends. Specifically he states, "The Peshitta is a direct translation from the Hebrew, in all essentials, from the Messoretic text."[5] Such a translation was inevitable, he feels, both because Edessa's independent civilization would require a vernacular version and because the Jewish converts in the church would insist on a translation from the Hebrew.
The Old Testament portion was probably was created between the 1st and 2nd centuries BC. Some of it was translated by Jews working from mostly the Hebrew sometimes consulting the LXX.[6]

[1] http://cce;.org./bible/phillips/CN092MAP2.htm
[3] G. D. Malech, History of the Syrian Nation and the Old Evangelical-Apostolic Church of the East (Minneapolis: private printing, 1910), 52f.
[5] Mar Eshai Shimun, Catholicos Patriarch of the East in April 5, 1957 writes: "With reference to...the originality of the Peshitta text, as the Patriarch and Head of the Holy Apostolic and Catholic Church of the East, we wish to state, that the Church of the East received the scriptures from the hands of the blessed Apostles themselves in the Aramaic original, the language spoken by our LORD jesus Christ Himself, and that the Peshitta is the text of the Church of the east which has come down from Biblical times without any change or revision."
[5] Although Burkitt places the Creed of Aphraates at about 337, he holds that the Acts of Thomas was written by Judas Thomas himself, the brother of our Lord. His comment on this is most interesting. "I believe most firmly that it was originally composed in Syriac, not Greek ... a doctrinal work cast in narrative form ... it is as truly a book of religious philosophy as the Pilgrim's Progress, and it demands from us serious study." Thus he would give strong support to the early origin and independent nature of the church in Edessa. F. C. Burkitt, Early Christianity Outside the Roman Empire (Cambridge: University Press, 1899), 63-64.
[6] F. C. Burkitt, Early Christianity Outside the Roman Empire (Cambridge: University Press, 1899), 15.

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