Wednesday, April 3, 2013

One Perfect Life


One Perfect Life is a 'Harmony of the Gospels' type of compilation.  MacArthur notes in his introduction that, "The Holy Spirit gave us four Gospels and, specifically, three of them are synoptic …so that the truth concerning our Lord and Savior might be established on the basis of two or three witnesses." Using Matthew as a base text, MacArthur uses these four witnesses to piece together their complete picture of the life of Christ.  Instead of putting the Gospels in parallel columns, the accounts are morphed together forming one account.  For instance, sentences from Luke fill in spaces that are not recounted in the same account given by Matthew.  To keep a distinction between the accounts, listed beneath each 'chapter' heading are the chapter and verse numbers of each of the Gospel accounts blended in that particular chapter.  In the chapter itself, tiny superscript abbreviations of the names of the Gospels are used to mark the transition of one verse from Luke(LK), for instance, into Matthew(MT). 

Instead of starting at the birth of Christ, Macarthur starts before Christ came to earth, using particular verses from prophecies of Him and accounts of His pre-existence and divinity taken various Old Testament texts and from the letters of the Disciples.  To give you an idea of how this works, here is how the whole account starts, "In the beginning God created the Heavens and the earth.(Gn)In the beginning was the Word, and the word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was made in the beginning with God.  And all things are made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.(1Jn)."  And again, the superscript is tiny, not large as it is in my quote, so the individual verses actually flow right into each other.  And, instead of immediately ending at Christ's ascension, the book ends with  a blending of the Apostles' and Disciples' recountings of the Gospel  from their letters,  how the prophecies of the Messiah were fulfilled, how we are to be living in light of this, and our expectation of Christ's coming again.   

This compilation is definitely a favorite of mine.  I highly recommend getting it.  One of the interesting discoveries I made while reading it was that some of Christ's discourses in the Gospel accounts that I thought were parallel with one another, often having almost the exact same discourses, are not necessarily parallel, but are rather repetitions.  It seems that Christ said the same thing in various places.  It is interesting to think that God had Matthew, Mark, Luke and John remember and recount the same sayings of Christ yet where one of them, Matthew for instance, might remember Him saying certain things at a certain place and time, but John remembers Him saying the same things on another day and in another town. 

Also a major component of this work is commentary by Macarthur underneath the texts.  I do not agree with all of his opinions, for instance on the so called 'exception clause' when Christ is speaks of divorce and remarriage.  But a lot of the commentary I am sure will be quite helpful.  I like one insight in particular, when he comments on Christ's parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus.  When the Rich Man dies and is in Hades he asks Abraham across the great gulf if he can go back to earth and warn his brothers about this place.   Abraham answers and says, "If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead." Macarthur comments, "This speaks powerfully of the singular sufficiency of the Scripture to overcome unbelief.  The Gospel itself is the power of God unto salvation (Rom 1:16)…Since unbelief is at heart a moral, rather than an intellectual problem, no amount of evidences will ever turn unbelief to faith.  But the revealed Word of God has inherent power to do so…"

All in all, I thought it was very interesting to read the life of our Lord from this combined perspective. 

 I received this book as a complimentary copy from BookSneeze® in exchange for my review(which does not have to be favorable).

This book may be purchased at Amazon.com



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