Bearing Faithful Witness' Part 1

A Study Paper for an understanding of the Scriptures in their Jewish context and for an interpretation that is not anti-Judaic. Only the first, theological parts are at this site. The complete United Church of Canada document can be found at the Web site of the United Church of Canada:


A Study Paper (1)

Preamble: Why this Paper?

  • Because many of us grew up thinking that Jesus had invented the Last Supper;
  • Because in our churches Jesus is rarely referred to as a Jew;
  • Because there is rising anti-Judaism, antisemitism, white supremacy and neo-Nazism in Canada and other countries in the name of Jesus Christ;
  • Because we are finally understanding that Christian denial of Jesus' Jewishness contributed to pogroms, the Holocaust, the refusal to admit refugees and other horrors against Jewish people;
  • Because a Jewish friend visiting in our churches could feel attacked by some of our Scriptures and interpretation of them;
  • Because there is little general knowledge of the context in which the Scriptures were written and edited, and Bible study is not a priority for most United Church adults;
  • Because our language and interpretation of Scripture has not kept pace with our evolving faith;
  • Because there is little reaction from the Christian community when synagogues and Jewish cemeteries are desecrated;
  • Because there is a growing interest in exploring other faith traditions, and Christianity has a special relationship with Judaism;
  • Because many of us make the erroneous assumption that, having read the Bible, we know much about Judaism, both historical and contemporary;

Therefore we believe it is time to throw open the questions:

  • Is our handling of the Bible consistent with the faith of Jesus?
  • Is our handling of the New Testament consciously reflective of Christianity's Jewish roots?
  • Do our Sunday morning services bear false witness against our Jewish neighbours today?


Why This Paper?

A Look at Scripture

  1. The Relationship of the Two Testaments
  2. The Old Testament
  3. The New Testament
    • The Gospel according to Matthew
    • The Gospel according to Mark
    • The Gospel according to Luke and Luke's Acts of the Apostles
    • The Gospel according to John
    • The Letters of Paul
    • The Letter to the Hebrews
    • Revelation or the Apocalypse
  4. Conclusion

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This study paper is part of a larger document of the United Church of Canada