Creed: The Gospel in a Nutshell
- Tuesday, July 05, 2005
When I joined the publishing world, one of the first things I learned to do was to put together a "book proposal." A book proposal is a written presentation of the manuscript you’ve either written or would like to write, which will be given to an acquisitions editor in hopes that he or she will read it, their eyes wide, left only to exclaim, "My goodness! This is the best idea I’ve ever heard."
Actually, most writers will be happy with a simple, "We’ll buy it!" But, that’s not the point I’m trying to make. The point I’m trying to make is this: a book proposal gives the skinny on what the author believes is a great idea. We writers are also expected to be able to speak our idea in three sentences or less. For a writer, that’s nearly painful!
Here’s Another Pretty Fantastic Story
The word "gospel" means "good tale." Some say it means "good news." Merriam-Webster gives the following definition: the message concerning Christ, the kingdom of God, and salvation.
That really is pretty good news.
The works of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, which make up the first four books of the New Testament, are also called "The Gospel…" Specifically, The Gospel According To…Matthew, Mark, Luke, John.
Matthew tells his version of the “good tale” in 28 first-hand chapters, Mark in 16, Luke in a detailed 24, and John in an emotion-packed 21.
In A Nut Shell
Both the Apostle’s Creed and the Nicene Creed tell this same gospel story in a "three sentence or less" way.
The Apostle’s Creed: And in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord; who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; he descended into hell; the third day he rose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty…
The Nicene Creed: and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the Virgin Mary, and was made man, and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate. He suffered and was buried, and the third day he rose again according to the Scriptures, and ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of the Father.
Conceived By The Holy Spirit, Born of the Virgin Mary
What we know about Jesus’ true father and His mother are limited, but precise. Unfortunately, the image we have of Mary has been fuzzied by tradition, art and religious attitudes. Mary was special, yes, but in our Father’s eyes we all are.
So what do we know about the "young girl" Mary?
She was young. Probably no more than 12 or 13 years of age, at which time young girls became engaged according to the traditions of the time. This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. (Matthew 1:18) In the Jewish tradition of marriage, when a young girl became engaged, this period of betrothal lasted approximately one year and was legally—but not physically—bound.
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