The Jefferson Bible
We must reduce our volume to the simple evangelists, select, even from them, the very words only of Jesus, paring off the amphibologisms [ambiguities] into which they have been led .... There will be found remaining the most sublime and benevolent code of morals which has ever been offered to man. I have performed this operation for my own use, by cutting verse by verse out of the printed book, and arranging the matter which is evidently His, and which is as easily distinguishable as diamonds in a dunghill.
So wrote Thomas Jefferson about his project of purging the Bible of misconceptions and false interpretations given by the writers of the four Gospels themselves. By the time he was finished with his razor (yes, he literally used a razor to cut and paste together the sections he wanted!), Jefferson had successfully eliminated any reference to angels, genealogy, prophecy, miracles, the resurrection, and the divinity of Jesus. The final words of The Jefferson Bible are, “Now, in the place where he was crucified, there was a garden; and in the garden a new sepulchre, wherein was never man yet laid. There laid they Jesus. And rolled a great stone to the door of the sepulchre, and departed.”
A Bible without a resurrection! Thomas Jefferson picked and chose what he wanted to believe. He wanted a Bible stripped of everything not directly related to Jesus.
Percival Everett tells what really happened:
He decided that the rules of the club to which he wished to belong were not the rules he wanted to play by. So instead of changing clubs, he changed the rule book by literally cutting and pasting together only the sections that he found relevant to his interpretation.
Did you catch that? Instead of creating a Christocentric Bible, Thomas Jefferson created a Jeffersoncentric Bible!
While none of us probably literally take a razor to our Bibles, do we in our minds? Do we strive to change the rules of the club (the kingdom of God), or do we seek to change clubs (be born into the kingdom by the power of the Holy Spirit)? ~
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