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New Testament

As Jesus was walking along the shore of the Lake of Galilee, he called a tax collector named Levi. Levi was at his work in the customs house. Jesus said to him, “Follow me.” Levi got up, left everything and followed Jesus. (Mark 2:13-14) The man called Levi is the same as Matthew. It was quite common for men in public life to have both a Jewish and a Greek name. This was especially true of men who worked for the Gentiles, such as a tax collector.
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Matthew - audio clip

These notes on the gospel according to Mark should start with a reference to a teenage boy who was present at the arrest of Jesus. The story is only in Mark’s account. Jesus was in the Garden with the eleven. Judas came - leading the men who were to arrest Jesus. The eleven took off running out of fear. The teenage boy was wearing only a linen cloth. They tried to grab the boy but he took off and they kept his linen cloth. (Mk. 14:50-52)
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The Gospel according to Luke uses the preposition, “kata,” in the Greek title. This translates to “Gospel according to Luke.” This tells us that these ideas have Luke as their source but were not necessarily written down in this order by Luke.

Certain themes run through this Gospel. Luke is called the Gospel of Mercy or Pardons because this theme runs through some of the events.
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Luke - audio clip


The Greek title uses the preposition “kata” which means “according to” rather than the preposition “dia” which means “by.” The word choice was deliberate. The “Gospel According to John” tells us the ideas go back to John as the source of their authority but he did not necessarily say or write them exactly as they are gathered here.

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John - audio clip


The first point to discuss is the title. In English this writing is called “The Acts of the Apostles.” This title is misleading on two scores. It seems to say this is a book about all the apostles and their actions.

The Greek title is clearer and more defined. The Greek is “Practices of Apostles.” This title is more generic in meaning and indicates the book is about some of the apostolic ways of acting in various circumstances. That is exactly what the book is about. The author does not intend to tell us everything that happened in those first years but only some of the highlights and how issues were decided or settled.
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Part of the Pauline story is told in Acts - “Practices of the Apostles.” The Letters add information. We see the complex person, Paul, much more thoroughly in his letters. These he wrote to various communities where he had worked. Many letters were occasioned by blazing anger. We know that Luke edited some of these letters and tried to make them more acceptable. I think Luke edited all of Paul’s letters, and this would be the third work attributed to Luke in the writings of the Apostolic Fathers.
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Pauline - audio clip


Hebrews is clearly a letter that should be read in its entirety because of the depth of its insights and the clarity of its application to life in all ages. The question of author is of minor importance and yet most of the writing is done on this point rather than on the contents.
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The Apocalypse (Revelation) has St. John the apostle as its origin. Whether he wrote it in its final form is questioned by some. However, the basic book is Joannine in origin. It is the first of the 5 writings of John in the New Testament. In 85 A.D. John wrote this work to teach the faithful Christians and hide his words from the Romans.
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