The Birth and Background of Jesus of Nazareth

J.K. Elliott describes how many diverse elements are woven into the traditional account of the Nativity; but ‘the inspiration that the story has given to countless believers... speaks for its effectiveness.’

The Adoration of the Shepherds, Gerard van Honthorst, 1622The new testament is the obvious and only sourcebook to which one must turn for information about Jesus’ career; and one might perhaps assume that the books written first in the New Testament would be the fullest in detail. Surprisingly this is not so. The earliest books (Paul’s letters and parts of Acts) are very sparse in their details about Jesus’ ministry. Even when we turn to the Gospels, the first one written, Mark, gives less information about Jesus’ early life than the later gospels of Matthew and Luke. There are good reasons why this is so.

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