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Parable

(2,654 words)

Author(s): Hultgren, Arland J.
1. General The English word “parable” is derived from Gk. parabolē, and like its Greek antecedent its basic and primary meaning is “comparison.” A parable is a figure of speech, such as a simile or a brief narrative, by which the speaker makes a comparison between some transcendent, mysterious, or otherwise puzzling reality and that which is familiar to common human experience. The most widely known parables are those of Jesus of Nazareth, which appear in the Gospels of the NT. But parables are also common in the literature of antiquity. Aristotle speaks…

Mark, Gospel of

(1,751 words)

Author(s): Hultgren, Arland J.
1. Origins According to ancient writers, the Gospel of Mark was composed in Rome. These witnesses include Papias (ca. 60–130), whose otherwise lost text is quoted by the fourth-century historian Eusebius ( Hist. eccl.  3.39.14); Irenaeus, writing late in the second century ( Adv. haer.  3.1.1); and Clement of Alexandria, writing about the same time, as recorded by Eusebius ( Hist. eccl.  6.14.5–7). Moreover, these writers identify the writer as a person named Mark, who is called an “interpreter” of the apostle Peter. According to Clement, the gospel wa…

Pastoral Epistles

(2,710 words)

Author(s): Hultgren, Arland J.
1. Origins The term “Pastoral Epistles” is applied to three letters within the Pauline corpus, namely, 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, and Titus. The term is regarded as fitting, since these three offer instructions for pastoral oversight of congregations and specify the qualities and duties expected of church leaders. Paul Anton (1661–1730) is given credit for coining the term for the three letters, although Thomas Aquinas (ca. 1225–74) had referred to 1 Timothy as “a pastoral rule” much earlier. Each letter identifies its author as Paul in the very first verse and then designate…

Nazirites

(271 words)

Author(s): Hultgren, Arland J.
The term “Nazirite” is from Heb. nāzı̂r, “one who is consecrated, devoted [to the Lord].” The laws regarding Nazirites (Num. 6:1–21) include abstinence from wine (or any other product of the grapevine) and other strong drinks (Dietary Laws; Asceticism), from cutting one’s hair or beard, and from touching a corpse. Both men and women could become Nazirites. One could be a Nazirite for a specified period of time, during which, if the vow was broken, there was a means for purification and restoration (vv. 9–12). There was also a ritual for leaving at the end of the time of conse…

Jude, Epistle of

(347 words)

Author(s): Merkel, Helmut | Hultgren, Arland J.
The author of the Epistle of Jude calls himself “a servant of Jesus Christ” and “brother of James” but does not tell us to whom he is writing (vv. 1–2). The cause of writing is the intrusion of false teachers into an unknown community. These teachers promote licentiousness and, in fact, deny Christ (vv. 3–4). Their judgment is depicted (vv. 5–19) in terms taken from examples in the OT and the Apocrypha (vv. 5–7, 9, 11) and by means of pre-Christian and early Christian prophecy (vv. 14–18). The recipients are admonished to cling to their “most holy faith” (v. 20), the faith “once for all entru…

Lord’s Prayer

(2,034 words)

Author(s): Merkel, Helmut | Hultgren, Arland J.
1. The Different Versions 1.1. The NT contains two versions of the Lord’s Prayer. The form used in most liturgies is that of Matt. 6:9b–13, which begins with the invocation “Our Father, [you] who are in the heavens” (lit. trans.). Three petitions follow in reference to God (“your name … your kingdom … your will”), and four in reference to those who are praying (“our bread … our debts … lead us not … deliver us”). The oldest MSS omit the doxology. The shorter form in Luke 11:2b–4 opens with the simple address “Father.” It has two you-petitions (“your name … your kingdom”) and thr…