"Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect." [1 Peter 3:15]

Q . What is the heart of the Bible’s message?

A .As a follower of Jesus, the story of His life is the Heart of the Bible. Jesus stands at the center of human history. The Western world marks years, A. D. and B. C. (After Death and Before Christ). While he led no armies, governed no nations, the impact of his life and teachings are enormous. A simple carpenter, a teaching Rabbi, a prophet, and to his many followers, the Son of God, his ministry was for all mankind. I believe all people are children of God, special individuals to impact his kingdom, the world.

To a Jew, who follows the Old Testament, he is a Rabbi, teacher, someone to learn from, listen to, and understand his point of view. Hillel, and other great Rabbis of his time are also to be valued. To a member of the Islamic faith, Jesus is the second most quoted Prophet in the Koran. Only Mohammed, whom is considered the last and greatest Prophet, says more in the Koran. In Buddhism, the 12 step path to Nirvana, involves much self sacrifice and concern for others. An atheist, who would deny there is a god, from a practical point of view would back the idea of love and service being a key part of daily living.

I believe Jesus, more than any other person in human history captured God’s logos (word) for all mankind. As a follower of Jesus we strive to lead a holy, spirit filled life worthy of His high calling. The world will be a better place when his ideas and teachings permeate life on this earth. In my previous work, A Biography of Jesus, we developed a chronological telling of 32 key events in his life ordered around four base locations of his ministry. Three of the four locations are cities: Nazareth (his early years through age 31); Capernaum (the 1 ½ year great Galilee ministry): and Jerusalem (Passion Week). The fourth location is two provinces, Judea and Perea. The provinces are divided by the Jordan River. These provinces are used (rather than cities) because Jesus and his disciples were traveling from city to city in Judea and Perea. They were on the move for a six month period from his transfiguration (ending the Galilee ministry) to his triumphal entry into Jerusalem and the beginning of Passion Week.

Our earlier Foundations studies in this book essentially ordered the Old Testament chronologically. Based upon my earlier work, A Biography of Jesus, I too believe a chronological study and telling of the life of Jesus is important. Since we are trying to get at the Heart of the Bible in this book, we will now move to a theme centered study of Jesus and his teachings. He lived a life of love of all people; men, women, and children. He healed all types of persons. I believe the Sermon on the Mount represents the heart of his soul and love for mankind. To bridge from my earlier work I will make the first Fulfillment study an excerpt of my previous book, which provided a brief guide to key events in the life of Jesus. In that book I divided his Sermon on the Mount teachings into three main sections; 1. The Beatitudes (changing our attitudes), 2. Commandments of Love (Love of all people is at the center of life) and 3. Construction on the Rock (Love of God is the foundation for constructing a successful life). We will use these same three divisions in this study to review the Sermon on the Mount..

Remember the Heart of the Bible is written to provide a framework summary of the Holy Bible for people to read and study. Bible reading for the author provides a challenge to order and recall scriptures. Connecting memory and recalling information is difficult; yet the truths of the Bible should remain vital for all of us. Narratives, summaries, and stories can assist storing truths in our memory for recall and sharing. A broad goal of this work is to focus on key scriptures in narrative, summary, and meditative form to assist utilization of biblical truths. Also, ‘keep it simple’ hopefully will be an organizing principle. This is not a deep theological dialog or discussion; it is a framework designed to assist recall!