The Successful Paul Of Tarsus
Most of the people who lived near Jerusalem1 wereJewish. The Romans were pagans2 , but they allowedthe Jews to practice their faith and did not forcethem to worship Roman gods. About A. D. 30, aholy man named Jesus began to attract a following inthe Roman province of Judea. Judea is part of themodern nation of Israel. His followers came to believethat Jesus was the son of the God of the Jews and that he performed miracles3 . The followersof Jesus angered Roman authorities because they refused to follow either Jewish or Romanlaws. The authorities arrested and crucified4 Jesus. Three days after his execution, Jesusfollowers said they saw him rise from the dead.
The followers of Jesus called him Christ5. Christ is a Greek word that means“ chosen one”,because they believed he was chosen by God to be his messenger. In time the followers ofJesus became known as Christians. The Christians taught that people’s sins would be forgiven ifthey became Christian. This message was not successful with many Jews, but many pagansresponded to the idea of Christian salvation.
Many fervent believers carried the message of Jesus throughout the Roman Empire6 . One ofthe most successful was a Greek-speaking Jew named Paul of Tarsus, known to Christians asSaint Paul. As a young man, he helped to persecute Christians, but one day he had a vision inwhich he believed Jesus spoke to him from heaven. Paul spent the rest of his life thinking andwriting about Christianity and winning new converts to the faith. Through the persistence ofPaul and other Christian missionaries, small Christian communities developed throughout theRoman Empire.
The first Christians believed that Jesus would quickly return to earth, so there was no need tocreate any written records of his life . After about thirty years, Christians began to see a needto write down an account of the life and wisdom of Jesus. About fifty years after Jesus died,Christians combined the stories of the life and wisdom of Jesus into four books known asGospels. Gospel means“ good news”. The holy book of Christianity is known as the Bible andhas two parts. The Old Testament consists of the sacred writings of the Jewish people and waswritten long before the time of Jesus. The New Testament of the Bible includes the Gospels,along with letters written by Paul and other Christian writers. The Bible has been translated intomore than 1, 000 languages and has been read by more people than any other book.
Ⅰ. Fill in each blank:
1. The Romans were pagans, but they allowed the Jews to_________ ( 实践) their faith and didnot force them to _________( 信仰) Roman gods.
2. His followers came to believe that Jesus was the son of the God of the Jews and that heperformed _________( 奇迹) .
3. The Christians taught that people’s sins would be_________ ( 宽恕) if they became Christian.
4. About fifty years after Jesus died , Christians _________( 组成) the stories of the life andwisdom of Jesus into four books known as _________( 福音) , which means “good news”.
5. The holy book of Christianity is known as the _________( 圣经) and has two parts: the OldTestament and the New Testament.
Ⅱ. Questions :
What is the holy book of Christianity and how many parts does it have ? What are they about?
Ⅰ. 1. practice / worship 2 . miracles 3. forgiven 4.combined / Gospels 5. Bible
Ⅱ. The holy book of Christianity is known as theBible and it has two parts. The Old Testamentconsists of the sacred writings of the Jewish peopleand was written long before the time of Jesus. TheNew Testament of the Bible includes the Gospels,along with letters written by Paul and other Christian writers.
居住在耶路撒冷附近的人大多都是犹太人。罗马人虽然是异教徒, 但是他们允许犹太 人进行自己的宗教活动, 并不强迫犹太人信奉罗马神。大约公元30 年, 一位名为耶稣的圣 人在罗马朱迪亚省城附近吸引了一大群信徒。朱迪亚是现代以色列的一部分。信徒们相 信耶稣是犹太人的上帝的儿子, 并且会创造奇迹。他们既不遵奉犹太法也不遵奉罗马法, 从而激怒了罗马当局。官方逮捕了耶稣并将他钉死在十字架上。行刑后三天, 耶稣的信徒 说他们看到耶稣死后升天了。
耶稣的信徒称他为基督。Christ 是个希腊词, 意思为“ 被选中的人”, 因为他们相信耶 稣是被上帝选中充当信使的人。最终, 耶稣的信徒们也就成了大家所知道的基督徒。基督 徒教导人们如果他们成为基督徒, 他们的罪恶就会得到宽恕。这个说法虽然对很多犹太人 没什么效果, 却让许多异教徒接受了基督救世的思想。
许多狂热的信徒在罗马帝国到处传播耶稣神示。最为成功的信徒之一是叫保罗的塔 尔苏斯人, 他是个说希腊语的犹太人, 也就是基督徒们知道的圣保罗。保罗年轻时, 曾帮助迫 害基督徒。但是有一天, 他看到了一幅幻景: 耶稣自天国对他说话。保罗倾其余生都在 思考和写基督教方面的东西并最终皈依基督。在保罗和其他基督教传教士坚持不懈的努 力之下, 许多基督教小团体在罗马帝国发展起来。
早期的基督徒都相信耶稣很快就会重返人间, 所以他们认为没有必要对他的生活经历 作任何书面记载。大约30 年后, 他们开始认识到记录耶稣的生平及其思想的必要性。耶 稣死后大约50 年, 基督徒们将记录耶稣的生活和思想的内容合在一起编成四本书, 这就是 大家熟悉的《福音》。“ 福音”即“ 佳音”。基督教的圣书是《圣经》, 它分《旧约》与《新约》两 部分。《旧约》包含记载犹太人祭祀神的文章, 写成于耶稣之前很久的年代。《新约》则包 括了《福音》及保罗和其他基督教作者写的书信。《圣经》已经被翻译成一千多种语言, 比 其他任何书的流传都要广。