Web Site: Friends of the Nazarene
A new non-sectarian translation of the New Testament with 12,000 commentary footnotes.
Nazarene Commentary 2000-2002©
By Mark Heber Miller
Nazarene Commentary 2000-2007©
21st Century Version of the Christian Scriptures
Nazarene Commentary 2000-2007© is a complete reference to the 29 books of the Christian Bible. These books have been presented in a new version called the 21st Century Version of the Christian Scriptures©. [Abbr. MHM] This special study of the New Testament includes over 2 million words, 12,000 footnotes, and 3,000 pages. This entire work was completed Sunday 31 December 2000. It is the intellectual property of Mark Heber Miller and may not be reproduced without written permission accept in reasonable portions as free gifts to friends and relatives for the purpose of increasing Biblical knowledge. All this material may be downloaded from the Friends of the Nazarene web site – www.nazarene-friends.org
It is hoped that this spiritual aid will be a blessing to present and future Saints.
HOW TO UNDERSTAND THE BIBLE
WHERE DO I START?
MEMORIZING IMPORTANT BIBLE SUBJECTS
DEVOTIONAL BIBLE STUDY GROUPS
OTHER PUBLICATIONS FOR BIBLICAL STUDY
HOW TO FIND OR RESEARCH
BIBLE TRANSLATION ABBREVIATIONS
THE AUTHOR AND EDITOR
How to Understand the Bible
21st Century Version of the Christian Scriptures© and Nazarene Commentary 2000© are designed to help you understand Biblical Truth by doing your own research into the meaning of the Scriptures, particularly the Nazarene’s teachings. [Hebrews 1:1] I have tried to avoid being dogmatic, or insisting on only one view. I will be the first to admit that there are some Biblical subjects -- despite 2,000 years of research -- on which not everyone agrees. I consider this work as non-sectarian though some will not agree.
Nazarene Commentary 2000© is designed to provide you with as much information as is reasonably possible so you can arrive at your own conclusions. I have endeavored to supply a deep and broad coverage of the major phrases and key words dealt with here in this Bible study aid. However, I encourage any comparison with other lexicons, dictionaries, encyclopedias and commentaries. There is a wealth of knowledge cultivated by the Church of Christ throughout the Gospel Age. Though I do not agree with every Biblical "scholar" during the history of the Church, I respect their godly labors. Each disciple of the Nazarene is responsible before God to first understand the EPI-GNOSIS [heightened knowledge] of the eternal purpose of God. [Ephesians 3:9-11] Secondly, each individual Christian bears their own responsibility of coming to a mature comprehension of the will of God, to "the end of fully pleasing Him." [Colossians 1:9, 10]
Interest in the Bible
Despite its age of over four thousand years -- and despite the attempts over this same period to destroy the "People of the Book" [Koran] and their Scriptures -- more sincere people are interested in the Bible at the beginning of the 3rd Millennium CE than any other time in human history. More copies of the Bible are distributed in thousands of languages and tongues in every corner of the world. Millions of Bibles in a variety of translations continue to be distributed internationally.
Where Do I Start?
Where one starts in their use of Nazarene Commentary 2000© depends on their level of Christian maturity. I encourage any person new to Nazarene discipleship to begin first in harmony with Hebrews 1:1, 2: "On many occasions, and in a variety of ways in ancient times, The God spoke to our [Hebrew] forefathers by means of the Prophets. In these last days He spoke to us by means of a Son whom He appointed heir of the Universe." [21st Century Version of the Christian Scriptures (MHM)] In other words, begin a study of the Bible with what Jesus Christ the Nazarene taught.
I have found over 50 years that most Christians do not read their Bibles. When asked where to begin I suggest Luke chapters 6, 12, 17 and 21. This will give a well-rounded outline of the Master’s basic teachings. Keep reading these until you know the basic subjects, if not the words, by heart.
For brevity that would include the Sermon on the Mount [Matthew 5-7], the parables of Jesus [Matthew 13], and the Nazarene’s prophecy about his promised Return. [Matthew 24, 25; and the book of Revelation] In this regard one may find it beneficial to use the Nazarene Commentary 2000-2002© on the Gospel of Matthew available on the Internet and now in hard cover edition. This is a completely new rendering of the Greek of Matthew’s Gospel with 1,500 footnotes. Beginning with the Sermon on the Mount one first learns what Jesus actually taught in his most famous public discourse. The publication Nazarene Principles 2000© [available on the Internet and soon to be hard published] is a basic primer on the fundamental teachings of Jesus. The same title and subject is also available on the Internet in a condensed version of about ten pages.
If you want to learn about the early Church and how it was arranged, you may wish to begin with the Nazarene Commentary 2000© on First Timothy and Titus. There you will learn how Christians ought to conduct themselves in God’s House. Also helpful here is the work Nazarene Community 2000©. This work is a consideration of how early Christian meetings were conducted, how elders and deacons were chosen, and how Christians can maintain a degree of unity and harmony despite different backgrounds.
Many have attempted to read the Bible but the majority stop after a few months. Only a small portion of Christians complete the entire Bible. Fewer still understand what they have read. Hundreds of thousands want to know how to understand the Bible and then remember what they have learned. I am devoted to helping any honest person by publishing many publications on the World Wide Web. That is the purpose of Nazarene Commentary 2000©. Under the title How to Read the Bible below there are some helpful suggestions. There are hints to help anyone to remember key words that will aid memorizing important truths and principles.
All books of the Christian Bible in 21st Century Version of the Christian Scriptures (MHM) and Nazarene Commentary 2000© contain review questions on every paragraph and/or chapter. Most of these Bible books contain two or more other versions for comparisons, as well as individual words compared against two dozen translations.
After Matthew or Luke I recommend beginning with Paul’s epistle to the Philippians which is both simple and encouraging. Each major thought or subject is presented in a paragraph. This paragraph has been assigned a topical heading in just a few words. You may wish to create your own brief statement on each chapter and paragraph. Read the chapter heading before beginning. Note the key word and plan to look for these and related synonyms. You may wish to read the "Theme Verse" first to give you an over all view of the subject. Read each paragraph slowly and carefully. Compare the Bible versions provided to aid in a wider understanding. Noting the footnotes will also expand horizons of understanding.
You will note a couple things in your reading of the 21st Century Version of the Christian Scriptures [MHM]: 1) Where Jesus and his inspired disciples quote or allude to the Old Testament Hebrew Scriptures these appear in italicized blue [only on the Internet version] followed by the source in brackets; and, 2) Greek words of interest are usually printed in CAPS or italicized and often followed by the Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible with its numerical codes. [#1334, etc] By using this concordance, or another lexicon keyed to the Strong’s numbers, more can be learned about the meaning.
Memorizing Important Bible Subjects
Some people, like Presidents Lincoln and Roosevelt memorized the entire New Testament. Though this is commendable, few have accomplished this feat, including myself. Your purpose here ought to be to learn and remember key words and subjects in certain Bible books. Take one book of the Bible at a time beginning with Luke as an example of the process. Each paragraph grouping or chapters contain "Review Questions." Review these and try to find the answers as you proceed. Usually there are cross-referencing texts that will provide more information on that subject and question. [There is a section called Key Words of the Bible in the Nazarene Commentary 2000© which gives a key word for each chapter of the Bible.]
After reading a paragraph, review these verses and associate what you have read with the subject theme provided for that material. Do this with each paragraph, one after another. Then at the end of each chapter ask yourself these summary questions without looking at the chapter reading. Write these down. If you need to look over certain portions again, do so. "Repetition is the mother of retention." Many people over the years have been impressed by my memory. I try to explain I am only average but I keep reading Jesus’ teachings over and over. Hundreds of times is not an exaggeration, but my mind is not gifted with the ability to quote the entire Bible, though I know a few people who could.
Take your time and meditate on what you are learning. [Psalm 1:1, 2] Do not worry if you do not grasp everything on the first reading. Few subjects worth learning are clearly understood upon an initial read. It usually takes several readings to begin to grasp the overall purpose and the details. And don’t draw conclusions to quickly, without having consider the whole context and the writer’s purpose and beliefs.
Devotional Bible Study Groups
Many prefer to be involved with a local Devotional Bible Study Group. You may be able to invite friends, family, or neighbors to share in such a Bible reading and discussion. If there is a qualified teacher present, or if the group wishes someone to take the lead, others a more democratic method. Most will feel the discussion ought to be opened with prayer. [For details see Nazarene Community 2000.]
The leader of the group may wish to review what was read and discussed the previous week. This can be done by going over some of the questions and summaries emphasizing key words for memory purposes. It is always beneficial to pay close attention to certain principles that will enhance a Christian’s life and character.
Before reading a paragraph ask the preliminary Lesson or Study Questions so all in the group can be looking for the main points. Different members of the group can take turns in reading the paragraph in a single version – like MHM - which all can follow. After the reading the Lesson or Review Questions can be asked one at a time and the answers discussed. As needed the Cross Reference verses can be examined to gain more detail. Some may wish to examine a special Greek word, or make a comment on a footnote. Those who prepare in advance will find they get more out of the discussion.
No doubt some in the group will have questions. These may be discussed in brief and further direction given on how to learn more about that subject. It is only natural that some will have one view while others have another. Each view should be respected and individuals can make up their own minds as they study further. It is hoped that a humble and loving Christian group can come to "one mind" on most matters. [Philippians 2:1-3] The important thing is to grow as a Christian in knowledge, faith, and love. [Ephesians 4:12-16]
Most will want to pass on to other Bible books. It is believed by most Christians that a study of the teachings of Jesus Christ the Nazarene should be a life-long project. These follow a format similar to the one described above can be created locally. I suggest the following books of the Bible in this order: Luke, Matthew, John, Acts, First Timothy, Ephesians, First John. Though many are interested in Revelation, I recommend reading Daniel first, and then do not draw any conclusions until both are read several times. You will find the book "Nazarene Apocalypse --- The Jesus Prophesies." Revelation is heavily based on other books of the Old Testament, and in part on the New Testament. If one does not first have a sound knowledge of these, false leads and paths will be experienced in a study of Revelation.
These follow a similar format as those epistles mentioned above. They are all new versions with a fresh literal rendering from the Greek language. Most key words and phrases are footnoted and all critical Greek words are studied.
The Nazarene Commentary 2000© with its 21st Century Version of the Christian Scriptures contains the following tools and information:
- A new rendering of the Greek language
- A footnote commentary on major words and phrases
- A topical outline with headings on key subjects
- Studies on key Greek (or, Hebrew) words with Strong’s numbers
- Most phrases are compared to the King James as well as other versions
- Key cross references have been compared, studied and listed
- There is a brief commentary on most phrases
- Brief summaries or questions of each paragraph or chapters
- Review questions for personal or group discussions
If the above project is regularly practiced most will find they have developed a deeper and broader understanding of the Bible. They will also note that they are growing in Christian character, as a New Person in Christ. Others will recognize the change in their lifestyle and Christian growth. Some who began as first-time readers of the Bible may discover a true love of teaching the Scriptures to others.
Other Publications for Biblical Study
In addition to the above there are numerous magazines, booklets, and books on a variety of subjects in Nazarene Commentary 2000©. Some of these are in the process of being hard published by Living Waters Publishers. These include on the Internet:
table of contents for specific articles. When this is hard copy published in will be titled Nazarene Teachings 2000©.
- Nazarene Teachings --- Follow the Lamb! Biblical articles containing over 155 articles on specific subjects in a wide range of interest. See the
The Error of the Trinity [De Trinitatis Erroribus] is a thorough study of the subject of the Trinity including historical and philosophical sources. It also has a commentary on virtually every Bible verses used in defense of the Trinity.
Where Are the Dead? is a study of "death" from Genesis throughout the Bible. It covers such topics as hell, Hades, Sheol, soul, spirit, Gehenna, immortality, resurrection, rapture, and other related subjects.
Nazarene Community 2000© is a study of the early church order and arrangement.
Nazarene Commandments 2000© is a study of the 60 commandments given by the Lord Jesus.
Nazarene Principles 2000© is a Bible study primer on the basic doctrines of Jesus Christ and his inspired disciples. It is useful for Church meetings and personal studies with new disciples of the Nazarene.
Nazarene Apocalypse 2000© is a running commentary on the books of Revelation and Daniel.
How to Find or Research
If you are using a computerized version you may find any key word or subject by entering such in the "Find" [Ctrl + F] window. These will lead you quickly to the Bible books. For any Bible verse just enter, for example John 3:16 in the Find window. To find all occurrences of John 3:16 throughout Nazarene Commentary 2000© enter the text fully spelled out. This will take you to all places that the verse occurs in the footnote commentary. In researching where a verse is referenced enter, for example, Daniel 7:13. In some cases that will be considerable. Key words and subjects may also be located by entering the word in the Find window. Some words in the footnotes are underlined indicating this subject is covered elsewhere. You may find many subjects of interest in this manner. You may also use the Google search engine on the Friends web-site to find any verse or subject.
Bible Translation Abbreviations:
Many Bible versions were used in the preparation of 21st Century Version of the Christian Scriptures] or Nazarene Commentary2000© and these are indicated by a three-letter code.
- ASV – American Standard Version
- DOU – Douay 
- WEB – Websters 
- LEE – Isaac Leeser Jewish Scriptures 
- FEN – F Fenton Complete Bible in Modern English 
- EXP – Expository’s Bible 
- TCN – 20th Century New Testament 
- WEY – F R Weymouth New Testament in Modern Speech 
- ROB – James A Robertson New Testament Modern Speech 
- PEO – B Johnson People’s New Testament
- MOF – James Moffatt A New Translation 
- LAM – G M Lamsa New Testament According to Aramaic 
- JPS – Jewish Publication Society 
- GDS – An American Translation Smith and Goodspeed 
- WMS – C B Wiliams A Translation in the Language of the People 
- KNX – New Testament a New Translation R A Knox  Catholic
- SOC – Soncino Bible  Jewish
- BER – Berkeley Version in Modern English 
- CON – Confraternity Catholic 
- CNC – Concordant 
- NOR – Norlie’s Simplified New Testament 
- NAS – New American Standard 
- NWT – New World Translation
- WUE – K Wuest An Expanded Translation 
- PME – Phillips Modern English 
- AMP – Amplified Bible 
- NEB – New English Bible 
- BEC –W F Beck American Translation 
- TEV – Today’s English Version 
- TAY – Living Bible by K N Taylor 
- BAR – W Barclay 
- NRS – New Revised Standard Version
- MHM – 21st Century Version of the Christian Scriptures
- NKJ – New King James Version T Nelson 
- TAN – Tanakh by Jew Publication Society 
- REB – Revised English Bible 
- ABU – New Testament of our Lord and Savior John A Broadus
- ALF – Henry Alford New Testament
- BAS – New Testament in Basic English
- MON – The Centenary Translation Helen Barrett Montgomery
- RHM – J B Rotherham the Emphasized Bible
- DIA – Diaglott Benjamin Wilson
- KIT – Kingdom Interlinear
- INB – Interlinear Bible Jay Green
- UBS – United Bible Society Interlinear
- LXX – Jewish Greek Septuagint Bagster
- NJB – New Jerusalem Bible
- NIV – New International Version
- YNG – Young Literal Version
The choice of a personal Bible is just that "personal." Many use the current versions produced with a profit in mind: New Revised Standard Version, New International Version, Today’s English Version, New King James, New American Standard. An excellent Bible is the New Jerusalem Bible which has a pleasant read, is mildly paraphrased, and contains superb cross-references and footnotes. It also uses the Divine Name YAHWEH. 21st Century Version of the Christian Scriptures© has restored the divine name YHWH [Yehowah/Jehovah] to those place some scholars believe it should appear.
Some would consider the most accurate literal versions to be Rotherham, Goodspeed, Revised Standard Version — in that order. Someone said: "All translations of the Bible are paraphrased versions." There is no Bible without its individual bias. One way to determine overall accuracy is to use the RSV and compare it against a couple of interlinears remembering ALL TRANSLATIONS HAVE THEIR BIAS. MHM is non-trinitarian, non-sectarian.
It is my prayer that the 21st Century Version of the Christian Scriptures [Nazarene Commentary 2000©] Bible study aid will be a blessing to your continued growth as a disciple of the Nazarene.
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