New Jerusalem Bible Commentary


I’ve been reading the NJBC along with an introduction to the basics Christology by one of the Editors of the NJBC. In the book on Christology, the author divides Christological interpretations into three camps.

1-Unscholarly conservatism that doesn’t see any development between the Christ of history and the Christ of the gospels and the Epistles.
2-Scholarly conservatism that does see development, but not discontinuity between the the Christ of history and the Christ of the gospels.
3-Scholarly liberalism that sees development and discontinuity between the Christ of history and the Christ of the Gospels. (I think he also has a section on unscholarly liberalism, but I forget the definition.)

Anyway, I would place the author of the book, and a lot of what I read in the NJBC in camp 2 or 3. They make arguments like, Jesus in the Gospel of Marc did not really know how he was going to die. He used vague expressions like the sign of Jonah, and sufferings that he would have to endure, but he really did not know that he was going to be crucified, etc… His saying become more explicit in Matthew and Luke, but they don’t really represent what Jesus said.

I find this kind of scriptural interpretation very hard on my faith. Either Jesus said something, or he didn’t. If he didn’t, either the Gospel writers are making it up, or they are not remembering correctly.

Does anyone know of a scholarly way to explain the discrepancies in the Gospels in a way that doesn’t make it seem like the Gospel writers are inventing a new Jesus for their individual communal needs?

God bless.


Hi Ut Unum Sint,

There are lots of theories out there at the moment to try and find out what happened between Jesus’ ascension and the process of evangelization that followed for many decades before the gospels were written.

Jesus’ teaching was interpreted and applied to the needs of each community in a different way. These various theories try to find out, how they shaped Jesus’ teaching to do that job. This implies that the words of Jesus as recorded in a particular gospel are not necessarily the exact and precise words of Jesus but an inspired interpretation to apply his teaching to the problems at hand.

As you can surmise, this can be highly speculative, and you don’t have to pay attention to or believe in any of this stuff.

In reading the Bible, we should remember that its main purpose is not biography or history but to teach us God’s plan to get us to heaven and enjoyl Him for eternity.

Finally, remember that no matter what form they take, the Gospels are still the inspired word of God.



The Gospel writers are witnesses to what Jesus did, said , and taught. They were four different individuals, 2 apostles, 1 who knew the apostles and traveled with Paul and 1 who was secretary or steno to Peter. It should be obvious to us who have listened to witnesses in court that two people seldom see and hear things in quite the same way, why should the writers of the Gospels be any different? The matter probably was even more complicated as I would guess that each one did not just write in isolation, but probably chewed matters over with others who had been there and heard and seen Jesus.


Hello Utunumsint,

I have a book titled “New International Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties” by Gleason L. Archer. Publisher: Zondervan
You might find a reference book like this a good buy. The author is not Catholic, but I don’t think denomination is involved in the difficulties (where Scripture appears to contradict itself) - at least not the times I’ve used it. I’m not aware of a similar Catholic book or I’d get it.

The NJBC editors might consider it “1. unscholarly conservatism”, but the heck with them. I have not read the whole book, just use it as a reference. It goes through the books of the Bible in sequence treating only the difficult passages. The format is question and answer. Very user friendly.

I just ignore all the “modern” (liberal) scholarship that’s out there. Used to be when certain key words set my antenna quivering, putting my mind into alert mode for liberal junk, I’d start to get hot under the collar and ready to fire back. Now, when those key words come (speaker or book) my response is just to tune them out - quit reading and discard, turn off the radio or TV, etc.

If that book is causing you to doubt Our Lord, His word in Scripture, His Church, throw it away. Find a reliable book seller so you can purchase good, faithful books that expound the Scriptures. EWTN and Ignatius Press are two sources that are well known.



Get a Douay-Rheims and read it and the (totally Catholic) footnotes in it. Also read Providentissimus Deus, by Pope Leo XIII, Divino Affalnte Spiritu, by Pope Pius XII. These Papal Encyclicals will give you a thorough understanding of how study scripture and , even more important, how** not to study**! Most of the “scholars” who you are trusting to give you knowledge are giving you heresy under the mask of “modern biblical study”. I beg you and all who read this to not take my word for it but to read these three encyclicals and to do a serious comparison between the DR and the “modern translations”. Then think about this: it is the DR that was used by virtually every Saint the Church has ever canonised! It is the DR that was used by almost every Doctor of the Church, or at least it was the Saint Jerome’s Latin Vulgate, from which the DR is faithfully translated from!:slight_smile:


Thank you Verbum, rwoehmke, Nita, and rciadan. Your comments are helpful.



DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit