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Marginalia, a concise guide to the Bible in two volumes in paperback and Kindle available through Amazon.com

Author: Benny Thomas

The book is the result of the author’s spiritual experience of 70+ years.

How this book can help a Bible Student?

Marginalia helps the reader bear in mind the person and deity of Jesus Christ as holding the centre of gravity of the divine Will so everything else in the Scriptural narrative falls in place as one unified whole. It helps him from being distracted by sideshows which are but a shadow. This makes the role of the Spirit very vital in order to get the best out of the Bible. We have the testimony of Jesus of the role of the Spirit. “He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you (Jn.16: 14)”.

When we speak Father of lights what does that mean? The light of the Son shall have quality of life which is the light of life (Jn.8:12). Similarly Holy Spirit as Inspiration of God instructs each believer into righteousness. He  throws light so the reader can be helped into spirit of truth. His is laser light with which he glorifies role of the Son in the Scripture. The thrust of Marginalia therefore is to throw light on the Bible consequently as from laser than with an ordinary flashlight. In literal interpretation there is a danger of following incoherent light and the number of heresies still current owe to such misreading of the Scripture. With laser light of the Spirit it is hoped that this concise guide shall reveal to the reader the role of Jesus Christ as fulfillment of the Will and the Way to lead them to the rest that God himself has entered.

Finally the author’s faith-based approach is to show the inerrancy of the Bible (1Co.2: 5).

 

Marginalia, a concise guide to the Bible puts up guideposts so a student can safely navigate through the entire Scripture effortlessly. This serves as a Bible Study Help and not a substitute for the word of God.

Vol.1 148 pages  priced $7.00

Vol-2  265 pages   $14.25

e-books/kindle available priced  vol. 1

120 pages $3.85 vol-2 200 pages $5.06  Amazon/Kobo/Barnes&Noble/google play, Apple i-book etc.,

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What is the role of the Holy Spirit in placing the narratives from the Father and the Son into one as we have of the Scripture?

In my formative period my interest in drawing was largely from copying pictures, which served a purpose but did not improve my skill. One day my father presented me with a couple of art books to get me started. The basic lessons began with drawing solids and shapes, then on to simple objects. Coming to figure drawing the lesson consisted of breaking the figure into solids and shapes. While drawing the head I had to make it ovoid. The series of circles that cut it into so many planes were to indicate position of the eyes, ears, lips and so on. In a three- dimensional form it served its purpose. In practicing as I was instructed, it trained my eyes to think visually. Each feature was not stuck on a face but bore some relation to head in totality.

The solids and shapes that I had laboriously drawn time and time again, were only scaffolding to give the figure its volume. The Holy Spirit similarly uses signs, symbols, parables, visions and allegory to give the Word of God its volume. The believer must hold these in relation to the divine Will in totality. Getting the likeness of a sitter as truthfully is what a portraitist strives for. The Spirit similarly instructs a child of God into righteousness, which is to be made in the likeness of Jesus Christ.

The Spirit places the divine Will in totality while it narrates an episode say like the serpent beguiling Eve. It cannot be deciphered unless we understand the nature of spirit. It is like the wind that goes where it will, ‘Thou hearest the sound thereof, but cannot tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth…(Jn.3:8).’ Jesus during his earthly ministry healed many who were demon-possessed. Of one incident we shall discuss here: ‘And he was casting out a devil and it was dumb,… (Lu.11: 14)’. When Jesus healed him he spoke like any other. Spirit can change otherwise sober and normal persons to behave uncharacteristically. Spirit as in the example of the wind moves stealthily and you see its effect on people. The man was dumb because the devil had struck him dumb. The serpent spoke because the spirit within was a seducing spirit.

“…Believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God…(1Jn.4: 1).” Another place we read that Satan entered into Judas, ‘And after the sop entered into him…’(Jn.13: 30) he set out to betray his master. Here the Spirit is hinting about power that a spirit can wield over persons, in this case one who was a disciple of Jesus.

From so many instances we understand spirit can seduce people as in the case of the serpent. What empowered the serpent is clear since he casts a slur to impute bad motive to God. Satan, as Jesus says in one place, is a liar and his nature is to accuse the children of God (1). While studying the Word we need to focus very clearly of spirits that operate in the world. Some spirits are evil and would even trip if possible, the children of light.

But we need not worry. God has provided everything in his Son for our lives and godliness. (Selected from vol.II)

Marginalia, – a concise guide to the Bible in two volumes is available with Amazon

Vol I (148 pages) is priced at $7.0 and vol-II ( 265) at $14.25

 

benny

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I have completed Marginalia the book at last. Writing the basic ideas in a book form took some three months but it took almost one year before I could say,’I am done with it.’ It has some 75,000 words, with additional Notes and Glossary at the end.

I shall give a description in 250 words or so.

1.Description

Christianity has been bedevilled by controversies from the Apostolic Age to the present. Among the early converts those who came from Judaism favoured an interpretation that sat well with their Jewish upbringing. It was like putting the new religion in the old wine skins so to speak. The World Ecumenism of our own times would have the light of knowledge of the Word under a bushel.

Either way it is less than the divine Intent.

This concise guide to the Bible is presented from two standpoints of God the Father and the Son. The Holy Spirit has set these two as single narrative where the Will or Intent of God is shown as coming from the Son since he is the Image of the ‘Invisible God’(Col.1:15). Coherence in the Scripture is the work of God the Spirit and maintained so the Son of man ‘is before all things and by him all things consist’. Adam is thus an antitype of Jesus who is qualified as the last Adam. He is the spiritual rock; and bread from heaven. The entire scriptural unity testifies this: the Bible is from God to man.

Jesus Christ of whom we read as thus ‘ it pleased the Father that in him should all fullness dwell (Col.1:19) is also the Word. In short Marginalia : a concise guide to the Bible favours a faith based approach to understand the word of God. Faith as St.Paul says comes from ‘hearing by the word of God (Ro.10:17).

2.

Key Features

  1. Time element The book reconciles God’s Time with many other time frames that cover the history of Israel, earthly ministry of the Son of man etc., This has a direct bearing on understanding the significance of the other two points (2 Pe.3:8)
  2. Focus is on Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit achieves this by using typology. Thus creation account of Eve predicts the death of Jesus and the founding of Church. Adam is antitype for Jesus. The tabernacle in the wilderness prefigures New Jerusalem in the last book. Christ as the head and the Church as his body.
  1. Articulated prophecies: The book offers a more coherent explanation of prophecies than other books. God set Jonah as a sign for Nineveh. Unknown to the prophet he was also a sign for Jesus as to the type of death he would undergo. Prophecies are articulated by which there is bar placed as in the east of Garden, cherubims holding a flaming sword. These are signs that demarcate time frames from God’s Time.

 

Finally choice of the title Marginalia is to highlight the manner God the Spirit has reorganized two narratives from the Father and from the Son. It is like supplying marginal notes on the Will of God. Holy Spirit also places markers as it were, which we find from the following example. In the upper room where the Apostles cast lots for a substitute St. Peter quotes from the Psalms 69:25. Another way the Spirits clarifies passages is by placing signposts for other passages. The best explanation on the nature of a spiritual body can be found in the sign God gave Gideon (Jud.6:36-39)

Healing of the bitter waters has a bearing on Prophet Elisha healing the land with ‘salt in a new cruze’. Here the emphasis is on regeneration whereas at Marah the wood is a token for the cross. This in turn leads to the living waters, which Jesus promises the Samaritan woman. It speaks of abundant life. It is a clear proof while the scriptures are written by human hands under varying circumstances, period of time the Prime Mover is the same: Spirit is the Inspirer (2Ti.3:16-17).

benny

 

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The Pulitzer prize winner Lelyveld’s book on Gandhi is sure to raise hell at some quarters in India. In India traditionally saints are served larger than life so much so the fluff from their plaster cast must leave the purveyors giddy. If Mother India is shown in her buff it is outrage but if she is swathed in nine yard saree looking wooden and distant there are those who light incense and sing Vande Mataram. Even as these poltroons sing you can hear meat cleavers being sharpened in their hearts and their souls shut out lest some sense should make singing carry its meaning as well. Those who sing this song of sublime beauty with murder in their heart only make Mother India immolate herself many times over. MF Husain painted Mother India with every right as an artist and as an Indian. But what upset some busybodies was more his religion than his art. Homespun khadi or saffron robes are nothing if the heart has become dead.
Gandhi has been so much reviled even while the blackguards praised him skyhigh. The biographer did not do his job in order to please some or to damn his subject. Let us at least read this book if possible with an open mind before we judge him.
I remember in my high school when I first read Bhowani Junction by John Masters I was shocked by the disrespect shown to Gandhi. It was like someone defacing the Bible or tearing the page from it to light a fire! Time has taught me to take opinions of others for what it is, an opinion.
I have come to revise my opinion of Gandhi as I came to revise on Tolstoy. Henri Troyat’s biography and few others made me realize the great man was far from a saint. But whatever faults,-his pettiness, obtuseness to see the obvious, his vision and life-work is secure. In his faults he is like you and me. He was a man, real. Baring his innermost thoughts in his diary but letting his wife read them may have spelt sincerity in his lexicon but was it prudent? I hope not. Great men also have their weakness when their mind sleeps on the job. WE Gladstone thought he was doing a great service to want to save the ‘angels’ but in working it would not work so simple. Human heart is so treacherous that the great men follows the lead based on some curious premise but sooner or later natural impulses take on the control ( DH Lawrence was right). His diary and his confession at his deathbed we may accept as genuine and that he didn’t sin; but is it necessary to prove nature had nothing to do with it? Gandhi may be accused for homoeroticism and it only makes him human. Another canard, his using his his nieces to prove his self control over his body may or may not be true. Even if it is true it doesn’t in no way detract from his greatness. His lifework of nonviolence as a political weapon makes him a great soul. Forget his fads, his political ideas and opinions. He has been proved wrong as well as vindicated in great many things. He stands 100 percent Indian since his life and its thrust made cultural icons of our past like Buddha, Mahavira Jain and their thoughts relevant in far greater measure relevant for our century.
In spite of whatever revelations the new book may carry Gandhi is secure as far as I am concerned.
He has outsoared the shadow of our night; envy and calumny..’ Nothing that any book on Gandhi may bring out can add or remove even an iota from greatness of his soul. If A Raja is the visible face of Indian politics Gandhi was and still is the conscience of India that I think of a geographical entity and people that populate it. Here we have national life in its vision and in its working. These can never be reconciled so it would seem.
benny

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