Nazarene Principles ©2000
#1. Almost two thousand years ago, Jesus of Nazareth made the claim, ‘I am the Truth.’1 The Nazarene’s dearest disciple wrote of his Master, ‘The Truth came to be through Jesus Christ.’2 His greatest missionary preached, ‘Truth is in Jesus.’3 Today one third of the earth’s population, nearly two billion persons, lay claim to a form of belief in this carpenter from the Middle East. However, few actually have read his teachings as recorded in what are called the Gospels4. Fewer still have made any serious study of what Jesus the Nazarene taught. This publication will outline and discuss the seven principles as the ‘primary doctrine5 of the Christ’ using the Lord’s Prayer as a format and outline.
|1||TRUTH. From John chapter fourteen, verse six (John 14:6). Scriptural quotations in this manuscript are italicized and generally represent a literal rendering of the Greek text. They are based on the 21st Century Version of the Christian Scriptures© [= NCMM] When other translations are referenced they are represented by abbreviated symbols. For a list of these see Nazarene Commentary© CD-ROM.|
|2||CHRIST. See John 1:17.|
|3||JESUS. See Ephesians 4:21.|
|4||GOSPELS. Matthew, Mark, Luke, John.|
|5||PRIMARY DOCTRINE. Or, ‘the beginning of the Word of Christ.’ See Hebrews 6:1. Various renderings are: KJV: the principles of the doctrine of Christ; ASV: the first principles; WEY: elementary instruction; KNX: our first lessons.|
#2. Possibly you are reading this because someone cared enough about you to give it to you. Or, you are a person searching6 with an interest in the teachings of Jesus Christ the Nazarene. Not the Nazarene of the great cathedrals, though he can be. Not the Nazarene of the great corporate giants in the Christian world, though he can be. Not the Nazarene of the glossy Christian publishing houses with multi-billion dollar holdings, though he can be. Not the Nazarene of the evangelical satellite television and radio broadcast stations, though he can be. Rather, the humble carpenter of the dusty little town of Nazareth who left his footprints on the beaches of Galilee.
|6||SEARCHING. See Proverbs 2:4; Matthew 7:7; Acts 17:27.|
#3. Jesus the Nazarene was a mild-tempered teacher or rabbi who taught simple truths or principles. Those principles he confessed were not his own, but those of the One who sent him, his own heavenly Father. Regarding this the Nazarene taught: ‘The Son is unable to do anything by himself save what he sees the Father doing. My teaching is not mine but is from the One who sent me. The one who does the will of God will know whether this teaching is from The God or it is from my own speech. The one who speaks from self seeks personal glory. From myself I do nothing but just as my Father taught me, these teachings I speak. I did not speak from myself but my Father who sent me commanded me what I should say and teach.’7 In harmony with this, we would point out now that the Nazarene shows his extreme familiarity with the Hebrew Bible or “Old Testament” (OT) by the many score quotations, allusions and paraphrases of Moses, the Psalms and the Prophets.
|7||MY TEACHING. See John 5:19; 7:16-18; 8:28; 12:49.|
#4. This is the Nazarene teacher who appealed to the Poor and the Lost and the Repentant and the Seeker. He was a Jewish rabbi who called, ‘Come to me all who labor under burdensome loads and I will give you rest. Take my yoke and learn from me. Because I am gentle and lowly in heart and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is kind and my load is light.’8 While the Nazarene’s own religion had made 100,000 rules out of the 600 commandments in the Law of Moses, Jesus taught 60 principles or commandments, both in negative and positive forms. (John 14:15; John 15:14) [See the publication Nazarene Commandments©]
|8||BURDENSOME LOADS. See Matthew 11:28-30. The Nazarene Rabbi may allude to religious burdens under his own legalistic society. (Compare Galatians 5:1)|
#5. How could an obscure carpenter’s son from the small village of Nazareth become the greatest person who ever lived? The most influential person in human history? The man upon whose birth date most calendars in the modern world are fixed? The one man other august men -- like Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King -- patterned their own non-violent civil rights movements. And do this without speaking a single original word? The answer lies in understanding the fundamentals of the seven principles of the Nazarene’s teachings -- the Nazarene Principles. This is possible despite how such teachings became so twisted by a thousand religious sects and schisms. What controlling forces or hidden agendas created such distorted doctrines and movements involving billions of people? How should you be affected by these religious movements? To which one should you belong, if any? Or, does it matter?
#6. It is vital, if one is to become an adherent or disciple of the Nazarene -- and a member of the Nazarene Community of Christian Saints -- to begin with several readings of the Mountain Teachings9 (or, the Sermon on the Mount) recorded in Matthew10 chapters five to seven. You must become involved yourself in an understanding of the Nazarene principles. Jesus taught his disciples: ‘If you love me you will observe my commandments. You are my friends if you do what I command you.’11 In order to demonstrate this love and friendship for the Nazarene, one must first become familiar with these “commandments” or principles. These Nazarene principles can be learned and understood by all those who will humble themselves like a child and truly search.
|9||MOUNTAIN TEACHINGS. See the online publication Nazarene Mountain Teachings.|
|10||MATTHEW. Some would add Luke chapters six and twelve in what others call The Plain Teachings.|
|11||COMMANDMENTS. See John 14:15; 15:12.|
#7. The Nazarene was a public person who sought out those of child-like faith and humility. He then taught them in simple truth. In one such instance of public praise, the Nazarene spoke to the Lord of heaven and earth in this manner: ‘I praise you, Father, because you hide things from the sophist and the intellectual and reveal them to little babies. Yes, Father, because this way pleased you. Everything has been given me by my Father and no one fully know the Son except the Father. Nor does anyone fully know the Father except the Son, and those little babies to whom the Son is willing to reveal the Father.’12
|12||BABIES. See Matthew 11:25-27. There is no harm, emotional or physical, in the Nazarene principles which might adversely affect a trusting child.|
#8. Much of the Nazarene principles requires becoming a child by ridding yourself of an extravagant personal view and beginning to place others, even strangers, ahead of yourself. In the Christian Bible this is generally called by the English word “love.” This love is at the root of the Nazarene’s teachings. The apostle Paul, the great evangelist of the Nazarene’s Gospel, links love with emptying oneself of Self in what could be described as a Nazarene anthem:
‘Therefore, if any encouragement in Christ,
if any consolation of love,
if any communion of spirit,
if any sympathies and compassions,
fill me with joy,
that you be like-minded,
having the same love and togetherness,
minding one thing:
do nothing out of contentiousness or empty self-glorification,
but in humility consider others over yourself,
not looking at Self,
but rather consideration for others.
Keep this mind in you which was in Christ Jesus:…
he emptied himself and took the form of a slave
…he made himself lowly and became obedient until death.’
Nazarene Commentary 2000©
Mark Heber Miller
©2000 All Rights Reserved