Zingcreed is looking at the Jesus Seminar’s database (i) of ‘red-letter’ sayings of Jesus of Nazareth. As described in the first of these 11 Posts ‘Jesus’s 5200 authentic words‘, these are are the gold nuggets that survived the icy waters of historical and literary criticism by America’s top biblical scholars. This Post is my ‘category 3’: the 797 words (15% of the total) which can be described as Preaching. This includes the Beatitudes, but excludes parables, aphorisms and teachings about the kingdom, which have categories of their own (See list of Posts below.)

As “a student of the teachings of the historical Jesus, and no more” (Tony Benn’s words) I find this massive Jesus Seminar research project very useful. Their attention to detail is awesome. May peace be upon them all!

The translation used is the Scholars’ Version (ii)


  1. (Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming God’s good news. His message went:)
    Citizens of the Kingdom
    Congratulations, you poor!
    God’s domain belongs to you.
    Congratulations, you hungry!
    You will have a feast.
    Congratulations, you who weep now!
    You will laugh.”
    (Lk 6:20-21) (The ‘Beatitudes’)
  2. On anxieties
    (He used to say to his disciples,)
    “That’s why I tell you: Don’t fret about life – what you’re going to eat – or about your body – what you’re going to wear. Remember, there is more to living than food and clothing. Think about the crows: they don’t plant or harvest, they don’t have storerooms or barns. Yet God feeds them. You’re worth a lot more than the birds! Can any of you add an hour to life by fretting about it? So if you can’t do a little thing like that, why worry about the rest? Think about how the wild lilies grow: they don’t slave and they never spin. Yet, let me tell you, even Solomon at the height of his glory was never decked out like one of them. If god dresses up the grass in the field, which is here today and tomorrow is tossed into an oven, it is surely more likely that god cares for you, you who don’t take anything for granted!”
    (Lk 12:22-28)
  3. “What do sparrows cost? A dime a dozen? yet not one of them is overlooked by God. in fact, even the hairs of your head have all been counted. Don’t be so timid: You’re worth more than a flock of sparrows.”
    (Lk 12:6-7)
  4. “Every government divided against itself is devastated, and a house divided against a house falls. If Satan is divided against himself – since you claim I drive out demons in Beelzebul’s name – how will his domain endure? If I drive out demons in Beelzebul’s name, in whose name do your own people drive them out? In that case, they will be your judges.”
    (Lk 11:17-19)
  5. Into the wilderness
    (Jesus began to talk about John to the crowds:)
    “What did you go out to the wilderness to gawk at? A reed shaking in the wind? What did you really go out to see? A man dressed in fancy clothes? But wait! Those who wear fancy clothes are found in regal quarters>”
    (Mt 11:7-8)
  6. “To you who are listening I say, love your enemies. If you love those who love you, what merit is there in that? After all, even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what merit is there in that? After all, even sinners do as much.”
    (Lk 6:27, 32-33)
  7. Children in the marketplace
    “What do members of this generation remind me of? What are they like? They are like children sitting in the marketplace and calling out to one another:’We played the flute for you,
    but you wouldn’t dance;
    we sang a dirge,
    but you wouldn’t weep,’Just remember, John the Baptist appeared on the scene, eating no bread and drinking no wine, and you say,’He is demented.’ This mother’s son appeared on the scene both eating and drinking, and you say, ‘There’s a glutton and a drunk, a crony of toll collectors and sinners!’ Indeed, wisdom is vindicated by all her children.”
    (Lk 7:31-34)
  8. “The sabbath day was created for Adam and Eve, not Adam and Eve for the sabbath day. So, the son of Adam lords it even over the sabbath day.”
    (Mk 2:27)
  9. (And looking right at those seated around him in a circle, he says,) “Here are my mother and my brothers. Whoever does God’s will, that’s my brother and sister and mother!”
    (Mk 3:34)
  10. “If any of you comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters – yes, even your own life – you’re no disciple of mine.”
    (Lk 14:26)
  11. “There is nothing veiled that won’t be unveiled, or hidden that won’t be made known.”
    (Lk 12:2)
  12. “No servant can be a slave to two masters. no doubt that slave will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and disdain the other. You can’t be enslaved to both God and a bank account.”
    (Lk 16:13)
  13. “Suppose you have a friend who comes to you in the middle of the night and says to you,’Friend, lend me three loaves, for a friend of mine on a  trip has just shown up and I have nothing to offer him.’ And suppose you reply, ‘Stop bothering me. The door is already locked and my children and I are in bed. I can’t get up to give you anything’ – I tell you, even though you won’t get up and give the friend anything out of friendship, yet you will get up and give that person whatever is needed because you’d be ashamed not to.”
    (Lk 11:5-8)
  14. “…if you, unscrupulous as you are, know how to give your children good gifts, isn’t it much more likely  that your Father in the heavens will give good things to those who ask him?”
    (Mt 7:11)
  15. “Salt is good and salty, but if it becomes bland – loses its zing – with what will you renew it?”
    (Mk 9:50)

And that’s the verse this blog takes its name from.

(i) Funk, R.W. & the Jesus Seminar “The Gospel of Jesus according to the Jesus Seminar” Polebridge press (1999)
(ii) Funk, R.W., Hoover, R.W. & the Jesus Seminar “The Five Gospels. What did Jesus really say? The search for the authentic words of Jesus” HarperCollins (1993)

Related Zingcreed Posts:
Jesus’s 5200 authentic words
1) the 14 authentic parables
the 15 authentic kingdom statements
preaching – the 15 authentic sermons
19 authentic instructions to followers
the 17 authentic pearls of wisdom (aphorisms)
the 8 authentic healing messages
(7) Talks to the disciples
the 3 biblical quotations
authentic words of prayer
20 words about himself
The doubts of Robert Funk of the Jesus Seminar

[301 indexed & linked, t&c]


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