Xlibris is very proud to introduce Richard Ferguson, author of A Reading of John.
I am the most unlikely author. For forty years I was a Parish Priest in the Church of England – a full and busy life – but in retirement writing has taken centre stage. My subject? The Christian Gospels. After nearly two thousand years of study and preaching, you would think that there is nothing new to say about the Gospels. Not so. They are utterly remarkable books, but people find them confusing – why are there four of them? And so different? – and do not know how to take them.
During my years of ministry as a Parish Priest, it was the Gospel of Mark which took my attention, and time and again I wrote material for use in the Parish setting. Finally, as I was nearing retirement I set about making my own translation of the Gospel and learning it – I recited it for the first time about a month before I retired.
But this was the beginning of a journey of discovery. Whatever my teachers and theological books had told me, the Gospel itself was telling me something else. What had come down to my generation was a text in book form; the Gospel itself, through its form and content, says something else: it is oral in nature, and comes alive in a new way when it is recited (I have recited it over 50 times since retiring).
As my understanding of the Gospel grew, I put my thoughts down in writing. A local printer produced Rocks and Breakers (A presentation of the Gospel of Mark), and that has been read mostly in the North East of England where I have recited the Gospel. But that was only a beginning. I realised (at the age of 70!) that I would have to expand my thoughts and somehow get them down on paper – and this I did in Listen to the Gospels and got it on the Amazon and Kindle system, as well as in book form. To my astonishment there are two 5-star reviews on Amazon: P.Worthington writes ‘I find Richard Ferguson the very best of tutors as he guides us through key biblical verses together with his inspired insights which are born out of long reflection over a 40 year ministry.’ Miss M. McMahon writes, ‘An excellent publication which will serve me very well for many years to come. It will be most useful for me.’
But life does not stand still. The thinking that went in to the writing of Listen to the Gospels has refined my understanding of the Gospels, and this has been reflected in Footsteps (a much shorter presentation of Mark), and The Great Gospel (An exploration of the Gospel of Matthew) which I also got printed locally (Not published). But the ultimate challenge is John. It has taken me two years to write A Reading of John. First, was the need to translate the Gospel from the Greek. Engaging directly with the text is more than changing the language from Greek to English; it is a process which helps the translator pick up the little things which underline what the author wants to say and the choices he has made.
Half way through the process, I sent a manuscript to some friends, with the question, “Shall I burn it, or try to complete it?”! As a result, the format of the book has changed. Now, I hope, we have a book that is original in its thinking, readable in the way it is presented, and presents the truth of Jesus as the author of John’s Gospel intended.
Xlibris Publishing will return with Richard Ferguson in Part II.
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