The Jefferson Bible by Thomas Jefferson by Thomas Jefferson - Read Online



In 1804 Thomas Jefferson decided to study the gospels to see if he could distill the essence of Jesus' teachings into a concise book that could be quickly read and easily understood. This volume is the result, offering valuable insights into the teachings of Jesus Christ and into the mind and beliefs of Thomas Jefferson.
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The Jefferson Bible:

The Life and Morals of

Jesus of Nazareth

Thomas Jefferson

Start Publishing LLC

Copyright © 2012 by Start Publishing LLC

All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book or portions thereof in any form whatsoever.

First Start Publishing eBook edition October 2012

Start Publishing is a registered trademark of Start Publishing LLC

Manufactured in the United States of America

10   9   8   7   6   5   4   3   2   1

ISBN 978-1-62558-235-5

Table of Contents


Religious Views of Thomas Jefferson

The Jefferson Bible

I. Joseph and Mary go to Bethlehem, Where Jesus is Born

II. He is Circumcised and Named and they Return to Nazareth

III. At Twelve Years of Age He Accompanies his Parents to Jerusalem and Returns

IV. John Baptizes in Jordan

V. Jesus is Baptized at 30 Years of Age

VI. Drives the Traders Out of the Temple

VII. He Baptizes, but Retires into Galilee on the Death of John

VIII. He Teaches in the Synagogue

IX. Explains the Sabbath

X. Call of His Disciples

XI. The Sermon on the Mount

XII. Exhorts

XIII. A Woman Annointeth Him

XIV. Precepts

XV. Parable of the Rich Man

XVI. Precepts

XVII. Parable of the Fig Tree

XVIII. Precepts

XIX. Parable of the Sower

XX. Precepts

XXI. Parable of the Tares

XXII. Precepts

XXIII. Parable of New Wine in Old Bottles

XXIV. A Prophet Hath no Honor in his Own Country

XXV. Mission Instructions, Return of Apostles

XXVI. Precepts

XXVII. Parable of the Wicked Servant

XXVIII. Mission of the Seventy

XXIX. The Feast of the Tabernacles

XXX. The Woman Taken in Adultery

XXXI. To be Born Blind No Proof of Sin

XXXII. The Good Shepherd

XXXIII. Love God and Thy Neighbour; Parable of the Samaritan

XXXIV. Form of Prayer

XXXV. The Sabbath

XXXVI. The Bidden to a Feast

XXXVII. Precepts

XXXVIII. Parables of the Lost Sheep and Prodigal Son

XXXIX. Parable of the Unjust Steward

XL. Parable of Lazarus

XLI. Precepts to be Always Ready

XLII. Parables of the Widow and Judge, the Pharisee and Publican

XLIII. Precepts

XLIV. Parable of the Labourers in the Vineyard

XLV. Zacchaeus, and the Parable of the Talents

XLVI. Goes to Jerusalem and Bethany

XLVII. The Traders Cast Out from the Temple

XLVIII. Parable of the Two Sons

XLIX. Parable of the Vineyard and Husbandmen

L. Parable of the King and the Wedding

XL. Tribute, Marriage, Resurrection

LII. The Two Commandments

LIII. Precepts, Pride, Hypocrisy, Swearing

LIV. The Widow's Mite

LV. Jerusalem and the Day of Judgment

LVI. The Faithful and Wise Servant

LVII. Parable of the Ten Virgins

LVIII. Parable of the Talents

LIX. The Day of Judgment

LX. A Woman Anointeth Him

LXI. Judas Undertakes to Point Out Jesus

XLII. Precepts to His Disciples, Washes their Feet. Trouble of Mindand Prayer.

LXIII. Judas Conducts the Officers to Jesus

LXIV. He is Arrested and Carried Before Caiaphas, the High Priest and is Condemned

LXV. Is then Carried to Pilate

LXVI. Who Sends Him to Herod

LXVII. Receives Him Back, Scourges and Delivers Him to Execution

LXVIII. His Crucifixion, Death, and Burial

LXIX. His Burial


In 1803, while overwhelmed with other business, Mr. Jefferson cut from the evangelists such passages as he believed would best present the ethical teaching of Jesus, and arranged them, on the pages of a blank book, in a certain order of time or subject. He called it The Philosophy of Jesus of Nazareth, extracted from the account of his life and doctrines, as given by Matthew, Mark, Luke and John; being an abridgment of the New Testament for the use of the Indians, unembarrassed with matters of fact or faith beyond the level of their comprehension. In a letter to his friend, Mr. Charles Thompson, after describing this work, he said: If I had time I would add to my little book the Greek, Latin and French texts in columns, side by side. Some time afterwards he carried out the design thus expressed, giving the texts in the four languages, in a handsome morocco-bound volume, labeled on the back 'Morals of Jesus.' This is the volume called The Jefferson Bible, which is now owned by the Government, and the publication of which has been recently ordered by Congress. While this volume was still in the possession of Mr. Jefferson's oldest grandson, Colonel Thomas Jefferson Randolph, an accurate copy of its table of contents was made, and from that copy the English text is reproduced in the following pages. As a fit introduction to it, a letter to Dr. Benjamin Rush, and a comparison of the doctrines of Jesus with those of others, are published, giving, perhaps, the fullest expression of his religious views ever made by Mr. Jefferson himself.

Say nothing of my religion. It is known to my God and myself alone. Its evidence before the world is to be sought in my life; if that has been honest and dutiful to society, the religion which has regulated it cannot be a bad one.

—Thomas Jefferson.

Religious Views of Thomas Jefferson

In a letter to his daughter, written in 1803, Mr. Jefferson said: A promise made to a friend some years ago, but executed only lately, has placed my religious creed on paper. I have thought it just that my family, by possessing this, should be enabled to estimate the libels published against me on this, as on every other possible subject. The religious creed to which he referred was a comparison of the doctrines of Jesus with those of others, prepared in fulfillment of a promise made to Dr. Benjamin Rush. This paper, with the letter to Dr. Rush which accompanied it is a fit introduction to the Jefferson Bible.

The Jefferson Bible

I. Joseph and Mary go to Bethlehem, Where Jesus is Born

AND it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed.

2 (And this taxing ways first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)

3 And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.

4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of

David, which is called Bethlehem, (because he was of the house and lineage of David,)

5 To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.

6 And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.

7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

II. He is Circumcised and Named and They Return to Nazareth

AND when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, his name was called JESUS.

2 And when they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own city Nazareth.

III. At Twelve Years of Age He Accompanies His Parents to Jerusalem and Returns

AND the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him.

2 And when he was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem after the custom of the feast.

3 And when they had fulfilled the days, as they returned, the child Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem; and Joseph and his mother knew not of it.

4 But they, supposing him to have been in the company, went a day's journey; and they sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintance.

5 And when they found him not, they turned back again to Jerusalem, seeking him.

6 And it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking