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The Life of Christ in Stereo: The Four Gospels Combined As One by Johnston M. Cheney (1984-07-06)

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    Johnston M. Cheney(Author)

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  • By Steven H Propp on September 12, 2015

    There have been any number of so-called "harmonies of the gospels" that have been published over the years, where the author/editor either places all four gospel accounts side-by-side, or (more ambitiously) attempts to weave them into a single account. Some previous attempts include the following:A Harmony of the Gospels for Historical Study: An Analytical Synopsis of the Four Gospels- 1st Ed.[1894]A Harmony Of The Gospels (1903) [1903]A Harmony Of The Synoptic Gospels In Greek (1920)A Harmony of the Gospels for Students of the Life of Christ: Based on the Broadus Harmony in the Revised Version [1922]Harmony of the Gospels [1933].A Harmony of the Gospels [1947]Davies' Harmony of the Gospels [1976]Harmony of the Four Gospels, A: The New International Version [1986]Johnston ("Jack") M. Cheney spent many years (while bedridden and suffering from tuberculosis, it should be noted) to create a "scrapbook" of the four gospels, in which he merged all four accounts into a single narrative. The work was originally published in 1969 under the title, "The Life of Christ in Stereo - the Four Gospels Speak in Harmony," and has also been republished under the title, "Jesus Christ: The Greatest Life - A Unique Blending of the Four Gospels." It remains a very popular "Harmony" of the gospels, and many preachers and ministers and students swear by it. It is particularly popular when used for apologetic purposes, to attempt to resolve seeming "contradictions" between the four gospels, and it achieves this purpose.In this book, Cheney has succeeded in including virtually every word in the four gospels, and putting them together into a single narrative. He has created his own translation from the Greek (although many students might have preferred he use a standard translation, such as the KJV or RSV) for this purpose. Cheney uses numerals in superscript to indicate which gospel he is quoting (e.g., "1" for Matthew, "2" for Mark, etc.; unfortunately, he does not identify when two or more gospels contain the same exact wording), and includes explanatory footnotes to discuss particular problems at greater length.Of course, one can question whether "merging" the four gospel accounts into "one" is even the proper approach to take with respect to the gospels, as it seems to ignore the unique message that each gospel writer is attempting to convey. For example, the gospels of Luke, Matthew and John certainly have different intended audiences, and their particular skill as writers/evangelists in their own right is ignored by trying to "harmonize" them with another writer. (Would one "harmonize" Shakespeare and Bacon? Or Homer and Ovid?)Still, Cheney's work is perhaps the finest example of its genre. It is definitely worth a place in any complete theological library.

  • By Steven H Propp on September 22, 2009

    There have been any number of so-called "harmonies of the gospels" that have been published over the years, where the author/editor either places all four gospel accounts side-by-side, or (more ambitiously) attempts to weave them into a single account. Some previous attempts include the following:A Harmony of the Gospels for Historical Study: An Analytical Synopsis of the Four Gospels- 1st Ed.[1894]A Harmony Of The Gospels (1903) [1903]A Harmony Of The Synoptic Gospels In Greek (1920)A Harmony of the Gospels for Students of the Life of Christ: Based on the Broadus Harmony in the Revised Version [1922]Harmony of the Gospels [1933].A Harmony of the Gospels [1947]Davies' Harmony of the Gospels [1976]Harmony of the Four Gospels, A: The New International Version [1986]Johnston ("Jack") M. Cheney spent many years (while bedridden and suffering from tuberculosis, it should be noted) to create a "scrapbook" of the four gospels, in which he merged all four accounts into a single narrative. The work was originally published in 1969 under the title, "The Life of Christ in Stereo - the Four Gospels Speak in Harmony," and has also been republished under the title, "Jesus Christ: The Greatest Life - A Unique Blending of the Four Gospels." It remains a very popular "Harmony" of the gospels, and many preachers and ministers and students swear by it. It is particularly popular when used for apologetic purposes, to attempt to resolve seeming "contradictions" between the four gospels, and it achieves this purpose.In this book, Cheney has succeeded in including virtually every word in the four gospels, and putting them together into a single narrative. He has created his own translation from the Greek (although many students might have preferred he use a standard translation, such as the KJV or RSV) for this purpose. Cheney uses numerals in superscript to indicate which gospel he is quoting (e.g., "1" for Matthew, "2" for Mark, etc.; unfortunately, he does not identify when two or more gospels contain the same exact wording), and includes explanatory footnotes to discuss particular problems at greater length.Of course, one can question whether "merging" the four gospel accounts into "one" is even the proper approach to take with respect to the gospels, as it seems to ignore the unique message that each gospel writer is attempting to convey. For example, the gospels of Luke, Matthew and John certainly have different intended audiences, and their particular skill as writers/evangelists in their own right is ignored by trying to "harmonize" them with another writer. (Would one "harmonize" Shakespeare and Bacon? Or Homer and Ovid?)Still, Cheney's work is perhaps the finest example of its genre. It is definitely worth a place in any complete theological library.

  • By Kristyn Hage on March 12, 2015

    This book is very helpful, taking Scripture from the original Greek and melting Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John together into one beautiful story of the Savior, Jesus Christ! It is very inspiring as it fills in all the little gaps in the narrative when you read them separately.

  • By Mike Kramer on August 1, 2002

    What a masterpiece of arranging and translating. Mr. Cheney took 20 years to finish this project and it's a wonderful way to study the life of Jesus in chronological order with all the details from the gospels blended together. You have to read it to see it's value. It is out of print -- thus the high prices for used copies -- so it's too bad it couldn't be revised to bring the words a little more up to date.As a student of the Greek and Hebrew I can say it's a very accurate translation though a bit uncontemporary in it's vernacular after 30+ years.I don't think it was ever published in hard cover. It's paperback is extremely sturdy.I got my first copy in 1980 at a Goodwill store for $.99!! I've gotten many, many fine books from the thrift shop book racks.

  • By A customer on July 23, 1999

    I was moved by the chronological rendering of all 4 gospels. With the time lines worked together and the annotations marking the change in gospel accounts, this is a powerful study tool. My deepest regret has been loaning it out and losing track of who had it.

  • By [email protected] on July 26, 1999

    This was one of the major books I had to use in a seminary class years ago. It is by far the best of it's kind. Johnston M. Cheney's labor of love is a must have for any pastor and/or serious Bible student. I need another copy as I lent mine out to a fellow pastor. Never got it back. David Burzynski


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