The Jefferson Bible
The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth
by Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson's mission was leadership. With no effort on his part,
expressions from his lips,
that from other men's would scarcely have
attracted notice, became thenceforth axioms, creeds,
and gathering-cries to great masses of his countrymen.
Put into Basic English by the Basic English Institute
J. L. Bauer, B.E.I., 2012
Start Basic English
THE LIFE AND MORALS of
AND it came about in those days, that there went out an order from
Caesar Augustus, that all the world would have a tax.
2. (And this tax was 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 town of
Nazareth, into Judaea, to the town of David, which is called Bethlehem, (because he was of the house and family of David,)
5. To be put on list with Mary his future wife, who was about to become a mother.
6. And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth.
7. And she had her first son, and folding him in linen, she put him to rest in the place where cattle lived; because there was no room for them in the house.
JESUS OF NAZARETH
I . Joseph and Mary go to Bethlehem,
Where Jesus is Born
II . He is Circumcised and Named
AND after eight days, the time came for his circumcision, is name was called JESUS.
2. And when they had done all things which were ordered by the law of the Lord, they went back to Galilee, to the town where they were living.
and they Came back to Nazareth
III . At Twelve Years of Age He Goes with
AND the child grew, and became tall and strong and full of wisdom, and the grace of God was on him.
2. And when he was twelve years old, they went up to
Jerusalem as was their way for the yearly feast.
3. And when the days of the feast came to an end and they were going back, the boy Jesus was still in Jerusalem, but Joseph and his mother had no knowledge of it.
4. But they, in the believe that he was with the company, went a day's journey; and they looked for him among their relations and friends.
5. And seeing that he was not there, they went back to Jerusalem, to make search for him.
his Parents to Jerusalem and Returns
6. And after three days they came across him in the Temple, seated among the wise men, giving ear to their words and putting questions to them.
7. And to all whose ears it came were full of wonder at his knowledge and the his answers.
8. And when they saw him they were surprised, and his mother said to him, Son, why have you done this to us ? See, your father and I have been looking for you with sorrow.
9. And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and did as he was ordered : but his mother kept all these words in her heart.
10. And Jesus was increasing in wisdom and in years, and in grace before God and men.
IV . John Baptizes in Jordan
NOW in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar,
Pontius Pilate being ruler of Judea, and Herod being
king of Galilee, and his brother Philip king of Judaea
and of the region of Trachonitis, and Lysanias the king of
2. Annas and Caiaphas being the high priests, the word of
God came unto John the son of Zacharias in the waste land.
3. John did baptize in the waste land, and preaching the baptism
as a sign if forgiveness of sin for those whose hearts were of repentance for the remission of sins for those whose hearts were
4. And the same John was clothed in camel's hair, and a
leathern band about him; and his food was locusts and honey.
5. Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judaea, and all
the people near Jordan ;
6. And were given baptism of him in Jordan, saying openly of their sins.
V . Jesus is Baptized at 30 Years of Age
THEN Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan, to be
baptized of him.
2. And Jesus at this time was about thirty years of age,
being (as it seemed) the son of Joseph, the son
VI . Sends the Traders Out of the Temple
AFTER this he went down to Capernaum, with his mother,
and his brothers, and his disciples, and they were
there not many days.
2. And the Jews' Passover was near, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem ;
3. And found in the Temple those that sold oxen and sheep
and doves, and the changers of money sitting :
4. And when he had made a whip of small cords, he put them all out of the Temple, and the sheep, and the oxen ; and
sent out the changers' money, and overturning the tables ;
5. And said to them that sold doves, Take these things away ; make not my Fathers house a market.
He Baptizes, but Goes to Galilee on the Death of John
AFTER these things came Jesus and his disciples into the land
of Judaea; and there he was with them some time, giving baptism tarried with them, and baptized.
2. Now when it came to his ears that John was put into prison,
he went away to Galilee;
3. For Herod himself had sent men out to take John and put him in prison because of Herodias, his brother Philip's
wife: for he had married her.
4. For John had said to Herod, It is wrong for you to
have your brothers wife.
5. And Herodias was bitter against him, and would
have put him to death; but she was not able ;
6. For Herod feared John, being conscious that he was an upright and holy man and made observation of him; and hearing him, he did many things, and gave ear to him gladly.
7. And the chance came when Herod on his
birthday made a feast to his lords, high captains, and chief
men of Galilee;
8. And when the daughter of Herodias came in, and did a
dance, and pleased Herod and those that table with him, the king
said to the girl, make a request of me whatsoever you will
and I will give it to you.
9. And he took an oath, saying to her, Whatsoever is your desire, I
will give to you, even half of my kingdom.
10. And she went out, and said to her mother, What is
my request to be ? And she said, The head of John the Baptist.
11. And she came in quickly to the king, and said, My desire.
asked, saying, I will that you give me by and by on a plate the
head of John the Baptist.
12. And the king was very sad ; but because of his oaths,
and those who were with him at table,, he would not say 'No' to her.
13. And straight away the king sent out one of his armed men, and gave him an order to come back with the head : and he went and took off John's head in the prison,
14. And he came back with the head on a plate, and gave it to the girl ; and the girl gave it to her mother.
VIII. He Teaches in the Synagogue
AND they came to Capernaum ; and straightway on the Sabbath
Day he went into the Synagogue, and gave teaching.
2. And they were full of wonder at his teaching, because he gave it as one that had authority, and not as the scribes.
IX . Explains the Sabbath
AT that time Jesus went on the Sabbath Day through the fields ;
and his disciples were in need of food, and made to take the
ears of corn, and to eat.
2. But when the Pharisees saw it, they said to him, See,
your disciples do that which is not right to do on the Sabbath
3. But he said to them, Have you no knowledge of what David did,
when he had need of food, and they that were with him;
4. How he went into the house of God, and took for food the
holy bread, which was not right for him to eat, or for
those which were with him, but only for the priests ?
5. Or have you not read in the law, how the Sabbath
Days is broken by the priests in the Temple and they do no wrong ?
6. And when he went from there into their
7. And, behold, there was a man which had a dead hand.
And they put a question to him, saying, Is it right to make a man well on Sabbath Days? so that they might have something against him.
8. And he said unto them, What man is there among
you, that will have one sheep, and if it fall into a pit on the Sabbath Day, will he not take a grip on it, and get it out ?
9. How much then is a man better than a sheep ? Therefore
it is lawful to do well on the Sabbath Days.
10. And he said to them, The Sabbath was made for man,
and not man for the Sabbath.
11. Then the Pharisees went out, and made discussion against
him, how they might put an end to him.
12. But when Jesus had knowledge of it, he went away from there :
and a great number went after him, and he made them all well.
X . Call of His Disciples
AND it came to pass in those days, that he went out into a
mountain to pray, and he was all night in prayer to God.
2. And when it was day, he called to him his disciples: and
of them he made a selection of twelve, whom he gave the name Apostles;
3. Simon, (whom he also named Peter,) and Andrew his
brother, James and John, Philip and Bartholomew,
4. Matthew and Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus, and
Simon called Zelotes,
5. And Judas the brother of James, and Judas Iscariot, which was false to him.
6. And he came down with them to a level place, and
the band of his disciples, and a great number of people
out of all Judaea and Jerusalem, and from the sea coast of Tyre
and Sidon, came to give hearing to him, and to be made well from their diseases.
XI . The Sermon on the Mount
AND seeing great masses of people he went up into the mountain ; and when he was seated his disciples came to him.
2 And with these words he gave them teaching, saying,
3 . Happy are the poor in spirit : for the kingdom of heaven is theirs.
12. Be glad and full of joy ; for great is your reward in heaven : for so were the prophets attacked who were before you.
13. But unhappy are you who have wealth : for you have been comforted now.
14. Unhappy are you who are full of food now : for you will be in need. Unhappy are you who are laughing now : for you will be crying in sorrow.
15. Unhappy are you when all men give you their approval : for so their fathers did to the false prophets.
4 . Happy are those who are sad : for they will be comforted.
5 . Happy are the gentle : for the earth will be their heritage.
6 . Happy are those whose heart's desire is for righteousness : for they will have their desire.
7 . Happy are those who have mercy : for they will be given mercy.
8 . Happy are the clean in heart : for they will see God.
9 . Happy are the peacemakers : for they will be named sons of God.
10. Happy are those who are attacked on account of righteousness : for the kingdom of heaven will be theirs.
11. Happy are you when men give you a bad name, and are cruel to you, and say all evil things against you falsely, because of me.
You are the salt of the earth ; but if its taste goes from the salt, how will you make it salt again ? it is then good for nothing but to be put out and crushed under foot by men.
17. You are the light of the world. A town put on a hill may be seen by all.
18. And a burning light is not put under a vessel, but on its table; so that its rays may be shining on all who are in the house.
19. Even so let your light be shining before men, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.
20. Let there be no thought that I have come to put an end to the law or the prophets. I have not come for destruction, but to make complete.
21. Truly I say to you, Till heaven and earth come to an end, not the smallest letter or part of a letter will in any way be taken from the law, till all things are done.
22. Whoever then goes against the smallest of these laws, teaching men to do the same, will be named least in the kingdom of heaven ; but he who keeps the laws, teaching others to keep them, will be named great in the kingdom of heaven.
23. For I say to you, If your righteousness is not greater than the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never go into the kingdom of heaven.
24. You have knowledge that it was said in old times, You may not put to death; and, Whoever puts to death will be in danger of being judged:
25. But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be in danger of being judged ; and he who says to his brother, Raca, will be in danger from the Sanhedrin ; and whoever says, You foolish one, will be in danger of the hell of fire.
26. If then you are making an offering at the altar and there it comes to your mind that your brother has something against you,
27. While your offering is still before the altar, first go and make peace with your brother, then come and make your offering.
28. Come to an agreement quickly with him who has a cause against you at law, while you are with him on the way, for fear that he may give you up to the judge and the judge may give you to the police and you may be put into prison.
29. Truly I say to you, You will not come out from there till you have made payment of the very last farthing.
You have knowledge that it was said, You may not have connection with another man's wife :
31. But I say to you that everyone whose eyes are turned on a woman with desire has had connection with her in his heart.
32. And if your right eye is a cause of trouble to you, take it out and put it away from you ; because it is better to undergo the loss of one part, than for all your body to go into hell.
33. And if your right hand is a cause of trouble to you, let it be cut off and put it away from you ; because it is better to undergo the loss of one part, than for all your body to go into hell.
Again, it was said, Whoever puts away his wife has to give her a statement in writing for this purpose:
35. But I say to you that everyone who puts away his wife for any other cause but the loss of her virtue, makes her false to her husband ; and whoever takes her as his wife after she is put away, is no true husband to her.
Again, you have knowledge that it was said in old times, Do not take false oaths, but give effect to your oaths to the Lord :
37. But I say to you, Take no oaths at all : not by the heaven, because it is the seat of God ;
38. Or by the earth, because it is the resting-place for his foot ; or by Jerusalem, because it is the town of the great King.
39. You may not take an oath by your head, because you are not able to make one hair white or black.
40. But let your words be simply, Yes or No : and whatever is more than these is of the Evil One.
You have knowledge that it was said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth :
42. But I say to you, Do not make use of force against an evil man ; but to him who gives you a blow on the right side of your face let the left be turned.
43. And if any man goes to law with you and takes away your coat, do not keep back your robe from him.
44. And whoever makes you go one mile, go with him two.
45. Give to him who comes with a request, and keep not your property from him who would for a time make use of it.
You have knowledge that it was said, Have love for your neighbour, and hate for him who is against you :
But I say to you, Have love for those who are against you, and make prayer for those who are cruel to you;
So that you may be the sons of your Father in heaven ; for his sun gives light to the evil and to the good, and he sends rain on the upright man and on the sinner.
For if you have love for those who have love for you, what credit is it to you? do not the tax-farmers the same ?
And if you say, Good day, to your brothers only, what do you do more than others ? do not even the Gentiles the same ?
51. And if you let those have the use of your money, from whom you are hoping to get it back, what credit is it to you ? even sinners do so to sinners, hoping to get back as much as they gave.
52. But be loving to those who are against you and do them good, and give them your money, not giving up hope, and your reward will be great and you will be the sons of the Most High : for he is kind to evil men, and to those who have hard hearts.
53. Be full of pity, even as your Father is full of pity.
54. Take care not to do your good works before men, to be seen by them ; or you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.
55. When then you give money to the poor, do not make a noise about it, as the false-hearted men do in the Synagogues and in the streets, so that they may have glory from men. Truly, I say to you, They have their reward.
56. But when you give money, let not your left hand see what your right hand does :
57. So that your giving may be in secret ; and your Father, who sees in secret, will give you your reward.
58. And when you make your prayers, be not like the false-hearted men, who take pleasure in getting up and saying their prayers in the Synagogues and at the street turnings so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, They have their reward.
59. But when you make your prayer, go into your private room, and, shutting the door, say a prayer to your Father in secret, and your Father, who sees in secret, will give you your reward.
60. And in your prayer do not make use of the same words again and again, as the Gentiles do : for they have the idea that God will give attention to them because of the number of their words.
61. So be not like them ; because your Father has knowledge of your needs even before you make your requests to him.
62. Let this then be your prayer :
Our Father in heaven, may your name be kept holy.
63. Let your kingdom come. Let your pleasure be done, as in heaven, so on earth.
64. Give us this day bread for our needs.
65. And make us free of our debts, as we have made those free who are in debt to us.
66. And let us not be put to the test, but keep us safe from the Evil One.
67. For if you let men have forgiveness for their sins, you will have forgiveness from your Father in heaven.
68. But if you do not let men have forgiveness for their sins, you will not have forgiveness from your Father for your sins.
69. And when you go without food, be not sad-faced as the false-hearted are. For they go about with changed looks, so that men may see that they are going without food. Truly I say to you, They have their reward.
70. But when you go without food, put oil on your head and make your face clean ;
71. So that no one may see that you are going without food, but your Father in secret ; and your Father, who sees in secret, will give you your reward.
72. Make no store of wealth for yourselves on earth, where it may be turned to dust by worms and weather, and where thieves may come in by force and take it away.
73. But make a store for yourselves in heaven, where it will not be turned to dust and where thieves do not come in to take it away :
74. For where your wealth is, there will your heart be.
75. The light of the body is the eye ; if then your eye is true, all your body will be full of light.
76. But if your eye is evil, all your body will be dark. If then the light which is in you is dark, how dark it will be !
77. No man is able to be a servant to two masters : for he will have hate for the one and love for the other, or he will keep to one and have no respect for the other. You may not be servants of God and of wealth.
78. So I say to you, Take no thought for your life, about food or drink, or about clothing for your body. Is not life more than food, and the body more than its clothing ?
79. See the birds of heaven; they do not put seeds in the earth, they do not get in grain, or put it in store-houses ; and your Father in heaven gives them food. Are you not of much more value than they ?
80. And which of you by taking thought is able to make himself a cubit taller ?
81. And why are you troubled about clothing ? See the flowers of the field, how they come up ; they do no work, they make no thread :
82. But I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these.
83. But if God gives such clothing to the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is put into the oven, will he not much more give you clothing, O you of little faith ?
84. Then do not be full of care, saying, What are we to have for food or drink ? or, With what may we be clothed ?
85. Because the Gentiles go in search of all these things : for your Father in heaven has knowledge that you have need of all these things :
86. But let your first care be for his kingdom and his righteousness ; and all these other things will be given to you in addition.
87. Then have no care for tomorrow : tomorrow will take care of itself. Take the trouble of the day as it comes.
88. Be not judges of others, and you will not be judged.
89. For as you have been judging, so you will be judged, and with your measure will it be measured to you.
90 Give, and it will be given to you ; good measure, crushed down, full and running over, they will give to you. For in the same measure as you give, it will be given to you again.
91. And why do you take note of the grain of dust in your brother's eye, but take no note of the bit of wood which is in your eye ?
92. Or how will you say to your brother, Let me take out the grain of dust from your eye, when you yourself have a bit of wood in your eye ?
93. You false one, first take out the bit of wood from your eye, then will you see clearly to take out the grain of dust from your brother's eye.
94. Do not give that which is holy to the dogs, or put your jewels before pigs, for fear that they will be crushed under foot by the pigs whose attack will then be made against you.
95. Make a request, and it will be answered ; what you are searching for you will get ; give the sign, and the door will be open to you :
96.Because to everyone who makes a request, it will be given ; and he who is searching will get his desire, and to him who gives the sign, the door will be open.
97. Or which of you, if his son makes a request for bread, will give him a stone ?
98. Or if he makes a request for a fish, will give him a snake ?
99. If you, then, being evil, are able to give good things to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who make requests to him ?
100. All those things, then, which you would have men do to you, even so do you to them : because this is the law and the prophets.
101. Go in by the narrow door ; for wide is the door and open is the way which goes to destruction, and great numbers go in by it.
102. For narrow is the door and hard the road to life, and only a small number make discovery of it.
103. Be on the watch for false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inside they are cruel wolves.
104. By their fruits you will get knowledge of them. Do men get grapes from thorns or figs from thistles ?
105. Even so, every good tree gives good fruit ; but the bad tree gives evil fruit.
106. It is not possible for a good tree to give bad fruit, and a bad tree will not give good fruit.
107. Every tree which does not give good fruit is cut down and put in the fire.
108. So by their fruits you will get knowledge of them.
109. The good man out of his good store gives good things ; and the evil man out of his evil store gives evil things.
110. And I say to you that in the day when they are judged, men will have to give an account of every foolish word they have said.
111. For by your words will your righteousness be seen, and by your words you will be judged.
112. 7:24 Everyone, then, to whom my words come and who does them, will be like a wise man who made his house on a rock ;
113. And the rain came down and there was a rush of waters and the winds were driving against that house, but it was not moved ; because it was based on the rock.
114. And everyone to whom my words come and who does them not, will be like a foolish man who made his house on sand ;
115. And the rain came down and there was a rush of waters and the winds were driving against that house ; and it came down and great was its fall.
116. And it came about, when Jesus had come to the end of these words, that the people were surprised at his teaching,
117. for he was teaching as one having authority, and not as their scribes.
XII . Push to Do Right
WHEN he was come down from the mountain, great numbers of people came after him. 2. And he greatly surprised because of their unbelief. And he went round about the villages, teaching.
3. Come to me, all you that labor and are weighted down and I will give you rest. 4. Take my yoke on you, and become like me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart ; and you will have rest for your souls. 5. For my yoke is good, and the weight I take up is not hard.
XIII . A Woman Puts Oil on Him
AND one of the Pharisees made a request that he would take a meal with him. And he went into the Pharisee's house, and took his seat at the table. 2. And there was a woman in the town who was a sinner, and when she had news that Jesus sat at meal in the Pharisee's house, she took a bottle of perfume-oil. 3. And she took her place at the back of him, near his feet, weeping, so that his feet were washed with the drops from her eyes, and with the hairs of her
head made them dry, and kissed his feet, and put perfume-oil on them.
4. Now when the Pharisee saw it, he
said to himself, This man, if he were a prophet,
would be conscience of who and what manner of woman this is that
put her hands: that she is a sinner.
5. And Jesus answering said, Simon, I have something to say to you. And he said, Master, say on.
6. A certain man of business had two men with debt to him :
the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty.
7. When they had nothing to pay, he made the two of them free of their debts. Now, which of them will have the greater love for him ?
8. Simon in answer said, It seems that he whose debt was the greater.
And he said, You are right.
9. And he turned to the woman he said to Simon, You see this woman ?
I came into your house, you did not give me water for my feet :
but she has washed my feet with the drops form her eyes, and
drying them with the hairs of her head.
10. You give me no kiss : but this woman since the time I
came in has gone on kissing my feet.
11. You did not put oil on my head : but this woman
has put perfume-oil on my feet.
12. And so I say to you, Her sins, which are many, have forgiveness ; because of her great love : but to he who has small need for forgiveness gives little love.
13. And he said unto her, You have forgiveness for your sins.
14. And those that were seated at meat with him said to themselves, Who is this that gives forgiveness of sins ?
15. And he said to the woman, By your faith you are saved ; go in peace.
XIV . Precepts [Rules of moral conduct]
AND his mother and brothers came and were outside, and sent for him, requesting to see him.
2. And a great number were seated round him ; and they said to him, See, your mother and your brothers are outside looking for you.
3. And he said in answer, Who are my mother and my brothers ?
4. And looking round at those who were seated about him, he said, See, my mother and my brothers !
5. Whoever does God's pleasure, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.
6. At that time, when thousands of the people had come together, in such numbers that they were crushing one another, he said first to his disciples, Have nothing to do with the leaven of the Pharisees, which is deceit.
7. But nothing is covered up, which will not come to light, or secret, which will not be made clear.
8. So, whatever you have said in the dark, will come to men's hearing in the light, and what you have said secretly inside the house, will be made public from the house-tops.
9. And I say to you, my friends, Have no fear of those who may put the body to death, and are able to do no more than that.
10. But I will make clear to you of whom you are to be in fear : of him who after death has power to send you to hell ; yes, truly I say, Have fear of him.
11. Are not five sparrows given in exchange for two farthings ? and God has every one of them in mind.
12. But even the hairs of your head are numbered. Have no fear : you are of more value than a flock of sparrows.
13. And one of the people said to him, Master, give an order to my brother to make division of the heritage with me.
14 But he said, Man, who made me a judge or a maker of decisions for you ?
15 And he said to them, Take care to keep yourselves free from the desire for property ; for a man's life is not made up of the number of things which he has.
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