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The Problem of Religion
The Light That Has Lighted...
The Revelation
The Living Word
The Father
The Good Shepherd
Food for the Soul

The Kingdom of Heaven
The Royal Commandment

The New Doctrine
The Blessings
The Power of Prayer
The Treasures in Heaven
Faith that Moves Mountains
Patience, Mercy, Forgiveness
On a Fruitful Life
Health and Healing

The Call
Born a Second Time
Disciples and Servants
The Great Commission
Christ's Prayer

This Generation
A Place for You
The Promise of the Spirit
An Invitation to Life
The End Times
The Return

The Betrayal
The Trial and the Cross
Following the Resurrection


Learn more about
Garth Collins

published by

The Words Group
700 Sleater-Kinney Road

Suite 303-B
Lacey, Washington
98503 USA

wood engraving at top by

One of the outstanding
wood engravers, Michael McCurdy won the Bronze Medal in the international Leipzig book competition. He lives in Great Barrington, Massachusetts.
Michael McCurdy's wood engravings are featured throughout the English version of The Words online.

part one
Who Do You Say that I Am?

  Garth Collins reads The Words
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The Problem of Religion        

Take heed; beware of living your life on religious "food."

By now you have certainly forgotten the five loaves that fed the five thousand, with twelve baskets left over, and the seven loaves that fed the four thousand and the plenty that remained. But I am not speaking to you about earthly food. No, I have come to warn you against feeding on the ideas and false teachings of those who market in religion.

In vain such people worship me, teaching as doctrines what are merely the inventions of men. Preoccupied with their own superstitions, they have forgotten the commandments of God.

Beware of false teachers who stand before you wearing sheep's clothing. Beneath their guise hides a ravenous wolf. They follow their true master, the evil one, and do what as he commands them. He was a murderer from the beginning, and never told the truth, because there was never truth in him. When he lies, he speaks in character, for he is a liar, and the father of lies.

To those who set themselves up to be your judges I say, judgment upon you, false teachers. Hypocrites! You, who will never enter the kingdom of heaven, bar the very way to those who long to go in. You travel across land and sea to gain one proselyte; and when that person is won, you make them two times more the child of hell than you are yourselves. Do you not merit great damnation?

You steal from the poor and the widows; and then, to conceal your true intentions, you make long pious prayers.

You decree: "The temple is unimportant. What is important is the treasury of the temple!"

But which is greater: the gold in the treasury, or the temple that sanctifies the gold?

And you say: "The altar is not important; but the gift that is upon it is important."

You are both foolish and blind. Which is greater: the gift on the altar, or the altar that sanctifies the gift?

Whoever honours the altar honours it and all things upon it. And whoever honours the temple honours him who dwells within its walls. And they who honour heaven, honour the throne of God, and he who sits upon it.

You make ceremonial offerings of even the herbs that grow at your front door. All the while, you have forgotten the weighty matters of the law: judgment, mercy, and faith.

Your vision extends not one inch in front of your face. Piously you strain a gnat from your wine, and proceed to swallow a camel. Self-righteously you clean the outside of your cup, while inside remains the grime of extortion. How blind can you be! First take care of what is concealed within. Only then will the outside be clean.

False teachers! In your hypocrisy you are no better than whitewashed tombs, which might appear beautiful on the outside, but inside are full of death and decaying bones. You may impress people by your superficial demonstrations of virtue, but inside you are consumed with hypocrisy and have fallen short of the truth. How can you believe, who live only for your colleague's praise, never seeking the honor that comes from God alone?

You build monuments to the prophets, and place flowers at the tombs of the righteous, and say: "If we had lived in the days of our ancestors, we would never have allowed their innocent blood to be shed."

Be witness to your own inconsistency! You are the descendents of those who killed the prophets, and have surpassed even their wicked acts. Snakes! Generation of vipers! How will you escape the condemnation of eternal judgment?

Behold, in the days to come, I will send you prophets, and wise men, and teachers. Even these you will kill and crucify. Yes, even these you will persecute, and pursue to the ends of the earth.

Such hypocrisy! Isaiah was right when he prophesied of you: "They approach me with their mouths, and honour me with their lips; but their hearts are far from me."

You justify yourselves before your congregations; but God knows the evil intentions of your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed by man is repulsive in the sight of God.

Take heed: Many will come from the east and west, and enter joyfully the kingdom of heaven. But many who should have come in will be banished instead to the darkness outside. Be forewarned: Unless your righteousness exceeds the pseudo-righteousness of the religious, you will not set foot inside the kingdom of heaven.

turn the page to read the next section: The Light That Has Lighted the World

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