But for those who are not Evangelical, Protestant Christians listening to this tape series my prayer would be that you not come with a hostile or overly suspicious approach, that you enter sympathetically and empathetically into the possibilities that I will trace, not gullibly, testing them even as the other group of listeners tests them, but open to the possibility of learning something new that might in fact change your mind, your behavior, your commitments in little ways or even in big ways. Even if someone is not striving to be educated in the formal sense of going to school, personal identity, integrity, and destiny demand some awareness and assessment of the New Testament. V. Should We Evaluate the New Testament from Our Perspective? Camas, WA 98607 Visit the President's page to see his availability to speak at your church or ministry. But as was the custom in a variety of collections of documents in the ancient world, it would appear that their order in the sequence of the New Testament is simply that of decreasing length; first with letters written to entire churches, followed then by letters written to individuals, though, those individuals did form important parts of the churches of which they were members. Stream the classes, or download and listen to them offline. First, we’ll examine the importance of understanding the New Testament’s inspiration and authority. It comes as no surprise that this series of lectures represents a distinctively Christian worldview, not because we want to impose it on others in any heavy-handed or coercive fashion, but simply because in a short series like this it would, again, be impossible to go through each part of the New Testament and examine how it has been understood from Christian and non-Christian perspectives alike, though, we will address a handful of some of the most crucial issues that skeptics have raised over the centuries. We may think of it, therefore, more along the lines of the broader history writing of the ancient Mediterranean world. Why and How Should You Study the New Testament. The OT announces the very ‘good news/gospel’ we enjoy. After the four Gospels, understandably was placed one book that is known as the Acts of the Apostles. But it made sense to keep the historical and biographical material grouped together. It is the central book of Christianity, the religion of almost one-third of the world’s population and the book which has been published and distributed, both sold and given away free, and translated into more languages, in more editions, and with more copies than any book or collection of books in the history of the world, bar none. Jesus and his followers used this same term to suggest that their message was good news of at least a comparable if not even greater scope. - Introduction: Why Study the New Testament? Create. This is a question pondered by many sincere people, and it deserves a response. And what might be some of the best solutions to some of those controversies? Some things we may believe quite firmly and we admit honestly it would take a huge amount of new evidence and a very different approach to thinking to change our mind, but if such should appear we will be open to it. This reason leads closely to the fifth reason, the personal reason for studying the New Testament. STUDY. As a collection of books the New Testament was being added to the existing collection of Old Testament scriptures. The exception to this overall pattern was, of course, when two letters were written to the same church, even if the sequence of decreasing length was broken, they were kept together as with 1 and 2 Corinthians, 1 and 2 Thessalonians, and 1 and 2 Timothy. New Testament. It also is a book of ethics, teaching people how to live a God-pleasing life, one of love of God and fellow humans in ways that are alleged to be of benefit for humanity individually and as a whole. Thirteen of these are attributed to the Apostle Paul, that towering figure of the first generation of Christian history who next only to Jesus himself was responsible for molding the initial faith of Jesus’ followers into the forms that would endure over the centuries. This series and this lecture identify broadly with the Evangelical, Protestant, Christian perspective, though, wherever possible we stress agreements with all of the branches of the historic Christian church. In other cases on other issues where we are not at all sure even of our own beliefs we can come to be persuaded much more readily. Nevertheless there will be times when we will be forced into a choice of perspectives, and while not aligning closely with a particular Protestant denomination for these short lectures, we will clearly be reflecting perspectives that have been prominent and typically have been dominant within Evangelical Christianity more broadly. And second, we’ll consider the challenge of dealing with the continuities and discontinuities between the days of the New Testament and our day. We should be open to learning something new. Third, we will ask questions of theology. Some of the claims of Jesus and his followers require a personal response to this self-styled, Jewish rabbi of the first third of the first century in Israel. To have produced a New Testament in strictly chronological sequence would have required interrupting the book of Acts at numerous places and inserting various letters of Paul, which then would not have permitted readers to read the book of Acts as Luke undoubtedly intended it to be read, namely from start to finish. To read that there is a great dragon, for example, in Revelation 12 does not commit Christians to believing in dragons, after all, that chapter goes on to explain that the dragon is a symbol and the visions that John is describing that he received, a symbol for Satan. What are the main points, section by section? 1: Why Study the New Testament? Roman Catholicism is institutionally unified worldwide, but there are branches of the Catholic church that have rejected the authority of the Pope in Italy and Rome over them and then, of course, Protestantism worldwide has subdivided into perhaps the greatest and into undoubtedly the greatest number of denominational perspectives as well as today increasingly people who in the name of the unity of the church do not align themselves and churches that do not align themselves with a particular denomination. While Christ was anticipated through the Old Testament — and that they are the Scriptures that the apostles used to preach about Christ and who Christ was — now that we are without the apostles' preaching in person, we have it written for us in the text of the New Testament. Whether or not one chooses to become a follower of his, his claims and those of his followers are of such central significance to the meaning of life and human identity that one should surely examine them in some detail and make an informed choice as to whether one is going to accept them or not. Paul wrote to the Christians in Rome, “whatever things were written before were written for our learning” (Romans 15:4). The thirteen letters attributed to Paul include in their canonical order: Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 and 2 Thessalonians, 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, and Philemon. Write. It describes itself in 1:3 as prophecy referring to things that will happen in the future as well as explaining God’s intentions for the churches in the present time to whom the Apostle John writes. It would be my hope and prayer that readers would approach this series of lectures from that vantage point. Some people often come to the Bible and simply learn or hear or read individual verses or stories and are unaware of the larger context and the kinds of books in which they appear. We have the least certainty as to why the letters of these four early Christian leaders were arranged in the order that they were, but the best guess perhaps is that it corresponded to their order of importance in the earliest stages of the Christian faith. Paul says we should. Lesson 1: Why and How Should You Study the New Testament? Understanding the New Testament. Be like those Jews in Acts 17 at Berea who searched the Scriptures daily to see if the things the Apostle Paul was teaching them were true, or like Mary, the mother of Jesus, who even after she received an angelic revelation, we are told in Luke 2, kept all these things in her heart – Luke 1 and 2, pondering them.

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