And of course the church has the Old Testament as well… And so, the first answer is an answer that has been given for a very long time. The apostle Paul anticipates that his letter to the Colossians won't just be read by the Colossians but by the church at Laodicea, and vice versa. Cataloged 4. What is this whole relationship between being man and God, how do we understand that? The Scriptures themselves say it is fruitful, or profitable, for doctrine and for reproof and correction and instruction. The New Testament of the Bible was written in Greek because Greek was the linga franca, or common language, of the Roman Empire. They lived within the first generation of followers of Jesus, and so they give us the authoritative interpretation of the life, death, resurrection and significance of Jesus. Finally, an introduction to the New Testament for everyone! Each author of the New Testament wrote with a distinct perspective on the saving mission of Jesus Christ. Dr. Jason Oakes is Associate Professor of Biblical and Theological Studies (Christian Thought) at Talbot School of Theology. The study identified four different kinds of questions that should be addressed in studying the New Testament. So, these are the eyewitnesses, these are the people who knew Jesus, these are the people who listened to his teaching, these are the people who witnessed his resurrection from the dead and his ascension into heaven. You couldn't have more than one of those. Now, that actually has an impact on the canon. I love what Paul says in 1 Corinthians 10. It’s here that He introduces Himself to the world. If we don't study the New Testament, we have no idea how to follow Jesus. Let's just take the epistles for an example… Each one of them is written in a way to address a current problem in that church. The recent New Testament dust-up between big-name scholars reminds us how hard—and important—Bible translation can be. Greek probably became the Roman lingua franca as a result of the empire of Alexander … But one of my favorite expressions of that, actually, doesn't even have to scan different cultures. Four reasons for accepting the integrity of the New Testament text: 1. What authority did God give New Testament apostles and prophets? Dr. Stephen E. WitmerSo, we read the biblical documents, and they address a very different cultural context and historical realities than what we are used to, and we might feel like, are these things relevant to us? Regardless, the book testifies of how we can boldly come to the Lord through faith. The Old Testament makes an important contribution to the historical record. How does the fact that New Testament authors addressed specific circumstances affect our modern application? So, in particular, Jesus was crucified. But we do have that codex, that bound book from the fourth century, and also we have the quote from Athanasius in 367, in his 39th Festal Letter which quotes exactly, no more, no less, the books of the New Testament that we have. In the middle of the fourth century A.D., the 27 books that record the new covenant of the Lord were gathered together and ordered as they appear today. The quintessential text here would be in Revelation where their names are actually on the New Jerusalem along with the twelve patriarchs. And this particular passage tells us, not just merely that God used men, but he carried them along by the Holy Spirit, that God spoke, men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. “These are the hidden words that the living Jesus spoke and Didymos Judas Thomas wrote them down” (Patterson). He says, "As the Holy Spirit" — so, he's interpreting the words of the Old Testament to be the words of God himself, the Holy Spirit — "As the Holy Spirit says" — present tense. That's derived authority, whereas Scripture is directly authoritative over me. And so, this is why we'll see in Paul's writings, for example, repeated references to God. I like the new testament better because the books Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John are about the gospel. Yet, God is working through that. Most New Testament scholars subscribe to the position that the evangelist wrote in Syria, perhaps even in the great city of Antioch, which, given its proximity to Palestine, might help explain the religious composition of the Matthean community. Dr. Alvin Padilla, translationI'm sure that many of us have heard the same biblical passage being preached in several places, and have noticed differences in the way the passage is explained and presented, especially in the context of Hispanics in America. ‘New Testament studies’, as most of us learned the discipline, depends on some fundamental assumptions: that scientific history leads us toward objective, secure knowledge of the past; that careful method can unlock the real meaning of a stable text; that we have an audience who genuinely care what we say. And finally, what resources are available to me to navigate that challenge successfully? And he repeatedly populates that folder with information. Additionally, we have to know whom God is and how he wants us to live our lives. Of the thousands of instances of variation in the Bible, nearly all of them concern spelling, word order, synonyms, and other elements that do not affect meaning at all. 3. So, just knowing a little bit about the basic historical background, cultural background, helps us to understand why certain things are there in the text and why other things aren't. At the end of the day, that's the question that matters: How can I be saved? Of course, it is true that the OT was written over a much longer period of time than the NT, and thus there was a longer period of time to reflect on the order and to even produce those intertextual links in later books. It probably refers, in my estimation, to any authoritative instruction of the people of God in the Spirit of God. Textual criticism is a branch of textual scholarship, philology, and of literary criticism that is concerned with the identification of textual variants, or different versions, of either manuscripts or of printed books. Dr. Gordon IsaacThe text of Scripture is important for us. That is, was this book written by an apostle or an associate of an apostle? He said it told him something not only about the power of the Word, but also about his own life. Heavenly Father sent His Son into the world that “the world through him might be saved” . The stop sign, for example. Most likely, all of Paul's letters were collected by the end of the first century, and by that time the Gospels also had names attached to them that had a very solid tradition to them. The form of the ancient book was always a scroll or a roll until the second half of the first century A.D., and that's when the codex form was invented. And beginning in the second century, more and more manuscripts, or more and more books of the New Testament began to get collected. I was just looking at 1 Corinthians, and the beginning, if you just look at the opening couple of verses of 1 Corinthians, you will see Jesus Christ affirmed as Lord four, five or six times within a span of two or three verses. My vote is for Hebrews 11, the great book of faith. But then it talks about the Shepherd of Hermas, and it says, "This is a popular book, it's orthodox, many people have read it, but it should not be read in the services as an authoritative book because it was written," as he says, "in our time." This gospel emphatically urges a personal experience, almost a self-taught experience, towards a form of enlightenment. And Paul in 1 Corinthians points out that the spirit of prophets are subject to prophets. Because the New Testament is properly a new covenant between the Lord and those who have faith in Him, the books are intended for all those who seek to know Him, whether in this dispensation or in previous dispensations. 3. So, the New Testament represents the authoritative apostolic teaching from these witnesses of Christ's life and work, and therefore, it is essential that Christians today study the New Testament. Dr. Stephen E. WitmerThe fact that the New Testament addresses very particular historical circumstances or particular audiences sometimes makes it hard for us to sense its authority over us. I mean, I think they surprisingly have, sometimes, a very wide audience in view. In addition, tens of thousands of quotations and allusions are available in the early church fathers, plus comparison with ancient translations of the New Testament in Latin, Coptic, Syriac, and other languages. The text of the translation of the 70 was kept in the Christian medium, was rewritten by the Christians, knowing the fullness of the sense of the Holy Scripture, and what is the most important — all the time it stayed under the unceasing control of the Church — the keeper of the Truth, the infallible image of the Holy Spirit. But we live and traffic in this every day. We're dealing with real people in real history, and that should make it more real to us, if we can understand their setting enough to get into their hearts, to get into their minds, to see why they acted the way they acted. Included in the New Testament after Paul’s letters, Hebrews is a treatise on having faith in the face of adversity. So, the Apostles' Creed with its Trinitarian form basically becomes the critical interpretive theory by which the church reads its Scriptures. Those of us who have lived in America and in the Hispanic world, and we speak English and Spanish, know that these cultures are a little different. Dr. Glen G. Scorgie is Professor of Theology at Bethel Seminary in San Diego, California. It's called the Muratorian Fragment, the Muratorian Canon, and it lists most of the books of the New Testament and adds one or two that we don't use now — it mentions the Shepherd of Hermas and the Apocalypse of Peter, which some are not allowing to be read in their churches. That is, there are some scholars who say that the codex was invented by Christians because you can include a much larger book; you can have much more material in it. But it cuts even deeper theologically, I think. So, it's important for us to understand the cultural context of the first century, to understand the cultural debates, to understand the terms, the lingo, the jargon that might have been current, to understand those ways in which the authors in the New Testament would ordinarily have spoken. Minuscule Mss. That is kind of on-demand theology, as it were… And the more you go back and you see what the original circumstances were, you can not only see how those are slightly resembling your own, but you can also be pretty free to say, "You know, what I'm going through, God wants to help also." And finally, catholicity. God-breathed Scripture. The New Testament contains the Law (the Gospels), the history of Christianity (Acts), and the Prophets (Romans through Revelation). So, it does create that sense of cultural distance, I think. So, their authority is the authority as eyewitnesses. But basically, the church says, "These are our books, and this is how we read them" — the attitude that, the "rule of faith." My vote is for Hebrews 11, the great book of faith. Our earliest manuscript that contains the whole New Testament is dated to the 4th Century A.D., though there are a number of partial manuscripts which contain substantial portions of some NT books from the period of about 200 A.D. Daniel Wallace notes that the twelve earliest manuscripts, which date to no later than about the early 3 rd century (i.e. New Testament Textual Criticism examines the existing manuscript witnesses to the New Testament in order to produce a text that is as close as possible to the original. What are the rules, if you will, for following Christ and having a relationship with God? If we only study the Old, we'll hear all the promises that are given, but it's when we study the New where you see those promises are kept. Fourthly, how might I fit into the larger plan of meaning and purpose? Now, what the difference with Scripture is, unlike a playbook, unlike traffic laws, is that Scripture is directly authoritative to me. That is to say, it speaks into the idolatries of the first century as it speaks into and against the idolatries of the twenty-first century. They were subject to the Holy Spirit's leading. But we also find that there were other people called apostles, who were not among them, for example, the apostle Paul. It just looks at one's own life and the various situations we face. The average size roll or even the largest size roll could have, perhaps, the book of Acts in it or the Gospel of Luke, and that was it. In the Muratorian Canon, which is the first orthodox canon list of ancient books, it talks about a number of books and says, "These are books that should be read in the churches." Well, they began to get collected at the end of the first century, and there was apparently a collection of Paul's letters — we don't know how many of them were in there — when Peter wrote 2 Peter, and he said, "just like Paul has written in all his letters." Dr. Dan LacichA lot of people wonder how the New Testament can be authoritative for us today when it wasn't written directly to us. The obvious reason for that, of course, is that apart from that context — language, customs, etc. Two of the Gospels were written by Apostles: Matthew and John. And those are not problems we deal with, you know. and Ada Thompson Chair of Biblical Studies at Asbury Theological Seminary. Texts and Editions for New Testament Study is designed to offer texts and editions, with commentary and comment, of important sources for the study of the New Testament and its world. And if we don't get that from the New Testament, then all we're doing is coming up with our own opinions and ideas in the moment, and it may or may not have anything to do with what Jesus would actually want us to do. One key factor, also, is that in the New Testament we read about Jesus. It was not that Peter, Paul or John would say things, and then everyone nodded their heads and they just accepted what they said. fulness of reading and comparing the New Testament with a variety of such texts. God revealed himself to the people of Israel, and there the prophets wrote the texts that were authoritative for Israel. But that there was a dual authorship, a process of God wanting to reveal himself to humans, but wanting to use human authors in that process. There are several factors employed in textual criticism. Each of the writers has a different perspective to offer, and each wrote with a specific audience in mind rather than attempting to fill in perceived gaps in the historical record. The New Testament. The first is, just the fact that it is God's word, it's authoritative no matter when it was written and who it was written to. From a still earlier phase come a number of papyrus manuscripts. - Introduction: Why Study the New Testament? Why Is He Important? Dr. Sean McDonough is Professor of New Testament at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. On the other hand, the other mistake is to ignore that there's any kingdom values… And just in the same way that the command not to murder was 2,000 — well, it was given much before 2,000 years ago — just because its 2,000 years have passed, doesn't make that command any less relevant. Dr. Constantine Campbell is Associate Professor of New Testament Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, IL. And what the Bible claims, and it's God's revelation to us, and so that, therefore, when we study it, we can learn and get a perspective, a different perspective in what we can do. Luke, in the book of Acts, calls the twelve "the apostles." Sometimes you'll hear a term like "organic inspiration" or "dictation." Jesus Christ and His Apostles at the Last Supper. So, my conclusion is that the apostles and prophets were those who were chosen by God to communicate the message of God to the people, be this through prophecy, as in the case of Isaiah, Jeremiah, etcetera, or as the apostles Peter, John, James, Paul, and so on… men called to communicate the message. The Bible, we believe, is God's inspired Word, his message to us through human instruments. Both urged Christians to be faithful; Peter in particular was concerned about fidelity during times of trial. 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