Manual Reading the New Testament: An Introduction; Third Edition, Revised and Updated

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Paul's vital position in the Christian faith's movement from a 1st Century Jewish sect into an individual movement that multiplied and influenced across the globe.

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Kim Lawrence. Tracie Peterson. Tracie Peterson , Kimberley Woodhouse. Did you know we carry? Explore More. More to Explore. Art Supplies. Personalized Gifts. Church Candles. DIY Home Decor. Classic Toys. Pocket Scripture Cards. USA-Made Gifts. Drawing upon, though redefining, an older term used in early Christianity and among Protestants when referring to those books found in the Christian Old Testament although not in the Jewish Bible , modern scholars began to refer to these works of early Christian literature not included in the New Testament as "apocryphal", by which was meant non-canonical.

Collected editions of these works were then referred to as the " New Testament apocrypha ". Typically excluded from such published collections are the following groups of works: The Apostolic Fathers , the 2nd-century Christian apologists, the Alexandrians , Tertullian , Methodius of Olympus , Novatian , Cyprian , martyrdoms, and the Desert Fathers. Almost all other Christian literature from the period, and sometimes including works composed well into Late Antiquity , are relegated to the so-called New Testament apocrypha. Although not considered to be inspired by God, these "apocryphal" works were produced in the same ancient context and often using the same language as those books that would eventually form the New Testament.

Some of these later works are dependent either directly or indirectly upon books that would later come to be in the New Testament or upon the ideas expressed in them. There is even an example of a pseudepigraphical letter composed under the guise of a presumably lost letter of the Apostle Paul, the Epistle to the Laodiceans. The books of the New Testament were all or nearly all written by Jewish Christians —that is, Jewish disciples of Christ, who lived in the Roman Empire , and under Roman occupation.

According to the large majority of critical scholars , none of the authors of the Gospels were eyewitnesses or even explicitly claimed to be eyewitnesses. Ehrman of the University of North Carolina has argued for a scholarly consensus that many New Testament books were not written by the individuals whose names are attached to them. Traditionalists tend to support the idea that the writer of the Gospel of John himself claimed to be an eyewitness in their commentaries of John 21 and therefore the gospel was written by an eyewitness; [51] [52] however, this idea is rejected by the majority of modern scholars.

Most scholars hold to the two-source hypothesis , which posits that the Gospel of Mark was the first gospel to be written. On this view, the authors of the Gospel of Matthew and the Gospel of Luke used as sources the Gospel of Mark and a hypothetical Q document to write their individual gospel accounts. Scholars agree that the Gospel of John was written last, by using a different tradition and body of testimony. In addition, most scholars agree that the author of Luke also wrote the Acts of the Apostles.

Scholars hold that these books constituted two halves of a single work, Luke-Acts. All four gospels and the Acts of the Apostles are anonymous works. The Gospel of Luke and the Acts of the Apostles were both written by the same author, and are thus referred to as the Lucan texts. The Pauline epistles are the thirteen books in the New Testament traditionally attributed to Paul of Tarsus. The anonymous Epistle to the Hebrews is, despite unlikely Pauline authorship, often functionally grouped with these thirteen to form a corpus of fourteen "Pauline" epistles. Seven letters are generally classified as "undisputed", expressing contemporary scholarly near consensus that they are the work of Paul: Romans, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Philippians, 1 Thessalonians and Philemon.

Six additional letters bearing Paul's name do not currently enjoy the same academic consensus: Ephesians, Colossians, 2 Thessalonians, 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy and Titus.

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While many scholars uphold the traditional view, some question whether the first three, called the "Deutero-Pauline Epistles", are authentic letters of Paul. As for the latter three, the "Pastoral epistles", some scholars uphold the traditional view of these as the genuine writings of the Apostle Paul; [note 7] most, however, regard them as pseudepigrapha. One might refer to the Epistle to the Laodiceans and the Third Epistle to the Corinthians as examples of works identified as pseudonymous. Since the early centuries of the church, there has been debate concerning the authorship of the anonymous Epistle to the Hebrews, and contemporary scholars generally reject Pauline authorship.

The epistles all share common themes, emphasis, vocabulary and style; they exhibit a uniformity of doctrine concerning the Mosaic Law , Jesus, faith, and various other issues.

The Gospel of John

All of these letters easily fit into the chronology of Paul's journeys depicted in Acts of the Apostles. From the middle of the 3rd century, patristic authors cited the Epistle as written by James the Just. Many consider the epistle to be written in the late 1st or early 2nd centuries. The author of the First Epistle of Peter identifies himself in the opening verse as "Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ", and the view that the epistle was written by St.

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Peter is attested to by a number of Church Fathers : Irenaeus — , Tertullian — , Clement of Alexandria — and Origen of Alexandria — Unlike The Second Epistle of Peter , the authorship of which was debated in antiquity, there was little debate about Peter's authorship of this first epistle until the 18th century.

Although 2 Peter internally purports to be a work of the apostle, many biblical scholars have concluded that Peter is not the author. The debate has continued over the author's identity as the apostle, the brother of Jesus, both, or neither. The First Epistle of John is traditionally held to have been composed by John the Apostle the author of the Gospel of John when the writer was in advanced age.

The epistle's content, language and conceptual style indicate that it may have had the same author as the Gospel of John, 2 John and 3 John. The author of the Book of Revelation identifies himself several times as "John". The author has traditionally been identified with John the Apostle to whom the Gospel and the epistles of John were attributed.

It was believed that he was exiled to the island of Patmos during the reign of the Roman emperor Domitian , and there wrote Revelation. Justin Martyr c. According to the Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible , modern scholars are divided between the apostolic view and several alternative hypotheses put forth in the last hundred years or so.

The earliest manuscripts of New Testament books date from the late second to early third centuries although see Papyrus 52 for a possible exception. Explicit references to NT books in extra-biblical documents can push this upper limit down a bit further. The Epistle of Polycarp to the Philippians , written some time between and Polycarp's death in AD, quotes or alludes to most New Testament texts. Biblical scholar David Trobisch concludes in his survey of the evidence that no book of the New Testament could have been written later than AD, the latest date for the martyrdom of Polycarp.

Literary analysis of the New Testament texts themselves can be used to date many of the books of the New Testament to the mid- to late first century. The earliest works of the New Testament are the letters of the Apostle Paul. It can be determined that 1 Thessalonians is likely the earliest of these letters, written around 52 AD. It is generally agreed by most scholars that the historical Jesus primarily spoke Aramaic , [84] perhaps also some Hebrew and Koine Greek. The majority view is that all of the books that would eventually form the New Testament were written in the Koine Greek language.

As Christianity spread , these books were later translated into other languages, most notably, Latin , Syriac , and Egyptian Coptic.

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However, some of the Church Fathers [87] imply or claim that Matthew was originally written in Hebrew or Aramaic , and then soon after was written in Koine Greek. Nevertheless, the Gospel of Matthew known today was composed in Greek and is neither directly dependent upon nor a translation of a text in a Semitic language. The process of canonization of the New Testament was complex and lengthy. In the initial centuries of early Christianity , there were many books widely considered by the church to be inspired, but there was no single formally recognized New Testament canon.

One of the earliest attempts at solidifying a canon was made by Marcion , circa AD, who accepted only a modified version of Luke the Gospel of Marcion and ten of Paul's letters, while rejecting the Old Testament entirely. His canon was largely rejected by other groups of Christians, notably the proto-orthodox Christians , as was his theology, Marcionism. Adolf von Harnack , [92] John Knox, [93] and David Trobisch , [5] among other scholars, have argued that the church formulated its New Testament canon partially in response to the challenge posed by Marcion. Polycarp , [94] Irenaeus [95] and Tertullian [96] held the epistles of Paul to be divinely inspired "scripture.

Justin Martyr, in the mid 2nd century , mentions "memoirs of the apostles" as being read on Sunday alongside the "writings of the prophets". The Muratorian fragment , dated at between and as late as the end of the 4th century according to the Anchor Bible Dictionary , may be the earliest known New Testament canon attributed to mainstream Christianity. It is similar, but not identical, to the modern New Testament canon.