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THE INTER-TESTAMENT PERIOD


INTRODUCTION The world with which the New Testament opens is vastly different from the one of the Old Testament. During the 400 years between Malachi and Matthew, great political and social changes occurred with new institutions and groups forming. This subject will seek to bridge the Testaments and discuss areas that will be helpful to a better understanding of the New Testament. Topics will include the intertestament period, the Greek and Roman background to Christianity, and Judaism in all its intricate detail. New Testament writings will also be surveyed. PART ONE The period between Malachi and Matthew covers some four hundred years. This four hundred year interval has been called the dark period of Israels history because throughout this time there was neither recorded prophet nor inspired writer. Our sources of information concerning this period are Books X1, X11 and X111 of Josephus, two books of the Apocrypha -1 and 2 Maccabees, plus references to Greek and Latin historians. EXTERNAL DEVELOPMENTS OF THE PERIOD The course of the little Jewish nation in Palestine during this period simply reflects the history of different world powers and that successively secured their mastery of Palestine. The only exception to this was during Maccabean revolt when there was an independent government again in Palestine. Jewish history during these four centuries between the Testaments runs in six periods; the Persian period, the Greek, the Egyptian, the Syrian, the Maccabean and the Roman. A brief survey concerning Palestine during these periods of government follows.

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Question Why was the four hundred years between Malachi & Matthew called the dark period?

A.

PERSIA

(536-333 B.C )

Persia ruled over Palestine from the Decree of Cyrus in 536 BC until 333 BC. The Jewish nation remained under Persian rule until well after Malachi had given his prophesy found in ch.3:3, and 4:2. Palestine as a whole was a part of the Syrian district, within the Persian empire. One small province of this Syrian district was populated with other mixed people, called Samaritans. This mix of people consisted of Israelites left in the land by the conquerors and people brought in from Assyria and elsewhere to replace Israelites from the Northern Kingdom, and of the ten tribes of Israel, who had been carried away captive by the Assyrians prior to the captivity of Judah. Though long in the land, it was not until the opening stages of the inter-Testament centuries and toward the end of the Persian rule that the rival worship of Samaria (John 4:19-21) became established by the founding of the Samaritan temple. From this time on there was a total separation of Jewish people of Judah and Samaria. Samaria survived as an isolated community within a small territory. See 2 Kings 17: 24 - 40. Question Who were the Samaritans?

During this period Aramaic language, or the language of ancient Armenia, became the diplomatic language and of most trade throughout the empire. Gradually Aramaic replaced the Hebrew as the spoken language among the Jewish people of Palestine. The former kingdoms of Israel and Judah, now became known as Judea. It appears that the Persians remained tolerant to the Jewish people and allowed the sacerdotal (priestly) form of government to remain. Question Where did the Aramaic language come from?

Question What was the land of the Jews now called?

B.

GREECE

(333-321 B.C)

This nation grew in strength toward the end of Persian world domination, and under Philip Macedon began to free itself from the Persian grip. After the assassination of Philip Macedon his 20 year-old-son Alexander took command. Alexander the Great, as he became known, transformed the face of the world, politically, in 12 years as he moved swiftly eastward, from one victory to another. -3-

In his Syrian campaign, having conquered Tyre, and moving toward Jerusalem was met by Jaddua, the High Priest of the Temple together with his white robed priests who pleaded for clemency. Alexander is said to have claimed this was the fulfilment of a dream that he had. He spared Jerusalem and brought sacrifices to Jehovah in the Jewish Temple and also had the book of Daniel read to him, concerning the overthrowing of Persia by the King of Greece. Alexanders attitude caused the Jews to be sympathetic toward Greece. This went so well that a fairly big part of the Jewish people became what is known later to be the Hellenistic Jews, or Greek speaking Jews. See Acts 6:1 The intellectual brilliance of Greece, evidenced later by many famous scholars, produced at this time great influence in the world and opened the way for the adoption of Greek language as the vehicle of expression through the nations of the Middle East. Alexander fell sick and died at the age of 32 and the glory of Greece quickly faded. C. EGYPT (321-204 B.C)

This is the longest of the six periods in the inter-Testament era. The untimely death of Alexander precipitated an interval of confusion that resolved itself into a fourfold break-up of his empire under four of his generals: Ptolemy, Lysimachus, Cassander and Seleucus. Judea fell to Ptolemy along with Egypt. This was Ptolemy Soter, the first of the Ptolemaic dynasty, or the Greek Kings over Egypt. For a time he dealt heavily with the Jews, but afterward became more friendly. His successor, Ptolemy Philadelphus, continued this favourable attitude, and his reign is made notable not only by his founding of the renowned Alexandrian library. It was there that the Hebrew Scriptures were translated into the Greek language and became to be known as the Septuagint translation that we know today. By now Greek language became the language of the civilized world. The Jews were now so numerous in Egypt and North Africa that such a translation became necessary. The Septuagint came into general use well before the birth of Jesus and made the Old Testament Scriptures known to many Gentiles. Question What is The Septuagint?

Question What was the language of the civilized world at this time?

During this kindly treatment from the first three Ptolemies in Egypt the Jews in Judea grew in numbers and wealth, but during the later part of the Egyptian period they had anything but a flourishing time. From this time on Palestine was increasingly becoming a battleground between Egypt and the now very powerful Seleucides kings from Syrian. Antiochus the Great of Syria, claimed that the province of Judea had originally been assigned to Seleucus at the break up of -4Alexanders empire. In a big battle at Raphia, near Gaza, Antiochus was defeated

by Ptolemy Philopater (the forth Ptolemy), which settled the dispute that Palestine should remaine an Egyptian province to the end of Philopaters reign. After the reign of Ptolemy Philopater the power of Egypt quickly waned. When Ptolemy Philopater died, his successor, Ptolemy Ephiphanes, was only five years old. Antiochus the Great seized his opportunity and in 204 B.C invaded Egypt. Judea, together with other territories, soon became annexed to Syria and passed under the rule of the Seleucides. Question Where did the Seleucides Kings come from?

D.

THE SYRIAN PERIOD (204-165 B.C.)

There are two points of special interest about this period. First, it was at this time that Palestine became sectioned up into the five provinces which we find in New Testament times, namely: Judea, Samaria, Galilee, Perea, Trachonitis. Sometimes the first three of these are collectively called Judea. Second, this Syrian period was the most tragic part of the Inter-Testaments era for the Jewish people and their homeland. Question When was Palestine -known formally as Judea-, broken up into five (5) Provinces?

Question Name the five provinces?

Antiochus the Great was harsh towards the Jewish people.. So was his successor, Seleucus Philopater. Yet the Jewish people of Judea were still permitted to live under their own laws, administered by the high priest and his council as the nominal rulers. Bu,t with the accenssion of Antiochus Epiphanes (175-164 B.C.) a reign of terror befell the Jewish people and their homeland. By this time there had developed in Judea a Greek-minded or Hellenising party, advocating non-Jewish innovations. They were for relaxing orthodox observance of Judaism with the national exclusiveness that it entailed. They favoured Greek liberty of thought and manners and forms of religion. The wrangling between Nationalists and Hellenists for the control of affairs caused much bitter contention and even murders.

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After several earlier interferences with the temple and its priesthood, Antiochus Epiphanes now used this Jewish factiousness as a provocation to vent his anger on them to the fullest. In 170 B.C. Jerusalem was plundered, the wall torn down, the temple coarsely desecrated, and the population subjected to monstrous cruelties. Thousands were massacred. The women and children were sold into slavery. The temple sacrifices were abolished. The Holy of Holies was rifled and its costly furniture carried away. Jewish religion was banned. Circumcision was prohibited on the penalty of death. A foreign governor was appointed, a traitor made it as high priest, and paganism forcibly imposed on the people. A commissioner was appointed to pollute both the temple at Jerusalem and that at Samaria, and to rededicate them respectively to Jupiter Olympius and Jupiter Xenius. Question Who was Antiochus Epiphanes?

All copies of the law that could be found were either burned or defaced with idolatrous pictures, and the owners executed. The first book of Maccabees says that many Jews apostatised, and that some even joined in the persecution. In 168 B.C. Antiochus chose a pig to be offered on the altar of sacrifice, and then on the very altar, had a statue erected to Jupiter Olympus. Question How did Antiochus Epiphanes desecrate the Temple?

E.

THE MACCABEAN PERIOD (165-63 B.C.)

This is one of the most heroic periods in all Jewish history. The revolt and resistance movement was provoked by the sheer excesses of Antiochus. It was started by an aged priest, Mattathias, and developed by his son Judas, known subsequently as Judas Maccabeus, from the Hebrew word for hammer. Question Who were the Maccabees?

Against a background of terrible darkness, and in defiance of overwhelming odds, the godly faith of Mattathias and his sons blazed out with glorious brightness and called forth the willing self-sacrifice of a godly multitude. The devotion of hundreds of thousands led them to martyrdom. Hardly in the Old Testament or in the Christian era can we find a more noble example of holy jealousy for the honour of God. The spark that ignited it all was a courageous and drastic retaliation by the angered old priest. Antiochuss commissioners, in their circuit of the land to obliterate Judaism and replace it with the kings state-religion, visited Modlin, the town of Mattathias. He, a prominent figure, refused compliance, slew the commissioner, along with a disloyal Jew, and destroyed -6-the idolatrous altar. He and his five sons

then took refuge in the mountains of the wilderness, and many of the faithful with their families gathered to them. They were pursued by Philip the Phrygian who slew about a thousand of them with their wives and children and burning many others alive in the caves that they sought shelter. Philip the Phrygian was able to do this because the Jewish people hesitated to defend themselves on Sabbath days. Mattathias thereupon persuaded the Jewish survivors that self-defence under these circumstances would be the right thing to do even on the holy Sabbath. Mattathias and his band grew into an army. They attacked town after town, striking down the traitorous Jews, over-throwing the idol altars, and restoring the true religion. About a year later Mattathias died, after installing his son Simon as chief counsellor and his son Judas as military commander. Judas now developed powerful guerrilla warfare, the land being well suited to such tactics. His army grew bigger overcoming three invading armies one of which was fifty thousand. When a great army of sixty-five thousand picked footmen and horsemen invaded Judea under the chief of all Antiochuss generals, Lysias, the result was the same. Judass ten thousand men fought with such terrifying desperateness and seemingly superhuman strength that the Syrians were scared, and Lysias retired, saying that nothing but a major campaign would meet the situation. Judas now assumed the offensive. Jerusalem was recaptured, the temple refurnished, and on December the 26, the anniversary of its profanation three years earlier, the Jewish orthodox sacrifices were reinstituted. December the 26 becomes the date when the Jewish people observe the Feast of the Dedication, or Hanukkah (John 10:22). Judas had also captured the chief boundary posts up and down the land. Although Antiochus contemplates a huge revenge against Judas and the Jewish people was stopped by the heavy losses at Elymais in Persia, in addition to the earlier consecutive defeats in Judea. These series of defeats seem to have brought upon him a superstitious dread which developed into a fatal sickness. He is said to have died in a state of raving madness. Question What is Hanukkah and what does it represent?

Question According to John 10:22 when is the Feast of the Dedication held?

Antiochuss son was very young and Lysias became the self appointed Syrian regent. He now invaded Judah with an army of 120,000. Judas and his army were defeated at Bethsura and retired to Jerusalem. In the long siege that followed, the Maccabees valiantly resisted but provisions ran short and in the aftermath many have died. Judass army numbers with the Jewish people under siege grew less and less. -7-

At the breaking point of Judas defeat at Jerusalem Lysias had suddenly heard of a rival regent at the Syrian capital. Faced with his own problems at home Lysias makes peace in Judea with Judas promising the restoration of all Jewish religious liberties. This way the Maccabean revolt, just as it seemed on the point of being crushed, was crowned with success. Further troubles arose later from a new successor on the Syrian throne, Demetrius. After anti-Maccabean interferences at Jerusalem, he sent an army to kill Judas but Judas defeated it. About this time, Judas sought an alliance with Rome, which had now become one of the most commanding powers on earth; but before any fruits of such an alliance could be reached he was slain in battle against a further Syrian army, where he courageously resists a multitude with a mere handful of men. Under Jonathan, the younger brother of Judas Maccabeus, the orthodox party gained the ascendancy. He proved an able warrior gaining noteworthy victories; and through sheer force of circumstances outside Judea the Syrian and other rulers were obliged to pay him respect. Jonathan, also became high priest, thus uniting the civil and priestly authority in one person, and thus commencing the Asmonean or Hasmonean line of high priests, so called from Hashmon, great-grandfather of the Maccabee brothers. After Johnatan was murdered in a battle, 143 BC., his brother Simon assumed leadership at Jerusalem. Simon also led well. Having captured all other Syrian strongholds in Judea, he actually forced the Syrian garrison in the citadel at Jerusalem to surrender. Thus Judea was freed of all foreign troops; and from that time (about 142 BC.) was once again under independent Jewish government. Except for one short lapse, this continued until Judea became a Roman Province, in 63 BC. F. THE ROMAN PERIOD (63 BC onwards)

Pompey's subjugation of Jerusalem ended the interval of Judea's regained independence. Judea now became a province of the Roman Empire. The high priest was completely deprived of any royal status, and retained priestly function only. This high priest, John Hyrcanus, marks the end of the Asmonean and Maccabean line of high priests. The governing power was now exercised by Antipater the Idumean, who was appointed procurator of Judea by Julius Ceasar in 47 BC. Antipater appointed Herod, his own son by marriage with Cypros, an Arabian woman, as governor of Galilee, when Herod was only fifteen years of age according to Josephus. During the war between Pompey and Caesar, Romas concern for Judea became secondary in importance. After the murder of Caesar, and because of the chaos created at Jerusalem because of his death, Herod appealed to the Triumvirate at Rome for support. Herods successful political manoeuvrings at Rome eventually obtained him the crown of Judea. He was appointed King of the Jews about 40 BC. Question When did Judea become a Roman Province?

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On returning to Judea he sought to ingratiate himself with the Jews by his marriage with Miriamne, the beautiful granddaughter of the Asmonean, John Hyracanus. He also appointed her brother Aristobulus as high priest. He also greatly increased the splendour of Jerusalem by building the elaborate temple that was the center of Jewish worship in the time of Jesus. Herod was as cruel and sinister as he was able and ambitious. He seemd to have had a demonic determination to obliterate the Asmonean family; and in pursuance of this he had stained his hands with the blood of awful murders. He killed all three of his wifes brothers Antigonus, Aristobulus and Hyrcanus. Later he murdered even his wife Miriamne, though she seems to have been the only one he was ever capable of loving. Again, later, he murdered his mother-inlaw Alexandra, and still later he murdered his own sons by Miriamne, Aristobulus and Alexander. This is Herod the Great who was king when Jesus was born. Question List in order the Ruling Nations: A................................................... C................................................... E................................................... B ................................................... D................................................... F...................................................

PART TWO THE INTER-TESTAMENT PERIOD We cannot read far into the pages of the New Testament without sensing the great changes that have taken place in Israel since the last writer of the Old Testament. There are new sects or parties formed the Pharisees, the Sadducees, the Scribes and the Herodians, and there are new institutions formed as well the Synagogue, and the Sanhedrin. This ultimately developed into a kind of nationalistic spirit named Judaism. Both terms: Jewish and Judaism began to be used interchangeably. Many changes, including the rise of new sects and institutions, and the evolution of Judaism came about during these four hundred years between the Old Testament and the New Testament. Question Describe the difference between Jewish & Judaism.

THE INTERNAL DEVELOPMENTS A. THE LESSONS LEARNED FROM THE EXILE

The exile was used by God for the purposes of both judgment and instruction. The transformation within the religious conception of the Hebrew people is one of the most astounding revolutions in the history of any nation.

(i)

Idolatry Cured

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The Jewish people were taken into exile with what seemed a hopelessly incurable infatuation with idolatry. They emerged from it, what they have remained to this day, the most monotheistic people in the world, the promulgators and custodians of belief in the one true God, Jehovah. Looking back over their history we realize that they barely came out of Egypt and they are worshipping the golden calf. They barely settle in Canaan and are in the groves of Baalum, and prostrating themselves before Ashtoroth of the Phoenicians. Up until the time of Jeremiah the prophet Israel remains infatuated with idol worshiping; "for as many as your cities are your gods, O Judah ", (Jer. 2:28). Yet here is this extraordinary fact that after the Babylonian exile the Jewish people are totally and forever converted from idolatry into convinced worshippers of the one true God. What shall this be account by? How was it that in a short interval of seventy years, so much was achieved that all previous chastisements and prophetic exhortations and royal reformations and divine warnings had failed to do? It certainly was not the Babylonian environment, for Babylon was the hot bed of idolatry. Babylon might well have increased the idolatry of the Jews, but it certainly could not have cured it. Question How was idolatry cured?

(ii) The Supernatural Factors The answer is that it was the miracle of prophecy being fulfilled before their very eyes. Back in the writings of their own prophets, Isaiah and Jeremiah, the very happenings that were now upon them had been clearly foretold. The destruction of Jerusalem, the exile of Judah's sons and daughters in Babylon, the subsequent sudden overthrowing of Babylon itself, the brilliant conquests of Cyrus the Persian who overthrew Babylon, the ensuing edict of Cyrus for the restoring of the temple at Jerusalem these were all foretold 200 years in advance. Also Jeremiah more recently and more specifically prophesied concerning the seventy-year period assigned by God to Babylon for the scourging of Judah. It all happened, and the exiled Jewish people with wondering eyes, saw it all taking place exactly as foretold by their Prophets. It was evidence conclusive. Thus, at length the Jewish people were startled into the realization that the gods of the heathens were lying vanities, and Jehovah was the one true God. Once and for all they were cured of their idolatry; and they became forever afterwards the confirmed worshippers of their covenant God Jehovah.

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(iii) The Value of the Scriptures When the Remnant returned to Judea there was no King and no throne. The royal line of David was gone. There was no temple and no longer was there any national independence, They were now a subject province in a restricted area covering merely a small part of the former kingdom of Judah with no throne, no temple and no independence. Why have these Jews returned to such ruins and wastes and hardships? It is because there is still one thing left to be accomplished. Question What is left?

The one thing left which has recently become the most precious and vital possession in all the world to them and their fellow nationals is the treasure of their sacred Scriptures. The Jewish people now see in their Scriptures, especially in the prophets, predictions concerning the coming of their Messiah. All the other predictions have come true, as these Jews have themselves lived to witness. They now believed that these further promises which tell of the coming Messiah will happen as well. B. THE RISE AND GROWTH OF JUDAISM

This zeal for the Law and this Messianic hope lies at the root of Judaism. The New Testament Jewish religion that was forged during the exile was further developed during the inter-Testament period. The Jewish state, as restored under the Remnant leaders Zerubbabel and Jeshua, belongs to a different order of things from the earlier kingdom of Judah and Israel. More often than other-wise, in those pre-exile kingdoms, the higher truths of Israel's religion had been maintained only by the prophets and a small minority, while the vast majority played fast and loose with various idolatries, and apparently recognized little essential difference between Jehovah and other gods. But now there is an utter aversion to idolatry, and the people as a whole recognize the immeasurable superiority of Israel's religion to every form of paganism. The root ideas of Judaism took hold and were imbedded in a new and systematic teaching of the Law. Under Ezra a great reformation was carried through. The principle of separation from the heathen was revived and relentlessly enforced (Ezra 9:10). In a great assembly of the people the book of the Law was adopted as the written constitution of the State and the authoritative rule of individual life (Neh. 8-10). The law now became at once the standard of holiness and the symbol of nationality and gained such a hold on the affections of the Jewish people that all danger of their being absorbed by the surrounding nations was at an end. Question What is Judaism and how did it affect the people?

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Therefore the local synagogue where the Scriptures were read and expounded by and through the order of the scribes, now becoming the specialists in translating those Scriptures, assumed an ever-increasing importance. From that time there began that elaborate system of interpretations, amplifications and additional regulations of which the Judaism of Jesus time was the result. More and more the trend became one of legalistic literalism and religious externalism. There was now accumulated around the Scriptures and especially around the Law of Moses, a mass of comment interpretation and supplementation that became known as the oral law. Good elements were preserved in Judaism. In its earlier stages it certainly restored the Scripture to their proper place and its two most characteristic institutions; the synagogue and the scribes. Judaism maintained the regular and systematic public reading of the Scriptures. It fostered devout regard for the Sabbath, and it kept aflame the Messianic hope. Its evil lay in that which it superimposed upon the Scriptures resulting in religious externalism, formalism, and self-effort righteousness. C. THE MISHNA AND TALMUD

The Mishna, or oral law, with its Halachoth (legal exegesis) and its Haggadoth (moral, practical and often forceful expansions) after being handed down orally for generations, was gradually committed to writing in its various parts and forms, until finally, about the end of the second century A.D., it was all compiled by Rabbi Jehuda into the Talmud. The Talmud is in two parts. (1) (2) the Mishna, or Oral Law, and the Gemara or Commentaries upon the Mishna.

Question Describe the Mishna?

The Talmud remains the revered and largely authoritative encyclopaedia of Judaism to this day. Question Describe the Talmud?

In Jesus time the Oral Law was still mainly spoken from individual to individual or commented around written scriptures. To contradict it, as Jesus did (Matthew 15:19; 23:16-18, 23), was to go against the whole weight of scholarly opinion and public sentiment. When Jesus used the formula " You have heard that it was said ... but I say to you ..." He was not putting His I say to you over against the Old Testament Scriptures but against maxims of this oral or traditional law. His customary way of referring to the Scriptures themselves was It is written. -12-

D.

THE SYNAGOGUE

There is not a word about synagogues in the Old Testament, but as soon as we read on into the four Gospels we find them everywhere. One existed in almost every locality of the land and according to the Acts of the Apostles they were similarly established everywhere among the many Jewish communities throughout the Roman Empire. The Synagogue did not exist before the exile, but it was founded however soon thereafter. In Nehemiah 8 (ninety years after the return of the Remnant) something very nearly approaching the Synagogue worship in its fully developed state is recorded. There is the elevated pulpit of wood, the reading of the Law by Ezra and others, the explanation of the Law by the scribes, the praying and praising in the name of the congregation, with the response of the people, all being in line with the future pattern of the synagogue worship. The Synagogue then must have originated during the Exile, synchronized with the remarkable conversion of the Jewish people from idolatry and their awakening to an intense new interest in their sacred Scriptures. With that upsurge of religious revival there came a heart-cry to know more about those wonderful Scriptures. Devout souls, impelled by common longing and impulse, now began to meet regularly and more systematically for the purpose of learning the contents of these inspired Rolls. Thus regular gatherings would begin to take shape, for the reading and interpreting of the Scriptures. That appears to be the way the synagogue came into being. Question Describe the normal pattern of synagogue worship.

(i) Basic Idea, Method and Features Basic idea of the synagogue, was instruction in the Scriptures even though an elaborate liturgical service developed later, with public prayers read by appointed persons, and responses made by the congregation. Discourses were not confined to appointed teachers, the leader of the congregation might invite any suitable person whom he saw present to address the people; and anyone could offer to do so. Thus we find that Jesus could everywhere preach and teach in the synagogues. Similarly the disciples, Acts 13:15. As to its constitution, the most important feature of the synagogue was that it was congregational, not priestly. Priests were always honoured when present, but they had no special synagogue privileges, their functions being regarded as belonging especially to the temple, where their right to perform those functions was hereditary. In the synagogue the office-bearers were not hereditary; they were constituted by congregational vote or consent. There was a "ruler" or president, and a council of elders who were also called "rulers". Mark 5:22. Acts 13:15. Question What was the important feature of the Synagogue? -13-

There was a "legate" whose duty was to recite the prayers. These were also called "deacons", and their responsibility also included distributing the alms. There was the chazzan, who called out the names of the appointed readers and stood by the readers to see that the lessons of the day were read accurately and pronounced properly etc. He also took care of the Scripture rolls, blew the trumpet which announced the approach of the Sabbath, saw to the lighting of the lamps, superintended the synagogue, furniture, and applied the scourge when punishment was inflicted (He is referred to as "Minister" in Luke 4:20 or Attendant in NKJV). Question How were the office bearers elected in the Synagogue?

Question Where in the New Testament do we often read of Synagogues?

E.

THE SCRIBES

The Scribes who we meet in the Gospel narratives were a class of professional experts in the interpretation and application of the Law and the other Old Testament Scriptures. Their Hebrew name, sopherim comes from the verb that means to write, to set in order, to count. The Scribes we read of in Old Testament times were merely penmen, recorders, transcribers and secretaries. From the time of the Babylonian exile there developed a new line of scribes who became the guardians, the expounders, the doctors of the Law to the whole nation. Their power as a class increased more as time went on. The very nature of Judaism increased the importance and power of the scribes. The aim and tendency of Judaism was to make every Jew personally responsible for the keeping of the whole law. The difficulty though was met by a continuous labour of this body of experts; the scribes who made the study of the Law a great business of their lives. The new order of scribes originated with the great leader Ezra. He is described as "a ready scribe in the Law of Moses ", and "a scribe of the words of the commandments of the Lord, and of His statutes to Israel " (Ezra. 7:6, 11), and with Ezra the office of the scribe reached a new dignity. In Nehemiah 8:2-8 we see Ezra elevated in a pulpit, reading and expounding and applying the Law, " causing the people to understand the Law". From that time there gradually developed that class of specialists who employed themselves in the Hebrew Scriptures and sought to administer them as a directory for all practice, even down to details. Question Who are the Scribes and what was the meaning of their Hebrew name?

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They were responsible for the multiplying of oral tradition and introducing such a system of interpretation and exposition that utterly destroyed its meaning. During the course of time this ever-multiplying body of handed-down oral tradition became regarded as being even above the Law itself. The Scribes must be distinguished from the Pharisees. Again and again, in the Gospel narratives, the Scribes are mentioned in conjunction with the Pharisees (Matt 5:70; 12:38; 15:1; 23:2; Mk. 2:16; Luke 5:21,30), but although this reveals closeness or affinity it does not imply oneness of identity. The Pharisees were an ecclesiastical party, held together by their peculiar aims and views, whereas the scribes were a body of experts in a scholastic sense. A man might be both a Pharisee and a scribe and the fact is, that practically all the scribes were Pharisees in outlook and association. For this reason they are often mentioned along with the Pharisees, yet the two were different from each other. They are also mentioned separately in a number of places (Matt.7:29, 17:10; Mk. 9:11, 14, 16. etc.) There was much corruption behind the outward sanctity of the scribal profession and Jesus severely denounced this (Matt. 23:13-28). However not all scribes were of this sort. To an anonymous scribe the Lord once said, "Thou art not far from the kingdom of heaven." Question What were the Scribes responsible for?

Question Could a man be both a Scribe and a Pharisee? Explain why.

Question Who introduced the new order of scribes in the Old Testament?

Question What did Jesus have to say about the scribes and the Pharisees In Matt. 23:3,4?

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SUMMARY Lessons Learned from the Exile. During the period of exile which lasted seventy years as prophesied by Jeremiah and commenced after the invasion of Babylon there was a desire to return to Jerusalem ( Jer.29:10). The key to the return commences with the prayer of Daniel as recorded in Chapter Nine of his book, and the softening of the heart of King Cyrus as recorded in the first chapter of Ezra. The return was led by Zerubbabel, Jeshua the High Priest and Sheshbazzar a Prince, to whom the temple treasures were entrusted. The number of returnees was approximately forty three thousand and they initially settled in their own towns and then began to rebuild the altar and finally the Temple, spurred on by Zerubbabel and Jeshua ( Ezra 2:70, 3: 1-3, 10-12). They suffered opposition from the Samaritans who were a mixed race of people who had been settled in Judah and Israel by the Assyrian king Shalmaneser as recorded in 2 Kings 17: 24-40. Ezra 3: 3. In spite of the opposition, they were encouraged by the prophets Haggai and Zechariah, and finally the Temple was completed. For some fifty-eight years the worship in the Temple continues, but the people were still far from God. Fifty-eight years later Ezra returns to Jerusalem accompanied by a second group and reforms the people. He spoke strongly about the problem of inter-marriage and the intertwinning of their Judaic way of life with the surrounding peoples. The people repented and were restored back to God. At this time the walls of the city of Jerusalem and the City itself were not rebuilt. This took place under the leadership of Nehemiah some ninety-four years after the first return with Zerubbabel. Again it appears that the people had fallen away from their first love of God and Nehemiah dedicates himself to the spiritual restoration of the people (Neh. Ch. 8-13). It was also -16- during this period of time that Haggai

supported Nehemiah with his prophecy. Question What problem did Ezra face when he returned to Jerusalem?

Question What was the reaction of the people?

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The book of Haggai is also aimed at the restoration of the purity of worship in the Temple. The inter-marriage of the people and the divorce situation speak of a religious and moral problem needing to be addressed. Many of the exiled Jews did not return but continued to live in Persia as recorded in the book of Esther. Unfortunately, the seventy years of captivity had taught the people little about their relationship with God. Even though there was a time of restoration during the rebuilding of the altar and the Temple under Zerubbabel and Ezra, and also later again under Ezra and Nehemiah, it appears that the Old Testament finishes on a downward trend. The people fell back into the same problem that had brought them into captivity in the first place. During the four hundred, so called silent years where there is no recorded Word of God there is a period of time under the Maccabees where there is again Restoration towards the things of God. But this quickly falls away after their demise and at the time of Jesus the worship of God had fallen back to legalism and formalism. Idolatry had ceased during the period of captivity and this was probably the one good thing to come from those seventy years. The restored Temple was vastly inferior to Solomons and was later destroyed by the Syrian leader Antiochus Epiphanes. Question What are the so-called 400 Silent Years?

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FROM MALACHI TO CHRIST


THE PERSIAN PERIOD 450-330 BC For about 100 years after Nehemiah's time the Persians controlled Judah, but the Jews were allowed to carry on their religious observances and were not interfered with. During this time Judah was ruled by high priests who were responsible to the Jewish government.
Rise of Alexander the Great Malachi c. 430 BC 410 400BC 390 380 370 360 350 340 330 320 310 300 290 280 270 Rule of the Egypt 260 250 230 220 210 200 Rule of the Seleucids of Syria 190 180 170 160 150 140 130 120 Hasmonean Dynasty 110 100 90 80 70 60 50 Herod the Great rules as king; subject to Rome 40 30 20 10 198 Antiochus defeats Egypt and gains control of Palestine 175-164 Antiochus (1V) Epiphanes rules Syria; Judaism is prohibited 167 Mattathias and his sons rebel against Antiochus; Maccabean revolt begins 166-160 Judas Maccabeus's leadership 160-143 Jonathan is high priest 142 Tower of Jerusalem cleansed 142-134 Simon becomes high priest; establishes Hasmonean dynasty 134-104 John Hyrcanus enlarges the independent Jewish state 103 Aristobulus's rule 102-76 Alexander Janneus's rule 75-67 Rule of Salome Alexandra with Hyrcanus 11 as high priest 66-63 Battle between Aristobulus 11 and Hyrcanus 11 63 Pompey invades Palestine; Roman rule begins 63-40 Hyrcanus 11 rules but is subject to Rome 40-37 Parthians conquer Jerusalem 37 Jerusalem besieged for six months 32 Herod defeated 1 9 Herod's temple begun 16 Herod visits Agrippa 4 Herod dies; Archelaus succeeds AD30 226 Antiochus Ill (the Great) Syria overpowers Palestine 223-187 Antiochus becomes Seleucid ruler of Syria 334-323 Alexander the Great conquers the East 330-328 Alexander's years of power 320 Ptolemy (1) Soter conquers Jerusalem 31 1 Seleucus conquers Babylon: Seleucid dynasty begins

THE HELLENISTIC PERIOD 330-166 BC In 333 BC the Persian armies stationed in Macedonia were defeated by Alexander the Great. He was convinced that Greek culture was the one force that could unify the world. Alexander permitted the Jews to observe their laws and even granted them exemption from tribute or tax during their Sabbath years. The Greek conquest prepared the way for the translation of the OT into Greek (Septuagint version) c. 250 BC

Ptolemies of 240

THE HASMONEAN PERIOD 166-63 BC When this historical period began, the Jews were being greatly oppressed. The Ptolemies had been tolerant of the Jews and their religious practices but the Seleucid rulers were determined to force Hellenism on them. Copies of the Scriptures were ordered destroyed and laws were enforced with extreme cruelty. The oppressed Jews revolted, led by Judas the Maccabee. THE ROMAN PERIOD 63 BC.... In the year 63 B.C. Pompey, the Roman general, captured Jerusalem, and the provinces of Palestine became subject to Rome. The local government was entrusted part of the time to princes and the rest of the time to procurators who were appointed by the emperors. Herod the Great was ruler of all Palestine at the time of Christ's birth.

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The Zondervan Corporation.

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THE JEWISH BACKGROUND TO CHRISTIANITY


1. THE PHARISEES

The name Pharisees means "Separatists". Separation was the all-dominating feature and the vital virtue in the Pharisee's concept of religion. Going with this was a fanatical adherence to the letter of the Law. It was inevitable that the Pharisees should have much in common with the scribes, those specialists in the written Law, and in the ever-enlarging Oral Law. Indeed, most of those who were scribes by vocation would be Pharisees alike, separation and sanctity by strict fulfilling of both written and oral law was the supreme aim. Unfortunately they were easily liable to hypocrisy. In failing to perform all the scribal demands they rested in mere outward compliance. This still further degenerated until they promoted an outward correctness only, having an outward profession of piety while committing sin. For this they exposed themselves to the condemnation of Christ, (Matt.12:1-2, Luke 6:6-7) as well as to that of John the Baptist ( Matt. 3:712). In his antiquities of the Jews (BookXV11) Josephus tells us that the Pharisees in Herod's time numbered some six thousand. Though they were never a large body numerically, their influence was out of all proportion to their number. They had such a hold on the general populace mind that no governing power could afford to disregard them. The Gospels reveal the sway and influence they had in bringing about the crucifixion of Jesus. Question Why were the Pharisees liable to hypocrisy? What did Jesus say about them in Matt. 23:5a?

2.

THE SADDUCEES

The Sadducees were a religious Jewish party, the opponents of the Pharisees. They were comparatively few in number, but they were educated men, and mostly wealthy and of good position. In opposition to the Pharisees, who laid great stress on the tradition of the elders, the Sadducees limited their creed to the doctrines that they found in the sacred text itself. In distinction from the Pharisees, they denied: 1. The resurrection and future retribution in Sheol, asserting that the soul dies with the body (Matt. 22:23-33, Acts 23:8). In denying immortality and the resurrection, they were relying on the absence of an explicit statement of these doctrines in the Mosaic Law.

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2. The existence of angels and spirits; affirming that there was neither angel nor spirit. This way the Sadducees were setting themselves against the elaborate angelology of the Judaism of their time. If they actually taught as Josephus affirms they did, that God is not concerned in our doing good or refraining from evil, they rejected the clear teaching of the Mosaic Law that they professed to believe. It is probable that they began by denying what is not expressly taught in the letter of Scripture; but as they yielded more fully to Greek influence, they adopted the principles of the Aristotelian philosophy, and refused to accept any doctrine that they could not prove by reason. The Sadducees as well as the Pharisees visited John the Baptist in the wilderness and were addressed by him as a generation of vipers. (Matt.3:7) Question Who were the Sadducees and what did they teach?

3.

THE ESSENES

The New Testament does not mention the peculiar Jewish sect known as the Essenes, which developed in the later inter-Testament period. The Essenes were ultra-Judaistic, referring to Moses as being their paramount authority. Yet as with most mystics, their ethereal contemplativeness rarefied into something else the plain meanings of the authority they profoundly venerated. They dissociated themselves from the temple sacrifices. They could not mix with the vulgar crowd of temple frequenters. To them it was more in accord with the spirit of the Mosaic prescriptions to stay apart and render sacrifice in the holier sanctuary of their own dwellings. Yet they showed their reverence for the temple by sending regular incense-offerings. Their passion was a holy mind, a spiritual religion, a self-humbling separation to God, by means of monastic withdrawal, ascetic discipline, and barest simplicity of living. They were a community apart. They lived by themselves in houses of their own, working in the field or at useful crafts, but shunning trade as tending to covetousness. Each meal was prepared by their priests and considered it as a sacrifice to God. They were, in principle, opposed to war and disallowed the use of oaths, the stricter part of them even renounced marriage - an asceticism utterly alien to Mosaic teaching. Members were only admitted after protracted probation, and were most solemnly bound to keep the rules and secrets of the order; to exercise devout piety toward God and uprightness toward man; to hate the wicked and help the righteous; to speak only the truth, and to injure no one. Their motives were good, but their methods were mistaken. Because of their recluse they made no real impact on others in their time. Yet they are significant in showing further the hunger and reaction seen in the Jewish people during those inter-Testament centuries. Question Who were the Essenes and what was their passion? -21-

4.

THE HERODIANS Matt.22:16; Mk 3:6; 12:13.

The Herodians were a political group with the leading aim of furthering the cause of the Herod government. They considered it sound policy to strengthen the hold of the Herod house on Jewish leaders and the public. The Herodian throne enjoyed the favour of Rome. They saw in Herod the one Jewish hope of national continuance, the one alternative to adopt a non religious rule. In deriving their authority from the Roman government they were averse to any change of the political situation. They regarded Christ as a revolutionary person, which explains their approach to Him, and His condemnation of them. Question Who were the Herodians and what was their policy?

5.

THE ZEALOTS

The zealots were the Jewish nationalist party. They were responsible for the clash with Rome which resulted in the destruction of Jerusalem by the Roman general Titus in A.D.70. Simon, one of the 12 disciples of Jesus came from this party (Luke 6:15 and Acts 1:13). The zealots developed into lawless bands. Some think Judas Iscariot was also among their number. Question Who were the Zealots and what were they responsible for?

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6.

THE GALLEANS

This party arose in Northern Palestine and, were the followers of one Judas of Galilee, who headed a rebellion against all foreign domination. They intended for their own rights, and reckless towards the rights of others. They were political fanatics and came into violent collision with Pilate (Luke 13:1-3). Christ's enemy tried to identify Him and His disciples with this party (Matt. 26:69; Mark 14:70; Luke 23:6). Question Who were the Galleans and where was the party formed?

7.

THE SANHEDRIN

The Sanhedrin was the supreme civil and religious tribunal of the Jewish nation. The Greek word 'sunedrion' is translated "council" Matt 26:59; Mark 14:55; Luke 22:66; John 11:47; Acts 4:15 etc. A. CONSTITUTION

The Sanhedrin consists of seventy-one members, made up of:

1. 2.

The high priest: Twenty-four 'chief priests' who represented all twenty-four orders of the whole priesthood: 1 Chron. 24:4-6. the laity, often called expert interpreters of

3. Twenty-four 'elders', who represented 'elders of the people', as in Matt. 21:23. 4. Twenty-two 'scribes' who -23were the

the Law in matters B. MEMBERSHIP

both religious and civil.

The qualifications for membership are clearly made in the following quotation: "The applicant had to be morally and physically blameless. He had to be middle-aged, tall, good-looking, wealthy, learned both in the Divine Law and diverse branches of profane science such as medicine, mathematics, astronomy, magic, idolatry, etc., in order that he might be able to judge in these matters. He was required to know several languages, so that the Sanhedrin might not be dependent on an interpreter in case any foreigner or foreign question came before them. Very old persons, proselytes, eunuchs and Nethinim were ineligible because of their idiosyncrasies, nor could such candidates be elected as bad, no children, because they could not sympathise with domestic affairs, nor those who could not prove that they were the legitimate offspring of a priest, Levite or Israelite, who played dice, lent money on usury, flew pigeons to entice others, or dealt in produce of Sabbatical year. In addition to all these qualifications, a candidate for the Great Sanhedrin was required, first of all, to have been a judge in his native town, to have been transferred from there to the small Sanhedrin which sat at the entrance of the temple hall before he could be received as member of the seventy-one". Question According to the constitution what were the qualifications of the seventy-one members of the Sanhedrin?

C.

JURISDICTION

The jurisdiction of the Sanhedrin was acknowledged both by the Jews of the homeland and those of the Diaspora. Its religious jurisdiction was binding on Jews everywhere. The main functions of the Sanhedrin were: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. Surveillance over the lineal and legal purity of the priesthood, including careful pedigree registers. Adjudication in cases of alleged immorality among wives or daughter of priests. Superintendence over the religious life of the nation, with special watchfulness against any lapse into idol-worship. Apprehension and trial of false prophets or dangerous heretics. Watchfulness that neither king or high priest should act contrary to the Divine Law. Decision whether any war contemplated by the king should be waged or not, and the giving of permission. Determination whether boundaries of the holy city or temple should at any time be enlarged, as only the Sanhedrin could pronounce ground consecrated. Regulation of Jewish calendar -24- and harmonising of solar years with

lunar by intercalary days.

Question What question did the members of the Sanhedrin ask Jesus in Luke 22:70?

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D.

ADMINISTRATION

"They always manifested an anxiety to clear the arraigner rather than secure his condemnation, especially in matters of life and death. Their axiom was that 'the Sanhedrin is to save not to destroy life'. Hence no man could be tried and condemned in his absence; and when the accused was brought before the tribunal the president of the Sanhedrin at the very outset of the trial solemnly admonished the witnesses, pointing out to them the preciousness of human life, and earnestly beseeching them carefully and calmly to reflect whether they had not overlooked some circumstances which might favour the innocence of the accused. Even the attendants were allowed to take part in the discussion if a mild sentence could thereby be procured; whilst those members of the Sanhedrin who during the debate once expressed themselves in favour of acquitting the accused, could not any more give their votes for his condemnation at the end of the trial. The taking of votes always began from the junior member, and gradually went on to the senior, in order that the lowest members might not be influenced by the opinion of the highest. In capital offences it required a majority of at least two to condemn the accused, and when the trial was before a quorum of twenty-three, thirteen members had to declare for the guilt. In trials of capital offences, the verdict of acquittal could be given on the same day, but that of guilty had to be reserved for the following day; for which reason such trials could not commence on the day preceding the Sabbath or a festival. No criminal trial could be carried through in the night. The judges who condemned a criminal to death had to fast all day. The condemned was not executed the same day on which the sentence was passed; but the votes pro and con having been taken by the two notaries, the members of the Sanhedrin assembled together on the following day to examine the discussion and see whether there was any contradiction on the part of the judges. If on the way to execution the criminal remembered that he had something fresh to adduce in his favour, he was led back to the tribunal, and the validity of his statement was examined. Clemency and humanity, however, were manifested toward him even when his criminality was beyond the shadow of a doubt and when the law had to take its final course. Before his execution of stupefying beverage was administered to the condemned by pious women to deprive him of consciousness and lessen the pain." Question List 8 of the most important functions of the Sanhedrin. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8.

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JEWISH PLACES OF WORSHIP


1. A. THE TEMPLES BACKGROUND

There were three Jewish Temples, all in Jerusalem and all on the same general site. (i) The first was Solomons King David was forbidden to construct the Temple, yet he collected materials and purchased the site. King Solomon commenced the construction program in the fourth year of his reign and completed it about seven years later. It was built in the general area where today the mosque known as "The Dome of the Rock" stands. Solomons Temple is described in 1 Kings 6-7 and 2 Chr. 3-4. Its dimensions were modest: the inside measurements were about 90 ft long and 30ft wide. In the sixth century its precious possessions were thoroughly confiscated and the Temple itself destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar. The spot however, remained sacred in the minds of the Jewish people (Jer 41:5). Question Who built the first Temple and how long did it take to complete?

Solomon's Temple

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(ii) The second Temple (Zerubbabels Temple) After the exile in Babylon, the faithful Jews rebuilt the Temple. This second Temple stood for about 500 years. Some of the treasures that Nebuchadnezzar had taken off were brought back by returning exiles in about 537 BC. The Persian king Cyrus gave permission to rebuild the Temple. Zerubbabel, governor of Jerusalem gave support to the project and therefore the second Temple is sometimes known as Zerubbabels Temple. The Ark of the Covenant could not be put back in the new Temple because it had been lost during the exile and was never found; the Holy of Holies thus remained empty. This new House of God was inferior in beauty and perfection to Solomons. The second Temple was desecrated in the second century B.C (1 Macc.1:54) but shortly after was purified by the Maccabees (1 Mac. 4; 36-59) who also fortified it against enemy armies. Question Who built the second Temple?

Question Why was the Ark of the Covenant not placed in the new temple?

(iii) Herods Temple The third and last Temple was built by Herod the Great and the project was one of reconstruction, not the putting up of an entirely new building though the whole Temple area was considerably extended, the grounds being about 1,500ft by 1,000ft. The huge Temple area was enclosed by stones about 15ft in length and 4ft in height. No wonder they were called wonderful stones (Mk. 13:1) The Holy Place was 60ft long, 30ft wide and 60ft high, the inner sanctuary was 30ft square and 60ft high. The building itself was made of white marble, a large part of which was covered in gold, which reflected the sunlight and made it an object of dazzling splendour. The outer court was known as the court of the Gentiles. No restrictions were placed upon access to it, and it was at times used as a market place. At the northern end was the temple proper. At the eastern end was the women's court, and at the western end was the court of the Israelites from which women were excluded. The sanctuary was elevated and its divisions were similar to those of the Tabernacle. Question Who built the third Temple?

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Question What was Jesus reply to His disciple when asked about the temple in Mark 13:1-2?

B.

MAIN CENTER OF WORSHIP

The sacrificial system was maintained by a hereditary priesthood, divided into 24 "courses" or family groups who served in rotation (see Luke 1:5). There priestly families were responsible for the daily public sacrifices, at dawn and mid-afternoon, and many private sacrifices. On the chief festival occasions and on the Day of Atonement, all 24 courses served together. These festivals were Passover, Weeks (Israel's harvest thanksgiving), Booths (a reminder of Israel's wilderness experience), and Dedication (recalling the rededication of the Temple after its defilement by Antiochus Epiphanes in the days of the Maccabees.) The annual Day of Atonement ritual was performed by the high priest, only he could enter the innermost sanctuary of the holy place as the nation's representative and confessor. He also had the right to offer the main sacrifices when he chose, especially on the Sabbath and other "high days". Question Name the chief festivals and their meanings.

2.

THE SYNAGOGUES

The word "synagogue" means "bringing together" "a gathering". Its origins are lost in the mists of time. But it is probable that it existed during the Exile. By that time the Jewish people would have wanted central meeting houses especially because the use of the Temple in Jerusalem was no longer possible. The synagogue was the social centre where the Jewish inhabitants of a city gathered weekly to meet each other. It was the educational medium for keeping the law before the people and for providing instruction for their children in the ancestral faith. It was the substitute for temple worship, which was precluded by distance or by poverty. In the synagogue the study of the law took the place of ritual sacrifice, the rabbi supplanted the priest, and the communal faith was applied to individual life. Each synagogue had as its leader the "head" of synagogue (Mark 5:22) who was probably selected from among the elders by vote. The leader presided over the services in the synagogue, acted instructor in case of any dispute (Luke 13:14), and introduced visitors to the assembly (Acts 13:15). The synagogues attendant, or hazzan acted as custodian of the property and had the responsibility of caring for the building and its contents. His duties included warning the village people of the beginning of the Sabbath on Friday afternoon and notifying them also of its closure. -29-

The synagogue buildings were usually substantial structures of stone. Every synagogue had a chest in which the roll of the law was kept, a platform with a reading desk from which the Scripture of the day was read, lamps for lighting the building and benches or seats for the congregation. The synagogue service consisted of recitation of the Jewish creed or shema, "Hear, O Israel: Jehovah our God is one Jehovah; and thou shalt love Jehovah thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might", (Deut.6:4,5) accompanied by sentences of praise to God called Berakot because they began with the word, "Blessed".

Interior of a synagogue

Following the Shema was a ritual prayer, concluding with an opportunity for individual silent prayer. The reading of the Scriptures, which came next, began with special sections of the law that were assigned to holy days. The prophets were also used, as Jesus' reading in the synagogue shows (Luke 4:16 ff). A sermon followed the reading of the Scriptures, explaining the portion that had been read. The service was closed with a blessing, pronounced by some priestly member of the congregation. The influence of the nature and order of synagogue worship upon the procedure followed by the church of the first century is fairly obvious. Jesus Himself attended regularly the service of the synagogue and took part in it. His disciples also had been accustomed to its ritual. Paul in his travels made the synagogue of the Diaspora his first points of contact whenever he entered strange cities, and he preached and debated with the Jews and proselytes who gathered to hear him (Acts 13:5; 15:43; 17:1-3; 10,17). Question Describe the difference between the Temple and a Synagogue?

Question Why did Paul make the Synagogue his first stop in a new city?

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INTRODUCTION TO THE NEW TESTAMENT


INTRODUCTION Though Christianity came into the world from the outside, it came at a definite point in the world's history and cannot be fully understood without a study of the conditions that prevailed at its inception. These conditions, as well as Christianity itself, were the work of God. Christianity originated under the Roman Empire and was influenced by the Greek Empire. 1. A. ADVANTAGES OF ROMAN IMPERIAL GOVERNMENT GENERAL WELL-BEING

The empire after many years of ruinous civil war was at last brought to permanent peace. The "Roman peace", embracing the civilized world, was the prime requisite for a healthy development of commerce and general well being. B. ROMAN LAW

The empire secured a great improvement in the administration of the provincial governments. Under the republic, the governors of the provinces, unchecked by any strong central authority, had used their brief terms of office simply to amass private wealth. But now the governors were held in check by a central authority that had in view not the mere wealth of individuals but rather the good of the whole empire. Roman rule began to be used to some extent for the advantage of the governed. The worst abuses of the tax system were removed. Order was established out of chaos. On the whole, despite a good deal of oppression and injustice, the reign of Roman law, judged by ancient standards, was a beneficent thing. Question Give three (3) benefits of the Roman Law.

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C.

SAFE AND EASY COMMUNICATION

Both for purposes of commerce and also for civil and military administration, nothing is more important than safe and easy communication. Under the Roman Empire a remarkable system of roads made land travel probably easier than it has been up to modern times. Robbers on land and pirates on the sea were held in check. Travel became a common thing. Of course, the case of travel must not be exaggerated, it did not compare with modern conditions. It is difficult for us to form any adequate conception of the hardship of a missionary life like that of Paul (2 Cor. 11:26). Nevertheless the value of the Roman system of communication remains. Even with it, the early Christian Mission was difficult; without it, it would have been impossible. 2. THE EMPIRE AND CHRISTIANITY

Christianity was a world religion; the Roman Empire laid the world open before it. Barriers of race and of nationality were obliterated. Travel was easy. Peace was lasting. Everything was favourable for a worldwide mission. Christianity did not miss the opportunity. If the Roman Government had at the start been actively hostile to Christianity, the advantages of Roman rule would have been nullified, but this was not the case. In the course of time though there was created an irreconcilable conflict between Christianity and the religion of the Roman State. Christianity and the worship of the emperor became apparent, and a bitter struggle was the result. But then it was too late for Christianity to be crushed out. In the beginning, the Roman policy was protective, or at any rate indifferent, rather than hostile. There were several reasons for this favourable policy. In the first place, polytheism was naturally tolerant. Roman religion was closely connected with patriotism, and disloyalty to the imperial gods was regarded as disloyalty to the empire itself. But on the other hand, the various subject people were not persecuted because of their own worship. The various religions of the empire were not mutually exclusive, and a man could with perfect consistency worship the gods of Syria or of Egypt and at the same time be a fervent worshipper of the gods of Rome. Christianity was not satisfied with such a position. The God of the Christians could not be worshipped along with others. The God of Christianity claimed an exclusive service. Christianity, therefore, required privileges with which other religions could consistently dispense. Here the early Church was protected by its connection with Judaism. Question How was the spread of Christianity made easy at this time?

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In the first century the Jews were scattered abroad all over the empire, and had secured unique privileges. They constituted not only a religion, but also a nation, and as a nation, in accordance with the policy of Rome in dealing with her subject populations, their peculiarities were respected. They were indeed, despised as peculiar. Their refusal to unite with the worship of other people caused them to be regarded as enemies of the human race. But so stubborn were their prejudices that it would have been difficult to coerce them, and Rome avoided such difficulties when she could. At the beginning, Christianity appeared to be little more than a Jewish sect, and as a Jewish sect it enjoyed the privileges of Judaism of which it was not necessary for them to take cognizance. At the beginning Rome actually appears as the protector of Christianity against the Jews. The conflict was bound to break out sooner or later. Christianity could never be satisfied with being tolerated as an obscure and inoffensive sect. It came forward with a worldwide appeal. It could not be satisfied so long as the Roman gods continued to be worshipped at all. At first Rome was not aware of the seriousness of her danger and when Rome finally resolved to fight the church, it was too late. Christianity was then ready to ascend the throne of the Caesars. Question Why did the conflict break out?

Question How did the Roman Empire assist the spread of Christianity?

3.

THE GREEK LANGUAGE

As a result of Alexanders remarkable extension of Greek influence, the Romans, when they conquered the east, found the Greek language dominant. The Romans felt the superiority of Greek literature. Roman life, had been profoundly influenced by Greek-speaking world and the Greek language continued to be the language of trade, the language of international communication, the ordinary language of the cities and along with Latin, the language of government administration. Paul's Greek Epistle to the Romans shows that there was a large Greek-speaking population in Rome itself.

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The Roman Empire, then, was a unit not only politically but also linguistically. The Greek language kept pace with the Roman Law. This remarkable uniformity of language is of obvious importance for the early history of Christianity. Without it, the Christian mission would have encountered serious difficulties. With every extension of the field new languages would have had to be learned. As it was the Roman world formed in some sort one community, a religion that arose in one part could spread rapidly to the whole. Question How did the Greek language assist the spread of Christianity?

4. A.

GREEK INFLUENCE AND CHRISTIANITY GREEK RELIGION AND PHILOSOPHY

From the time of Homer Greek religion had been a kind of artistic polytheism type religion. In its characteristic form it was aesthetic rather than moral; it was based upon the sense of beauty rather than upon the conscience. The poets of the fifth century before Christ and later began to be keenly aware of the moral imperfections of the Homeric mythology. The criticism of the ancient religion was even more definite and pronounced in the teachings of the philosophers. Philosophy was dissatisfied with polytheism. It sought some one common principle that should explain the facts of the world. That principle was not usually conceived clearly as a personal God, yet the philosophic movement at least opened the way for a monotheistic type rreligion.. Question Why were the philosophers dissatisfied with polytheism?

B.

GREEK CULTURE

Some things in Greek thinking afforded positive preparation for the Gospel. Paul himself in his speech at Athens appealed to the religious aspirations of his pagan audience and to such vague approach to monotheism as was to be found in the Greek poets. Under the providence of God the Old Testament had been translated into Greek. From the beginning Christianity was provided with a Greek Bible. New translations of the Bible are always difficult because the introduction of a new translation takes time and skill. It was fortunate that a Greek-speaking Church had a Greek Bible, the Septuagint, ready made.

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CONCLUSION These things did not come by chance. It was not by chance that Jesus was born in the Golden age of the Roman Empire, when the whole of the civilized world the world that was to determine the whole subsequent course of history was for the first time unified, so that a movement that started in an obscure corner of the world could now spread like wildfire to the centre and from the centre to all the extremities. God is the ruler of history and His times are well chosen and the Roman Empire was an instrument in his hand. The Greek world was desperately in need of the Gospel. Despite the aspirations of the poets and the preaching of the moralists, the world was lost in sin. When the Gospel came it was listened to and God had shaped the course of history to prepare for it. For the first time the whole world was open. Roman law and Greek culture had made of the world one great community. In such an age the banner of the cross wherever raised, would soon be seen by all. Question Describe the following: Polytheism =

Monotheism =

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GOSPELS AND THE SYNOPTIC PROBLEM


INTRODUCTION The Gospels are referred to as the Evangelists, those who bring good tidings. These Evangelists did not write four Gospels, but four accounts of one Gospel. The word 'gospel' is derived from the two Anglo-Saxon words " God" meaning "good" and "Spell" meaning "tidings". The four Gospels record the eternal being, human ancestry, birth, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus, the Christ, Son of God, and Son of Man. They also record a selection of the events of His life, and of His words and works. Taken together, they set forth, not a biography, but a personality and deity if Jesus Christ. The value of these brief records is priceless. We are entirely dependent upon these four accounts for our knowledge of the Redeemer. Question How did the word "Gospel" originate?

1. A.

THE GOSPELS IN GENERAL THE NUMBER OF THE GOSPELS

Why four and not one straight forward continuous narrative? Someone put it this way - "if four witnesses should appear before a judge to give an account of an event, and each should tell exactly the same story, in the same words, the judge would probably conclude, not that their testimony was exceptionally valuable, but that the only event which was certain beyond doubt, was that they agreed to tell the same story. But if each man had told what he had seen, as he had seen it, then the evidence would be credible". This is exactly what we find when we read the four Gospels, the four men tell the same story, each in his own way. B. SYNOPTIC GOSPELS AND AUTOPTIC GOSPEL

The first three Gospels, Matthew, Mark and Luke are called the Synoptic Gospels because unlike John, they give a synopsis of Christs life. The word synopsis is from two Greek words meaning "a viewing together" or a collected view, so these three Gospels may be viewed together. The Synoptic Gospels are striking in their similarities and yet equally striking in their differences. The Synoptics narrate Christ's ministry chiefly in Galilee; but John's Gospel stands in a class by itself. He tells of His ministry in Judea. The Synoptics narrate His miracles, parables and addresses to the multitudes. John presents Christ's in a deeper and more abstract discourse, also His conversations and prayers. The three portray Christ in action. John portrays Him in meditation and contemplation; an autoptic and eye witness, which is quite distinct from the others.

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C.

SPECIAL FEATURES

There are four distinct offices of Christ portrayed in the Gospels. 1. King Matthew presents Jesus as King. He is the Son of David. His royal genealogy is given in chapter one. In chapters 5-7 we have the Sermon on the mount, which is his manifesto. The manifesto is a public authoritative announcement of the principle of the Kingdom of the King. 2. Servant Mark depicts Jesus a Servant. There is no genealogy in Mark because men are not interested in the genealogy of a servant. 3. Man Luke sets forth Jesus as the perfect man. Here the genealogy goes back to Adam, The first man. 4. God John portrays Jesus as the Son of God. The opening verses carry us back to "the beginning". The four Gospels viewed together Matthew's King is predicted Mark's Servant Luke's Man John's Divine Son Christ is presented to the Jew in Matthew to the Roman in Mark to the Greek in Luke to the Church in John Matthew is specially related to the past Mark to the present Luke to the future John to all eternity Matthew is the Preacher Mark is the Chronicler Luke is the Historian John is the Philosopher Matthew is concerned with the Coming of a Promised Saviour Mark is concerned with the life of a Powerful Saviour Luke is concerned with the grace of a Perfect Saviour John is concerned with the possession of a Personal Saviour Matthew presents' God's answer to Orientalism Mark Imperialism Luke Hellenism John Deism in Jer. 23:5 in Zech.3:8 in Zech.6:12 in Isa.4:2; 9:6, 11:1

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The Sovereign comes to reign and rule The Servant comes to serve and suffer The Son of Man comes to share and sympathise The Son of God comes to reveal and redeem Matthew ends with Resurrection 28:6-16 Mark ends with Ascension 16:19 Luke ends with The Promise of the Spirit 24:49 John ends with The Promise of the Second Coming 21:22 Question What four distinct offices of Christ are portrayed in the Gospels?

2. A.

THE SYNOPTIC PROBLEM THE PROBLEM STATED

In the three Synoptic Gospels there are resemblances and differences. These are evidenced in subject matter, vocabulary and order in which materials are introduced. The problem so called is this if the three Synoptic Gospels are totally independent of each other in origin and development, why do they resemble each other so closely, even to exact verbal agreement in places? If on the other hand, they have literary relationship with each other, how can they be three independent witnesses to the deeds and teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ? The first point is one relating to their independence of each other. The second concerns differences that should not exist if they are from one source. The problem consists in the harmonising of these, and so of determining the relation of the Synoptics to one another. Examples: Mk.l:40-45, Matt.8:1-4, Luke 5:12-16, Matt.4:1-2, Mark 1:12-13, Luke 4:1-2. B. THE FACTS OF THE CASE

All of Mark's Gospel with the exception of about 50 verses can be found in Matthew and Luke. Of Matthew's 1068 verses, about 500 are similar material to Mark. Of 1149 verses in Luke, over 300 resemble Mark. Matthew and Mark agree against Luke. Luke and Mark agree against Matthew, but Matthew and Luke never agree against Mark where any considerable body of text exists that is common to the three. The question then is: was Mark a source from which Matthew and Luke drew their information? There are passages common to Matthew and Luke that Mark does not contain. These are chiefly sayings and parables of Jesus. Does this mean that there was a common source from which all drew? C. POSSIBLE COMPILATIONS -38-

The resemblances and differences in the Gospels had led to the supposition that these records are compilations, and that behind them are sources upon which they have drawn. That the Gospels are so composed need not occasion to surprise, because the use of sources is characteristic of Scriptures. In the Old Testament reference is made to the Book of the Wars of the Lord, the Book of Jasher, the Book of Samuel, the Seer, the Book of Nathan the prophet, the Book of God the Seer, the Book of the Chronicles of the kings of Israel and of Judah, and in the books of Nehemiah and Ezra are genealogies, letters of Persian Kings and other documents. In the Book of Acts a discourse of Paul's includes a quotation from a heathen poet (17:28). Question Name the three Synoptic Gospels.

D. PROPOSED SOLUTIONS - THEORIES 1. THE ORAL TRADITION HYPOTHESIS

This theory assumes that each of the Evangelists wrote independently of the others, and derived the substance of their writing, not from written sources, but from oral narratives of saying and doings of Jesus, which, through hint of repetition, had assumed a relatively fixed form. 2. THE MUTUAL USE HYPOTHESIS

This is the view that the problem can be accounted for by assuming that the authors of these Gospels used each other's writings, but there has never been agreement as to who the borrowers were, each in turn having been regarded as the source of theirs, and there are six permutations. More need not be said about this as it has few advocates today. This hypothesis has also been stated in the Interdependence Theory, holding that one of the three wrote from Oral tradition, that the one who wrote next used this first Gospel as a source but added to it: and the third writer used the previous two Gospels as sources but added some material of his own. 3. THE DOCUMENTS HYPOTHESIS

This is the theory that almost all scholars hold at the present time, with differences of opinion as to how many such documents there were. Most scholars are agreed upon two such sources. (a) Mark's Gospel (b) A non-existent document which is called Q (Q comes from the German word "Quelle" meaning source)

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Conservative scholarship however cannot conceive of Mark's Gospel being used as a mere source by persons endeavouring to write Gospels designed to supersede Marks. Furthermore, there is no proof that "Q" ever existed. 4. A SOUND SOLUTION

A true view must give primary consideration to the divine aspect in the composition of these Gospels. Human authors may have used "sources" for some of the materials, but they were used under divine guidance and control. These sources of material would probably include material which was handed down from the Apostles and other eye witnesses, material obtained, in the case of Matthew, from personal observation and materials adopted from oral tradition. Matthew and John were personally associated with Christ where Mark with Peter were His disciples (1 Peter 5:12). Luke travelled with Paul and other missionaries who themselves had associations with the eleven apostles. It seems to be established that there was already developed a body of statements that formed the nucleus of the preaching of the earliest disciples. These narratives would doubtless be at the disposal of the writers of the synoptic gospels, Luke 1:1-2. Most critics have started from the false assumption that each Gospel writer undertook to record all that had taken place. Most difficulties disappear with the recognition of the inspiration of the Holy Spirit in relation to these writings. Parallels to Mark in Matthew and Luke do not necessitate knowledge of Mark's Gospel as the writers of the first and third Gospel had access to other sources. The purpose of the writers should be kept in mind. They used what material they needed and had for their purpose and wrote it in their own style as guided by the Spirit. The differences speak for independence while similarities reflect a common background, a common subject, and a common inspiration of God. Question Give the meaning of the following: Synoptic Autoptic Quiz Match one statement from each of the two columns 1. Matthew specially relates 2. Matthew is 3. Luke is 4. John is 5. Mark relates 6. Christ is presented to the Jew 7. Mark is 8. Christ is presented to the Roman 9. John is concerned 10. Christ is presented to the Greek -40_____ the Preacher _____ the Philosopher _____ to the present _____ the Chronicler _____ in Luke ______in Mark ______the Historian ______to the past ______in Matthew ______with the possession of a personal Saviour

THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW SUMMARY


Author: Intended audience: Time frame: Matthew; the Apostle and previously a tax collector Jews The book of Matthew covers the 33 years of Jesus earthly life. It is thought to have been written between 52 & 68 AD. 1:1 5:17-18 16:16-19 24:14 27:37 28:18-20 Kingdom (of heaven) Just / Righteousness Fulfilled, that which was spoken Son of Man Son of David Mary and Joseph Jesus John the Baptist The Magi from the east Pharisees, Scribes The 12 disciples The King and His Kingdom Birth of Jesus Teachings of Jesus Miracles of Jesus Death of Jesus Resurrection of Jesus Commission from Jesus Bethlehem Nazareth River Jordan Galilee The garden of Gethsemane Jerusalem Golgotha The King, Messiah

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QUESTIONS THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW 1 Matthews occupation was a He was a.of Jesus. 2 His Gospel is written to the. It presents Jesus as the Son of .. He prefers the term Kingdom of.. to Kingdom of God and refers to Jewishwithout explanation. 3 He records Jesus first objective as (15: 24).. but it also includes the.. as the Gospel must be (24: 14, 28: 19) ............... 4 Regarding the Jewish Law, he presents Jesus as 15: 17 5 He is the 16:18. only evangelist to use this word

. 6 7 In chapter 24 He records a lengthy discourse on... Gives the church Jesus Great Commission in Ch. 28: verse?

Jesus in the temple

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THE GOSPEL OF MARK SUMMARY


Author: John Mark (Marcus Latin, / John - Hebrew) Nephew or cousin of Barnabas, and early church history tells us that he was a scribe for Peter. Romans The book of Mark covers the 3 public years of Christ's earthly ministry. It is thought to have been written between 55 & 65 AD 3:13-15 8:34-37 10:45 euthus - Immediately, (used 40 times) Son of Man John the Baptist Jesus The 12 disciples Jesus - the Servant of the Lord Numerous miracles Baptism of Jesus Calling of the twelve disciples Transfiguration of Jesus Triumphal entry of Jesus Trials of Jesus Crucifixion of Jesus Resurrection of Jesus Commission from Jesus Key Places: The River Jordan Galilee Nazareth Mount of Olives Garden of Gethsemane Jerusalem Jesus the servant

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QUESTIONS GOSPEL OF MARK 1 Name the three apostles Mark was associated with? Acts 12: 25, 1 Peter 5:13 2 According to Papias, Mark wrote in association with? 3 4 5 6 His Gospel is aimed at..believers. Who was the Roman Emperor in the 60s AD? Mark is the most concise Gospel. True/False

Mark presents Jesus as......................................................................? a. 10: 45. b. 1: 1....

This is emphasised by what supernatural event 8: 27, 9: 10?.

He speaks of the cost of discipleship in Ch. 8.

Find the verses ............... ..................................................................................................................................... .....................................................................................................................................

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THE GOSPEL OF LUKE SUMMARY


Author: Intended audience: Time frame: Luke - "the beloved physician" Greeks Luke's Gospel covers approx. 35 years from the birth of John the Baptist to the ascension of Christ. It is thought to have been written between 58 and 60AD. 1:3-4 4:18-19 19:10 24:19 Son of Man Kingdom of God John the Baptist Jesus The 12 disciples The humanity of Jesus Numerous parables The birth of Jesus Baptism of Jesus The Temptation of Christ Calling of the twelve disciples Transfiguration of Jesus Triumphal entry of Jesus Crucifixion of Jesus Resurrection of Jesus Commission from Jesus The ascension of Jesus Bethlehem Nazareth The Jordan river The wilderness Galilee The garden of Gethsemane Jerusalem The Man Christ Jesus

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QUESTIONS ON LUKES GOSPEL 1 Lukes profession (Col .4: 14). And (2 Tim. 4:11)..with Paul. 2 His Gospel is directed to.and is (Acts 1: 1b - 2a) 3 Luke presents Jesus as (9: 22). 4 5 In what chapter do we have the boy Jesus? When referring to Gods Kingdom, Luke uses the title (9: 2) .................................

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THE WRITINGS OF THE GOSPEL OF JOHN


1. A. AUTHORSHIP EXTERNAL EVIDENCE

The fourth Gospel does not mention the name of its author, but according to a very strong tradition it was written by one of the twelve apostles; John the son of Zebedee. The testimony of Irenaeus, who wrote in the latter part of the second century, is particularly important, for in his youth Irenaeus had listened to Polycarp, bishop of Smyrna, who in turn had been a hearer of John. Irenaeus says: "Afterwards, John, the disciple of the Lord, who also leaned upon his breast, did himself publish a Gospel during his residence at Ephesus in Asia". B. INTERNAL EVIDENCE

The internal evidence supports the external. The statement in 21:24 clearly points to "the disciple whom Jesus loved, who also leaned back on his breast at the supper", 21:20 as the author of the Gospel. There has been some debate as to who this is but the following internal evidence points to the Apostle John. 1. He was a Jew We see this in his attitude toward the Old Testament from where he quotes a few times; 12:40, 13:18 and 19:37. He is also well acquainted with the Jewish feasts. He makes note of the three Passovers (2:13 and 23, 6:4, 18:28 with a possible additional of 5:1), the Feast of Tabernacles (7:37), and the Feast of Dedication (10:22). It is also seen in his acquaintance with Jewish customs and habits of thought. He gives us a picture of a Jewish marriage feast and knows about the prescribed way of arranging the water pots (2:1-10). He knows about, the questions of purifying (3:21; 11:55), the burial customs of the Jews (11:38-44, 19:40), the Jewish estimate of women (4:27), the law against leaving bodies on the cross over the Sabbath (19:31), and the feeling between the Jews and the Samaritans (4:9). 2. A Palestinian Jew He knows that Jacob's well is deep (4:11), that there is descent of land down to the Sea of Galilee (2:12). Bethsaida and Bethany are the homes of friends. He knows the details about the Temple, the sale of oxen, sheep, and doves in the Temple, and about Golgotha as the place of the skull. 3. A Contemporary of the persons and the events narrated He speaks of the chief priests and Pharisees, not the Sadducees and Pharisees, knowing that the Sadducees held the office of chief priest in that day. He knows the opposition of the Pharisees (7:45-52, 11:46) and that the chief priests and the Pharisees had given orders to arrest Christ (11:57). The writer was known to the high priest and went into the high priest's Palace with Jesus (18:15); he alone tells us that it was the high priest's servant Malchus whose ear Peter cut off (18:10). 4. He was John the Apostle There is no doubt that the author was an eyewitness, of the account narrated. Of course, even this might only mean that he was one of the twelve. He was the disciple who leaned on Jesus' breast at the Last Supper (13:23-25), and so one of the three: Peter, James and John. -47-

But Peter is distinguished from the writer by name (eg.1:41-42, 13:6-8 etc), and James had been killed long before this time (Acts 12:2), AD. 44. It is to be noted that the writer never mentions either James or the sons of Zebedee in the Gospel. Notice how he introduces himself (13:23; 19:26; 20:2; 21:7,20). From all these facts we draw the conclusion that John the Apostle wrote the fourth Gospel. 2. A. RELATION TO THE SYNOPTIC GOSPELS DEPENDENCE

The writer is primarily dependent upon his own knowledge of the facts. He repeatedly represents himself as an eyewitness, John 1:14. The character of the reminiscences and the details of the stories and incidents evidence this. B. SUPPLEMENTARY

According to tradition, the fourth Gospel was written during the latter life of the author, while he was residing at Ephesus. There is general agreement that it was written after the other three Gospels and rather late in the first century -about AD 85-90). Tradition informs us also that the Gospel of John was not only written later than the Synoptic Gospels, but was intended to supplement them. Apart from the two miracles in 6:4-21 and the passion story, all is different, in the forth Gospel. There are intimations of Jesus' Galilean ministry, but no full accounts of it. John, instead of directly borrowing from the Synoptic accounts, supplements them with the history of the early Judean ministry, which they omit. The fourth Gospel assumes the existence of the Synoptics but does not repeat much that is found in them. This explains why such important events as the baptism of Jesus and the institution of the Lord's Supper and also the greater part of the Galilean ministry, are omitted. Knowledge of these things is presupposed. The fourth Gospel was written for those who already knew of the Synoptic accounts of Jesus' life. C. DIFFERENCES

In many respects the Gospel of John stands in sharp contrast with the other three. 1. Style There is a contrast, in the first place, in style. Though the Synoptic Gospels differ characteristically from one another in style, yet there is a certain resemblance among them, where as the fourth Gospel goes its own way. The Gospel of John is remarkable for the very small vocabulary that it uses, and for the extreme simplicity and monotony of its sentence structure. The absence of human art, of nicely turned sentences, serves only to reveal with the greater clearness the glory of the incarnate word.

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2. Choice of material In the second place, there is a striking difference in the material of the narrative. One chief reason for this difference has already been noticed supplementing the synoptics. The fourth Gospel helps to complete something like a chronological outline of the ministry of Jesus. From John 2:13 - 3:36 we learn that there was an early Judean ministry before that public appearance in Galilee that is narrated in Mark 1:14-15. From John also it appears that the ministry of Jesus extended over several years a circumstance which is only implied in the Synoptic Gospels. John mentions at least three Passover events within the public ministry, and either mentions or implies a fourth, John 2:13, 23; (5:1); 6:4; 13:1. The public ministry of Jesus probably lasted at least three years. Most of what is narrated in the Gospel of John took place in or near Jerusalem, to which Jesus made repeated visits that are only hinted at in the other Gospels. The Synoptics confine themselves almost exclusively to the Galilean ministry. The Synoptics lay special emphasis upon the public preaching of Jesus, John preserves certain more intimate discourses like those that Jesus held with his apostle at the Last Supper 13-17. Apparently the Synoptic Gospels had their rise in the missionary activity of the church they have preserved those things that beginners in the faith or unbelievers need to know first; whereas the Gospel of John reveals certain profound elements of Jesus' teaching. 3. Points and Peculiarities (i) John omits the account of the birth of John the Baptist, and of Jesus' birth, genealogy, youth, baptism, temptation, transfiguration and ascension. Christ is pre-eminently deity, and for deity these things have no significance. (ii) John is the only one who reported the early Judean ministry. Without the fourth Gospel Christ's ministry would seem to have lasted for about one and one-third years; but by means of the four Passovers mentioned in the Gospel we know that it lasted for somewhat more than three years. There are no parables in John. There are eight miracles in John, all but two, the feeding of the 500 and the walking on the sea (6:4-21), being peculiar to John. John has at the utmost an account of but 20 days of the ministry of Jesus. Chapters 13-19, 137 verses out of 879, or nearly one-third of the whole Gospel, cover but one day in the life of Christ.

(iii) (iv) (v)

4. Outline (1) Jesus, the Son of God, before His incarnation. 1:1-14 (2) Jesus revealed as Son of God by His deeds and words (John points out what convinced the people of His Deity 1:15-12) (3) The Son of God revealing Himself more fully to His own (4) The Son of God slain 18-19 (5) His claim to Deity fully established by His Resurrection 20-21 -49-

THE GOSPEL OF JOHN SUMMARY


Author: Intended audience: Time frame: John the Beloved All believers everywhere The book of John opens with facts on the pre-existence of Jesus but concentrates on the 3 years of His earthly ministry. Thought to have been written around 85 - 95 AD. 1:1,12,14 3:3-7 3:16-17 20:30-31 Believe Father Love Life Truth Abide Jesus The 12 disciples Nicodemus Mary & Martha Jesus the Son of God New birth The baptism of Jesus The first miracle - water into wine Teachings Death, burial and resurrection Post resurrection appearances of Christ Judea Samaria Sea of Galilee Jerusalem - the upper room The Son of God 8 "I am" statements

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QUESTIONS GOSPEL OF JOHN 1- 3 John was a..of Jesus, the brother of .and son of.. 4 5 6 This Gospel is possibly the last written. True../False.. John presents Jesus as.? Ch. 20: 31 states Johns purpose in writing. They are:a. b. 7 John presents Jesus as The Son of God to emphasise his D. 8 9 This Gospel is a synoptic Gospel. True../False His use of the term I Am reinforces the writers desire to present Jesus as

The Sea of Galilee

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THE SEVEN-FOLD REVELATION OF JESUS CHRIST IN THE GOSPELS


1. HIS PRE-EXISTENCE His birth was not His beginning, for He always was. It was but the beginning of His Humanity. John 1:1-4, 14, 18; 3:13 8:58. HIS INCARNATION The virgin birth is denied by unbelieving theologians, but it is absolutely basic to the Gospel. If Jesus was not virgin born, He was but one of us in our sin, and could never have been our redeemer. If the Bible is false at this point, it is false everywhere. The fact is that God took upon Himself flesh and lived amongst us. The Life of the Eternal Word (John 1:1) was planted in the womb of Mary by the power of the Holy Spirit. Luke 1:30-38; John 1:14; Matt.1:20. By the Incarnation, He became one with us in our Humanity. 3. HIS DEITY While truly human, He never ceased at the same time to be truly God. He laid aside the glory of His Godhead, but not his God-nature, Phil. 2:6-8. He was and is God Matt. 1:23; Luke 1:32, 35, 43; 2:11; John 1:10,14; 8:58. 4. HIS SINLESS LIFE He lived on earth for 33 years and never once committed sin; and thus qualified to become our perfect substitute and sacrifice. He defeated Satan in the Temptation Matt. 4:1-11; Luke 4:1-3. (Adam and Eve failed in the same principles). No one could accuse him of sin, John 8:46. The Father testified of His holiness Luke 3:22; Matt. 17:5. Many others testified to His righteousness Luke 23:41-47; 5:8; Matt. 27: 4,24. 5. HIS REDEMPTIVE SACRIFICE - Matt. 27; Mark 15; Luke 23; John 19 As previously stated He was born to die. Matt. 1:21; John 12:27; Matt. 16:21 All of the prophecies of the Old Testament relating to mans redemption climaxed at the cross of Calvary. Though it was the foulest deed ever done in mankinds history, it brought us cleansing from our sin. Luke 24:46-47; John 1:29; Matt. 26:28 and John 3:16. HIS RESURRECTION - Matt. 28; Mark 16; Luke 24; John 20. If the grave could have claimed Him, it would have been apparent that He was no different to the rest of sinful mankind. The sting of death is sin, 1 Cor. 15:56. His resurrection proved His righteousness and made our redemption valid. HIS ASCENSION - Mark 16:19; Luke 24:51 The Gospels begin with the declaration that God has come to earth to redeem the human race, Matt. 1:21-23. The Gospel record concludes with the account of Jesus ascension to heaven mission accomplished. The human race, His own race now, is redeemed. Satan, sin, death and hell are conquered. This is the Good News.

2.

6.

7.

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THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES SUMMARY


Author Time Frame: Intended audience: Key verse: Key words /phrases: Luke It covers approximately 33 years from the Ascension Probably written around 63 65 A.D An individual named Theophilus 1:8 2: 42-47 The Holy Spirit The Name of Jesus The Word of God The Holy Spirit Peter Stephen Philip Barnabas Paul The spread of the Gospel The growth of the church Ascension of Christ Pentecost Stoning of Stephen Conversion of Paul Pauls missionary journeys Pauls defence before various rulers Jerusalem Samaria Damascus Caesarea Antioch The person of the Holy Spirit Blinding light on the Damascus Road

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CHRONOLOGICAL CHART OF ACTS


chrCHRONOLOGICAL CHART OF ACTS CHRONOLOGICA CHART OF ACTS

Events

Dates

Ascension (1:;9-11) Pentecost (2: 1-41) Early church (2:42 6:7) First persecution (4:1-31) Second persecution (5:17-42) Third persecution; Stephens martyrdom (6:8 8:4) Philips ministry in Samaria and to the Ethiopian (8:5-40) Pauls conversion (9:1-21) Paul in Damascus, Jerusalem, Tarsus (9:22-30) Peter at Caesarea (10:1 11:18) Founding of Gentile church at Antioch (11: 19-24) Paul in Antioch (11: 25-26) Martyrdom of James; Peter imprisoned (12:1-19) First missionary journey (13:1 14:28) Jerusalem council (15:1-29) Second missionary journey (15:36 18:22) Third missionary journey (18:23 21:19) Paul arrested in Jerusalem (21:20 - 23:22) Paul a prisoner at Caesarea (23:23 26:32)

A.D. 30 A.D. 30 A.D. 30 A.D. 31 A.D. 32 A.D. 35-36 A.D. 36 A.D. 37 A.D. 39 A.D. 41 A.D. 41 A.D. 43 A.D. 44 A.D. 45 47 A.D. 50 A.D. 51 54 A.D. 54 - 58 A.D. 58 A.D. 58 60

BARNABAS i) ii) iii) iv) Barnabas was not his own. Gave all to the work of God. Barnabas means son of comfort. Supported others. Backed Saul when the apostles wouldnt talk to him. Barnabas refused to travel with Paul after a dispute Acts 4:36-37 Acts 9:26-28 Acts 15:36-39

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QUESTIONS ON THE BOOK OF ACTS 1 2 Author?. Purpose in writing . . . 3 4 Acts covers the firstyears of Christianity. Acts 16: 10-17, 20: 5-21 reveals Luke was a missionary with Paul Yes/No.. 5 He records the last earthly words of Jesus where . 6 Acts unfolds the development of the Church. a. b c d e. f. 7 6: 1-6 14: 23 20: 20 Ch. 10 13: 1 1:8

Acts Ch. 2 introduces the

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EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS SUMMARY


Author: Intended audience: Time frame: Key verses: Paul the Apostle The church in Rome Written approximately A.D. 57 1: 16-17 Job 9:2 3:23 6:23 10:8-11,17 Justification The just shall live by faith The righteousness of God Paul The Roman Christians The work of Christs Cross The just shall live by faith The legal means for salvation Rome The last Adam and the second man.

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BACKGROUND AND DESTINATION In preparation for this next step in his missionary enterprise, Paul wrote the Epistle to the Romans. Rome was founded in 753 B.C. and by the time of Paul it was the greatest city in the world with over one million inhabitants. It was at that time the capital of the then known world. It was full of magnificent buildings, but the majority of people were slaves. Opulence and squalor co-existed in the Imperial City. Paul did not found the church at Rome, and the tradition that Peter was its founder is contrary to the evidence. It is possible that it began when some of the Jews and proselytes who came to Christ on the day of Pentecost (cf. Acts 2:10), returned to Rome, but it is more likely that Christians from Churches established by Paul in Asia, Macedonia and Greece settled in Rome and led others to Christ. Aquila and Priscilla had come from Rome, and, according to Romans 16:3, had returned there. Thus it seems to have been one that began spontaneously among believes, the minority of who had probably migrated to Rome from other parts of the world. According to this Epistle, Gentiles were predominant in the Church of Rome (1:13; 11:13, 28-31: 15:15,16), but there were also Jewish believers (2:17 0 3:8; 3:21-41; 7:1-14; 14: 1-15:12). The church in Rome was well known (1:8), and it had been established for several years by the time of this letter (see 14:14; 15:23). The believers were probably numerous (they evidently met in several places, 16:1-16), and the historian Tacitus referred to the Christians who were persecuted under Nero in A.D.64 as an immense multitude. OCCASION AND DATE Paul wrote Romans in A.D. 57, near the end of this third missionary journey (Acts 18:23 21:14; cf. Rom. 15:19). It was evidently written during his three-month stay in Greece (Acts 20: 3-6), more specifically, in Corinth. Paul was staying with Gaus of Corinth (16:23; cf. 1 Cor. 1:4). Pauls collection from the churches of Macedonia and Achaia for the needy Christians in Jerusalem was complete (15:26) and he was ready to deliver it (15:25). Instead of sailing direct to Jerusalem, Paul avoided a plot by the Jews by first going north to Philippi. He evidently gave this letter to Phoebe from the church as Chenchrea near Corinth, and she carried it to Rome (16:1,2). Romans was written as a substitute for immediate personal contact and as preparatory for making the Roman church a missionary centre comparable to Antioch Ephesus, Philippi, and the other cities where Paul had laboured. Romans, therefore, unlike Corinthians, is not devoted so much to the correction of errors as to the teaching of truth. Although it does not comprise all the fields of Christian thought for eschatology is notably lacking in its content it does give a fuller and more systematic view of the heart of Christianity than any other of Pauls Epistles.

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QUESTIONS ON THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS 1a 1b 1c 2 Ch.1: 16 - Paul was shameless when it came to this Ch.1: 17 - He defines the Gospel Ch.1: 17 - How shall the righteous live When Paul wrote this book he was where? ....... 3 Ch. 10: 17 Teaches 4 Is love obligatory for all believers 13: 8-10? Give one reason 5 The church at Rome was predominantly Jewish or Gentile 1: 13 - 14

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I CORINTHIANS SUMMARY
Author: Intended audience: Time frame: Key verses: Paul the Apostle The Christians of Corinth Written in Ephesus approximately A.D. 55 1.30 6: 19-20 10: 12-13 12: 7-11 15:27 Love Resurrection Cross Spirit Body Gifts Corruption Wisdom Paul Corinthian Christians Correction of problems within Church life Corinth Wisdom, Righteousness and Sanctification 1:30 He

Key words / phrases:

Key figures: Main topics: Key Place: Revelation of Christ:

The Apostles purpose is clearly perceived from the contents of the Epistle. writes: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11.

To rebuke the party spirit and to give a true conception of the relation between the Christian worker and his work. (Chapters 1 4) To enjoin the disciplining of the person guilty of incest. (Chapter 5) To reprove the church of not trying the grievances between its members, but going to law before the heathen about them. (Chapter 6) To answer their questions concerning marriage and divorce. (Chapter 7) Concerning the eating of food offered to idols. (Chapter 8 10) To correct the disorders that had arisen in the behaviour of the women. (Chapter 11) And in the exercise of spiritual gifts (Chapter 12-14) To refute those who denied the resurrection of the dead (Chapter 15) To urge their participation in the collection for the poor saints. (Chapter 16: 1-4) To inform them of his plans regarding the future. (Chapter 16: 5-9) To commend certain of his fellow-workers to them. (Chapter 16: 10-18)

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QUESTIONS FROM - 1 CORINTHIANS 1 In 1: 30, what has Jesus become. . 2 What chapters teach about spiritual gifts? . 3 Why is this chapter called the love chapter? . . . 4 5 Chapter 15 teaches on the? . Who was Apollos 1:12? See Acts 18: 24-26 . . 6 Who has no Kingdom inheritance 6: 9. . 7 This book is written to: 1: 2. a.. b.

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II CORINTHIANS SUMMARY
Author: Intended audience: Time frame: Key verse: Paul the Apostle The Christians at Corinth and the Saints throughout Asia Written from Macedonia in approx. 56 A.D. 4: 5-6 and 5: 17-19

This Epistle differs from I Corinthians in dealing with personal matters rather than with doctrinal teaching or with ecclesiastical order. This second Epistle to the Corinthians is the most autobiographical of all Pauls Epistles. The human Paul is much in evidence; his feelings, desires, dislikes, ambitions and obligations are all spread before his readers. The Epistle contains less systematic teaching and more personal expression of feeling than even ICorinthians, and its structure is not as clear-cut as is that of the former Epistle. PURPOSE AND PLAN Paul writes II Corinthians in order: 1. To set forth the purpose of his sufferings in Asia (1:3-11) 2. To justify himself in the changing of his plans with reference to his returning to Corinth (1:12 2:4) 3. To give instructions as to the treatment of the offender (2: 5-11) 4. To express his joy at the good news from Corinth (2: 12-13) 5. To represent the Gospel and its ministry as superior to the law and its ministry (2: 146:20) 6. To appeal for separation and for reconciliation with them (6: 117:16) 7. To urge the Corinthians to bring the collection to a speedy and satisfactory conclusion (Chapters 8 and 9). 8. To establish his authority as an Apostle (10:113:10) EVALUATION II Corinthians affords an insight into the career of Paul that none of the other Epistles give. It was written not only to defend him against the occasional criticisms of the Corinthian church, but also against the slanders and accusations that his enemies raised against him wherever he was preaching. The controversy that began in Galatia had created a powerful group of Judaizer opponents, who did not scruple to use any methods, fair or foul, in order to discredit him. The accusations brought by his opponents were numerous. They charged him with worldly motives (10:2). They said that he was a coward, for he wrote letters that resounded like thunder but in actual presence he was about as authoritative as a mouse (10:10). He did not maintain himself in dignity by taking support from the churches, but demeaned himself by working (11:7). They claimed that he was not one of the original apostles, and so was not qualified to teach (11:5; 12:11-12), and that he did not have credentials that he could show (3:1). They attacked his personal characters by saying that he was fleshly (10:2), boastful (10:8-18), deceitful (12:16), and they insinuated that he embezzled the funds that were being entrusted to him (8:20-23). The accusers themselves were apparently Jews (11:22 who were Christs -61-

servants (11:23), and who, by means of the clever use of recommendations from other churches (3:1) had obtained entrance into the Pauline churches. They were haughty and domineering (11:19-20), but were not ready to do pioneering work or to suffer for Christ (11:23 ff). As we understand from the language the Apostle Paul is using, the apostolic church in the beginning had its struggles and weaknesses. THE LAST VISIT TO CORINTH The arrival of Titus in Macedonia with the reassuring word of a change in the attitude of the Corinthian church (II Cor. 7:6-16) enabled Paul to pursue his journey without fear. Luke simply says that he spent three months in Achaia, but gives no details. In the Spring of A.D.50 he made plans to return to Jerusalem with the offering, when he learned that a plot against his life had been hatched by his Jewish enemies (Acts 20:3). Realising that they would easily do away with him on shipboard, he dispatched his companions to Troas, while he, in company with Luke went north to Philippi by the land route, and then sailed for Troas. THE PROJECTED MISSION Paul had planned the return to Jerusalem to be only an interlude in a larger mission. Already he had his eyes on a greater goal than any of the cities that he had evangelised previously. Rome beckoned him, for he was a citizen of the empire. If he could reach Rome with the Gospel, it could easily be disseminated to all parts of the empire, for all roads led to Rome. With true missionary statesmanship he laid out his course of action (Acts 19:21). QUESTIONS FROM II CORINTHIANS 1 To whom was this letter written? 1:1. a b....................................................... 2 3 Who made Paul an Apostle? 1: 1. How does this letter differ from 1 Cor...

? 4 Paul was looking for Titus in what cities, 2: 12-13.. ..and found him where? 7: 5-13. 5 In Ch. 6 Paul presents his ministry qualifications through his suffering for the Gospel.

Give verses.

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EPISTLE TO THE GALATIANS SUMMARY


Author: Theme: Date of Writing: PAUL Salvation by Grace, Through Faith C. A.D. 49

BACKGROUND Paul wrote this letter (1:1; 5:2; 6:11) to the churches in Galatia (1: 2). Some believe the Galatians were the Gauls in northern Galatia. It is far more likely that Paul wrote this letter to cities in the southern region of the province of Galatia (Pisidian Antioch, Iconium, Lystra, Derbe) where he and Barnabas evangelised and established churches during their first missionary journey (Acts 13 - 14). The most satisfactory date for writing is shortly after Paul returned to his sending church in Antioch of Syria and just prior to the Jerusalem Council (Acts 15). The main issue in Galatians is the same one debated and resolved at Jerusalem (C. A.D. 49; cf. Acts 15). The main issue involves a twofold question: Is faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour the only prerequisite for salvation? (2) Or is obedience to certain Old Testament Jewish practices and laws required in order to gain salvation in Christ? It appears that Paul wrote Galatians before the law controversy was formally debated at Jerusalem and the official church position was pronounced. This would mean that Galatians was the first letter that Paul wrote. PURPOSE AND PLAN Paul learned that certain Jewish teachers were unsettling his new converts in Galatia by imposing on them circumcision and the yoke of the Mosaic law as necessary requirements for salvation and inclusion in the church. On learning this, Paul wrote (1) to deny emphatically that legal requirements such as circumcision under the old covenant have anything to do with the operation of Gods grace in Christ for salvation under the new covenant; and (2) to reaffirm clearly that we receive the Holy Spirit and spiritual life through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and not through attachment to Old Testament law. Since in Galatia Pauls authority had been denied and his Gospel repudiated, he undertakes to meet this situation in the Epistle and he proceeds. 1. To base salvation on the two fold work of Christ (1:1-5) 2. To assert the authenticity and divine origin of his Gospel (1:6-24) 3. To prove his official recognition by the Apostles and leaders at Jerusalem (2:1-19) 4. To show his consistency, even in dealing with Peter (2:11-21) 5. To defend the doctrine of Justification by faith (chs.3,4) 6. To establish the Galatians in the life of liberty (5:1-15) 7. To teach his readers the methods of victory and spiritual growth (5:16-26) 8. To exhort them to forbearance and brotherly sympathy (6:1-5) 9. To urge them to give liberally (6:6-10) and 10. To warn them against the Judaizers (6:11-18) -63-

QUESTIONS FROM GALATIANS. 1 The theme of the letter is .. 2 (2) The main issue regarding faith in Jesus for salvation involves a two fold question. What are they? a.. b.. 3 Paul authority to preach the Gospel was by whom? a. 1: 11-24.. b. 2: 1-10. c. 2: 11-21 4 Why is no one justified by the Law 3:11 ?.. 5 What really counts 5: 6?

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EPHESIANS SUMMARY
Theme: Christ and His Church.

The necessity for the writing of Philemon and of sending a letter back to Asia afforded an opportunity to send others also. Ephesians, as a general encyclical to be distributed through the churches at Ephesus and Colossi, a direct communication to the church at Colossi, were composed at this time, probably in A.D. 60 or 61. The messenger was Tychicus, whom Onesimus accompanied (Eph. 6:21, Col. 4:7-9). Among Pauls Epistles there is none more sublime and profound, none greater than Ephesians. BACKGROUND At the end of his second missionary journey, Paul visited Ephesus where he left Priscilla and Aquila (Acts 18: 18-21). This strategic city was the commercial center of Asia Minor. Ephesus was a religious centre as well, especially famous for its magnificent temple of Diana (Roman name) or Artemis (Greek name), one of the seven wonders of the ancient world (cf. Acts 19:35). The practice of magic and the local economy were closely related to this temple. When Paul came to Ephesus on his third missionary journey, he remained there for close to three years (Acts 19; 20:31) and the Word of God spread throughout the province of Asia. Pauls effective ministry began to seriously hurt the traffic in magic and images, leading to an uproar in the huge Ephesian theatre. Paul left for Macedonia after this but met with the Ephesian elders on his way to Jerusalem (Acts 20: 17-38). Paul wrote the Prison Epistles (Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians and Philemon) during his first Roman imprisonment in A.D. 60-62. These Epistles all refer to his imprisonment (Eph. 3:1, 4:1; 6:20; Phil. 1:7, 13, 14; Col. 4:3,10,18; Philem. 9, 10, 13, 23), and fit well against the background in Acts 28: 16-31). OCCASION Indirectly, Paul considered himself the spiritual father of all the Churches in the province of Asia (Acts 19:10, Col. 2:1), and they looked to him for doctrinal and practical instruction. This is seen from the fact that when a Judaic Gnostic heresy sprang up at Colossae, Epaphras came from that city to Rome to obtain Pauls advice and help in dealing with the problem. Paul responded in writing the Epistle to the Colossians and arranging for its safe transmission. But Paul had had much opportunity for reflection in prison and he had increasingly the need for a fuller statement of Gods program for the universe. He now also realised the danger to the other churches in the province of Asia from the heresy that had gained such a foothold at Colossae. Inasmuch as Tychicus and Onesimus had already been deputed to bear the Epistle to the Colossians and the Epistle of Philemon to Asia, and inasmuch as the various churches of that area had much the same need, he decided to write an encyclical letter and send it along with Tychicus (Eph. 6:21,22). Thus he came to write the Epistle to the Ephesians. -65-

CONTENT All who have trusted in Christ possess the priceless bounty of every spiritual blessing in the heavenly world (1:3). Unfortunately most believers live as though they are spiritual paupers because they are either unaware or fail to appropriate the divine resources that are at their disposal. Paul wrote this Epistle to make Christians more aware of their position in Christ and to motivate them to draw upon their spiritual position in their earthly practice: Live a life that measures up to the standard God set when he called you (4:1; see 2:10). The first half of Ephesians outlines the believers heavenly possession: adoption, redemption, inheritance, power, life, grace, citizenship and the love of Christ. There are no imperatives in chapters 1-3 because these are all divine gifts. But chapters 4-6 have 35 imperatives because the last half of Ephesians speaks of the believers responsibility to conduct himself according to his calling. Thus Ephesians begins in heaven but ends in the home, and all the relationships of daily life. The two divisions are: Calling of the Body Conduct of the Body EVALUATION Ephesians abounds with sublime thought and rich vocabulary, especially in Chapters 1-3, where theology and worship are intertwined. Many regard it as the most profound book in the New Testament. The distinctive language and style of Ephesians reflects the richness and depth of its message. Someone has observed that the letter contains forty-two words not found in any other New Testament book, and forty-three not used by Paul in his other writings. Special reference is made to Pauls friend and messenger, Tychicus, who bears the letter, and who will supplement it with personal information about the writer and his life in the prison at Rome (6: 21-24). Thus, it appears that Tychicus visited each of the churches in the province of Asia, in person, and gave both the written and oral messages to the assembled body of Christians. Chapters 1 3 Chapters 4 6

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QUESTIONS EPHESIANS 1 The book divides into 2 sections. What are they? a) b)

From where was this letter written? .

Did Paul consider himself the spiritual father of all the churches in Asia? .

All who trust in Christ have 1:3 ?

The Christian is called to do what 4:1 .. .?.

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PHILIPPIANS
Theme: Joy in Living for Christ

OCCASION AND DATE: In Pauls day letters were written to people at a distance when opportunity presented itself to forward them to their destination. Epaphroditus was about to return to Philippi (2:28). He had brought Paul a gift and possibly also a letter from the Philippian Church (4:10-14;17-18). Since Epaphroditus was about to go back to Philippi, Paul embraced the opportunity to send with him, this warm expression of gratitude and fervent admonition to steadfastness and humility. The date of Philippians is uncertain but it seems most reasonable to believe that it was written towards the close of Pauls two years in Rome. Philippians, then, is the last of the four so-called Prison Epistles. If the first three of these Epistles were written in A.D.60, Philippians must have been written towards the close of the year A.D. 61. There seems to have been no particular schism or heresy within the Philippian church itself that called for disciplinary action. The references to the Judaizers in 3:2 picture them as a potential rather than as a present danger. PURPOSE AND PLAN As has already been said, Paul wrote this Epistle primarily to express his gratitude for the gift that the Philippians had sent him and to admonish them to steadfastness and humility. But there are other purposes discernible. We gather the following from the contents of the Epistle he wrote to: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. Express his appreciation of their fellowship, confidence in, their progress, and ambition for them (1: 3-11) Report on his circumstances, hopes and fears (1: 12-26) Exhort them to unity, humility and consistency (1:27 2:18) Inform them of his purpose to send Timothy and Epaphroditus to them (2:19-30) Warn them against Judaizers (3:1-14), and against antinomianism (3:15 4:1) Appeal for the reconciliation of Euodia and Suntyche (4: 2,3) Admonish them to joyfulness, prayerfulness, and the pursuit of all that is good (4: 4-9) Express his gratitude for their recent gift (4: 10-20) Send greetings (4: 21-23)

QUESTIONS PHILIPPIANS 1 2 3 4 Paul wrote from 1:13 . in Acts 28: 16-31 Paul wrote of his . Even in difficulties 1:4 His in Christs service 2:3. The value of ..Christ 3:8

COLOSSIANS SUMMARY
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Theme:

The Supremacy of Christ.

OCCASION AND DATE During the more than two years of Pauls absence from the province of Asia, an insidious error had crept into the Colossian Church. The new teaching introduced had three elements in it: 1. A distinctly Jewish element, as is seen in Pauls reference to circumcision, the ordinances that are against us, meats and drinks, feast days, new moons, and Sabbaths (2:11-16) 2. An ascetic element, as seen in his reference to ordinances, handle not, nor taste, not touch (2:20-23) and, 3. A speculative element, as is seen in the warning against philosophy and vain deceit (2:8) Apparently Epaphras and his fellow-workers were unable to cope with this situation, and so Epaphras went to Rome to consult Paul about it (1:7,8). Epaphras had brought distressing news from Colossae, and Paul had long wanted to send Onesimus back to his master, Philemon. There two facts induced Paul to write Colossians and Philemon, perhaps in this order, and to send them by Tychicus and Onesimus. And in connection with their going to Asia he improved the opportunity to write and send by Tychicus an Epistle of a more general character, the Epistle to the Ephesians. Later on he wrote the Epistle to the Philippians. We may, therefore, date the Epistle to the Colossians as about the middle of Pauls two-year imprisonment at Rome, say about A.D. 60. THEME AND PURPOSE The resounding theme in Colossians is the pre-eminence and sufficiency of Christ in all things. The believer is complete in Him alone and lacks nothing for the full content of divine nature lives in Christ (2:9); He is the key that opens all the hidden treasures of Gods wisdom and knowledge (2:3). There is no need for speculation, mystical visions or ritualistic regulations as though faith in Christ were insufficient. Pauls predominant purpose, then, was to refute a threatening heresy that was devaluating Christ by a positive presentation of His true attributes and accomplishments. A proper view of Christ is the antidote for heresy. Paul also wrote this Epistle to encourage the Colossians to continue faithful on a firm and sure foundation (1:23) so that they will grow and bear fruit in the knowledge of Christ (1:10). A firm adherence to the true Gospel will give them stability and resistance to opposing influences. Colossians is perhaps the most Christo-centric book in the Bible. In it Paul stresses the pre-eminence of the person of Christ and the completeness of the salvation He provides in order to combat a growing heresy that was threatening the church at Colossae. The heresy devaluated Christ by elevating speculation, ritualism, mysticism, and ascetism. But Christ, the Lord of creation and Head of the body, is completely sufficient for every spiritual and practical need of the believer. The last half of this Epistle explores the application of these principles to daily life, because doctrinal truth (Chapters 1-2) must bear fruit in practical conduct (Chapters 3-4). The two major topics are: supremacy of Christ (1-2) and submission to Christ (3-4). QUESTIONS COLOSSIANS 1 Why is this letter called a -69prison letter

? 2 Why is the Christian free from accusation? 1: 22-12. .. 3 4 Christ is the head of what? 1: 18 The believer is what in Christ? 2: 9 . 5 What does CHRISTO-CENTRIC mean.. .?. 6 The letter is divided into four (4) sections - give them. 1. 2. 3. 4.

Ships of the period

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1 THESSALONIANS SUMMARY
Theme: The return of Christ

THE THESSALONIAN LETTERS The two Epistles to the Thessalonians form the first group of Pauls extant letters. They are among the earliest writings of the New Testament. These two Epistles were not merely written to the same Church, the second soon after the first, but they also deal with much the same subject matter. In both, the doctrine of the second advent is prominent, and so they have been called the eschatological Epistles of Paul. Practically all the other teachings and exhortations are in some way related to this central theme. The First Epistle to the Thessalonians is important because it is so early, because it has so much to say about the Second Coming of Christ, and because it gives us such a clear picture of Pauls ministry and of the surroundings of an early Christian Church. OCCASION AND DATE After Pauls forced separation from the Thessalonians, he grew increasingly concerned about the progress of their faith. Before he had reached Corinth in Greece, Paul had sent his two chief co-labourers, Timothy and Silas, back to visit the newly founded church at Thessalonica, to urge them to remain in the faith, and to report back to him (I Thess. 3:1,2,5; 2:17). Timothy brought back both goods news and worrying news. The affection of the Thessalonians for Paul was as strong as ever and they were standing fast in the faith (4: 9-10). The worrying news consisted of the following: 1. The preaching of the Second Coming has produced an unhealthy situation in which people had stopped working and had abandoned all their ordinary pursuits to await the Second Coming with a kind of hysterical expectancy. So Paul tells them to be quiet and to get on with their ordinary work (4:11) 2. They were worried about what was to happen to those who died before the Second Coming arrived. Paul explains that those who fall asleep in Jesus will miss none of the glory (4: 13-18) 3. There was a tendency to despise all lawful authority (5:12-14) 4. There was the ever-present danger that they would relapse into immorality. It was Hard to unlearn the point of view of generations and to escape the contagion of the Heathen world (4:3-8) 5. There was at least a section who slandered Paul. They hinted that he preached the Gospel for what he could get out of it (2:5,9) and that he was something of a dictator (2: 6,7,11) 6. There was a certain amount of division in the church (4:9;5:13) These were the problems with which Paul had to deal, and they show that human nature has not changed so very much in Churches.

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QUESTIONS l THESSALONIANS 1 2:1 His visit had not been a failure, why? See Acts 17: 1-10. 2 This church was noted for? 1: 3-4 a) . b) . c) . d) . e) . 3 4:13 18 speaks of the Rapture list events in verses 16 and 17. a) . b) . c) . d) . e) . f) . g) . h) . i) .

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II THESSALONIANS
Theme: The return of Christ

THEME AND PURPOSE This Epistle is the theological sequel to l Thessalonians that developed the theme of the coming day of the Lord (I Thess. 5:1-11). But not long after the Thessalonians received that letter, they became influenced by false teaching or outright deception, thinking the day of the Lord had already begun. The theme of this Epistle is Pauls comfort and correction of the Thessalonians in view of their problems and religious persecution, doctrinal misunderstanding, and practical abuse. Pauls three major purposes correspond to the three chapters: 1. The apostle wanted to applaud their continuing growth in faith and love and encourage them to endure their persecution in the knowledge that God will vindicate His name and glorify all who have trusted in Christ. 2. The second chapter was written to correct the fallacious teaching that the day of the Lord was already upon them. This teaching, coupled with the afflictions they were suffering, was causing great disturbances among the Thessalonian believers who were wondering when their being gathered together to be with Him (2:1; 1 Thess. 4:13-18) would take place. Paul made it clear that the day of the Lord had not overtaken them (1 Thess. 5:4). 3. The doctrinal error of Chapter 2 was causing a practical error that Paul sought to Overcome in Chapter 3. Some of the believers abandoned their work and began to live off others, apparently assuming that the end was at hand. Paul commanded them to follow his example by supporting themselves and instructed the rest of the church to discipline them if they failed to do so. EVALUATION First and Second Thessalonians are among the first of Pauls writings. They testify to the fact that the message that Paul preached had already been a settled body of faith for some time. Pauls reference to his preaching among them (II Thess. 2:15) the same thing he alluded to when he wrote in his letter shows that he had a welldefined system of belie Practically every major doctrine in the catalogue of faith is represented in these two small Epistles. Although they were not written as doctrinal treatises, nor primarily to present the authors general theological views, they contain a well-rounded body of theological teaching.

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QUESTIONS II THESSALONIANS

Why was Paul giving thanks for them? 1: 3-4 a) .. b) . c) . d) .

2:1 speaks of two (2) events similar to I Thess. 4: 16 & 17 What are they? a) . b) ..

Paul speaks of the man of Lawlessness (KJV Sin). What will he do? 2: 3-4 a) .. b) ..

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TIMOTHY and TITUS


THE INSTITUTIONAL CHURCH THE PASTORAL EPISTLES No single consecutive history is available which gives in written form the fortunes of the church from the close of the book of Acts to the end of the first century. Only the individual books of the canon, with such additional hints as may be gleaned from the writings of the early church fathers, can supply any knowledge of events in this period. A definite change took place after the imprisonment of Paul. The man himself was different, for although he was unready to quite the ardent pursuit of his calling as Philippians showed (Phil. 3:12), time was against him. In Philemon he described himself as Paul, the aged (9), and in Philippians he indicated that death might not be far distant (1:20-21). He was relying increasingly upon the aid of his younger associates, who were still free and better able than he to carry out the work of preaching. The Pastoral Epistles, I Timothy, Titus, and II Timothy, belong to this stage in his career. The biographical date that they supply seemingly indicates that Paul must have been acquitted on his first hearing before the Emperor and that he enjoyed thereafter a short period of free ministry. His original plan had been to deposit the offering of the Gentile churches at Jerusalem, and then hasten westward in order to strengthen the church in Rome, from which he would proceed to Spain. Four years at least had elapsed since he had been master of his own plans, but finally he was released. The allusions to his movements in the Pastorals beat no relation to the account in Acts. The inevitable deduction is that the three Epistles must have been written later, when Paul was travelling again. Within the range of the Pastoral Epistles there was probably some lapse of time. I Timothy gives us a picture of Paul as travelling and active, counselling his understudy concerning his pastoral duties. Titus is quite similar in its outlook. II Timothy, however, is a personal note containing the apostles last will and testament, for Paul evidently was confident that he would not survive the winter (II Tim. 4:21). His first hearing at which nobody defended him, had ended favourably (4:17), but accusers had become more vicious (4:14), and his condemnation and execution would only be a matter of time. The Pastorals belong together. They are, therefore, a fair basis for judging the state of the Church in the seventh decade of the Christian era. Pauls last three recorded letters, written near the end of his full and fruitful life, were addressed to his authorized representatives Timothy and Titus. These were the only letters Paul wrote exclusively to individuals (Philemon was addressed primarily to its namesake, but also to others), and they were designed to exhort and encourage Timothy and Titus in their ministry of solidifying the churches in Ephesus and Crete. They are called Pastoral Epistles because I Timothy and Titus focus on the oversight of church life. It is less appropriate for II Timothy because it is more of a personal than church oriented letter. The Pastoral Epistles abound with principles for leadership and righteous living. -75-

1TIMOTHY
Theme: Sound Doctrine and Godliness

PURPOSE The theme of this Epistle is Timothys organization and oversight of the Asian churches as a faithful minister of God. Paul sought to guide his younger and less experienced assistant in his heavy responsibility as the overseer of the work at Ephesus and other Asian cities. He wrote this leadership manual to challenge Timothy to fulfil his task of combating false teaching - with sound doctrine, developing qualified leadership, teaching Gods Word, and encouraging Christian conduct. Timothys personal and public life must be beyond reproach. Paul seems to have had four main purposes in writing to Timothy: 1. To encourage him to oppose the false teachers (1:3-7, 18-20; 6:3-5,20,21) 2. To furnish him with these written credentials of his authorisation by Paul (1:3,4) 3. To instruct him as the manner in which men ought to conduct themselves in the Church (3:14,15) 4. And to exhort him to be diligent in the performance of all, his ministerial duties (4:6-6:2) EVALUATION This is a personal letter, but it is rich in principles that are relevant to every Christian worker and Christian church. Because it was written to Timothy, this Epistle assumes rather than develops doctrine. First Timothy, along with Titus, provides the most explicit directions for church leadership and organization in the Bible. QUESTIONS 1 TIMOTHY 1 2 3 4 5 Timothy and Titus are called 2: 1 - 8 speaks of 3: 1 - 7 Qualifications for.. 3: 8 - 12 Qualification for 3: 13 - 4: 5 Qualifications for

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II TIMOTHY
Theme: Steadfast endurance

PURPOSE AND PLAN Paul knew as he wrote this final Epistle that his days on earth were quickly drawing to a close. About to relinquish his heavy burdens this godly apostle sought to challenge and strengthen his somewhat timid but faithful associate Timothy in his difficult ministry in Ephesus. In spite of Pauls bleak circumstances this is a letter of encouragement that urges Timothy on to steadfastness in the fulfilment of his divinely - appointed task. Paul calls Timothy a loyal soldier of Jesus Christ (2:3) and it is clear from the sharp imperatives that this letter is really a combat manual for use in spiritual warfare. Paul undertook to relate his own experiences and expectations and to encourage and instruct Timothy. After the salutation (1:1-3) he: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. Appeals for brave adherence to the Gospel (1:3-18) and for steadfastness and endurance in the work (2:1-13) Gives instructions concerning Timothys personal and ministerial conduct (2:14-26) Warns concerning the grievous times that are coming (3:1-9) Urges Timothy to follow his example (3:10-13) Encourages him on the ground of his early training (3:14-17) Appeals for faithful preaching of the Word in the light of the coming apostasy and his approaching martyrdom (4:1-8) Expresses his longing for fellowship (4:9-18) and sends greetings (4:19-22).

II Timothy is, in effect, Pauls last will and testament, and in it Paul reviews the past, analyses the present, and anticipates his future deliverance to Gods heavenly kingdom. QUESTIONS II TIMOTHY 1 What relationship did Paul and Timothy enjoy? 1:2 .. 2 3 Encourages Timothy to 1:6 Paul had taught Timothy - what was Timothys responsibility 1:14? . 4 5 Paul taught Timothy, Timothy was to? 2:2 Paul instructs Timothy to 3: 14.

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TITUS
Theme: Sound doctrine and good works Titus had a more difficult task than Timothy. The latter was left in Ephesus where the work was already well organized. He was merely to organize it in the other cities of Asia. But Titus was to do the primary organizing of the work, and there seem to have been believers in every city of the island (Tit. 1:5). He, therefore, needed careful instructions to guide him in the work assigned to him and encouragement to meet the opposition of false teachers. When, then, Zenas and Apollos planned a journey that would take them through Crete, Paul sent his faithful representative this short letter of instruction and encouragement by them (3:13). We do not know from what place Paul wrote this Epistle. Inasmuch as the thought and style of this Epistle is more like I Timothy than II Timothy, we hold that it was written soon after II Timothy. We may, therefore date if A.D. 65. THEME AND PURPOSE This brief letter focuses on Titus role and responsibility in the organization and supervision of the churches in Crete. It was written to strengthen and exhort Titus to firmly exercise his authority as an apostolic representative in a situation where churches needed to be put in order, false teachers and dissenters needed to be refuted and immoral behaviour needed to be replaced by good deeds. Paul used this letter to remind Titus of some of the details related to his task, including the qualifications for elders and the behaviour expected of various groups in the churches. Paul included three doctrinal sections in this letter to stress that proper belief gives the basis for proper behaviour. Because of the opposition Titus would face (1:11-13; 2:15; 3:9-11), this letter was also written to provide official apostolic warrant for Titus authority. Paul also used this letter to give Titus certain personal instructions (3:12,13). Pauls purpose here is much the same as I Timothy. After a somewhat extended salutation (1:1-4) he: 1. Urges Titus to complete the organization of the work in Crete (1:5) 2. Instructs him as to the qualifications required of elders (1:6-9) 3. Insists that a strong stand be taken against the false teachers (1:10-16) 4. Informs Titus how to deal with the various classes in domestic relations (2:1-10) 5. Explains how such a life is made possible (2:11-15) 6. Encourages the teaching of good citizenship (3:1,2) 7. Indicates why believers should live like that (3:3-8) 8. Warns Titus against false teachings and teachers (3:9-11) 9. Speaks his plans for the future (3:12-14) 10. Sends greetings (3:15) QUESTIONS TITUS 1 2 3 4 What relationship did Paul and Titus enjoy? 1:4 ......................................... How was Titus to teach? 2:1.................................................. 1:10-16 gives instruction concerning? Titus had a tough job as Cretans were? 1:12..................................................

PHILEMON
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Theme:

Reconciliation

BACKGROUND AND DESTINATION Philemon is one of the four Prison Epistles (see Ephesians, Philippians, and especially Colossians, Date and Setting for Background). It was written in A.D. 6061 and despatched at the same time as Colossians during Pauls first Roman imprisonment (see verses 1,9,10,13,23) Philemon 22 reflects Pauls confident hope of release: get a room ready for me, because I hope that God will answer the prayers of all of you and give me back to you. Philemon was a resident of Colossae (Col. 4:9-17; Phil. 1,2) and a convert of Paul (19). His house was large enough to serve as a meeting place for a church (2). He was benevolent to other believers (5-7). Philemon may have had other slaves in addition to Onesimus, and he was not alone as a slave owner among the Colossian believers (col. 4:1). Thus this letter and his response would provide guidelines for other master-slave relationships. According to Roman law, runaway slaves like Onesimus could be severely punished or condemned to a violent death. It is doubtful that Onesimus would have returned to Philemon even with this letter if he were not a Christian. Philemon was not written to impart doctrine but to apply it in such a way that the life-changing effects of Christianity would have an impact on social conditions. The power of the Gospel overcomes sociological barriers (Gal.3:28: Col.3: 11), and Paul is a vivid illustration of this truth: this once self-righteous Pharisee now refers to a Gentile slave as my own Son in Christ (10-17). Paul had laid aside his rights (8) and become Onisemus substitute by assuming his debt (18,19). By Philemons gracious act, Onesimus is restored and placed in a new relationship (15,16). In this analogy, we are Onesimus, and Pauls advocacy before Philemon is parallel to Christs work of mediation before the Father. Onesimus was condemned by law but saved by grace. QUESTIONS PHILEMON 1 The letter is addressed to 1: 1 - 2 a b c d 2 Onesimus once a runaway 1: 16, Is now a 1: 10..

HEBREWS
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Theme:

A better Covenant

OUTLINE OF HEBREWS The entire theme of the Epistle is built around the word better, which is used in a series of comparisons to show how Gods revelation in Christ is superior to the revelation that came through the law, especially as the law was applied through the Levitical priesthood. The Better Messenger: the Son Qualifications Superiority of Angels Parenthesis: The peril of neglect The Incarnation The Better Apostle Superiority to Moses Parenthesis: The peril of unbelief Superiority of His Rest Parenthesis: The peril of disobedience The Better Priest Comparison with Aaron The Order of Melchizedek Appointed Author of salvation Parenthesis: The peril of immaturity Forerunner A living priest Constituted by oath Relation to Sacrifice The Better Covenant The Establishment of the Covenant The Content of the Old Covenant Christ and the New Covenant The Better Sacrifice Impotence of the Law The offering of Christ Parenthesis: The peril of rejection The Better Way: Faith The Need of Faith Examples of Faith The Exercise of Faith The Objective of Faith Parenthesis: The peril of refusal Conclusion: The Practice of Faith In Social relations In Spiritual relations Personal salutations QUESTIONS HEBREWS 1 Chapter one speaks of the superiority of The Son give 10 examples. -801:1 2:18 1:1-3 1:4-14 2:1-4 2:5-18 3:1 4:13 3:1-6 3:7-19 4:1-10 4:11-13 4:14 7:28 4:15 5:4 5:5 7:25 5:5-6 5:7-10 5:11 6:12 6:13-20 7:1-17 7:18-25 7:26-28 3:1- 9:28 8:1-13 9:1-10 9:11-28 10:1-31 10:1-4 10:5-18 10:19-31 10:32 12:29 10:32-39 11:1-40 12:1-17 12:18-24 12:25-29 13:1-25 13:1-6 13:7-17 13:18-25

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10.. 2 If angelic messages are binding 2: 2, what about The Lords Words 2: 3 3 What is the relationship of the Old and New Covenants 8: 6 . 4 The faith chapter is

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THE EPISTLE OF JAMES


Theme: Faith that Works

The general opinion among scholars is that, this letter was written by James, the brother of Jesus, the early head of the Jerusalem Church. The Epistle harmonizes with what we know of this James from Josephus (Ant.xx.ix), from the book of Acts (15:13-21: 21: 17-25), and from Galatians (1:19; 2:9-10). There are several clear parallels between the language of the letter drafted under his leadership in Acts 15:23-29 and the Epistle of James (eg.,the unusual word chairein, greetings is found only in Acts 15:23; 23:26 and James 1:1. PURPOSE AND PLAN The author undertakes to meet the needs of his fellow Jewish Christians in the Dispersion. After a brief salutation (1:1): 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. He admonishes his readers to take a right attitude towards trials and temptations (1:2-18) He exhorts them to receive the Word properly (1:19-27) He forbids them to show partiality to others (2:1-13) He demonstrates to them the insufficiency of faith without works (2:14-26) He warns them against the sins of the tongue (3:1-12) He sets forth the nature of true and false wisdom (3:13-18) He rebukes them for quarrelsomeness, worldliness and pride (4:1-10) He instructs them to be considerate towards their brethren (4:11,12) He upbraids them for their attitude and conduct in their business life (4:13 5:6) He exhorts them to patient endurance of the ills of life (5:7-12) He tells them what to do in times of affliction (5:13-18) He points out the importance of restoring an erring brother (5:19,20)

James wants each of his readers to become a perfect man (3:2) QUESTIONS THE EPISTLE OF JAMES 1 2 3 4 5 6 . The book is addressed to 1:1 ......................................................................... James combines faith with 2:14-18 ................................................................ Abraham combines 2:22 .............................................................................. The uncontrolled tongue 1: 26 is ..................................................................... What is the Royal Law 2: 8 ........................................................................... Where will you find every evil practice 3: 16 ................................................ .......................................................................................................................... -82-

1 PETER
Theme: Suffering for Christ

The date of the letter is usually placed between the date of Pauls letter to the Ephesians (about A.D.62), from which it apparently indirectly quotes, and the death of Peter, which usually is set about 67 A.D. It is likely that it was written about 64 A.D, or perhaps a little later. THEME AND PURPOSE The basic theme of I Peter is the proper response to Christian suffering. Knowing that his readers would be facing more persecution than ever before, Peter wrote this letter to give them a divine perspective on these trials so that they would be able to endure them without wavering in their faith. They should not be surprised in their ordeal because the One they follow also suffered and died (2:21; 3:18; 4:1, 12-14). Rather, they should count it a privilege to share the sufferings of Christ. Peter therefore exhorts them to be sure that their hardships are not being caused by their own wrongdoing, but for their Christian testimony. They are not the only believers who are suffering (5:9), and they must recognize that God brings these things in the lives of His children not as a punishment but as a stimulus to growth in Christ likeness. Peter wanted to overcome an attitude of bitterness and anxiety and replace it with dependence on and confidence in God. EVALUATION One notable feature of the structure of the Epistle is in the use of imperatives. Beginning with 1:13, which follows the opening paragraph of thanksgiving, there is a continuous chain of commands that runs all the way to the end of the book. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. Keep alert Set your hope on the blessing Be holy Spend the rest of your lives in reverence Love one another Be always thirsty for the pure spiritual milk Submit yourselves to every human authority Respect everyone Love your fellow believers Have reference for God Respect the Emperor Servants must submit Wives must submit You husbands must live with your wives You must all have the same attitude Do not be afraid Do not worry Have reverence for Christ Strengthen yourselves Be self controlled 1:13 1:13 1:15 1:17 1:22 2:2 2:13 2:17 2:17 2:17 2:17 2:18 3:1 3:7 3:8 3:14 3:14 3:15 4:1 4:7

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21. 22. 23. 24. 25. 26. 27. 28. 29

Be alert Do not be surprised Be glad It must not be Dont be ashamed Thank God Trust completely Be shepherds of the flock Submit yourselves to older men

4:7 4.12 4.13 4:15 4:16 4:16 4:19 5:2 5:5

QUESTIONS 1 PETER 1 To whom was the letter written? 1:1-2 2 3 What is commendable? 2: 19 When Christ suffered, the 2: 23 4 5 6 If you suffer for doing right 3:14. If you suffer as a Christian 4:16 One of Pauls travelling companions is helping Peter 5:12 ..

A COMPARISON OF 1 AND 2 PETER 1 Peter


Emphasis: Hope in the midst of suffering Christology: The sufferings of Christ for our salvation and example at His incarnation The day of salvation when Christ suffered, died, and rose from the dead. Redemptive title: Christ Be encouraged in your present trials We need hope to face our trials Numerous similarities to Paul (especially Ephesians and Colossians)

2 Peter
Emphasis: The danger of false teaching and practices Christology: The glory of Christ and the consummation of history at His return. The day of the Lord when Christ returns in judgment. Title of dominion: Lord Be warned of eschatological judgment We need full knowledge to face error Almost identical similarities to Jude (compare 2 Peter with Jude 418)

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II PETER
Theme: Faithful Truth versus False Teachers

I Peter deals with problems from the outside; II Peter deals with problems from the inside. In I Peter the emphasis falls on suffering, in II Peter, on false teachers and false teachings. Consequently, the former Epistle is one of consolation, the latter, of warning. Peters antidote to false teaching is true spiritual knowledge. Peter writes to warn the believers about the false teachers who are peddling damaging doctrine. He begins by urging them to keep close watch on their personal lives. The Christian life demands diligence in pursuing moral excellence, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness and selfless love. By contrast the false teachers are sensual, arrogant, greedy and covetous. They scoff at the thought of future judgment and live their lives as if the present would be the pattern for the future. Peter reminds them that although God may be long-suffering in sending judgment, ultimately it will come. In view of that fact, believers should live lives of godliness, blameless and steadfastness. DATE AND SETTING Most scholars regard 3:1 (that is now the second letter I have written you) as a reference to I Peter. If this is so, Peter had the same readers of Asia Minor in mind, although the more general salutation in 1:1 would also allow for a wider audience. Peter wrote this Epistle in response to the spread of heretical teachings which were all the more insidious because they emerged within the churches. This Epistle was written just before the apostles death (1:14), probably from Rome. Peters martyrdom came about A.D. 67 or 68, and so the date of this letter should be placed at about 67 A.D. EVALUATION While I Peter dealt with submission to God as the proper response to suffering from without, II Peter concentrates on knowledge of the truth, as the proper response to error from within. The words suffering in I Peter and knowledge in II Peter appears sixteen times in various forms. The knowledge of II Peter involves not only intellectual comprehension but experiential realization as well. It is based on the application of spiritual truth to growth in the life of the believer. QUESTIONS II PETER 1 To whom is the letter addressed 1: 1 had its will origin introduce in 1: 2:

2 True prophecy 21 3 False prophets 1.. 4 5

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1 JOHN
Theme: Truth and Righteousness OCCASION AND PURPOSE The occasion and purpose of I John are essentially the same as they were when John wrote his Gospel: "But these have been written in order that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through your faith in Him you may have life (Jn.20:31). However, in I John the emphasis is shifted from becoming a Christian, to continuing in the faith, as if I John was a sequel to the Gospel. The letter being addressed primarily to those who had already become Christians was intended to give assurance of their possession of life giving faith in Jesus Christ, and to give them further instruction in the truths of that faith. I am writing this to you so that you may know that you have eternal life, you that believe in the Son of God (1 Jn. 5:13). The immediate occasion for the writing of I John was to combat certain false teaching that had made its appearance, undermining the faith of Christian converts, and insidiously subverting the meaning of the Gospel. Opposition to the Gospel of Christ, at Jerusalem and at Antioch and elsewhere in the first generation of the Apostolic age, had come mainly from unbelieving Jews. Soon, however, as the church spread westward to Ephesus and the great centers of European Macedonia and Greece, Christianity found itself in conflict with other ideas, especially with the philosophy and the religious ideas of pagan Greece. The new Church had now been in the world some sixty years, and had grown rapidly in numbers, power and influence in many parts of the Roman Empire. Thus, it is not surprising that it should be challenged by the older ideas of religion and ways of life. The particular error that I John was intended to combat seems to have been an early form of Gnosticism, a heresy that was the most dangerous enemy of the church up to the close of the second century. Gnosticism was a philosophy of religion rather than a single system. It was built on the premise that spirit is good and that matter is evil, and that the two can have no enduring relation with each other. Salvation consists of escape from the realm of matter into the realm of the spirit. The means of this escape are numerous. Chief among them is knowledge, by which man can rise above the earth-bound chains of matter into the heavenly apprehension of truth. This knowledge, or gnosis, to use the Greek term, that gave the philosophy its name could be attained only by those who were initiated into the inner secrets of the group. The conflict of this type of Philosophy and Christianity was most acute at the point of the person of Christ. How, asked the Gnostics, could the infinite, pure spirit called God, have anything to do with a material body? A complete union would, on their premises, be unthinkable. They proposed two solutions: either Christ was not really human, but only apparently so, or else the Christ-spirit did not actually inhabit the human Jesus until the baptism, and left Him before His death on the cross. John insists that the Christ whom be preached was audible, visible, and tangible (1 Jn. 1:1). He says that whosoever denies the Father and the Son is Antichrist (2:2), and he declares that anyone who denies that Jesus Christ came in the flesh is not of God (4:2,3). -86-

II JOHN
Theme: Walking in Truth

Johns first Epistle was written to a group of believers in danger of following false teachers. His second letter is addressed to a chosen lady and her children who are undergoing similar temptations. John wastes no words in making his point. So then, if someone comes to you who does not bring this teaching, do not welcome him into your homes, do not even say, Peace be to you,(v.10). Though John commends love as a necessary ingredient of the Christian life, it must not sentimentally, embrace those who rightfully seek for one another. Johns warning is stern, but he knows a letter is not the best place to elaborate. He promises to deal more fully with the problem when he makes a personal visit. The basic theme of this brief letter is steadfastness in the practice and purity of the apostolic doctrine (v.6). John wrote it as a reminder to continue walking in obedience to Gods commandment to love one another (practical exhortation Vs.46). He also wrote it as a warning not to associate with or assist teachers who do not acknowledge the truth about Jesus Christ (doctrinal exhortation, Vs.7-11). All three of Johns Epistles develop the theme of fellowship. The first focuses on fellowship with God, the second on fellowship with the enemies of the truth, and the third on fellowship with proclaimers of the truth.

III JOHN
Theme: Acting Faithfully

In First John, the apostle discusses fellowship with God; in Second John, he forbids fellowship with false teachers, and in Third John he encourages fellowship with Christian brothers. Following his expression of love for Gaius, John voices his joy that Gaius is persistently walking in the truth and showing hospitality to the messengers of the Gospel. But John cannot commend certain others in the assembly. Diotrephes, for example, has allowed pride to replace love in his life, even rejecting the disciplining words of John. Everything that Gaius is, Diotrephes is not! John uses this negative example as an opportunity to encourage Gaius. Godly character and loyalty to the truth are never easy, but they will bring Gods richest commendation - and Johns as well!

QUESTIONS 1 JOHN

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To who was the letter addressed? 2:1-7 a.b

2 3

Fellowship with God is by? 1:7.. Fellowship has to be maintained with our? 2:10. .

4 5 6

Fellowship with? 3:11 Love is expressed by? 3:16-18 The man who does Gods will, will? 2:17..

QUESTIONS II JOHN 1 2 3 To whom is the letter addressed? 1:1.. Warning against? 1:7 Warning against? 1:10..

QUESTIONS III JOHN 1 2 3 4 To whom is the letter addressed? 1:1 GAIUS was commended for his? 1:8 DIOTREOPHES was rebuked for his? 1:10 DEMETRIUS was commended, because? 1:2

JUDE
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Theme:

Contending for the Faith

Jude, like II Peter, deals primarily with the false teachers that had crept in among the believers (Jude vs.4-16; IIPet.2:13:3). They and their propaganda endangered the soundness of doctrine and the purity of morals in the Christian Church. Jude used the language of tender affection when addressing the Christians (v.1-3, 17-25), but even stronger language than II Peter when speaking of the false teachers and their teachings. He does not, however, so much refute them as denounce and threaten them. Both II Peter and Jude deal, with conditions to some extent already present in their day, but both are probably also to be regarded as predictions of the conditions that are to prevail in the last time. DATE AND SETTING Judes general address does not mark out any particular circle of readers, and there are no geographical restrictions. Nevertheless, Jude was probably thinking of a specific region that was being troubled by false teachers. There is no enough information in the Epistle to settle the question of whether his readers were predominantly Jewish or Gentile Christians (there was probably a mixture of both). In any case, the progress of the faith in their region was threatened by a number of apostates who rejected Christ in practice and principle. These proud libertines were especially dangerous because of their deceptive flattery (v.16) and infiltration of Christian meetings (v.12). They perverted the grace of God (4) and caused division in the church (v.19). Judes description of these heretics is similar to that found in II Peter and leads to the issue of the relationship between the Epistles. The strong similarity between II Peter 2:1 3:4 and Jude v 4-18 can hardly be coincidental, but the equally obvious differences rule out the possibility that one is a mere copy of the other. A comparison of the two books show that IIPeter anticipates the future rise of apostate teachers (II Pet. 2:1-2, 3:3) while Jude records the historical fulfilment of Peters words (Jude v4, 11, 12, 17, 18). Because of the silence of the New Testament and tradition concerning Judes later years, we cannot know where this Epistle was written. Nor is there any way to be certain of its date. Assuming the priority of II Peter (64-66 A.D.), the probable range is A.D. 66-80. THEME AND PURPOSE This Epistle is intensely concerned with the threat of heretical teachers in the church and the believers proper response to that threat. The contents reveal two major purposes: 1. 2. To condemn the practices of the ungodly libertines who were infesting the churches and corrupting believers. To counsel the readers to stand firm, grow in their faith, and contend for the truth.

QUESTIONS ON JUDE -89-

To whom was the letter addressed? 1:3, 1:1 .

Who was Jude? 1:1 This James was half brother to Jesus, as was Jude.

He writes so that they will? 1:3 .. ..

He speaks strongly against? 1:4

What is the theme and purpose of this Book? ........

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REVELATION
Theme: Conflict and Consummation

John came to Ephesus in the year 69-70. He appears to have taken charge of a number of churches in Asia. Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadephia, and Laodicea appear to have been in this circuit. No doubt Ephesus was his headquarters; but as time allowed and need arose the Apostle would visit other cities, appoint leaders in the churches, and help to set in order the things wanting. The apocalypse is, no doubt, first of all intended for the seven churches of Asia mentioned several times (1,4,10,11; chapters 2 and 3). But it was undoubtedly also intended for the neighbouring churches and beyond them for the whole church. The fact that only seven of the Asian churches are addressed seems to indicate that the Holy Spirit is thinking symbolically of the whole church. Everyone, therefore, who reads, hears, and keeps the things written in this book, has the promise of divine blessing, (1:3). OCCASION AND DATE John tells us that he wrote this book at the direct command of the Lord, apparently Christ Himself (1:10-13). This is the only instance in the New Testament in which a writer gives this as his reason for writing. No doubt behind the Lords command lay the needs of the churches in a day of fierce persecution and of the church of all time since then. Johns effective testimony for Christ led the Roman authorities to exile him to the small, desolate island of Patmos in the Aegean Sea (1:9). This island of volcanic rock was one of several places to which the Romans banished criminals and political offenders. Revelation was written at a time when Roman hostility to Christianity was erupting into overt persecution (1:9; 2:10,13). NATURAL DIVISIONS THE THINGS WHICH THOU HAST SEEN The vision of the Son of Man in the midst of the seven lampstands 1:10-20 THE THINGS WHICH ARE The messages to the seven Churches 2:1-3: 22

THE THINGS WHICH SHALL BE HEREAFTER The things which shall come to pass after the Church period ends 4:1-22: 21

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QUESTIONS ON REVELATION 1 The Apostle John wrote by direct command of? 1:10-18 2 3 The revelation is addressed to? 1:4 The Son of Man was standing? 1:12-13 4 5 He saw? 21: 1 The inhabitants of the city. 21:7,27 a b 6 John is commanded to worship 22: 8-9..not angels or any other being. 7 How long before Jesus returns? 22:20

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THE FIFTY-THREE MOST IMPORTANT CHAPTERS IN THE NEW TESTAMENT

The New Testament has 260 chapters. The following fifty-three chapters have been selected because of their historical, prophetical, theological, or practical significance.
MATTHEW 1 CORINTHIANS

1-The baptism of Jesus 4-The temptation of Jesus 5-The Sermon on the Mount 6-The Lord's Prayer 13-The parable of the sower 16-The promise of the church 17-The transfiguration of Jesus 21-The rejection of Israel by Jesus 27-The crucifixion of Jesus 28-The resurrection of Jesus
LUKE

3-The judgment seat of Christ 7-The marriage chapter 11-Teachings on the Lord's Supper 12-The gifts of the Spirit 13-The love chapter 14-The tongues chapter 15-The resurrection chapter
GALATIANS

5-The fruit of the Spirit


EPHESIANS

5-The love of Christ for His church 6-The protection of the believer
PHILIPPIANS

1-The birth of John the Baptist 2-The birth of Jesus

2-The Kenosis (emptying) of Christ


1 THESSALONIANS

JOHN

2-The first miracle of Jesus 3- Jesus and Nicodemus 11-The resurrection of Lazarus 13-The Lord's Supper 14-The Father's House sermon 15-The abiding chapter 17-The prayer of Jesus
ACTS

4-The rapture
2 TIMOTHY

3-Duties of pastors and deacons


HEBREWS

11-The faith chapter 12 The chastisement chapter


JAMES

1 -The ascension of Jesus 2-Pentecost 9-The conversion of Saul 13-The call of Saul and Barnabas 15-The Jerusalem Council 16-The Macedonian vision
ROMANS

3-The gossip chapter


1 JOHN

1 -The fellowship chapter


JUDE

1 -The apostasy chapter


REVELATION

5-The justification chapter 6-The sanctification chapter 8-The glorification chapter 11 -The dispensation chapter 12-The consecration chapter

6-Beginning of tribulation 13-The ministry of the antichrist 19-Second Coming of Christ 20-Great white throne judgment 21-New heaven and new earth

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BRIDGING THE TESTAMENTS and NEW TESTAMENT OVERVIEW FINAL EXAMINATION For your examination on Bridging the Testaments and New Testament Overview, you will need to write 3 papers, each 5 pages long, singlespaced in #14 font. In your paper establish what you believe, about the subject you choose, using Scripture references, supporting information from the text and information from at least 4 other valid Scriptural sources, giving footnotes and Bibliography. Choose the topics for your papers on three of the
Questions Gospel of Mark...............................................................................................................................44 Key verse: 1:8 ..................................................................................................................................................53 BARNABAS.........................................................................................................................................................54 QUESTIONS ON THE BOOK OF ACTS...........................................................................................................55 Key verses: 1: 16-17..........................................................................................................................................56 PURPOSE AND PLAN........................................................................................................................................61 EVALUATION.....................................................................................................................................................61 THE LAST VISIT TO CORINTH.......................................................................................................................62 THE PROJECTED MISSION..............................................................................................................................62

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