1. The New Testament – An Overview


    1. What is the “New Testament?”





    1. What is so “old” about the Old Testament and “new” about the New Testament?







    1. The New Testament is arranged ______________________, not ________________________.


                                                              i.      The Gospels





                                                            ii.      Acts





                                                          iii.      Pauline Epistles





                                                          iv.      General Epistles





                                                            v.      Revelation






II.                The World of the New Testament


a.     The political climate


                                                             i.      A great general




                                                           ii.      A grand empire





                                                        iii.      A struggle for power


The Seleucids and Ptolemies




                                  The crisis under Antiochus Epiphanes (175-63 BC)




The Maccabeans





                                                        iv.      An emerging world rule – the Romans








                                                           v.      A cruel king





                                                        vi.      A critical period of time






b.     Religion anyone?  Take your pick!


                                                             i.      Greco-Roman religions






















Pagan religions










Emperor worship





                                                           ii.      Jewish religions


Let’s study the Torah





Let’s separate





Let’s accommodate





Let’s withdraw





Let’s fight





                                                        iii.      The literature of Judaism

Halakah and haggadah



The Mishnah




The Talmud




The Midrashim




The Targums




Dead Sea Scrolls






c.      What was it like to live in the 1st Century A.D.?


                                                             i.      Avoid shame at all costs





                                                           ii.      No person is an island





                                                        iii.      Patrons and their clients





                                                        iv.      Social classes in the first century










Luke 10.25-37 –





Revelation 3.15-16 –










d.      Should we interpret the NT critically?



What do we mean by criticism?



What does it mean to approach the NT critically?





e.      Can we interpret the NT objectively?


The Christmas story retold:










III.             How Did We Get Our New Testament?


a.     A brief introduction to the “canon” of the New Testament


What is meant by canon?



     What role did the OT play in the formation of the NT canon?








b.     Where did our New Testament come from?


                                                             i.      2 Peter 3.15-16



                                                           ii.      Marcion



                                                        iii.      Athanasius (A.D. 367)




                                                        iv.      Council of Carthage (A.D. 397)






Despite the uncertainties and ambiguities, there was still a sense that the church knew where to turn to find authoritative witness to Christ.



c.      So who decides?

                                                             i.      Conformity



                                                           ii.      Universal acceptance



                                                        iii.      Apostolic authority




IV.            One Book or Many Books?


a.     What is a “genre?”



b.     The diversity of literary genres in the NT






V.               The Gospels


a.     Can we trust our Gospels?



                                                             i.      Who was Jesus?




              Reconstructing Church History:



                  Bart Ehrman – Lost Christianities














                                                           ii.      We can trust our gospels!







See Craig Blomberg, The Historical Reliability of the Gospels

(IVP, 1987)





b.     Who’s Using Who?  The “Synoptic Problem” (Source Criticism)


                                                             i.      The Gospels are independent of one another






                                                           ii.      St. Augustine believed that ___________________ was written first.





                                                        iii.      Mark wrote first







Matthew                  Luke




                                                        iv.      Reasons for seeing Mark as the first Gospel

1.     Mark



2.     Most of Mark ________________________.




3.     The differences between Mt, Mk, and Lk








c.      The Gospel of a Tax Collector


                                                             i.      Who was the author?




                                                           ii.      A key structural feature






                                                        iii.      Key features





Those dry genealogies



Gentile Ephasis



Chapter 2


     The Magi


                  OT background








      The function of this section




A sermon worth listening to (Chaps. 5-7)


     The context of the sermon




      Jesus fulfills the law (5.17)




      Grace or law?






Chapter 24-25


     Purpose of this section



      The “abomination of desolation”



      “signs of the times”



The “Great Commission” (28.18-20)






                                                        iv.      The purpose of Matthew





                                                           v.      Other important themes in Matthew









What does Matt tell us about Jesus’ fulfillment of the OT?






Kingdom of God/Heaven






So you want to be a disciple!








Excursus:  The Kingdom of God in the Bible


What is the “kingdom of God?”




The OT background to the kingdom of God

Adam in the garden of Eden (Gen. 1.26-28)




The flood




King David (2 Sam 7; Psalm 89)






The exile





                                The New Testament


Fulfillment in Christ


Matt 1-2; 12.28 -




                                  The eschatological structure of the NT – “already but not yet”




                                                           |                    |

                                                           |                      |

                                       _________† |___________|







d.     Gospel #2


                                                             i.      Who was the author?




                                                           ii.      Papias’ Testimony




                                                        iii.      What was the purpose?




                                                        iv.      The plan












                                                           v.      The “new exodus” in Mark







                                                        vi.      Key verse






                                                      vii.      What is unique about Mark?

Balance between Jesus’ deity and humanity


     1.11; 2.5




The “Secret Messiah”













Good News!






Where does Mark end (16.9-20)?










e.      The Gospel of a Physician


                                                             i.      Volume 1



                                                           ii.      What does Luke 1.1-4 tell us about this book?






                                                        iii.      Who was the author? With whom was he associated?




                                                        iv.      The plan of Luke-Acts






                                                           v.      Key passages


Luke 2



The central section:


Luke’s “Travel Section”  (see Paul Borgman, The Way According to Luke:  Hearing the Whole Story of Luke-Acts [Eerdmans], p. 9).


1a “Peace to this house                                                                                         9.51-10.24


     2a “What must I do to inherit eternal life?”                                                       10.25-42


          3a What to pray for and how                                                                           11.1-13


               4a Neither signs nor status:  Hear the Word and do it!                            11.14-43


                    5a Look inside yourself and Do the Word                                     11.33-12.12


                         6a Relinquish possessions                                                               12.13-34


                              7a Relinquish privileges:  Use for God’s purposes                   12.35-38


                                   8a Relinquish family and religious rules                          12.49-13.17


                                        9a Kingdom                                                                    13.18-19

                                            -Strive to Enter                                                           13.23-30

                                        9b Jerusalem                                                                   13.31-35


                                   8b Relinquish family and religious rules                                 14.1-35


                              7b Relinquish privileges:  Use for God’s purposes                      15.1-32


                         6b Relinquish possessions                                                                 16.1-31


                    5b Look inside yourself and Do the Word                                            17.1-19


               4b Neither signs nor status:  Hear the Word and do it!                            17.20-37


          3b What to pray for and how                                                                          18.1-14


     2b “What must I do to inherit eternal life?”                                                       18.15-34


1b “The things that make for peace”                                                                  18.35-19.44





Key parables


               Chap. 10










               Chap. 15









                                                        vi.      What is unique about Luke’s Gospel?

The humanity of Christ and compassion for outcasts







Jesus as Savior of the world






Jesus fulfills the OT






Stewardship and material possessions






Prayer and praise







f.       The Gospel of the “disciple whom Jesus loved”


                                                             i.      How does John relate to the synoptic Gospels?





                                                           ii.      Who was the author?





                                                        iii.      What was the purpose?






                                                        iv.      Don’t overlook the introduction (1.1-18)


The word/Logos






Reveals God






Bridge between God and humanity







                                                           v.      Key passages in John


Chap. 3




Chap. 4




Chap. 6




Chaps. 14-17




Chap. 21




The “I Am” sayings






                                                        vi.      What is unique about John?

Deity of Christ


















Salvation as eternal life






The Holy Spirit











                                                      vii.      Why is John so different from the other Gospels?






For more details see Craig Blomberg, The Historical Reliability of John’s Gospel (IVP, 2002)




g.     Stories with a meaning – the Parables


                                                             i.      Allegory vs. non-allegory





                                                           ii.      The consensus – stories with one point





                                                        iii.      A recent approach







                                                        iv.      An example:  Luke 15.11-31




Younger son


Older son




h.     Why four Gospels?  Isn’t one enough?


Tatian’s attempt





i.       A portrait of Jesus from the Gospels


                                                             i.      Humanity





                                                           ii.      Compassion for outcasts





                                                        iii.      Concern for stewardship





                                                        iv.      Concern for community









VI.            The Story of the Early Church – Acts



a.     What is Acts doing here?




b.     What is Acts’ relationship with Luke?




c.      The plan of Acts – Acts 1.8


“when the Holy Spirit comes upon you”    Isa 32.15


“you will be my witnesses”     Isa 43.10, 12


“until the ends of the earth”     Isa 49.6





“You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all of Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”


            1.1-6.7:  The church in Jerusalem


          6.8-9.31:  The church/Gospel in Judea, Samaria and Galilee


    12.25-28.31:  The church/Gospel spread to the ends of the earth





d.     Important passages in Acts


Chap. 2






Chap. 10






Chap. 15







Christianity’s first missionary


The three “journies” of Paul







The role of the Holy Spirit in Acts






e.      What is so important about the book of Acts?


“signs and wonders”



Normative or descriptive?







VII.         Reading the Early Church’s Mail


a.     The occasional nature of Paul’s letters





b.     A brief history of Paul

                                                             i.      A citizen of two worlds


Paul the Jew




Paul the Roman




                                                           ii.      Paul’s conversion (see Acts 9; Galatians 1)


Traditional view





What happened to Paul on the Damascus road?








c.      A Letter to the church in Rome (Romans)


                                                             i.      Importance


Martin Luther



Karl Barth




                                                           ii.      Paul wrote Romans.  Or did he? (16.22)




                                                        iii.      The purpose












                                                        iv.      The “New Look” on Paul!











A solution?






                                                           v.      Diagnosis and Prognosis





                                                        vi.      The importance of 3.21-26


The Heart of the Gospel




Righteousness apart from the law









The justification of God



                                                      vii.      Justification by Faith


The background for justification





   The meaning of justification






ExcursesAn Introduction to Paul’s Thought


The eschatological tension in Paul




What does it mean to be “in Christ?”




The “old self” and the “new self”




The “indicative” and the “imperative”




d.     Letter #1 to the Church in Corinth


                                                             i.      Background:  Acts 18 – Paul in Corinth for 1 ˝ years





                                                           ii.      The city of Corinth














                                                        iii.      How many letters did Paul write to Corinth?






                                                        iv.      The plan of the letter

Chaps. 1-6




Chaps. 7-16



  Arranged according to typical Gentile Sins


         Warning against immorality and Greed (4-7)



         Warning against idolatry (8-14)



         The Hope of the Resurrection (15)




                                                           v.      Why did Paul have to write 1 Corinthians?


After Paul left Corinth:


      Crisis in leadership

Sexual immorality





                                                        vi.      Important passages in 1 Corinthians

Chaps. 1-3






Chap. 5






Chap. 7






Chap. 11






Chaps. 12-14







Chap. 15








                                                      vii.      What is the theme of 1 Corinthians?







e.      Letter #2 to the Corinthians


                                                             i.      Why another letter to the Corinthians?








                                                           ii.      The purpose of 2 Corinthians






                                                        iii.      Harsh or gentle?

Chaps. 1-9




Chaps. 10-13





                                                        iv.      One or two letters?




                                                           v.      Chaps 8-9




                                                        vi.      Paul the suffering apostle






                                                      vii.      The theme of 2 Corinthians






f.       The letter to the Church in Galatia


                                                             i.      When was Galatians written?











The importance of Acts 15








                                                           ii.      Getting the correct address – where would you deliver this letter?


North Galatia





South Galatia






                                                        iii.      Who were Paul’s opponents?










                                                        iv.      Paul’s tone







                                                           v.      What is going on in chaps. 1-2?


Chap. 1.1-4




Paul’s life within Judaism




The function of this section:





                                                        vi.      What did Paul think of the law?






The “New Look”







Why noone can be justified by works of the law







                                                      vii.      The importance of Chap. 3-4


Argument from experience (3.1-5)



Argument from the OT (3.7-20)



Argument from culture  (3.22-25)



                                                   viii.      Works of the flesh vs. fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5)








For a valuable article on how the OT law applies to Christians today see D. A. Dorsey, “The Law of Moses and the Christian:  A Compromise,” Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 34 (1991), pp. 321-34.  See also W. Strickland (ed.), Five Views on Law and Gospel (Zondervan).





Excursus:  Who are the true people of God?

                  The OT background:


                        Adam in the Garden




Gen 12.1-3 and Abraham




The nation of Israel as God’s people






                                    NT fulfillment


                                                Christ – the true Israel




                        Christians – Gal 3.29



                                      The criteria for membership in the people of God





g.     Letter to the Church in Ephesus


                                                             i.      Along with ___________________, ____________________, and ______________________, Ephesians belongs to a group of letters known as the ______________________ epistles.










                                                           ii.      The theme of the letter





                                                        iii.      The plan of the letter

Chaps. 1-3





Chaps. 4-6





                                                        iv.      The purpose of Ephesians




Is there a specific purpose?



Notice the “power language” that is scattered throughout the book.


1.19 –


1.21 –


3.7 –


3.10 –


3.20 –


6.10-22 –



The proposal of Clinton Arnold




A likely scenario


      Lack of specific occasion




      A suggestion:





                                                           v.      Cosmic Reconciliation














                                                        vi.      Spiritual warfare in Ephesians 6

Background of the imagery


     Roman soldier?








Relationship to the rest of the book






h.     Letter to the Church in Philippi


                                                             i.      What do we know about the city of Philippi?









                                                           ii.      The purpose(s)?






                                                        iii.      Is there a main theme in Philippians?









A suggestion






                                                        iv.      Philippians 2.6-11






Paul’s Christology




  OT quotation













i.       Letter to the Church in Colossae


                                                             i.      What do we know about Colossae?






                                                           ii.      Haven’t we heard this before?


Ephesians                                   Colossians

2.1-4                                                                                      2.13-15


5.22-6.10                                                                        3.18-4.1



How do we explain this?






                                                        iii.      Who were Paul’s opponents?


Festivals, new moons, Sabbaths


Worship of angels








                                                        iv.      The purpose of Colossians





                                                           v.      What is the theme?




1.15-20 –











                                                        vi.      Chap. 2








                                                      vii.      Chaps. 3-4








                                                   viii.      What is the “big idea” of Colossians?






j.       Letter to a slave owner (Philemon)


                                                             i.      Relationship to Colossians




                                                           ii.      The occasion for the letter








                                                        iii.      What kind of letter is Philemon?







                                                        iv.      The importance of the letter for Christians













                                                           v.      Why does Paul not condemn slavery?










k.     Letter #1 to the Church in Thessalonika



                                                             i.      What circumstances led to the writing of this letter?








                                                           ii.      The purpose and plan of 1 Thessalonians


Why did Paul write?




Chaps. 1-3




Chaps. 4-5












                                                        iii.      When is Christ coming back?
















      1 Thessalonians 4-5 and Matthew 24


Matthew 24                                                                     1 Thess 4-5

24.30                             Coming of Christ                      4.15


24.30                                    Clouds                                4.17


24.31                                   Trumpet                               4.16


24.31                                     Angels                               4.16


24.31                          Gathering of believers                  4.16


24.36, 42, 44                      Unexpected                           5.1-4


24.42; 25.13                       Keep watch                           5.6



           v.  What problem was Paul addressing?





l.       Letter #2 to the Church in Thessalonika


                                                             i.      Why another letter to the Thessalonians?







                                                           ii.      Paul’s response






                                                        iii.      Signs of the coming of Christ (2.2-12)

The rebellion






The man of lawlessness






The restrainer





                                                        iv.      Comparing the eschatologies of 1 and 2 Thessalonians

1 Thessalonians




2 Thessalonians





m.  Two letters to Timothy, and a letter to Titus


                                                              i.      These three letters are commonly referred to as the __________________ epistles


                                                           ii.      Which one came first?






                                                        iii.      Who wrote 1 and 2 Timothy?

Arguments against Paul as the author































                                                        iv.      The purpose of 1 Timothy


Commonly held view:





A proposal:








  How to combat false teaching in the church….


               Chap. 1:



               Chap. 2:



               Chap. 3:



               Chap. 4:



               Chap. 5:



  Important verse: 3.15



                                                           v.      Chap. 2


The setting




The role of women in the church






            Universal or cultural?





                                                        vi.      Chap. 3


Elders and deacons




Function of this section





                                                      vii.      Conclusion:







                                                   viii.      2 Timothy

The background




Occasion for writing





Paul’s last will and testament (4.6-8)





A theme?






                                                        ix.      Titus

What is Titus’ main function in the church on Crete?




The island of Crete




Paul’s subversive letter






Purpose of Titus





n.     What do we learn from Paul?




























o.     Letter to the “Hebrews”


                                                             i.      Hebrews belongs with a group of NT writings (James, 1-2 Peter, 1-3 John, Jude) often labeled the ____________________ epistles.



                                                           ii.      Who wrote Hebrews?





Origin was probably correct!




                                                        iii.      The purpose

Clues in the text







“The addressees appear, then, to have been a group of Jewish Christians who had never seen or heard Jesus in person, but learned of him from some who had themselves listened to him.  Since their conversion they had been exposed to persecution…but while they had to endure public abuse, imprisonment and the looting of their property, they had not yet been called upon to die for their faith.  They had given practical evidence of their faith by serving their fellow Christians and especially by caring for those of their number who suffered most in the time of persecution.  Yet their Christian development had been arrested; instead of pressing ahead they were inclined to come to a full stop in their spiritual progress, in not indeed slip back to a stage they had left.  Very probably they were reluctant to sever their last ties with a religion which enjoyed protection of Roman law [Judaism] and face the risks of irrevocable commitment to the Christian way.  The writer, who has known them, or known about them, for a considerable time, and feels a pastoral concern for their welfare, warns them against falling back, for this may result in falling away from their Christian faith altogether; he encourages them with the assurance that they have everything to lose if they fall back, but everything to gain if they press on” (F. F. Bruce, The Epistle to the Hebrews [Grand Rapids:  Eerdmans, 1964] p. xxx.)



                                                        iv.      A sermon in writing (Hebrews 13.22)



importance –






                                                           v.      Who were the readers?





                                                        vi.      Two blueprints of Hebrews


Structural – alternation between exposition and exhortation


            1.5-14:         Exposition

            2.1-4:           Exhortation

            2.5-18:         Exposition

            3.1-6:           Exposition

            3.7-4.13:      Exhortation

            4.14-16:       Exhortation

            5.1-10:         Exposition

            5.11-6.12:    Exhortation

            6.13-10.18:  Exposition

            10.19-39:     Exhortation

            11.1-40:       Exposition

            12.1-29:       Exhortation




                                    Threefold division


                                                1.1-4.16:          Jesus as God’s true messenger

                                                4.11-10.25:      Jesus as our high priest

                                                10.19-13.25:    Our partnership with Jesus




                                                      vii.      What’s wrong with the Old Covenant?



Avoiding misunderstanding





  The shortcoming of the Old Covenant







                                                   viii.      The wilderness generation and the church


Chaps. 3-4








                                                        ix.      Those dreaded warning passages




Loss of Reward











What sin are they in danger of committing?




Who are the readers?




What are they in danger of losing?






Hebrews 6.4-6


                              The problem



                        OT background






     ExcursusThe New Covenant in the Bible

              The OT background


                              The importance of covenant in the Bible










                              Jer 31 (Ezek 36-37)







                              What is “new” about the New Covenant?







                  NT Fulfillment


                              Hebrews 8




                              Rev 21.3





p.    Letter to the scattered Jews (James)


                                                             i.      What should we do with James?


Luther’s attitude toward the book of James









                                                           ii.      The importance of the author




                                                        iii.      Who were his readers?






                                                        iv.      What kind of letter is James? (1.1)








                                                           v.      James has many parallel with __________________________.







                                                        vi.      The purpose







                                                      vii.      The plan

Testing and endurance




Poverty and generosity




Wisdom and speech





                                                   viii.      Parallels to the sayings of Jesus (see Powerpoint)









                                                        ix.      Important themes

Faith and works







Paul and James on faith and works


Paul                                                     James


















q.     Letter #1 from Peter to Rome


                                                             i.      Circumstances of writing






                                                           ii.      The readers






                                                        iii.      The purpose:








                                                        iv.      The plan


Chaps. 1-3




Chaps. 4-5






                                                           v.      What the church is all about (Chap. 2)


OT background







                                                        vi.      A difficult passage:  1 Peter 3.18-20

























                                                      vii.      Stranger and aliens







r.      Letter #2 from Peter, and a letter from Jude, Jesus’ brother


                                                             i.      The genre of 2 Peter (1.12-15)




                                                           ii.      The background







                                                        iii.      The purpose







                                                        iv.      Challenges to the Second Coming of Christ

Objection #1 (1.16-19)









Objection #2 (1.20-21)










Objection #3 (2.1-22)










Objection #4 (3.1-10)











Implications for holy living







                                                           v.      Why do some deny that Peter wrote this?



Early Catholicism in the NT












                                                        vi.      Jude and 2 Peter – why do they look so alike?














                                                      vii.      Why Jude?




     v. 3




Where did Jude get all those strange stories?


                        The angels who did not keep their positions (v. 6)



                              The dispute between Michael and Satan over Moses’ body

                              (v. 9)



                              Function of these references:




                   v. 24



s.      Three letters from John


                                                             i.      Author?





                                                           ii.      The Johannine community








                                                        iii.      Background and purpose

The secessionists






1 John 5.13





                                                        iv.      The plan of 1 John









Christological confession





                                                           v.      Is there a contradiction in 1 John?











                                                        vi.      2 John
















                                                      vii.      3 John















t.       The Revelation that John had


                                                             i.      What do we do with the book of Revelation:  two responses









                                                            ii.      Author and Date









                                                          iii.      The most characteristic feature of Revelation is its ________________________



                                                        iv.      Why was Revelation written?

Roman domination and emperor worship









The cities of Asia Minor






The plight of Christians







                                                            v.      What is the main theme of Revelation?







                                                        vi.      What kind of book is Revelation

















                                                      vii.      How should I interpret the book of Revelation?















                                                   viii.      Pick an approach





















Do we have to choose?






                                                        ix.      Revelation – a modern day parallel






                                                           x.      A sampling of the visions in Revelation

The lamb on the throne (chaps. 4-5)





The seals, trumpets and bowls


      OT background






                        Model #1 


                        1   2   3   4   5   6   7                                                    2nd coming


                                                      1   2   3   4   5   6   7


                                                                                    1   2   3   4   5   6   7     



                   Model #2

                                                              2nd coming


                   1        2        3        4        5        6       7   


                        1       2      3       4       5      6      7


                   1      2     3      4     5      6     7




                   Model #3

                                                               2nd coming


                   1        2        3        4        5        6        7


                                                1    2    3    4    5    6    7






666 (and other numbers in Revelation)







     3 1/2






Who is like the beast (chaps. 12-13)


     The OT background





     Function of this section





The two witnesses (chap. 11)










The millennium (chap. 20)



















      A proposal:







A tale of two cities (chaps. 17-18, 21-22)


               The identity of Babylon (chaps. 17-18)



            The New Jerusalem (chaps. 21-22)












ExcursusThe New Creation in the Bible

               The Old Testament background


                           The Garden of Eden




                           The promised land




                           Prophetic Expectations



                                       Isa 65.17-20




               The New Testament


                           Jesus inaugurates a New Creation (2 Cor 5.17)





                           Revelation 21-22





                                                        xi.      The message of Revelation – more than just eschatology







Can we find the main theme of the entire New Testament, or even the Bible?






                   Kingdom of God


                   New Creation







A Suggestion:























Key New Testament Dates



Birth of Christ                                                      4-6  B.C.


Ministry of John the Baptist and the                             A.D. 27-28

Baptism of Jesus


Death and Resurrection of Christ                         A.D. 30


Conversion of Saul (Paul)                                    A.D. 34-35


Paul’s First Missionary Journey                                    A.D. 48-49


Council of Jerusalem (Acts 15)                                      A.D. 50


Paul’s Second Missionary Journey                      A.D. 50-52


Paul’s Third Missionary Journey                         A.D. 53-58


Paul’s First Roman Imprisonment                       A.D. 60-62


Death of Paul                                                       A.D. 66-68


Destruction of Jerusalem                                               A.D. 70















Roman Emperors of the

First Century



Augustus                                                    31 B.C. – A.D. 14


Tiberius                                                      A.D. 14 – 37


Caligula                                                      A.D. 37 – 41


Claudius                                                     A.D. 41 – 54


Nero                                                            A.D. 54 – 68


Galba                                                                   A.D. 68


Otho                                                           A.D. 69


Vitellius                                                      A.D. 69


Vespasian                                                   A.D. 69-79


Titus                                                           A.D. 79-81


Domitian                                                    A.D. 81-96


Nerva                                                                   A.D. 96-98


Trajan                                                         A.D. 98-117