Without it our Bible would be quite incomplete—like a stirring story without an ending or a drama without its climax. Because Paul had received this most profound grace, he fully understood the grace of God through Jesus. Based on these passages, we can thus identify most of the 120 eyewitnesses described as early disciples of Jesus. These Epistles further strengthen the teachings in his First Epistle and his Gospel. The Bible Says Jesus Was Real. It brings the eschatological expectations of the Church to their fitting conclusion [with the return of Jesus Christ to earth and the establishment of the kingdom of God]” (Hiebert, An Introduction to the New Testament, vol. 13-14, bold emphasis added). Paul remained in Tarsus until 40 AD. Paul used Luke quite extensively, along with Silas, Timothy, and perhaps Mark and others as scribes. Ehrman, Bart D. (2004). By examining Luke’s writings closely, we can discover the identity of many of these witnesses. “Names are attached to the titles of the Gospels (‘the Gospel according to Matthew’),” writes Bible scholar Bart Ehrman in his book Jesus, Interrupted. Finally, he encourages the brethren not to give up hope because “the day of the Lord” and Christ’s second coming did not appear to be imminent. It was under such hostile, adverse conditions—literally against all odds—that the New Testament was miraculously written and finally canonized. However he is the author of the book and it contains his thoughts and ideas. by Abelard Reuchlin. The Greek word for a witness is marturos, which “signifies one that gives testimony to the truth at the expense of his life” (Cruden’s Complete Concordance, 1986, p. 754). Several false messianic figures added to the mix. The next answers to the question of who wrote the Bible come from the books of Joshua, Judges, Samuel, and Kings, generally believed to have been written during the Babylonian captivity in the middle of the sixth century B.C. 233-234). Four years later, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Barnabas and Paul were ordained as apostles—and soon afterwards were sent on their first evangelistic tour (Acts 13:1-4). The authorship of the New Testament books have been discovered. Three of the writers: Matthew, Peter, and John were among the 12 disciples who walked with Christ during his earthly ministry. Moses had God’s stamp of authority. The Old Testament was written primarily in a closed environment to a captive audience—Israel. In both, the language is simple and direct, revealing the spiritual love and power of God the Father and Jesus Christ. 111:10). The New Testament was not written all at once. Some manuscripts indicate who wrote them (Paul, for instance), and for those that don't, church history supports the "standard" authorship of books such as Matthew and Mark. Antoninus Pius, by the way, also wrote history under the name of Suetonius. Jesus sent the twelve apostles, saying: “Do not go into the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter into a city of the Samaritans; but go instead to the lost sheep of the house of Israel [not to the house of Judah only]. Now, we feel that it is time to put this information out on the Net. But after Saul’s dramatic conversion (Acts 9:1-18) Christ called him a “chosen vessel to Me, to bear My name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel” (verse 15). The apostles found themselves under constant attack from Jews as well as pagans. Authors of the later epistles may have been followers of Paul, who used his name to lend authenticity to the works. Second and Third John: The similarity in content, language and style of these two short Epistles clearly demonstrates that they were written by the apostle John. Years later—as God was opening up salvation to the Gentiles—Peter described Jesus’ ministry and works, saying, “And we are witnesses of all the things that He did, both in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. 14-16). When we examine the writings of the apostle John, it is evident that he was moved to write more about the love of God than were any of the other apostles. From harsh slavery, God drew His chosen people, Israel, out of Egypt with powerful signs and wonders—the Passover itself, the crossing of the Red Sea, God thundering His Law from Mount Sinai, etc. The Gospel of John: The historical acceptance of the apostle John as author of the Gospel of John is based on an ancient source. The language of some New Testament books has been influenced by the fact that the mother tongue of Jesus and his first disciples was not Greek but Aramaic. But if you see something that doesn't look right, click here to contact us! After being baptized by Ananias, Saul remained in Damascus for a short time, testifying that Jesus was the Christ (Acts 9:19-22). Paul wrote epistles to the churches to instruct them in the Gospel of Christ and to address questions pertaining to Christian living. © 2020 A&E Television Networks, LLC. 5:1-2). Abelard Reuchlin. All Rights Reserved. There was no real outside opposition when it came to God’s Word. The Epistles are not detailed histories of events covering many years—as are the Gospels and the book of Acts—and were generally composed by one person over a short period of time. “But they're already asking the question—was it possible or not possible for [Moses] to have written them?”. Instead, says Baden, they see a much more gradual process, in which material from numerous smaller sources was layered together over a longer period of time. About a third of the 27 New Testament books do not name their author, and scholars dispute the authorship of about another third, leaving only about a … “Under the legal dispensation the demands of God were set forth in legal documents, sealed with the direct authority of God; in the age of grace God further makes known His will to His children through loving letters of instruction and exhortation. The first chapter of Revelation marks the beginning of the end—as Jesus said, ” ‘I AM THE ALPHA AND THE OMEGA, THE BEGINNING AND THE ENDING,‘ says the Lord, ‘Who is, and Who was, and Who is to come—the Almighty’ ” (1:8). Daniel tells half of the story and Revelation tells the rest. The New Testament contains 27 different books written by nine different authors. At the beginning of his Epistle, Peter clearly identifies himself: “Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ” (I Pet. It is an often unappreciated fact that the writers of the New Testament faced a considerably more difficult task in writing and canonizing the New Testament than did their Old Testament counterparts. 2, pp. Location and Audience: Luke-Acts comprises about 60% of the New Testament’s content. The New Testament, as usually received in the Christian Churches, is made up of twenty-seven different books attributed to eight different authors, six of whom are numbered among the Apostles (Matthew, John, Paul, James, Peter, Jude) and two among their immediate disciples (Mark, Luke). That single author was believed to be Moses, the Hebrew prophet who led the Israelites out of captivity in Egypt and guided them across the Red Sea toward the Promised Land. That he was born in Tarsus, and was a citizen of Tarsus by birth; that he was named Saul; that he was educated in Jerusalem ‘at the feet of Gamaliel’ (Acts 22:3); that he was present at the stoning of Stephen and was a persecutor of the Jerusalem church; that he made a persecuting trip to Damascus and was converted as he approached this city; that he subsequently engaged in three distinct missionary journeys; that he was arrested in Jerusalem, appealed to Caesar as the right of a Roman citizen, and was sent to Rome for trial—all this we know only from Acts. For starters, the apostles’ message was not limited to the Jews or to Israel, but was for the whole world. 10:5-7). There are no such things as historical facts, only current opinions. The Blackwell Companion to the New Testament. Peter and his brother Andrew were the first two disciples that Jesus called (John 1:39-44; Mark 1:16-18; Matt. As the Head of the Church, Jesus Christ did not leave the task of writing the most important book in the world to unknown storytellers living decades, or centuries after the apostles had died. They were eyewitnesses of Jesus’ life while He was growing up. After James was killed, many of the Jewish believers began to leave Christianity and turn back to Judaism and to Jewish Gnosticism. We find that Silvanus and Mark were with Peter in Babylon (I Pet. Three were eyewitnesses of Jesus’ life, His transfiguration and ministry—the apostles Peter, James and John. Just as the Old Testament chronicles the story of the Israelites in the millennium or so leading up to the birth of Jesus Christ, the New Testament records Jesus’s life, from his birth and teachings to his death and later resurrection, a narrative that forms the fundamental basis of Christianity. Just as Moses had led the children of Israel, these three apostles would lead in preaching the Gospel to all the world—not only by their spoken words, but also by their writings. Also, counted among them were Joseph and Matthias, one of whom was to replace Judas Iscariot. 42:21). When all of the events described in Revelation have been fulfilled, Jesus proclaimed that His work will be done—the end will have arrived. The vision of the transfiguration affected the apostle Peter and his ministry for the rest of his life. It has been translated into nearly 700 languages, and while exact sales figures are hard to come by, it’s widely considered to be the world’s best-selling book. But scholars everywhere -- except for our friends among the fundamentalists -- will tell you that there is no way on God's green earth that Peter wrote the book. Over centuries, billions of people have read the Bible. There is no indication of Saul’s age when he went to Gamaliel’s school. Other eyewitnesses probably assisted the apostles in verifying and compiling their writings, which later became the Gospels as we know them. Luke writes to the influential Theophilus, a man of great standing and prominent status. When Jesus selected the twelve apostles, Peter was named first (Mark 3:16; Luke 6:14). However, we know that Jude was the third of the four half-brothers of Jesus, which means that he was probably much younger than James (Mark 6:3). Mark lived in Jerusalem with his mother, Mary, who was also a disciple of Jesus (Acts 12:12). 12th-13th century depiction of evangelists Luke and Matthew writing the Gospels. “For we did not follow cleverly concocted myths as our authority, when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His magnificent glory [in the transfiguration]…” (II Pet. Moreover, Jesus had a close relationship with John, whom He greatly loved (John 13:23; 19:26; 20:2; 21:7, 20). But God raised Him up on the third day, and showed Him openly, not to all the people, but to witnesses who had been chosen before by God to those of us who did eat and drink with Him after He had risen from the dead” (Acts 10:39-41). By that time, through the preaching of the disciples, God had raised up a great number of Gentile believers in Antioch, the first converts to be called “Christians.” The apostles sent Barnabas to minister to them, but there were so many disciples that Barnabas went to Tarsus and found Paul and brought him to Antioch to help him minister to them (Acts 11:20-26). It wasn't Jesus or anybody who knew Jesus. The majority of New Testament scholars agree that Mark’s gospel was written first out of all four gospels. Mary, the Mother of Jesus, and Mary Magdalene: After the twelve apostles, perhaps the most important eyewitness was Mary, the mother of Jesus—contributing the account of her visit with Elizabeth; Elizabeth’s salutation to Mary; Mary’s hymn to God; the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem; the shepherds’ visit as Jesus lay in the manger; and the words of Simeon and Anna when Mary and Joseph presented Jesus at the Temple after Mary’s purification (Luke 1:39–2:35). Because of the magnitude of the life and ministry of Christ—God manifested in the flesh—Jesus did not simply select two or three witnesses as required under Old Testament law. epistles or letters. For this reason, the Gospel of Matthew, at least in a very basic form in Aramaic, is considered the first Gospel and placed first in the New Testament, although the Gospel of Mark is probably the first in a completed form. It is most evident that the transfiguration was a defining experience for Peter, and dramatically impacted his entire ministry— including his writings. Therefore, there is no doubt that Matthew wrote the Gospel that bears his name. 31:9). It appears that before Jesus’ resurrection, they did not really believe He was the Messiah (John 7:1-6). Luke himself offers important information about the writing of his Gospel. Every author of the New Testament was Jewish except for Luke. They were to “bind up the testimony” and “seal the law”—to complete the Testimony and teach the true spiritual meaning of the law. The writer of Revelation identifies himself four times as “John” (1:1, 4, 9; 22:8). Because believers have a personal, family relationship with the Father and Christ, God inspired that His love and instructions for them be conveyed in the form of epistles written by the apostles. Interestingly, Jesus specifically chose Saul—a zealous Pharisee steeped in Judaism—to ensure that Judaism and its traditional works of law would never supplant the grace of God through faith in Christ. Four are called “Pastoral Epistles” because they were written to ministers who had worked with Paul: I and II Timothy, Titus and Philemon. 86-87). And we are His witnesses of these things, as is also the Holy Spirit, which God has given to those who obey Him” (Acts 5:29-32). “You have received the Spirit of sonship, whereby we call out, ‘Abba [Daddy], Father.’ The Spirit itself bears witness conjointly with our own spirit, testifying that we are the children of God” (Rom. The evidence for the epistle is early and clear, and it is as strong as for any other book in the New Testament. Rembrandt van Rijn, painting of Moses Breaking the Tablets of the Law, 1659. As brothers, they had a special relationship with Jesus. But some argue that he really only wrote seven books, a.k.a. The epistolary method enabled Paul to stress the truths of Christianity again and again in different contexts and with different applications, all according to the needs of his readers…. The book of Hebrews can be categorized as a general Epistle because it was written to the Greek-speaking Church at large, rather than to a specific congregation or individual. Beginning in 44 AD, Mark worked with Paul and Barnabas before returning to Jerusalem. Note Peter’s powerful answer, for example, in Acts 4:5-12 when he and John were brought before the Sanhedrin for healing a man. Moses was considered a prophet par excellence because 1) he spoke to God face-to-face, 2) wrote the Law, 3) canonized the first five books of the Bible and, 4) led the children of Israel to the Promised Land. Already labeled as rebels, the situation was made worse by their teaching that the Levitical/Temple system was obsolete—to be superseded by the spiritual realities of the New Covenant. Who Really Wrote Luke? 13). Rather than being independent accounts of the life of Jesus, the gospels of Matthew and Luke can be shown to have borrowed heavily from Mark, in some instances even copying him almost verbatim. The Twelve Apostles: The word apostle means “one sent bearing authority.” The apostles were personally commissioned by Jesus Christ to bear His authority and were sent in His name to preach the Gospel in all the world. 1, p. 114). Thus, John opens his epistle with a special preamble showing that he was an intimate disciple of Jesus Christ who had been with Him from the beginning of His ministry (I John 1:1-4). When the apostle James wrote his Epistle to the twelve tribes of Israel, he knew exactly where they were located: “James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes, which are in the dispersion: Greetings!” (James 1:1.) Then you also shall bear witness, because you have been Scriptural evidence confirms that the accounts of Jesus’ life and ministry were written long before the eyewitness writers died—with some portions being written as early as 26 AD, at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry. ... Luke is credited with writing not only his gospel but the New Testament Book of Acts as well. After the Gospels and Acts, most of the rest of the New Testament was inspired to be written in the unique form of personal letters, or epistles. Truly, another of Isaiah’s prophecies has been fulfilled (Isa. The Epistle of Jude: In the first verse of this short Epistle, the author identifies himself as the brother of James. Luke was a Greek physician who apparently had been converted in Antioch, which was the location of the apostle Paul’s home Church, or headquarters. Undoubtedly among the 120 were the 70 disciples that Jesus sent to preach the Gospel in various villages and cities to prepare His way (Luke 10:1-20). One of the most interesting features in all of John’s writings is his use of contrasting opposites that show the difference between the way of God and the way of Satan and the world—the light of God vs. the darkness of the devil. To explain the Bible’s contradictions, repetitions and general idiosyncrasies, most scholars today agree that the stories and laws it contains were communicated orally, through prose and poetry, over centuries. As the capstone of the biblical revelation, the Apocalypse is rightly to be understood only in the light of that prior revelation” (Hiebert, An Introduction to the New Testament, vol. As a Levite, Matthew would have had knowledge of the Old Testament Scriptures. This was not a foretelling of future events, but the inspired writings of the books of the New Testament. 5:12-13). Indeed, the New Testament was written by, or its writing was supervised by, the chosen apostles of Jesus Christ. To this day, the ten tribes of the house of Israel are not a part of the Jewish nation located in Palestine, called Israel. 12:17; 14:12). Archaeology and the study of written sources have shed light on the history of both halves of the Bible: the Old Testament, the story of the Jews’ highs and lows in the millennium or so before the birth of Jesus; and the New Testament, which documents the life and teachings of Jesus. Close it shut…. Their credibility was questioned from the very beginning, and their authority rested with a man named Jesus, Who was condemned as a common criminal. And in His name, repentance and remission of sins should be preached to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. First John: This Epistle has an unusual beginning, in that it opens without an address or a declaration of the writer’s name. He reminds them that in spite of scoffers, the promises of God were sure and “the day of the Lord” would occur at its set time in the future (3:1-14). 15:7). And when the brethren learned of it, they brought him down to Caesarea and sent him away to Tarsus” (Acts 9:26-30). It is the only distinctively prophetic book of the New Testament. Christ had so established the power and authority of Peter and the other apostles that when Ananias and his wife Sapphira lied to Peter, they fell over dead (Acts 5:1-10). (El, Asharah, Yahweh, Jehova). This task would never have been left to others, living decades later, who never knew Jesus nor were taught by Him personally. Second John bears the closest resemblance to the first. With the inauguration of the age of grace, the apostles wrote letters to the brethren in a spirit of loving intimacy…” (Hiebert, An Introduction to the New Testament, vol. Luke begins the book of Acts in much the same way, writing of the “things that Jesus began both to do and to teach, until the day in which He was taken up…” (Acts 1:1-2). He wrote of himself in many of his fourteen Epistles. The 27-book New Testament was first formally canonized during the councils of Hippo (393) and Carthage (397) in North Africa. The Bible records that the ten tribes were taken into captivity by the Assyrians in 721-718 BC into Assyria, Persia and Media (II Kings 17:21-24). What God began as recorded in the book of Genesis, He is going to finish as recorded in the book of Revelation. These three were the initial leaders of the twelve apostles, although the book of Acts makes it clear that Peter and John fulfilled the primary leadership roles (Acts 2:5). “You read along and you say, I don’t know how many animals Noah took on the ark with him,” he says. Later, standing before the Sanhedrin, Peter said, “We are obligated to obey God rather than men. Matthew; James, the son of Alpheus, and Simon the Zealot; and Jude, the brother of James [the eleven apostles]. There was no question that God was working through Peter, John, and the rest of the apostles by the power of the Holy Spirit. It is fitting that it stands as the last book of the New Testament and of the entire Bible. “In this sentence it says two of every animal. 192-193). Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the apostles compiled and wrote the truth contained in the New Testament. What Other Proof Exists? Who wrote the books of the New Testament? Archaeology and the study of written sources have shed light on the history of both halves of the Bible: the Old Testament, the story of the Jews’ highs and lows in the millennium or so before the birth of Jesus; and the New Testament, which documents the life and teachings of Jesus. The Gospel of Mark was obviously written by Mark under Peter’s supervision. Luke wrote that the apostles “delivered them [the written accounts] to us” (Luke 1:2). In contrast, the difficulties faced by the New Testament apostles and writers was vastly different and much more complex. Moses received the Law directly from God Himself—and wrote the book of the Law and the rest of the Law as contained in Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy, along with the book of Genesis. “We accept without hesitation the Marcan authorship of the second [G]ospel. Starting around the 7th century B.C., different groups, or schools, of authors wrote them down at different times, before they were at some point (probably during the first century B.C.) READ MORE: Discovery Shows Early Christians Didn't Always Take the Bible Literally. 17:1-9). “The New Testament, the Church, and Christianity, were all the creation of the Calpurnius Piso family,who were Roman aristocrats. Later, in a similar situation, Peter concluded his response by saying, “And we are His witnesses of these things… (Acts 5:32). Later, after 60 AD, Mark was with Peter in Babylon (I Pet. Thus, Jesus confirmed the authority He would give to Peter, James and John (as well as to the other apostles) which would later be manifested in powerful, unheard of miracles—such as those recorded in Acts 3:1-11. Rather, Luke used the accounts of numerous eyewitnesses to compile his Gospel. For this reason, the Gospel of Matthew, at least in a very basic form in Aramaic, is considered the first Gospel and placed first in the New Testament, although the Gospel of Mark is probably the first in a completed form. The account of Jesus’ conversation with Mary Magdalene must have originated with her, because she and Jesus were the only ones privy to the exchange. The New Testament contains multiple versions of the life and teachings of Jesus. The LORD God, Who became Jesus Christ, showed His glory to Moses and talked with him face-to-face (Ex. Indeed, the New Testament is the only book in the world that intimately reveals God’s love for His begotten children and Jesus Christ’s love for His brethren. In his first message, Peter proclaimed: “This Jesus has God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses” (Acts 2:32). “And in His name, repentance and remission of sins should be preached to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. By the 4th century A.D., Christianity had been established as the dominant religion in the Western world, and the New and Old Testaments as its most sacred texts. Then he officially finalized, or canonized, the books and gave them to the priests for safekeeping (Deut. Nine were written to seven specific churches: Romans, I and II Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and I and II Thessalonians. 1:16). Without question, the apostles realized the magnitude of their work. Moreover, because the chronology of the Gospel of John follows the progression of the annual holy days, it gives us an accurate, year-by-year time frame for Jesus’ ministry. This person was the half-brother of the emperor Antoninus Pius. RESPONSE: We can use the New Testament to back that up. This question is central to the authenticity of the New Testament as the inspired Word of God. Then he spoke and disputed with the [Greek-speaking Jews], but they attempted to kill him. 3, p. 105). “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. In his Second Epistle, Peter wrote that the New Testament writings of the apostles were not based on folklore or myth. The least, it demands that the New Testament is written in so-called 'koiné ' Greek, original... And updates its content regularly to ensure the veracity of the emperor Antoninus Pius by! 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