Chapter 3: The Christian Testament. The Letters The Good News of the Gospel was handed on both: orally, and in writing. The Christian Testament contains:
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The Letters The Good News of the Gospel was handed on both: orally, and in writing. The Christian Testament contains: 1.Letters written by Peter, Paul, James, John, and Jude; 2.Stories of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection (the Gospels); 3.Accounts of the Church’s beginnings (Acts of the Apostles); and 4.Writings intended to inspire (Revelation).
The Letters By the end of the fourth century, the church formally approved the collection of 27 books called the Christian Testament. This collection is also referred to as the CHRISTIAN CANON. The word “canon” comes from a word meaning “rule” or “standard.”
The Letters 51 C.E. Paul composed the first letter that would eventually be included in the Christian Testament. PAUL certainly didn’t realize he was writing documents that would become part of scripture. For him, the Scriptures were the Hebrew Scriptures. Paul’s letters were addressed to the churches in different cities (the word “church” means “assembly”.)
The Letters Paul’s letters were treasured by the Christian communities Copies were made by professional scribes Some of the letters we credit to Paul were probably written by his followers, but contain Paul’s teachings
The Gospels The Gospels were not completed until @ 100 C.E. They were written down for two reasons: 1. Only a few who knew Jesus personally were still alive 2. The Good News (Gospel) could reach many more people if it was in written form.
Different Gospels, Different Audiences 1.Mark – written between 65-70; directed particularly to the Gentiles who had become Christian 2.Matthew – written between 80-100; directed to the Jewish and Gentile communities in Antioch 3.Luke – written @ 85; directed to the Gentiles to help them understand that Jesus came to save ALL 4.John – last Gospel written, somewhere between 90-100; directed toward helping people believe Jesus was DIVINE
Other Writings of the Christian Testament 1.The Acts of the Apostles -- Luke’s account of the early days of the Christian community 2.Epistles – the letters 3.The Book of Revelation – the last work of the Christian Testament to be written; filled with highly symbolic and mysterious images; addresses the expectation that Jesus will return at the end of time to fulfill God’s work on earth