History and Story Behind the New Testament of the Bible Part 1

About the religious books that make up the New Testament of the Bible, history of the Christian holy works.

STORIES BEHIND THE HOLY BOOKS OF THE WORLD

THE NEW TESTAMENT

Religion: Christianity.

Publication Date: The letters of Paul were the earliest of New Testament writings (50-62 A.D.) but not the first to be issued, for they apparently disappeared. The earliest Gospels, 70-90 A.D., show no acquaintance with them. The Gospel of Mark was written about the time of the Fall of Jerusalem (70 A.D.); Matthew about 80 A.D. in Antioch; Luke and Acts about 90 A.D. in Ephesus; and John in 110 A.D. The oldest complete Bible manuscript (Syrian) is dated 442 A.D.

How Written: The Gospels were written by Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John to win faith in Jesus Christ. Luke's Gospel was actually written as part of a book on the rise of Christianity. It was not written as scripture, nor even with the idea of adding it to the other Gospels. The Gospel of John was originally combined with the others, not for the sake of scripture, but as an attempt to make use of the familiarity of Christians with the former Gospels, thus urging them to read John in combination with the popular writings. The Gospels were canonized as scripture in the 2nd century A.D. as an act of unity when various sects were disputing.

The letters were originally written as letters of faith to the Christian community and gradually became incorporated as scripture. For decades, other gospels and letters by Christians were read. In fact, the Gospels according to Matthew and Luke were derived from a collection of speeches of Jesus which is no longer in existence.

Contents: The New Testament consists of 27 books-the Gospels, which are arrangements of remembered acts and sayings of Jesus Christ, and the Epistles, the letters of Paul and the Apostles.

The Gospels are full of parables demonstrating the Word of God and the power of faith. Indeed, although the law is recognized as the Word of God, Paul frees man from the law, because on the issue of salvation, man can do nothing to save himself. He needs the grace of God for this accomplishment. And this can be given only through Christ. Of course, when Jesus says, "I am the Way," the gates of sectarianism are opened on the the question of interpreting the "I" and the "Way" Whether the "I" is the personal pronoun or the universal "I," the divinity of Jesus Christ or the divinity in each of us whereby each person can follow their own heart and be one with God-this is a couse of dispute among Christians and non-Christians alike.

Similarly, the "Way" described in the New Testament may be read as external fact or as a parallel to inner truths. And the New Testament interprets and challenges the Old according to Christian doctrine, which is less oriented toward the righteousness of Judaism and more oriented toward receiving the Christ.

There are those involved in the contemporary trend toward importing Eastern philosophy and incorporating it into Western religion who say that Christ's death on the cross was actually a state of "samadhi," a kind of suspended animation in which there is perfect meditative union with God. This is a breathless, pulseless state, and a perfect master is capable of maintaining such a state for three days. To arrive at such a deep level of surrender is truly to enter God's rest.

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